The world of Hollywood has been dominated by colourful spandex-clad characters for quite a few years now. Ever since the X-Men first sprang onto the silver screen in 2000 (although some would argue the trend really began with 1998’s Blade), the superhero genre has grown exponentially, with the ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe which began with Iron Man in 2008 serving as the most successful evolution of the concept.
The Art of Comics
As I’m sure you’re aware, the superhero phenomenon began life in the pages of American comic books put out by publishers such Marvel and DC. In the beginning, the art in these books, by the likes of Steve Ditko, was quite simple and purely functional. However, as time has gone by, the format has pushed the envelope further with more varied and experimental art styles.
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Comic artists such as David Mack, Alex Maleev, and Alex Ross, have all gained a reputation for pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved in storytelling via sequential art. Not content with the bold lines and bright colours favoured by most comic book illustrators, these artists have experimented with more abstract and subtle styles, and employed various more traditional techniques such as watercolours and charcoal.
(Image source: culturalweekly.com)
David Mack in particular uses very little actual dialogue to tell his stories, and what text is used is often incorporated into the artwork itself.
Fine Comic Art
Since the superhero craze has taken off, more and more people have been decorating their homes with pieces of art featuring their favourite characters. Whereas collecting superhero art would have once been the exclusive domain of fans and self-identifying comic-geeks, they are now finding a home in the collections of more discerning collectors.
“The appeal of these comic characters has gone mainstream,” said Ben Berman, Chief Operating Officer of Choice Collectibles. “We deal with everyone from your casual pop culture collector to die-hard fans with rooms dedicated to pop culture memorabilia. We like to believe buying art is a personal thing, something unique unto itself.”
These pieces are claiming a pricing parity with the most affluent fine artists as well. Back in 2012, a piece of original 1990 Spider-Man art, featuring the Incredible Hulk by renowned comic icon Todd McFarlane, became the most expensive piece of American comic art ever when it sold at auction for $657,250.
And the demand for fine art based on licensed franchises is not just limited to superheroes. Pieces based on Disney, Hannah Barbara, Warner Brothers, and Star Wars all command top dollar in art collector circles.
Comic book heroes are clearly here to stay, and we can hope to see more fine art based on these modern-day myths as time goes on.
If you need superpowered advice on purchasing and collecting the world’s finest art, then Florian Kappe has the knowledge and the passion to share with you and help you on your fine art journey.
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