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Friday, May 11, 2012

Comic Cuts - 11 May 2012

Another week short of news, although I've kept myself busy. I have two of the Sexton Blake Annual's laid out and I have a third book on the go that should be finished in rough by next week. The idea is to get proofs of all three in one go so that I can save some money. I should hopefully have some news next week.

I noticed that the Tate have announced a major retrospective of Roy Lichtenstein. Some of his comic-strip pop art will be appearing at the Tate Modern in February 2013, including the landmark Whaam! and Drowning Girl paintings. Lichtenstein infamously lifted panels from comic books without crediting the originals — in the case of Whaam! it was a panel by Irv Novick from the pages of All-American Men of War #89 (Jan/Feb 1962).

I noticed this on the Guardian's blog pages: "Roy Lichtenstein's Whaam! is an eerie modern version of the battle paintings that once decorated European palaces and council chambers. It is on a grand scale, split across two panels that together measure more than four metres in width"

...which reminds me of something I said back in  2009 in the Sci-Fi Art book: the only thing that seems to impress art critics is how big the painting is. In fact, I was finally able to come up with an answer for that age old question: At what point does comic art become fine art. The answer? Two feet or more. Lichtenstein's Whaam!, at four metres, is without question fine art.

Mark Rothko's Orange, Red, Yellow is also fine art despite the fact that it looks like a few orange squares daubed on a canvas something like seven feet tall by six wide.Someone recently paid $86.88 [£53.8] million for it. According to the Tesco Direct Paint Calculator you can cover 13 square metres of wall with a litre of paint — that's about three coats on a canvas the size of Rothko's. Comparing the painting to the Dulux tailor made colours chart, I'd say most of the painting was African Adventure 3 with some Hot Paprika and maybe a bit of Volcanic Splash. You could probably knock one out yourself for around £25, which is a bit of a bargain compared to paying fifty-four million pounds.

To help ease myself down from this particular hobby horse, lets have some random scans of some proper artwork. The artist in this case is unfortunately anonymous and was probably paid quite a bit less than £25 for his efforts. The Aldine Publishing Company were not exactly known for their generous pay rates, but they did publish a wide variety of journals and many pocket libraries. The Aldine War Stories series appeared during a particularly prolific time for Aldine in the early 1930s; unfortunately, the company overstretched itself financially and went into voluntary liquidation in 1933. War Stories ran for 28 numbers in 1930-31, two new titles appearing each month. My thanks to Morgan Wallace for sending over these scans.

Next week. Should begin another strip, although I've yet to figure out which one. Apologies... this is what happens when I get bogged down in a book.


  1. Of course, it doesn't have to be big to be Art - as this item from yesterday's news demonstrates:

    (Although, personally I'll be amazed if it doesn't turn out to be a fake!)

  2. The comic work was actually by Russ Heath not Irv Novick from what I remember.

    Peter Hansen