Saturday, September 26, 2015


As with most famous artists, there will be artwork attributed to them that is not by them.  In the past week there have been three such pieces on Ebay.  Luckily, they are so obviously not Caniff that fans should not be fooled.

This recently sold for $90.  The seller claimed it was a spot illustration by Caniff drawn on a coaster and the figure on the left is Pat Ryan.  He dated it as from 1942.  While to me it in a way resembles Caniff's college style, it in now way looks like how he was drawing in 1942.  Also, he didn't sign it, and I can't tell if that's a signature at the bottom or not.  Below is how Caniff was drawing Pat Ryan in 1942 - 

Did you ever copy art from the comic strips?  I did it as a kid.  I lot of aspiring artists did it as youngsters.  I've read a few interviews where famous artists talked about copying Caniff strips.  This next piece was being sold on Ebay as a 'rare pencil drawing' by Caniff - 

I asked the seller about how he knows it's by Caniff.  He told me he thinks it's Caniff because several people told him it looks like Caniff and it's dated.  Not signed, of course, but why worry about authenticity when you're trying to sell bad art for $300?

I'll say this for it, the date is accurate.  Here's the panel the artist used for reference from the "Terry and the Pirates" Sunday strip dated 11/14/37.

This is the one that's a mystery to me.  It's not Caniff, but it is Steve Canyon and Princess Snowflower. My guess it's a tryout strip done by someone looking to assist Caniff. I've seen a couple of other tryout strips, and  Caniff did have an assistant on the strip from 1953 (Dick Rockwell - read more about him here).  Any sharp-eyed readers know who it is?

The thing that bothers me about these auctions is that the seller is asserting they are pieces by Caniff.  Only the third seller is saying "attributed to."  The rest aren't concerned with accuracy, only making a sale. Buyer beware!