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In tandem with our Art of Narrative Exhibit opening at Stranger Factory on 1/4/12, I have been given the opportunity to share one of my major loves in life. I have been collecting original comic book art for the last five years. With the January exhibit being made of comic book art, I felt it would help to offer in some personal insight on how I choose and collect my pages.

First, let me point out that collecting comic art hasn’t always been easy. It really helps that a lot of artists are represented on the internet and bring their original pages with them to conventions. So, in this day and age, the real question is: “Why do some people choose to collect comic book art and what helps them choose the pages they have hanging in their homes?”

It seems the most obvious reason is of course, the art and artists themselves. When you read a comic book regularly, or many books for that matter, you find yourself becoming attached to certain artists and their styles. I have always been a fan of Geof Darrow. I find that his work pops on many levels, and his clean line work and extreme detail make it stand out from traditional comic book art styles. His work on Big Guy and Rusty or Hard Boiled is some of my favorite work in comics. So, having that connection to Geof Darrow’s art, I find it very easy to put him on my list of artists I would like to own art by. This isn’t the only factor that can come into play though.

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In recent years, I have become a big fan of Wolverine. The interesting thing about this is that Wolverine tends to find himself in a lot of books. Being both an Avenger and X-man leads to lots of exposure and with that, lots of different people putting their stamp on your character. So in a situation like this, I can find myself first deciding first on the book I would like a piece of him from. Or, I can decide the artist is more important and look through my options. With Wolverine, a stand out would be someone like Eduardo Risso. Risso’s work on “100 Bullets” and “Batman: Black and White” are great indicators of his style. His use of heavy blacks in his compositions are a great match for the character, so I would seek out one of his pages from the Wolverine book “Logan.”

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Let’s say I have a perfect mixture right in front of me. A solid artist I know I enjoy, like Cliff Chiang, on a book I love, like Wonder Woman. At that point its a matter of taking the page itself into account and what I look for in a page. Now right off the bat most people will always go for a splash page. Personally, I prefer panel work in a page of comic book art. The medium itself is all about story telling, and while a splash is usually gorgeous and can express a moment perfectly, I want to see a level of story telling in a page. I do own a splash page in my collection, but typically I prefer sequential panels.

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When looking at the panel work in a page, I tend to look for one thing: a page that can tell a story with just the visuals. Someone like Mike Mignola is a great example. Starting as an artist, he perfected his visual storytelling and later spent years on Hellboy developing his writing style. Mike is going to rely on the imagery to tell the story more then the words; he will use facial expressions, scenery, or body language to tell the tale and the words will be used later to fine tune the details.

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With all these different reasons and motivations, buying comic book art can become a very complicated thing. You might find yourself wondering if the page is overall a good depiction of the character. Or while this may be one of your favorite artists, do you really want to own a page by them from a book you may have never even read? The simple reality is that like all art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In my case, the beholder can be more often than not swayed by his childhood love of Green Lantern.

All these questions and artists lay ahead for you in our Art of Narrative exhibit in January at Stranger Factory, curated by Jimmy Palmiotti. Best of luck with your choices, True Believers.

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During their stint on Legends of the DCU, the all star team of Dave Taylor and Kevin Nowlan rendered some of the most iconic superheroes of all time. Our little geeky hearts are pounding with joy to be featuring two of their pages at Stranger Factory for The Art of Narrative show. One features Batgirl, kicking major ass, as she tends to do. The other features both Superman and Robin(Yes, I said Superman, not Batman) having a moment together. No, not that kind of moment, get your head out of the gutter.

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For the buyer of the Dave Taylor/Kevin Nowlan Batgirl piece, another treat is at hand – the back of the comic page features development work and sketches for the comic! The full comic pages are even more stunning than our little previews can show, so come by the gallery and sign up for our mailing list for more news on this opportunity to acquire your own original superhero comic book pages!

The Art of Narrative
Opening Reception : 6-9pm
Stranger Factory
Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti will be attending.

Bill Sienkiewicz produces some of the most gorgeous and delicate work I’ve ever seen in comic books, and he’s done a whole lot of them, so we are extremely lucky to feature some of his original work in The Art of Narrative, opening at Stranger Factory on Friday, January 4th.

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Sienkiewicz’s use of oils, collage, and other materials rarely used in comics, result in an extensive body of work that is incredibly unique, haunting and beautiful. He is also responsible for one of my favourite stories in comics ever, which is the Delirium chapter in The Sandman: Endless Nights.. He won an Eisner award for it, so clearly I have great taste in comics. As someone who has great taste in comics, I strongly suggest that you appear at Stranger Factory next Friday to take in the bounty of original art by some of our comic masters of today, two of whom will even be present to say hi to you(Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner)!

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So here we are again with another package of awesome to share. Let me tell you all a totally honest fact about me. I impulse buy, like a lot. In fact, I tend to do it so much that I end up with tons of really weird stuff. This toy is a prime example of when grabbing something on impulse is an awesome idea.

The Ichibanboshi Monkey Man is wicked awesome. That really is all there is to say about it. I mean we are talking about a monkey in cut off shorts and a motorcycle helmet that reminds you of Evel Knievel. You see something like that and either think that its unnecessary or silly. Or you feel this deep urge from within you to own many of them in different colors and put them on your shelves in your home. I need more monkeys in my empty life. Especially if they look like they know how to enjoy a quality motorcycle. That’s the kind of monkey I can hang at home with and listen to Baroness. These are the moments that make life worth living people.

So I say to you be impulsive try out an odd toy or two. You could find yourself sitting with your new best friend in your lamp any time you take that gamble.

Until next time, live that 24/7 Toy Life!

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Watching ideas and images come to life is always mindblowing, and getting to see Brandt Peters share his process images with us on the Circus Posterus tumblr for his show Posthumous Menagerie is no exception! Brandt is keeping us all on the edge of our seats with these small teasers before the final unveil at the show. We have less than a week to wait now, and it can’t come fast enough!

Posthumous Menagerie opens Jan. 4th at Stranger Factory, alongside the Jimmy Palmiotti curated The Art of Narrative. The opening reception is from 6pm to 9pm.

Click more for a trio of other teasers from Brandt!

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In conjunction with The Art of Narrative, curated by Jimmy Palmiotti, Stranger Factory is releasing a limited edition giclee print by Amanda Conner. Featuring a perky blonde riding a bomb, like a much sexier Dr. Strangelove, this six panel comic print will be a treat for anyone who likes girls, bombs, nuclear holocausts or Amanda Conner.

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For a first shot at the print and to meet Amanda Conner, come to the reception on January 4th, between 6-9pm! For those who can’t make it out to beautiful Albuquerque- well, that’s just an awful shame, but you can sign up for the show preview by joining the Stranger Factory mailing list.

Today, we’re bringing you a preview of some amazing art from the comic book Secret Six, which was a surprise hit when relaunched by DC in 2008. This art by Brad Walker(pencils) and show curator Jimmy Palmiotti(inks) features Cheshire getting the stab on the Mad Hatter as the members of the Secret Six look on(sorry, spoilers).

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See it in person at the The Art of Narrative reception on Friday, January 4th, 6-9pm at Stranger Factory, or join our mailing list for the online preview. Jimmy Palmiotti will also be present at the reception and will be teaching a writing workshop the following Sunday as well!

Amanda Conner’s Wonder Woman is one of my absolute favourite Wonder Womans – she is strong, athletic, graceful, angry and passionate and pretty much exactly what Wonder Woman is. In The Art of Narrative, opening Friday, Jan 4th at Stranger Factory, we’ll be treated to four of her original Wonder Woman pages featuring fierce Amazons and glorious battles, and of course, Diana herself.

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Amanda Conner will also be in attendance at the show’s reception, and if you’ve ever seen one of her convention lines(if you haven’t – they’re really, really long), you’ll know that this is a rare chance to meet her in a really chill and friendly setting! Hope to see you there!

The Art of Narrative
Opening Reception : 6-9pm
Stranger Factory
Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti will be attending.

Love and Rockets was one of my first baby steps into the brave new world of indie comics, so I was excited to find out that Gilbert Hernandez will be part of The Art of Narrative show at Stranger Factory, which is curated by the amazing writer and inker Jimmy Palmiotti.

gilberthernandezHernandez, with his brother Jaime, started self publishing Love and Rockets in 1981, which was soon picked up by Fantagraphics(also a new publisher at the time!) and quickly gained an audience enamored with the nuanced portrayals of their characters – especially their women, who were complex and fascinating people, still a relative rarity in comics at the time.

The Los Bros Hernandez have been consistently producing some of the smartest, most gorgeous, comics work in the past few decades, and we are happy to have his work within the walls of Stranger Factory!

The Art of Narrative opens on Friday, January 4th, with a reception from 6 PM – 9 PM. The curator, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Amanda Conner will be in attendance.

Manoukian logging his latest discovery

Stan Manoukian saw his first monster at age thirteen. Out for an early morning fishing trip with his father, the fog loomed heavily above the water at the edge of the lake. With his rod in the water, the young Manoukian waited patiently for a tug on his line. But nothing came. And soon, he noticed everything around him had stopped. The sing-song of nearby birds, the rustling of leaves on the breeze; time, he said, seemed suspended.

The boy looked back in search of his father, who was still fussing with his fishing gear at the car. Stan turned his attention back to the dead calm of the water in front of him, and that’s when he saw it. A ripple, a big one, disturbing the glassiness of the water about 10 meters away, where the fog was heaviest. His eyes grew wide. He inched his toes closer to the water, but found he was already at the edge. The ripples approached. Stan could only watch. As they grew closer, the giant head of an unknown aquatic creature broke the surface of the water. Its skin was smooth, the gaze of its one eye arresting.

"Hughmee"

“Hughmee” 9.6″ x 7.6″ mixed media on lithograph paper

“It wasn’t dangerous looking at all,” Manoukian, now 43, recalls. “It was a mix between a fish and a human, with two big arms and tentacle fingers. We watched each other for probably only a few seconds, but the exchange felt interminable. My father came back from his car and nature returned to life; the creature disappeared in the blink of an eye and suddenly I had a big fish on my fishing rod! I guess it was a present from this creature as proof of our meeting.”

Since then, the Parisian artist sees monsters all the time, and everywhere. Even in the shower. “But you know, they don’t care about nudity,” he laughs, “nudity is liberty!”

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