The latest International Comic Art Auction on Catawiki closes later today (closing Thursday 10th June 2021) and includes a few British creators’ work, including a signed and illustrated book by Moebius, more “Trigan Empire” art by Don Lawrence, and a lovely “Carol Day” strip by David Wright – alongside a range of European artists’ creations.
Here are some of art highlights from this week’s auction…
Original “Modesty Blaise” strip by Neville Colvin plus Expanded Edition Modesty Blaise Companion – (1986)
Very good – 1 Original artwork – Size 52 x 18,2 cm
Similar to a previous item offered, this lot includes a fantastic original pen and ink Modesty Blaise strip by artist Neville Colvin (1918-1991), as well as a mint copy of the Modesty Blaise Companion (expanded-edition).
World War Two original painting – cover – by Fernando Fernández (1970s)
1 Original artwork – Format 34 x 49 cm
Original World War Two Cover art by Fernando Fernández (Barcelona 1940-2010), possibly used as the cover of a British war comic. Sadly, my go to expert on this, Colin Noble, is no longer with us to ask, but it was commissioned by Selecciones Ilustradas (Barcelona, Spain) for the European and American market, which is a good indicator.
“Robot Archie – The Mole Men” – (1964) by Edward “Ted” Kearon
Very fine – 1 Original artwork – Format: 42 x 52 cm
Another page from a story that has previously featured in Catawiki auctions, drawn by Edward “Ted” Kearon, originally published in Lion.
“The Rise and Fall of The Trigan Empire – The Gambler” by Don Lawrence (1975)
1 Original artwork – Format: 33 x 45 cm
A beautifully painted page from the story “The Gambler”, or “Nestor, the faith healer” (1975). Among others, this page appears in the Dutch collection, Duel met de Dood.
Moebius – Originele signed and illustrated copy of De incal van het licht – (1982)
Good – 1 Original artwork – Oberon
Not a British comic, but who isn’t intrigued by a book signed and featuring original art by Moebius?
Art from Princess by Leslie Otway
Very good – 1 Original artwork – Formaat: 39 x 50 cm
A single page centring on a mystery at a film studio, published in June 1965 in the British girls comic, Princess.
Leslie Otway was a British comic artist and illustrator from Stoneleigh, Surrey who graduated from the Camberwell School of Art. His illustrations appeared in detective magazines. He also regularly made work for the publishing house Collins.
Later, he specialised in drawing comics for girls, his work featuring in The Love Story Library between 1952 and 1958, and later also for Schoolgirls Picture Library, Confessions All Picture Library, School Friend Picture Library and the Princess Picture Library. In the 1960s, Leslie Otway’s work could be seen weekly in Princess (“Girl of the Timberlost”, 1962-63), and Princess Tina (“Alona and The Wild One”, 1967-70)
Original painting by Carlos Prunés Álvarez (1965)
Very fine – 1 Original artwork – Size 50 x 35 cm
The description of this lot gave me pause. It’s suggested this was the cover by Spanish artist Carlos Prunés Álvarez for “Bardon Art” magazine, claimed as being the house title of the London-based agency that represented a wide range of international agents to British comic publishers.
I was fairly sure I’d have heard of such a magazine before if it existed and asked Bear Alley publisher and comics archivist Steve Holland and artist David Roach, author of Masters of British Comic Art, if they’d heard of such a magazine. Neither had, and indeed refuted its existence.
“I don’t recall ever seeing a magazine,” said Steve. “They did do sample books and promo brochures, which might be what this was for.”
“There definitely wasn’t a magazine, or a specific brochure,”David told me. “The description is nonsense, they just mean it was commissioned through the Bardon agency, who stuck a ‘please return this’ label on the back of the artwork – meaning it was a first rights only piece of artwork.
“It’s quite an odd piece of art actually,” he added, “and it’s hard to imagine it could have been sold on for any use other than the original text illo or cover it was first commissioned for.”
Lambiek notes Carlos Prunés Álvarez (7 December 1937 – 18 June 2017, sometimes credited as Carles Prunés) was a Spanish comic artist, who mainly worked on war and romance comics for publishers outside of Spain through the Selecciones Ilustradas agency. His main comic book output was during the 1960s, after which the artist focused on painting and illustration.
His work mainly featured in British romance and girls’ comics published by Fleetway, producing over 100 stories for the teenage romance comic Valentine between 1957 and 1966, many based on titles of popular hits of the time. He was also a regular in other Fleetway girl’s titles such as Roxy, Marilyn and Serenade, up until the mid-1960s, and continued to do an occasional story for Tammy and June & School Friend until the early 1970s.
From the second half of the 1960s he mainly worked on the DC Thomson’s girls’ comics Mandy and Diana, drawing serials such as “Princess Cookie” (1969), “Little Yoo in The Castle of Secrets” (1970) and “The Pendant of Peril” (1974). He also contributed to Fleetway’s Battle Picture Library.
Original “Modesty Blaise” art by Enric Badia Romero
1 Original artwork – Format 17 x 23 cm
Either prelim artwork for a cover for a 2009 edition of Egmont Norway’s Modesty Blaise: Agent X-9, published in 2009, or a sketch based on the scene – the auction details don’t specify.
Enrique Badía Romero is a Spanish comics artist, best known to English-speaking audiences for his work on Modesty Blaise. He is also the co-creator of the post-apocalyptic science fiction strip AXA, as well as a substantial body of work in his native Spain.
Michel Rouge – Comanche (2020)
Very fine – 1 Original artwork – Format 24 x 36 cm
Not a British comics piece, but a fine study from the artist who’s brought us new adventures of the classic Lombard western, originally drawn by Hermann.
Carol Day – Buying the Duesenberg – original strip by David Wright
1 Original artwork – Size 48.5 x 19.7 cm
Expect strong bidding on this original pen and ink strip ‘Carol Day’ by David Wright (1912-1967). As noted by the seller, this strip is very stylish and beautifully executed – and “Carol Day” art is much sought, not least by publishers seeking to collect the strip.
“Carol Day” was a strip that appeared in the Daily Mail from 1956 onward, and was syndicated to many other papers and in other languages. Carol herself has an air of timeless elegance and beauty in this piece. The lighting effects achieved with various inking techniques throughout are astounding and the styling of clothing and automobiles are spot on.
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.