Thursday, January 12, 2017



A 1960 "Steve Canyon" Sunday page recently sold for $350.  This is a nice price for a Canyon Sunday.  Originals of this vintage typically go for xxxx.  But was it an original?

I don't think so.  I think it was a proof.  I have a few proofs, all with the date boldly written in the upper left hand corner, and the color of the paper is the same.  I don't fault the seller.  He did not present it as original art, just as a comic strip "in excellent condition."  Let's look at another Sunday strip from the same year.

This is an original Sunday page.  It hasn't turned a dull copper-y color.  No dates written in the corners.  You can see paste-ups and corrections.  This one sold for $800.  The proof was a Buy It Now on Ebay for $350.  The buyer was probably so excited he didn't pay attention to what he was paying for.  Those are poor scans for a $350 item.  Don't hesitate to ask for better scans or more details from the seller.

Another frequent issue is sellers who attribute the work of other artists to Caniff, simply because his name is the most associated with the feature.  For example, "Terry and the Pirates" and the three characters on this cover were all created by Caniff.  But, the art is by George Wunder, who took over the strip when Caniff left it at the end of 1946.  

I've blogged about this next one before...back in 2015!  It's "attributed to Milton Caniff" inking an assistant's pencils.  There's a reason it's been up on Ebay for so long at $300 (or best offer).  I don't think Caniff's brush ever touched this paper.

It's clear that's supposed to be Steve and the woman is Princess Snowflower, a key figure in several Canyon storylines.  The seller has it as Caniff inking an assistant as a tryout.  It may be a tryout alright, maybe even for an assistant job.  But when Caniff inked any assistant, he made it look like Caniff and not the assistant.

Also still out there at $300 is this guy who saved his childhood drawing from 1937, where he copied a panel from a "Terry and the Pirates" strip - 
The seller bills it as a "rare pencil drawing" by Caniff.  I think if you look on the back you'll find the signature of Craptacular Johnson.

We Caniffites have it easy.  Look at what Charles Schulz fans have to put up with:

Good grief!