Have you ever made up your mind to finally get your shit together financially and be more thrifty, only to have that plan sent straight to Hell in a burning septic tank when confronted by something that your geekish collection just could not be without? Plus the item or items in question that have been made available to you will absolutely be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, thus making getting them that much more agonizing? Well, dear Vaulties, just such a thing happened to me right after the Christmas holidays and the expenditures that went with that, so here's my tale of woe and eventual sense of validation at spending as much as I did on what may seem a pair of trivial items to the non-geek.
I entered 2010 with every intention of being more frugal than I had been in years past, but then a certain contact in the UK alerted me to the availability of an original page from STRONTIUM DOG, my oft-mentioned favorite feature in Britain's 2000 A.D. sci-fi weekly, and not just any page, but a page from "Portrait of A Mutant," the story that got me hooked on the magazine back in the summer of 1981. Pages from STRONTIUM DOG are not easy to come by, especially ones from the "classic" period and ones from the protagonist's origin story, so I said "Fuck frugality!" and agreed to purchase the item in question. Then, no sooner than I'd agreed to buy the piece, the same contact told me h'd gotten his hands on a Glenn Fabry page from his legendary run on SLAINE, probably my number two all-time favorite Two Thou series, and when I asked him which page it was, he described one of the five that I considered to be among my five "dream" SLAINE pages, so I agreed to buy it on the spot. What followed was a lean period of living virtually hand-to-mouth while I scrimped and saved for the pieces in questions, which I assure you were not cheap and I do not command anything resembling a princely salary.
Then, after what seemed like an interminable wait as the international money transfers were processed and the art was shipped across the Pond, the package arrived and all of the belt-tightening and living on ramen noodles and cans or corned beef hash were suddenly worth it.
The first of the two pieces is the STRONTIUM DOG page, featuring a young Johnny Alpha making his first kill during the mutant uprising of 2167, the baby step on his path to becoming a highly-skilled commando leader of the Mutant Army and the badassed inter-planetary bounty hunter he's best known (and feared) as.
Drawn by series co-creator Carlos Ezquerra, the page is from 1981 and in the years between then and now, its pasted-on lettering has become partially see-through in some places, revealing an organic "hands-on" appeal that is lost in today's original comics art, the majority of which is digitally lettered, thus causing the lettering to appear only on the printed page and not the actual art boards.
The other page is an incredible tour de force of a SLAINE page by Glenn Fabry.
This one speaks for itself and sums up the incredible quality of linework and visceral majesty that Glenn imparted to the series. Seriously, when I pulled this page out of the package and held its large, heavy illustration board in my loving hands, all doubts about whether I'd made the right decision in buying it were completely erased. Unlike Carlos Ezquerra, I know Glenn Fabry socially, so the next time I see him I'd like to get him to sign this page on the back.
NY Comicon 2008: Glenn Fabry and Yer Bunche, getting loose at Jesus o'clock in the morning.