By Carolina Cooney
While the masses of attendees poured in the doors and made their way toward their exclusive of choice (many to be disappointed), I opted to head the opposite direction and work my way towards “Old Town” — the Golden and Silver Age Pavilion.
As a former employee, and absolute devotee, of Bud Plant Comic Art (now Bud’s Art Books), that was my first stop and not surprisingly I got stuck there for quite a while. Bud Plant himself was in the booth, excitedly talking to comics historian Craig Yoe while pulling Golden and Silver Age comics rapidly out of longboxes. Yoe, whose recent books include THE ART OF BETTY & VERONICA and THE CREATIVITY OF DITKO, is researching an upcoming book on Romance Comics, a personal favorite genre of his.
From there it was a hunt for original art, preferably by Alex Raymond or Leonard Starr, but not before a look at the amazing Heritage Auctions booth. Classic comics, well preserved and out of reach in their CGC shells, lined the shelves. Prominently displayed was a 3.0 graded ACTION COMICS No. 1, pre-auction estimate: $325,000 and up. It was interesting to see such a rare comic (the pinnacle, really) up close and personal. This particular issue had a crease, a small bit of fraying, and was stamped prominently with “Pearson’s Drugstore”.
Also in the Heritage booth was a large piece by Alex Raymond from FLASH GORDON. Juxtaposed with a Frank Frazetta ACE MCCOY strip, it was fascinating to compare the differences in technique, from the wispy brushstrokes of Raymond to the heavy blacks of Frazetta.
Next up was the overflowing booth for Anthony’s Comic Book Art, based in New York City. Hundreds of artist portfolios stuffed with original art filled the booth, with additional larger pieces displayed on the wall. You could spend the whole convention here, pouring over work by everyone from Geof Darrow to Romero’s MODESTY BLAISE. Apparently they also have a huge website, which I will soon be making myself familiar with.
Carolina Cooney is a History of Comics instructor at the Academy of Art University who’ll be at booth 5530 this weekend at SDCC.