Sunday at Con is always mainly a shopping day for me, and a day to take care of those last few odds and ends.
After I got my sketchbook back from Eric Jones on Saturday, I dropped it off with Anthony Diecidue, the artist of Moriarty.
As usual, I told him I liked his work on Moriarty, and liked that character, but left it up to him.
I got this great Moriarty drawing, and the nicest touch, the banana peel that Moriarty is about to slip on.
Another great addition to my book!
Esad Ribic and the Epic Purchase
When I got to the convention hall on Sunday, I had a pocket full of cash, and I fully expected to spend it on a couple nice EC Science Fiction books. I was making my way through the dealers, taking notes on who had what, and I saw a sign hanging on the booth of an art dealer:
“Esad Ribic, Signing and Commissions”
Esad, of course has done some awesome covers for Valiant, like the cover to X-O Manowar #1, the 1:50 variant to Bloodshot #1, and the upcoming Bloodshot #3.
I walked over, told him hello, told him I liked his art, especially his Valiant covers. He was working on commissions, at the time he was drawing on one of those blank Marvel sketch covers.
He had a portfolio full of prints he was selling, and a lot of his Marvel covers were hanging on the wall behind him, a lot of X-Force stuff.
That’s when I saw them.
On the table behind Esad was the art for the covers to Bloodshot #1 and Bloodshot #3. I asked to see them, they are stunning. Absolutely beautiful. I told him I had to ask, how much were they?
He told me the price. It was a lot. A lot more than I’ve paid for anything comic book related, by several times. I pulled out my phone, and started checking my bank account balances, credit lines, etc., to see how much I could scrap together. I told Esad sorry for hanging out so much, and he was very friendly. It was no problem to him, and it gave him someone to talk to.
He mentioned that he is from Croatia, so I introduced myself, “Stravo, ja sum Sean” (Hello, my name is Sean – Blood can correct my spelling). He gets excited by that, and I tell him that I dated a girl from former Yugoslavia back in high school and college.
Just when I was thinking I might be able to do it, The dealer, who actually sells all the art, came over and asked what I was thinking about. I pointed and told him I like this cover, and Esad told me it was X amount.
He looked a little frustrated, and said, “I’m sorry, I already have another offer higher than that. You would have to beat that offer to get it”. The price he gave me was another 30% higher than I was considering.
It was a lot, and I told him I was very interested, but I have to really think about it, and see if I can make it work.
Just then, Esad pulls out a pack of smokes and tells the dealer he is going for a smoke break. I look at him and mention, “man, if I buy this art, I’m gonna need one of those afterwards.”
Esad asks, “do you have some?”
“Nope”, I say.
“Well, come on, I’ll give you one.”
Esad and I walked out to the front of the hall, he gives me a cigarette, pulls one out for himself, and we just got to chat for a bit while sharing a smoke. I asked him about travel, what shows he likes to do. He complained about all these sketch covers that people were giving him for commissions, because he hates the paper and it is hard to do the type of work he likes to do on them. We talked about art in general, and the stuff that interested him. We didn’t really talk about the cover art for sale, he just said, “if you can afford it and want it, then buy it. If it is difficult to the point that it’s not fun anymore, then don’t buy it, because it’s supposed to be fun.”
He was incredibly friendly, easy going, and is a no-nonsense kind of guy. While we were out there, I decided I was going to buy the cover art.
Pulling The Trigger
I had to transfer money between my accounts, and split it between a debit card, a credit card, and cash, but I made it work. It was just on the border of the amount that I could actually make work.
Here’s me and Esad Ribic with the cover art after I made the purchase:
I’ll be eating ramen for a couple months, but I made it work. And now I have this:
I felt like everything came together in just the right way. I talked with Jonesy about this after I made the purchase, and I didn’t realize it while I was considering buying it, but there were so many perfect coincidences that led to this.
I had no idea Esad Ribic would be at the show, I only ran into him and his art dealer by chance. I hadn’t bought anything yet, so I still had my cash. It was my favorite cover of my favorite Valiant character, and it is a fully painted piece, so I get a full, complete piece of artwork with the purchase. Most of all, I got to spend some time with Esad, and get to know him a bit, and from that I felt a greater connection with the piece of art.
As I was walking through the convention with this, I checked in my portfolio about every 15 minutes to make sure it was still there. Still can’t quite believe I’ve got this, and I’m thrilled that I do.
Epic end to an epic con.