Monday, February 9, 2009

Dear Comic Art Fan,

A giant statue of Faker (really? Faker?) from Masters of the Universe welcomed huge crowds to New York Comic Con this past weekend as fans flooded the Javits Center in pursuit of comics, toys, and memorabilia. The popular convention swag gear included Wonder Woman tiaras (with light up stars!) in honor of the new animated DVD, foam Wolverine claws, and inflatable He-Man swords. I was little disappointed that I couldn't find any Watchmen smiley face pins, I thought DC would have hand plenty of those for sure.

One of the biggest releases at NYCC was the penultimate fifth volume of Scott Pilgrim. Creator Bryan Lee O’Malley made several pre-convention appearances including signings at Jim Hanley’s Universe and Rocketship, at which both stores sold out of their stock. No doubt the movie buzz helped moved some books, though I'm still not convinced that Michael Cera is the right actor to play Scott.

First thing on Friday art collectors swarmed Artist Alley to get on sketch lists for J. Scott Campbell, Gabriele Dell’Otto, Brian Bolland, and many more. One artist I met was David Lafuente, who had some beautiful prelims from his work on X-Men: Divided We Stand and Hellcat. I bought a few for a very reasonable price which caused Marvel editor Nick Lowe to remark that it was a steal. Lafuente misunderstood the colloquialism and asked if he was charging too much. I assured him that the price was fine. However, the next day Marvel announced that he is taking over from Stuart Immonen as the penciler on the relaunched Ultimate Spider-Man series so Lowe may very well have been correct. I also got to meet several fellow members of Comic Art Fans including Joseph Melchior, Alex Chun, Ray Blanco, Brian Stryker, Randy Martin, and more.

There was a decidedly smaller Hollywood presence this year, no doubt to the pleasure of its many vocal detractors from the indie comics set. But television and movies were still a huge draw with standing room only crowds lining up for panels hours in advance. Eve Myles, who plays Gwen Cooper on BBC’s Torchwood, coyly dodged questions about behind-the-scenes shenanigans on set and premièred a trailer for the series special five episode arc entitled "Children of Earth."  Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, debuted footage from his new show Dollhouse and was accompanied by Tahmoh Penikett, best known for playing Helo on Battlestar Galactica. Pixar director Pete Docter unveiled the studio’s latest movie, Up. And naturally the biggest excitement was for the preview 18 minutes from Watchmen, hosted by surprise guest Dave Gibbons. The best story I heard was that Lost’s Daniel Dae Kim made a surprise appearance on Sunday and walked around the show floor wearing a V for Vendetta mask to protect his anonymity.

The Marvel party on Saturday night was packed with wall to wall people, 86% of whom were crashing like me. Luckily I look enough like X-Infernus writer C.B. Cebulski to not only get in the door but on his bar tab as well. So I might owe him an Irish Car Bomb or three. 

With an almost two year gap till the next NYCC, there’s plenty of time to recoup and gear up. Having it in October will be nice for convention goers since autumn in New York is far more pleasant than mid-winter and there is little chance of a snowstorm causing travel delays. However, this shift will cause big changes in the fall convention calendar as NYCC creates a black hole around it for any other shows on the east coast. With con-goers having limited resources and guests not wanting to travel too often, it will be much harder for smaller shows to thrive in the shadow of such a giant.

See you next week!

Colin Solan
CAF Editor

Premium Member of the Week :: Kirk Dilbeck

1. Please tell us a little about yourself.


My brother Steve (the sports writer) introduced me to comics when I was in the 4th grade. I was captivated and used to sneak into his room when he was off to college. I would carefully move his stacks of comics discovering his (almost) full runs of all of the Marvel books. The Avengers were a favorite right off. I started going to conventions in 1980 (eleventh grade) with my high school buddy Brian Haberlin. To think of the things we bought and sold back then just to make money to take girls on dates. None of those gals lasted and those Frank Miller Daredevil covers and Michael Golden Dr. Strange pages should have been hung onto. Lucky I work in an industry (Real Estate) that usually is pretty lucrative (but not right now) to support my habit. I am also lucky my wife prefers art collecting over drinking, gambling or spending weekends glued to the TV watching sports. Brian has introduced me to many of the guys he works with so that is how I got into being an art rep. Most of these guys have turned into some of my closest friends. I am a lucky guy to be surrounded by them.  


2. Which is your favorite piece in your gallery and why?


I have two: #1 is my Jim Starlin Rampaging Hulk cover. When I was in junior high I walked into a liquor store and picked up this issue of Rampaging Hulk and was in awe of this cover. I thought Namor was the coolest. I said to my brother "I am going to own this piece of art someday." As fate would have it, in 1980 I went to San Diego Comic Con for the first time and I bought this piece from an art dealer for $300. I have no idea where or how I got that much money as an eleventh grader but it was the first piece of published art I ever purchased. Thus was born my art collecting! Thank you, Jim Starlin, for creating this piece. Number two is my ongoing commission of the Marvel Universe I am doing with Jay Anacleto. You see what is done already and we still have the Inhumans, the cosmic people, two X-Men teams, and then the street characters to go. If/When we get that done, a companion piece with all of the villains will happen.  


3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?


I wanted to by original art as early as the sixth grade; I just had no idea how to find it. I am not sure how I found out about San Diego Comic Con but I did and went in 1980. It was held at a little hotel called the El Cortez back then and I was in heaven. I don’t think I have missed a show there since.


4. How do you display/store your collection at home?


I display most of it in various places in my house up on the wall in frames. I have run out of wall space so that is why I am selling so many things (besides pieces for artists whom I rep). So if my art commissions or purchases from New York Comic Con are better than what I have up then that stuff comes down and goes on sale. Most of us art collectors are hoarders.  I am trying not to be like that. Everyone should be able to enjoy the art they love so I try to keep only four or so pieces from each of my favorite artists.  


5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?


Geez, only five? I’ll try


1. Avengers #127 & #133 covers (I am cheating already) ~ I love Gil Kane’s art and I love the Avengers


2. Avengers #100 pages 5-6 DPS ~ Barry Windsor Smith did amazing things in the 1970’s and beyond


3. Captain Marvel #137 Cover ~ again by Gil Kane and Klaus Jansen (nobody inked him better)


4. Incredible Hulk #193 Cover ~ again by Gil but inked by John Romita this time; you gotta love Doc Samson


5. Thor #225 Cover ~ by John Buscema; what a powerful image of Firelord and his back is turned to you!


The only reason Avengers Annual #7 cover or the Cosmic 1976 calendar piece, both by Jim Starlin, didn’t make the list is that I have an outstanding replica of both of them by Joe Rubinstein.

View Kirk Dilbeck's Gallery

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