Books, Comic Art, Movies

A Scott Pilgrim 10th Anniversary Appreciation Post

Today morning, this came up on my YouTube Feed.

While the placeholder image on the video says “Full Interview”, it’s actually the reading of the complete movie Scott Pilgrim vs The World, with narration, digital effects, soundtrack, and a whole lot of fun. I know the movie well enough to figure out which bits were chopped (no 3-second song, no other-Scott, Wallace, and Scott sandwich on the futon). Some members of the cast couldn’t make it so others filled in for their roles (Anna Kendrick launches into Envy’s role with panache, and Satya Bhabha does a mean Young Neil). Other observations:

  • Aubrey Plaza continues to cement her status as Batshit Insane Diva, with stellar use of props, loudness, and timing
  • Chris Evans’ eyebrows deserve an Academy Award
  • Michael Cera actually sings and plays the guitar on camera
  • And Brandon Routh plays the bass (lolwut)
  • Not sure who deadpans better – Mary E Winstead and Alison Pill
  • Bryan Lee O’Malley live draws key characters at different points of the reading, the man can fuckin’ draw
  • Belly-laughing for one and a half hours is an excellent way to begin a work-week

This movie is a modern-day miracle. It was a failure in theaters when it came out, and yet ten years later, it is a movie that refuses to disappear from public memory. People come across it in different platforms and in different ways. A midnight screening, a streaming platform, an animated gif or a quote that lead them to find out about the movie. And they fall in love with it, and proceed to share the love with others. The result has been a film that has gained an ever-expanding circle of fans over the last decade. Obviously it also helps that the graphic novel is still as relevant, and the release of a recolored version has but added to its appeal.

The cast of the film have all gone on to do bigger and better things, and it’s a wonder how the makers got this talent package to come together in this one lightning-in-a-bottle production. I mean, just look at the roster — Michael Cera, Mary E Winstead, Anna Kendrick, Alison Pill, Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, Brie Larson, Jason Schwartzmann, Bill Hader (the Voice), Aubrey Plaza, Mae Whitman, Johnny Simmons, Ellen Wong. The only other ensemble cast I can think of that has gone to somewhat-equivalent cumulative stardom would be the TV show Freaks and Geeks. And for the record, even that was cancelled after one perfect season.

As a comic-book movie, Scott Pilgrim is positioned in a rarefied overlap of faithfulness to the source material with a visionary onscreen interpretation. This was 2010, where comics had not yet taken over the world, and the Marvel machine was in its infancy. There was still the two schools of adaptations, the first being those that slavishly translated from page-to-screen with visual effects cranked all the way up to 11, with examples like 300, Sin City, or Watchmen. The other end of the spectrum was complete directorial independence, leading to either excellent examples like The Dark Knight trilogy by Chris Nolan, creative disasters like The Green Hornet by Michel Gondry, or sound and fury blockbusters with no substance, like Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Edgar Wright took the essence of the books — its romance-meets-action comedy zaniness, the video game and indie music references, the bildungsroman tropes, and proceeded to sizzle it all together using Wrighteous alchemy. You know, the stuff that makes him a film-maker par excellence. The quirky cuts, zoom shots and montages, the use of music and score to incredible effect, the painstaking attention to detail and the use of intensive story-boarding to break down scenes. Edgar went the distance, and made his actors do the same. One example, referenced in the video above, was about him preventing the cast from blinking during the scenes to make it more like a comic-book. The end result is a movie where the actors revel in the sheer outrageousness of the proceedings and deliver lines with both flawless timing and improvisational tics, visual and text effects bounce across the screen in perfect synchrony, and we the audience are whisked away to find ourselves completely immersed in the strange and mysterious land of Toronto, Canada.

Here’s another wonderful thing about being released in 2010. If this was to be adapted in 2020, it would probably become a multi-season TV show, or at least a film trilogy. There was no way a studio would let such a mass of content be squandered on a single two-hour movie. It is our good fortune that Wright was around to pick it up at exactly the right moment and do right by it, making a perfect product of its time.

Two of my favorite Scott Pilgrim stories are from the commentary track on the bluray, with director Edgar Wright, writer Michael Bacall and creator/graphic novelist Bryan Lee O’Malley. Wright of course kept O’Malley in the loop throughout the making of the film, using his input even as the creator was working to finish his series. The original ending of the film therefore was written by Bacall and Wright differently from the books, with Scott finally ending up with Knives instead of with Ramona. O’Malley asked for the ending to be changed to that of the book, since that was what he intended the story to be all along, about Scott and Ramona trying to work out their relationship and give it a fresh go. Wright agreed. The alternate ending can be seen here.

My second favorite Scott Pilgrim story is to do with Twitter and sweet vindication. So the week the movie released, it came in fifth at the box office. Fifth! All the way behind Expendables, Eat Pray Love, The Other Guys, and Inception. Seth MacFarlane, he of the cerebral Ted fame, decided to rub it in on Twitter, saying “Scott Pilgrim 0, the World 2“. This was Wright’s response to that tweet.

 I was like, f*ck you. And I lay in wait until 8 Million Ways to Die in the West came out, or whatever it was called, and I rubbed my hands with glee. I didn’t tweet anything because I’m not a total monster. But Monday morning Michael Moses sent an email with three words. It was one of the sweetest emails I’ve ever gotten from anybody in the industry. It said, “Years, not days.”

Nobody, obviously, is doing a ten year anniversary celebration of Expendables or Eat Pray Love. I wasn’t able to remember who the lead actors of The Other Guys were. On the other hand, I have lost count of the number of times I have re-watched Scott Pilgrim vs The World. I got my blu-ray copy signed by Edgar Wright at Amoeba a few years ago, and of course, by this time I can basically quote the movie beginning to end. Envy Adams’ “Oh yeah? Oh YEAH!” call echoes in my head every time I am about to write code, or do something challenging. “Your BF’s about to get F-ed in the B” is a line I used one day and promptly exploded into laughter before finishing it. I had a grin when I walked into the Toronto Public Library last year. A couple of years ago, I would bump into Bryan Lee O’Malley in random movie screenings around Los Angeles. Which has nothing to do with the movie but is a cool Los Angeles perk that I thought I would throw out there.

One of the things that I want to verify someday, and I am not sure how that is possible, is my thesis that the original trailer to Scott Pilgrim vs The World is maybe the first to use this now-popular trend of cutting action scene effects to the rhythm of the background music. Check out the part of the trailer where the Prodigy’s ‘Invaders Must Die’ kicks in, around 1:45. Wright would go on to use this in Baby Driver tremendous effect, and nowadays trailers have overused this to the point of cliche. But in 2010, this was the bomb.

Here is a tale of regret and self-loathing. In 2012, Bryan Lee O’Malley visited San Diego Comic Con. I was there. I waited in line to get my books autographed by him, and bought the slipcase and poster that came along with it. I asked him if he had any original art. He said yes, and showed me this.

Dear reader, it haunts me to this day that I did not buy this page immediately. I bought two pages from Eddie Campbell instead, and a couple of other items. What stopped me was that I had a dream image in mind, of owning a Pilgrim page that included all or most of the cast. Just owning this would not have fit the bill.

It was only when I came back home and opened up my copy of Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life, the first volume of the series, that I realized that this was the very first image of Scott in the book. Other than the cover, this would be most iconic image. It was also the image sort of used in the film poster, if you squint real hard. It was even used as a Mondo print two years later, which made me groan even more.

However, instead of ending the post on a bum note, let me show you the Scott Pilgrim original that I actually got. It fulfilled the mental criteria I had for the piece. It was even published as a print, too, thereby lowering my bar for envy at loss of the earlier piece, and what makes it even more special is that it’s a riff on a classic game poster, Puzzle Fighter, pictured below. When I bought it from Bryan’s art rep, the wonderful Felix Lu, he also mentioned that this was the biggest physical piece of art that Bryan had ever produced, at a whopping 16 by 24 inches.

P.S The table reading was done as a charity event for Water For People. You can donate here:

Also read: The AV Club discussion about Scott Pilgrim.

Comic Art

A Comic Art Interview

These were a series of questions asked of me by the great site ComicArtFans, who do these weekly interviews with premium members. It was published in their newsletter on Jul 17th 2014.

1. Please tell us a little about yourself.

I am a 34-year old Indian guy living in Los Angeles for the last four years. My move to the US may or may not be because of this hobby. I work in linguistics/machine translation and other than comics and comic art, I am also into music, reading, cooking, technology, film and travel.

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

Some of the favorite pieces have great stories attached to them (like being on an overnight bus with near-nonexistent internet when the soon-to-be-mine Tezuka painting was about to end on eBay), and some have the hard-fought sweat of a Deal That Almost Went Away But Didn’t (yes, that Swamp Thing 29 page will probably be buried with me). I think I will say that my Milo Manara commission is probably the one I will pick. My then-girlfriend commissioned it from Mr Manara. To this day, when people ask me how she did it, trust me, you will not believe how unorthodox her modus operandi was, and I am honor-bound not to spill the beans. I believe about 9-10 people from 5 countries were involved in this operation (this includes payment, transport and delivery) and it was kept a secret from me for more than 6 months.

This being real life and not a romantic movie, we eventually split up. She let me keep it. It is not on my wall but I keep dithering over whether I should put it up or not. It has the words “will you marry me?” written below the painting, in Italian. So yes, a lot of bittersweet memories, but that makes it truly the most special piece in my collection, and probably the last piece I will ever consider letting go.

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

I read a lot of comics growing up, but because of the way comics were sourced in India in pre-Internet/pre-TPB days, I was reading mid-1980s comics in the 90s. Began collecting whatever I could (Alan Moore Swamp Thing, hence my special fondness for that particular title, Knightfall-era Batman, John Byrne-era Superman). Graduated to Vertigo and indie comics. Once I graduated and got a job, began to buy comics on eBay and get them delivered to India once every 6 months through friends. Wrote a column on graphic novels for Rolling Stone magazine, became known as “that comic-book guy” in India, and also as the guy approached for a quote in any comics-related article in the mainstream media

I was 27 when I realized that at the rate at which I was buying comics (I had graduated from getting random runs on eBay to buying people’s collections), I wouldn’t really have much of challenges by the time I reached 30. I believe I was looking to see if I can find a signed print or two on eBay for my walls when I stumbled across the original art section. My first piece of art was bought on Christmas day 2005. It was a Phil Hester Swamp Thing page that I sniped for the princely sum of $25, from the Donnelly Brothers. A shout-out to them, because they were very patient with me. They did not accept Paypal at that time, and I had to get someone in the US to send them a money order two weeks later, because everybody was on vacation. Then I graduated to a $200 Frank Quitely Authority page on eBay, and still kick myself for not buying the other Quitely page the seller offered to me for $250. That guy clued me into Comicartfans, and that was when all hell broke loose. All I remember after that is the money flowing from my bank account every month and the thrill of the hunt, the pounding in my eardrums – sorry, got carried away there.

I would like to add (without being asked) that the answer to what prompts me to stay on in this hobby, despite the craziness of it all – it is the stories and the people I have met. Both of these are integral parts of the hobby to me, and I love listening to the old-timers about what they missed out on and what they got, some of it by sheer blind luck and others by dogged persistence. I have met my closest friends as a result of collecting comic art, and that kind of makes everything worth it.

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

I sleep with some of my favorite pieces under my pillow so that I can wake up in the middle of the night and caress them. Er, I kid, I kid.

I love pieces on the wall. A lot of my art-buying decisions are based on whether something qualifies as a wall piece or not. My Sandman pieces are on the wall, as is the Prince Valiant, the Tezuka and the Koike, three of my Swamp Thing pieces, a Mignola, an Aragones sketch. They keep getting swapped out every now and then, for whatever strikes my fancy. The rest of the art is in portfolios, and I have to confess that I don’t like that. Art deserves to be seen. Maybe I should just sell everything and keep the pieces that are on the wall, I don’t know.

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

I think I have lasted long in this hobby precisely because I do not have specific nostalgia-based wants. (page X of issue Y, things like that) I also happened to bypass the Marvel mania of the 80s – That has helped my collection and my tastes to develop somewhat differently. I do have broad things that I would love to own, though every year the chances of buying some of them seems slimmer.

1. A Little Nemo page by Winsor McCay. What McCay was doing in the 1900s on the Sunday page, the comic-book industry caught up in the 80s. Truly timeless work.
2. A James Jean Fables cover. I love the first 75 issues of the series and it is a testament to Jean’s work that he won Eisner for best cover artist 5 years in a row.
3. A published piece from Blankets or Habibi by Craig Thompson.
4. There is a section of my wall specifically reserved for a definitive Chris Ware, Charles Burns and Dan Clowes piece. Depending on placement, there could be just enough space left for a small Crumb work.
5. Something by Uderzo (preferably from Asterix) and something by Herge (from Tintin, obviously).

Yes, I feel like I cheated on this list by saying more than 5 names, but it feels cathartic saying these names out loud. I feel good.

Comic Art


“Your blog is dead, man”, a friend says to me this morning. I respond with an emoticon, the most antiseptic response I can venture at this observation. He’s right, and he’s wrong.

So what really has been going on this year?

It’s not like I don’t feel like writing about things in my life. But it’s so hard to start talking without, I dunno, a pivot. An Archimedean place to stand on when I move a world of words out from my head onto the page. When I switched from Live-journal to this blog, after a similar extended hiatus in 2007, I wrote down a hundred points about myself. That exercise in vanity got my brain – well, at least the part that refused to get away from the gluttonous lifestyle of single-minded consumption – out on the metaphorical blog treadmill. That post and the ones that followed in the first few weeks were it gasping but limping along bravely,  heedless of its lizard sibling’s screams of dismay. And after a while, obviously, it took on momentum, finding typing fodder in the most innocuous of life-events. It got to the point where I was on the brink of – gasp – actually writing something about my feelings and not just Things and Stuff and AwesomeCoolMindbendingActsOfMaterialism.

What usually happens then is that someone I know in real life makes a reference to my writing, interpreting the content in a way that tells me that they think they know more about me than I am letting on. Then I stop, because fuck you, you don’t know me just because I blogged about something. This perilous slip into self-consciousness affects the blatheriness of my blather, know what I mean? I think I like writing better when no one’s looking. I would keep a diary but, ugh, paper.

AND ALSO. This is what happens when I want to write – I find out it’s been done. For example: I bought an Alphonse Mucha print from a thrift shop in San Jose recently. (Isn’t it great that all my conversation-starters are about buying things? I mean, 12 years of this blog and my schtick hasn’t changed, though many other things about me have. I see those hundred things I wrote about and stifle a hollow laugh.) We had a great breakfast, two of my friends and I, after visiting a comic shop they knew about in the area. We decided to take a walk in Downtown San Jose, mostly to window-shop around the book and antique stores that I had noticed when parking the car. So I saw this gigantic framed Mucha print in the store window. It said “$100” next to it, and I was tempted. The frame itself was a work of art, and the piece in question – which I later found out was called ‘La Trappistine’ – had everything one might want in a Mucha print. A gorgeous woman, a great Q-design (I will get to that in a bit), wonderful iconography, curlicue lettering – the works.

Except the shop was closed.

I tend to look at the brighter side of things in situations like this. “Ha, I saved myself $100”, I said. My friends offered to come pick it up later, but I knew that I would start giving myself a lot of reasons not to spend money. So I passed by, walked them toward their place, and doubled back to my car. Longingly glanced at the Mucha again when I saw movement inside the store. Someone was inside! I waved, she waved back, and brought up a sign that she was writing on. It said “50% off all items”.

Long story short, 15 minutes later (because of the walk to an ATM nearby), I was hauling a rather heavy frame back to my car. I had no idea of when it was printed – pretty sure it was not an original late 19th century print, but it was just what I wanted.

And obviously it went up on the wall.

And obviously it went up on the wall.

So that got me to thinking about why I had stumbled onto Mucha’s art in the first place, and I realized that it was – obviously – comics. I believe I had read an interview by Adam Hughes about his art nouveau influences way back when, and got around to looking up the Czech artist’s work and realized that his influence on the comic-book/illustration world was formidable. Everyone from Terry Moore to Tony Harris, JH Williams to JM Linsner, Joe Quesada to Michael Kaluta have done their share of cover and interior designs inspired by Mucha’s distinctive flora-based border patterns and soft color palette.

(On an aside, check out this set of Wolverine Art Appreciation covers from 2009, where a bunch of covers featuring the Marvel character were all inspired by great paintings and painterly styles.)

So I thought of doing a post on Mucha’s influence on comics, talking about how his work is the right kind of eye-candy to be appropriated in comics. On how the commercial aspect of his work is echoed by the (somewhat) assembly-line driven work done in comics, where the intent of the cover is to grab the reader’s attention by pushing just the right aesthetic buttons.

But of course, I did some looking around, and found out that someone beat me to it. Link to a paper called Alphonse Marie Mucha: Posters, Panels … and Comic Books? by Brandon Bollom and Shawn McKinney of the University of Texas, which talks about all of the above and in much greater detail than I would have, obviously.

Mucha - Lefevre-Utile biscuits.

The first Mucha I owned is this image on tin, from a flea market in Amsterdam. It now hangs in a friend’s living room.


Comic Art, Comics, Conventions

San Diego post #2 – Getting to SDCC

This is one of the best-known words of advice about Comicon, especially comic art collectors: Preview Night is where the action happens. Allow me to explain: The con officially begins on Thursday morning at 9 AM. It ends on Sunday at 5 PM. Preview night is on Wednesday evening, when the convention floor opens up for a few hours just so that you can look around for the good stuff before the crowds hit. Some of my friends take it a step higher and head inside the convention center (using Exhibitor badges) around noon on Saturday. I did that in 2011, too. That’s when you have random brain-freezes when you see Robert Kirkman walking around, or Dave Gibbons passing by.

(However, the best Retail deals happen in the last few hours of Sunday, when booths, eager to load as less inventory back to their trucks as possible, go for insane discounts. There’s a tip right there for you.)

This year, I was eager to get in early on preview night, mostly to check out Adam Hughes and Mike Mignola’s booths. They bring original art to the show at very decent prices, and which is plucked clean in the first few hours.


Tuesday evening, I find out that my rear left tire is running low. This after I had filled it up 2 days ago. I headed over to the service center and asked them to look at it, plus there were some other small things wrong with the dashboard console. Wednesday morning, they call me to say that my tires need to be replace – the front tires, because there was an air bubble. Damnation and hellfire. I was supposed to leave at 10 AM, so that I could get to the convention by 1 PM. It was 2 by the time I got the car back, and by the time I navigated through bumper-to-bumper traffic on 5 South to Downtown San Diego, it was 6 PM. But to balance this cosmic injustice, I got a free parking spot opposite the convention center – the chances of that happening are astronomically low and everybody I met told me the exact same thing.

By the time I got inside, Mignola and Hughes were picked clean. There was a single Hellboy in Hell page remaining and I thought it wasn’t good enough for the price. Adam Hughes had a Fables Encyclopaedia cover for $8000, and a few Fairest covers that made my heart stop. I spent thirty minutes hanging out and talking with art dealer Scott Eder and the various people who flocked to his booth, old collectors I knew by name, others I had met before. I was in “view” mode, Scott and I have a deal for something major and I could not afford to jump in with something else. Then I walked over to some other booths. A James Jean Fables cover sold in front of my eyes, one of two that a consigner had brought for sale the minute before it sold, for a little less than a quarter of my annual salary. Two pages from Frank Miller’s 300 – those were the only pages from that series that had ever been available on the market – had sold an hour ago. There was the Robert McGinnis painted cover from Stephen King’s Joyland, and a Charles Addams unpublished cartoon, a few Kelley Jones Sandman pages that made my toes curl. One dealer, remembering how I had asked for a good Spirit page a few days ago, pointed me to an excellent example of a 1940s strip that had P’Gell in it. Since $8000 was a little too much for my immediate budget, I bid it a fond farewell.

There was, on one gallery wall, the greatest Prince Valiant strip I remember seeing, with Val and his wife Aletha in all panels, and one in which Val spanked Aletha on his lap. Already sold for $15,000 and a little of my tears. A Preacher page with the Saint of Killers, the cover to Bruce Timm’s Naughty And Nice pocket book, one of the best Dave Johnson 100 Bullets covers, featuring Dizzy. San Diego, on preview night, had me feel like Aladdin inside the cave for the first time, except of course, there was no lamp, because this ain’t no stinkin’ fairytale. The surprise of the evening was realizing that Juanjo Guarnido’s commission list was not full yet, and after a few minutes of vacillating, I decided to go for a full-figure drawing of Alma. I love Blacksad, and getting a piece of artwork from Guarnido without having to pay through my nose appealed to me.

A bunch of us met for our annual Secret Art List dinner, where we talked comics, art and the films of Julie Delpy. I found out that a collector lived a few miles away from my place, and we promised to get together. I put plans in place for a Miller Daredevil page, and probably another Sandman page, but obviously, time will tell.

That was the first day. I slept happy, and very very tired.

Comic Art, Comics

Comic Art Update

For most of the later part of 2011, I had stayed away from Comicartfans, that great big time-sink of a site. Last year was fairly decent for my art habit. I streamlined my addiction quite a bit, paring down the collection to minimize the chaff. Yes, that means I sold and traded a bunch of pages that would have never really gone up on the wall, but which I bought just because it seemed like a good idea at that time. This has had the fortunate effect of making me feel contented about the pages that I own right now, being on a plateau of sorts, where I can just relax and not worry about art-related expenses. Pages come and go, and nothing really grabs my attention unless it’s really cheap or truly one-of-a-kind. The former makes me wonder if I really need one more portfolio-warmer, the latter inevitably makes my bank account whimper.

This may sound zen, but the art-habit seems to have settled down from a burning “I-want-this-page-now” feeling to a gentle simmer of a “Do-you-really-belong-in-my-collection?” question.

High points:

A Kelley Jones Sandman page and a Dave McKean Sandman commission. ‘Season of Mists’ is one of my favorite Sandman arcs, as I have mentioned before, and I already have a Dringenberg page from it that fills my heart with joy every time I look at it. A bulk of the art from the run though was by Kelley Jones, who does not sell most of his originals. Whatever’s available in the market comes from Jones’ inkers, Malcolm Jones III and John Beatty. This page came up for sale on Scott Eder’s gallery at a mind-numbing high price during Wondercon last year. It did not sell. He put it up on eBay a few weeks later, and I emailed to ask if he would accept time payments. Long story short, I bid on it, won it for a little less than my final bid, and much less than the original asking price.

The Dave McKean commission was bought at San Diego, thanks to my friend Joe’s contacts with McKean’s agent Allen Spiegel. McKean himself did not make it to the con, thereby putting my plans of asking for a personalized commission on hold, but he had sent a few pre-done pieces to Allen’s booth, and I got a chance to select and pick one of them up. This conveys just the right amount of grandeur and melancholy associated with the Lord of Dreams. Also, it did not involve me paying $25000, which is the price that one of McKean’s covers usually go for.


Kelley Jones - Sandman 22, page 6 and Dave McKean - Sandman

Two Batman pages by Kelley Jones again. One of them was the promotional poster image from a Batman and Dracula crossover, which is one of the most recognizable images of Batman from the nineties, if you were buying comics back then. Jones, in my opinion, is one of the top 5 artists that have worked on Batman, his neo-Gothic, somewhat-surreal style meshing perfectly with the tone of the character. The other one is a cover pencilled and inked by him, and knowing what I just mentioned about him not selling his art, I have no idea how this came into the open market. I saw both of them on a dealer’s page a few days before San Diego Comicon, and jumped on it without hesitation. They were priced well below-market, and also, I fucking love Kelley Jones’ art, man.


Click on each image to enlarge

Three Preacher pages. I owned a Preacher page before which was a self-proclaimed placeholder – quite cheap, but not really something I would put on the wall. It got traded away this year. One of these came from eBay, from the collection of Albert Moy, dealer extraordinaire. It encapsulates the story of Preacher so far in a single-panel spread that caught my eye. The one with the bar scene from a collector who was, in his own words, cutting himself to the bone to get money for a Bolland Killing Joke page. And the third from a close friend. The three of them represents three different art styles through the series, as Dillon drastically stripped down his line-work as the issues chugged by, sort of evolving as an artist and also increasing his output to meet his deadlines.

The third also has an interesting history – it came up on eBay one fine day a few years ago at a ridiculously low Buy-It-Now price, so ridiculous that most of the usual Preacher-maniacs were wary of pulling the trigger. That ensured that my friend saw it and bid on it, and was deluged with higher offers over the years from the ones that missed it. I had asked him to let me know if he was selling it any time, and he made up his mind recently. Needless to say, I pounced on it.

  Click to Enlarge 

Three Preacher Pages (Click to Enlarge)

And finally, something that came in a few days ago. An Adam Hughes painting of Jean Grey as the Black Queen from the Hellfire Club. Now I could give you a manic foaming-at-the-mouth rave about how Adam Hughes’ work combines early 20th century pinup-girl aesthetics with a distinctive art-deco-influenced style and how it is so gosh-darned beautiful and so on and so forth. But I’ll just let you go take a look at his site to decide for yourself. If you collect comic art, getting an Adam Hughes page is a trial in itself. But getting your hands on a good Adam Hughes pinup without breaking the bank? Forget it. He used to do special sketches for fans at conventions – with rates at 200-400$, the pinups would fetch 10 times the amount on eBay when collectors went around to selling them. Due to some “fans” selling their pages a day after a convention was over, Hughes stopped those sketches, causing prices to jump even more.

So I do not exaggerate when I say that this piece fills a very important hole in my collection, and does so in style. It’s 26 inches by 19 inches, and drawn using a combination of crayons, colored dyes and markers. Adam did it as a commission for a collector, and made it extra-large because he made the guy a long time. The collector went on to sell it to someone I know because he was getting married and he needed to raise money quickly, and I bought it from the latter recently. Not cheap, but not that expensive either. And it makes me really, really happy.

Click to Enlarge

Adam Hughes - Black Queen

So yes, happy happy.