Sunday, November 15, 2015

Are Comic Books Fine Art?

Two Tony Abruzzo drawings that became Roy Lichtenstein's
In Episode#05 of Pod Sequentialism with Matt Kennedy, we look at the connection between Pop Art and Comics.

Pop Art masterpieces by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein routinely sell for tens of millions of dollars, but the artists who inspired those appropriations often died in obscurity if not poverty. In-house producer engineer Mason Booker joins Matt in a discussion about what elevates comics to fine art.

We want to draw special attention to the work of one man whose tireless crusade to get comic artists credited for the art that Roy Lichtenstein adapted and left unattributed. That man's name is David Barsalou, and he runs the website Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein. The list we gave on air barely scratches the surface of the number of artists whose work was copied and not credited. Definitely check out Barsalou's site.

Pod Sequentialism is researched but unrehearsed, so every once in a while, something gets past us in the quick flow of conversation and makes it on air without us correcting it on air, so below are some points of clarification and elaboration:

Jack Kirby lived in Thousand Oaks, not nearby Northridge (though the bus Matt took to visit Jack back in the early 90s was ultimately destined for Northridge).

Todd McFarlane's work at the time of this recording does indeed hold the record for the highest price paid at auction for the original art to a single, published, American comic book page. It was the cover to 1990's Amazing Spider-man #328, featuring Spidey lifting the Hulk. It sold for $657,250 (not six hundred million). It was a slip of the tongue, not an incorrect belief, and we apologize. It's also worth noting that McFarlane's cover art to Spider-Man #1 (also from 1990) sold for $358,500 though it had been expected to be the big winner at that June 2012 auction.

The world record for original sequential art of any kind is held by the cover to the book Tintin in America, by Belgian cartoonist Hergé, from 1932. It sold at auction in Paris, earlier that same month for $1.6 million. Unlike the United States, comic art has never been looked down upon in Europe, and adventure comics like Tintin have enjoyed greater popularity there than superheroes. This particular artwork broke its own previous sale record of $973,000 set in 2008.

The designer who makes the winged Addidas, whose designs for Moschino resulted in a lawsuit with a graffiti artist was Jeremy Scott. The artist suing him is Rime, alleging copyright infringement, trademark violations under the Lanham Act, and unfair competition, and appropriation of name and likeness under California law. The dress worn by Katy Perry at the Met Gala is alleged to include elements of Rime's 2012 Detroit mural Vandal Eyes. Claims Rime, "Nothing is more antithetical to the outsider ‘street cred’ that is essential to graffiti artists than association with European chic, luxury and glamour – of which Moschino is the epitome.”

Maya Hayuk is the designer who has filed a $750,000 lawsuit against Starbucks for copyright penalties and unspecified cash damages, alleging that the designs on Starbucks' new mini Frappuccino cups closely resemble the colorful geometric artwork of her pieces Hands Across the Universe, The Universe, The Universe II, Sexy Gazebo, and Kites #1. In the lawsuit, Hayuk claims that Starbucks' ad agency, 72andsunny, reached out to her in October 2014 expressing interest in her work, which she turned down and Starbucks, "brazenly created artwork that is substantially similar."

If you're reading this and it doesn't make sense, you really should listen to the podcast:

Listen on iTunes

Stream from Meltdown

1 comment:

  1. There are many more Comic Book Swipes on my Flickr Website...
    Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein