February 15th, 2011

the fly approves

The Return of the H.O.F. Original Art Auctions (w/color commentary)

We have some new H.O.F. art up for grabs on eBay, including three recent Mad illustrations...

As well as one (not-so-recent) bad illustration  ...

The above is a cover I drew for the second issue of Fantastic Fanzine, which was affiliated with the Fantastic Store comic shop on New Dorp Lane in Staten Island, NYC. The shop was co-owned by Jim Hanley, who some of you may know as the Jim Hanley of Jim Hanley's Universe, the fine comic shop outfit with two locations in Staten Island and Manhattan, NYC.

The Fantastic Store (formerly The Merchant of Venus -- yes, you read that right, my friend) was the first comic shop I worked at, also the first I was fired from. I was re-hired by Jim when he split from his partner to open JHU, saving me from a dishwashing job I didn't particularly care for (for one thing, there were no comic books at the restaurant, and I happened to like comic books very much at the time. Also, they pretty much only had male waiters, so there was nothing much to look at while washing dishes. They did let us play the punk rock music in the kitchen, however, very loudly, too. And it was a great place for cursing. But no comic books, so, it was goodbye to that.). 

Anyway, long story short, there was this ("Fantastic") fanzine that a co-worker at the shop named Jim Higgins (who later worked at DC for a spell) put together and only one issue was produced, for which I did the back cover (Judge Dredd, if you really need to know). I can't find my copy of it, I wish I could so I could show off not only my amateurish fanboy artwork but my amateurish fanboy review skills (I reviewed Neal Adams Batman:Odyssey warm-up, Skate-Man #1, as well as one or two other comics). The above piece of work was intended for the cover of the second issue, a year-end review type-of-thing. Luckily, the world was spared this masterpiece of clumsiness (until now, of course -- Because The Whole World is Watching!!!). I think it speaks volumes about how incredibly not good you can be when you're young and that if you keep at it long enough and try hard enough you can eventually learn to at least draw professionally and solidly, if not beautifully or wonderfully. I mean, Holy %$@&#!  look at that rendering. That anatomy. That "inking", that "lettering". It's charming in a grotesque way, less so because I wasn't that young, I was 18, and most 18 year-olds then and now and in caveman days can and could draw rings around this cowflop. Very nicely-drawn rings, I might add.

But I'm done with it, and yes, I said it was bad and I know it is bad, and you know it is bad, but I also know that someone out there might find it amusing or interesting. And some folks collect bad art, or fanzine art by professionals, or what have you. And I already tossed about thirty recent-ish sketchbook pages into the recycling last night and I didn't feel like trashing every single thing I've been going through (I also found an ad for JHU from 1985 that I drew and am on the fence about keeping/selling/burning. Among other things I'm finding as I clean up the files). And I need the money. Any money. I love money. I'd do anything for money! I'd kill for money! (please feel free to complete this Chico Marx routine in the privacy of your own home). So it's on eBay and amazingly, as I type this drivel, there are two bids for it already. Whee! Whereas the nicer-looking, professional Mad illos are bereft of monetary attention. It's a little like the Direct Market, isn't it, sometimes solid work won't get the attention that less-than-solid work gets if the ickier work's gots them there superheroes in it. If you know what I mean. Batman drawn by a jittery crab rolled in ink would still sell better than Love and Rockets in the funnybook shops. It's just the way things go. But that's another rant, and I'm getting all typed out and it's damned cold in the office tonight with the heat off while the family sleeps.

Besides the aforementioned/afore-panned, there's also a Nickelodeon Magazine (RIP) gag panel up for the bidding, a Bizarro comic page (Superman/Batman, a re-list, as it didn't sell last time around -- and what does that do to my above comic book theory? I guess price matters, as well. Fuggit. I'm all theorized out. I think it's a nice page, though, surprised it didn't get any takers. I blame Satan and his agents, who happen to be at William Morris now, I hear), a sheet of little Milk and Cheese button/magnet designs, and the M&C zombie piece I posted here the other day. That's the biggie, the tentpole, the baby's new pair of shoes. Or not.

You can see the auctions here, or just go there to look at the art and ignore the auctions. I can't buy art either, not even the cheaper stuff I sell. If I could, I wouldn't be selling a lot of this stuff. What can you do? Wash dishes, I guess.

Hopefully it won't come to that. Mostly because I wash dishes the same way I make comics, the OCD kicks in and I slow things down. The kitchen staff would yell at me because I would be stupid enough to actually try to clean the old, stuck cheese out from the french onion soup bowls. The others just dumped the new order of soup in and covered whatever wasn't cleaned out from the previous order. Nice, huh? I couldn't do it.

Meeeemorieeees., memorieees...

(This post brought to you by the makers of Iron Man 3-D, coming soon to a torrent site near you)