Comic Art Friday: I say Martin, you say McDaniel

A while back, I was randomly browsing the comic art listings on eBay — you know, like you do — and I stumbled upon this drawing by artist Michael McDaniel of one of my favorite heroines, Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch.

The Scarlet Witch, pencils and inks by Matt Martin

Except… this isn’t a drawing by Michael McDaniel.

It’s a drawing by another artist, Matt Martin.

I can understand how the eBay seller, who I will presume is not terribly familiar with either artist’s work, could make that mistake. Both Matt Martin, who’s probably best known as a cover artist for Avatar Press (Lady Death, Crossed) and for his creator-owned series Snowman and Vortex, and Michael McDaniel, a popular pinup artist, sign their work with only their initials, MM.

Matt Martin’s signature, however, is unique in that he always surrounds it with a word balloon, as you can see in the Scarlet Witch piece above. Martin also stylizes his initials in an immediately recognizable fashion, as though the letters were dripping inky blood. (He’s primarily a horror artist, so that makes perfect sense.)

Conversely, McDaniel’s signature is clean and very linear, as shown in his own rendition of the Scarlet Witch, below.

The Scarlet Witch, pencils by Michael McDaniel

Having commissioned both artists on multiple occasions, I immediately recognized the mislabeled drawing as a Martin, rather than a McDaniel. That worked out fine for me. Now, I’m glad to have a Wanda in my collection by each of these talented gentlemen.

If you’d like to see another same-character comparison, take a gander at these two images from my Taarna gallery, both of which I commissioned directly from the artists in question.

First, here’s Michael McDaniel’s take on our Taraakian avenger.

Taarna, pencils by Michael McDaniel

Now, here’s Taarna, as envisioned by Matt Martin.

Taarna, pencils and inks by Matt Martin

Would you confuse the styles of these two creators, friend reader? I’m confident that you would not. But then, you’re probably not selling comic art on eBay.

In the above-cited instance, we’re talking about what I’m positive was an unintentional error on the part of the seller. (I want to make that clear. I’ve done business with this person numerous times over the years, and have never found him to be dishonest.) It underscores, however, the old maxim: Caveat emptor.

Stories abound of unscrupulous sellers misrepresenting art in order to increase its price tag. It’s not at all uncommon to find pieces in eBay’s comic art listings that are blatant copies of works by established name artists, or worse, outright forgeries. (In fact, I personally know a collector who unwittingly bought a forged version of an original drawing that I own, by an extremely popular artist.)

And I have no doubt that there are as many — perhaps more — cases like my Scarlet Witch, where the seller simply doesn’t know what he or she has. A buyer who is equally ill-informed might well end up purchasing something he or she will be disappointed to learn isn’t what it was represented to be.

Consider yourself warned.

And that’s your Comic Art Friday.

Explore posts in the same categories: Comic Art Friday, Hero of the Day, Taking Umbrage, That's Cool!

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