Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Stan Lee canvasses, what's all that about?

Have you seen these in those high street galleries? I've seen them now in Bath, Leicester and Glasgow. Giclee canvasses of classic Marvel comic covers, signed in silver pen by Stan Lee. Costing 4 grand for the set of six.



Who buys these? Why? And what do they tell us about high street art, and comics? The thing that troubles me most is that they are only credited to Stan Lee, as if he drew them. In most of the cases he didn't have anything to do with the content, and the actual artists (Gil Kane, John Buscema, JohnRomita, Dave Cockrum and Jim Steranko) are totally uncredited. Steranko has even had his famous and prominent logo removed from The Hulk comic.

These works are definitely an insult to the artists who drew them, who I am guessing would make no money from them were they still alive (okay, Steranko is the only one who's still alive, someone ask him if he's getting paid). I think they're also an insult to the intelligence of anyone who buys them. You could scan a comic and blow it up yourself for a fraction of this price, so what people are paying this money for is Stan Lee's signature in silver pen, in the sure and certain knowledge he'll be dead before the decade's out and their investment will increase in value.

Well, increase in value it might, but as long as it hangs on your wall, it'll be displaying your disregard for the artist whose work it actually is. And if you don't know the name of the actual artist, it marks you out as a shallow money-grabbing ignoramus. With a big kids comic on his wall.

Too harsh?

For the record I had an exhibition in 1983 of canvasses made from blown up Marvel comic panels, all of which sold as signed originals. A set of six would have cost you less than 4 grand.

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