Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"If Colossus Should Fall – Who Shall Stop The Juggernaut?"

Feb. 25, 2009
Posted by Noah

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked myself that very same question…

The fact is that Dave Cockrum’s original cover artwork for X-Men #102 – a seminal 1976 issue smack dab in the middle of the awesome 1970s Chris Claremont-written run of the X-Men that culminated in the single most popular X-Men storyline ever, The Phoenix Saga – is among several examples of classic original X-Men artwork featured in this weekend’s – Yes, this weekend! – Signature Comics & Original Comic Art Auction.

It’s a classic tableau of Bronze Age comics: Juggernaut and Colossus slug it out, toe to toe. Storm shields herself against a wall, paralyzed by claustrophobia, while Nightcrawler springs from a chandelier into action. The issue featured Storm’s origin story, as well as a side battle with Banshee and Black Tom, as well as some classic X-Mansion soap opera with Jean Grey, Cyclops and Professor X. But it’s the fight between Juggy and Colossus, in the very close confines of an Irish castle – Nightcrawler does cheesily end up in the clutches of some leprechauns at the end, if I recollect correctly – that steals this show. As a kid, I always loved when Juggy showed up, though I wished somebody would have just made a massive bottle opener and popped that creepy helmet off his noggin. Just knowing that the original art for this famous cover is in house as we speak is enough to make me want to go on a secret mission to bask in its glory.

In his run of X-Men #101-107, Cockrum established himself as the king of the Space Opera. In this septuplet of issues, Cockrum introduced probably the biggest, most ambitious scope for the X-Men universe yet with the creation of the Shi’Ar Empire, the JLA-parody Imperial Guard, the Starjammers and the M’Krann Crystal. And that’s just the start of the cast of thousands that populated this exciting slice of X-Men pie. It should be noted that Cockrum left X-Men after #107. John Byrne came on board for #108 and quickly brought the focus of X-Men universe back to earth.

I asked our Director of Comics, Barry Sandoval, about this art work a few weeks ago and he was equally animated – as animated as Barry will get, consummate professional that he is – about its presence.

“This is one of the great X-Men covers of all time,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of great X-Men art and comics in past auctions, but this auction is particularly heavy on great X-Men stuff. You have to count this chief among the grouping.”

I was a little more like: “What?!... Did you see-…. No way! I want it! I want it!”

I’ve looked through this auction catalog a few times now, and am quite impressed by the offerings overall, but for fans of X-men comics this one is special. There’s a ton of great Jack Kirby Art, some original Peanuts artwork, a ton of great pulps and original mint Disney comics, but give me this cover any day! This thing has already met its estimate at $20,000, so I’m probably priced out of the running. It will however, be exciting to see how this lot ultimately comes out. It comes up in the Friday, 5 p.m. session.