Pop Culture Continues to Shine
Comic Character Collectibles
By J.C. Vaughn
Many different facets of pop culture continue to shine in the public’s eyes, including original comic book art, game-worn sports apparel, and comic books.
GEM Lands Sal Buscema Exhibit
With the soaring popularity of original comic art among collectors and the acceptance of comic book characters continuing at an all-time high, it should probably come as no surprise that the recently added Artist Spotlight exhibits at Geppi’s Entertainment Museum (GEM) have attracted a lot of attention.
Following the first exhibit, the first, which showcased a diverse mini-retrospective of Kelley Jones’ work, and the second, which focused on Jim Aparo’s brief but dynamic tenure on The Spectre at DC Comics, the third Artist Spotlight exhibit focuses on Sal Buscema and in particular on his long, influential run on Marvel’s Captain America in the 1970s. The exhibit runs now through October 1, 2015.
Buscema’s comic book career began in earnest with inks over older brother John’s pencils on Silver Surfer #4-7 (1969) and over Werner Roth on a 10-page story, “The Coming of Gunhawk,” in Western Gunfighters #1 (1970). Less than a year later, he began penciling The Avengers.
Excelling at both penciling and inking, he proved to be one of Marvel Comics’ most prolific creators, putting his stamp on Captain America, The Defenders, Incredible Hulk, New Mutants, Rom, Spectacular Spiderman, Thor, and others.
Born January 26, 1936 in Brooklyn New York, Salvio “Sal” Buscema spent over four decades as a comic book artist, primarily for Marvel comics. In the early 1970s, he teamed up with writer Steve Englehart and launched The Defenders as an ongoing series, and then re-teamed with the writer on Captain America from 1972 through 1975. It is from that era that this exhibit is taken.
Artist Spotlight: Sal Buscema’s Captain America comes in the form of original interior pages from the private collection of Nick Katradis, who serves as the exhibit’s Guest Curator with Michael Solof, GEMís Collection and Exhibits Manager. Katradis also lent GEM the art for the Jim Aparo Artist Spotlight display, which just closed, and much of the material featured in GEMís major exhibit Steve Epting Originals: Captain America and The Winter Solider, which ends July 31, 2015.
“I’m very excited to be able to share this incredible selection of classic Buscema Captain America art with all of GEMís visitors. As a young fan, Sal Buscema defined for me what Captain America should look like. All these years later, as evidenced by this art, his work has stood the test of time,” Katradis said.
“We are once again indebted to Nick Katradis for sharing parts of his amazing collection and also for sharing his genuine passion for this material with GEM and our visitors,” said Melissa Bowersox, President of GEM.
No separate admission is required for this exhibit. Announcements of further Artist Spotlight showcases as well as major exhibits of original comic book art and other iconic pop culture material at Geppi’s Entertainment Museum will be forthcoming.
Johnny Unitas Jersey Sets Record
Grey Flannel’s June 24, 2015 Summer Games Auction topped the $2 million mark with sales of game-worn sports apparel and other gear used by professional sports icons.
“Interest was phenomenal,” said Grey Flannel President Richard Russek. “We recorded more than 7,650 bids in all. When extended bidding kicked in, it became a battle royale. We’ve learned over the years that when sports memorabilia collectors really want something, they don’t go down without a fight because there’s no telling whether or not there will ever be another opportunity to bid on the piece they want.”
Three items, in particular, drove the frenzy.
A circa-1960 photo-matched, game-used and autographed Baltimore Colts home uniform worn by the great Johnny Unitas had been entered in the auction with a $10,000 reserve. But “The Golden Arm’s” legend lives long, and the well-worn uniform with impeccable provenance skyrocketed to $118,230. In so doing, it set a record for the most expensive football shirt ever sold at auction.
A game-used Philadelphia Warriors home uniform that Wilt Chamberlain wore in 1961-62 – the season in which he set the NBA single-game scoring record with his legendary 100-point performance – was bid to $130,054. It was the highest price ever paid for a Chamberlain jersey at auction.
An extremely rare, early-1960s Boston Celtics road jersey game-used by the formidable 12-time All-Star and five-time NBA MVP Bill Russell also hit six-figure territory. It sold for a record $118,230.
“It was an exciting night for all of us at Grey Flannel,” said Russek. “Once again, we saw for ourselves how strong the auction market is for well-provenanced, game-used sports memorabilia. It was also very gratifying to see how many new collectors are coming into the hobby and helping it grow.”
CGC 9.0 Amazing Fantasy #15 Hits $200,000
ComicLink has reported that they have brokered a private placement sale for CGC-certified 9.0 copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of Spider-Man, for a record price of $200,000.
While there are more than 2,340 copies of Amazing Fantasy #15 on the CGC census, there are only three 9.6 copies, five 9.4, three 9.2, and eight 9.0 including the issue in this transaction. Only four previous public sales of Amazing Fantasy #15 have exceeded this $200,000 sale, all in higher grades.
“This same book changed hands in 2004 for $58,000, demonstrating the tremendous investment potential that vintage comic books like this can have,” said Josh Nathanson, ComicLink’s President.