ITEM! If you haven’t been keeping up with this on 20th Century Danny Boy’s blog, then shame on you pilgrim! It seems that an ebays seller offered up the splash page to Avengers #1 for sale, and shortly before the auction was suddenly and mysteriously cancelled, the current bid of $49,999 had still not met the reserve price. Wowsir! That’s a lotta schenkels for one page of classic Lee-Kirby magic.
But the most alarming thing about this particular page of original art is its suspiciously pristine condition. Your Uncle Stan looked at the scans and there’s no way in Odin’s green Midgard that any art that was once in Sol Brodsky’s grubby hands 45 years ago is that clean and white today. I’m here to tell yah that its either a fantastic recreation or it’s been restored to within an inch of its life. My pencilled dialogue balloons — gone. Jack’s margin notes — gone. Any trace of rubber cement, pasted-up additions or white-out corrections — gone. But you know what is in the art as scanned? The production code for that ish (X-337) is present where it normally should be at the lower left corner of the art. There’s just one problem with that. Not every single splash page back in those days had its production code included inside the panel... sometimes it was floating out in the margins, where the printers would crop it off while shooting the plates. That must have happened to Avengers #1 because my original copy (leather-bound down in my hermetically-seal vault, natch) doesn’t show any production code in the printed splash page (see pic below).
It doesn’t take Hercules Parrot to figure out that something’s up with this art. And amid the controversy addressed on Danny’s site over the last few days, the auction itself (which can still be seen right here) was pulled without warning. As Alice Cooper once said, “Curiouser and curiouser, man.”