Since their inception in ~1933, comic books have made an indelible mark on human culture. For many of us, they’ve served as moments of inspiration, learning and boundless exploration. They’ve transported us into fantasy worlds of infinite possibilities and taught us valuable life lessons of morality and good vs. evil.
While written dialogue within comic books helps set the scene and establish the story, it is undeniable that the art within these pages is the true treasure. Throughout the history of comic books, the artists behind the images have played a crucial role in storytelling and their artwork easily stands strongly on its own.
The love for comic book art has unsurprisingly withstood the test of time, with art enthusiasts and fans of all ages flocking to conventions to collect the work of their favorite artists or searching tirelessly at the local comic store or gallery hoping to luck out. Today this sentiment remains as strong as ever, but our means of attaining this coveted comic art has completely transformed.
Digital Comic Art & The Artist Who Led the Way
Due to the unforeseen events of the year 2020, most comic conventions, shops and other comic art collecting hubs have found themselves halting in their tracks. Meanwhile, on the web, a new way to collect comic art (and art in general) has been gaining massive steam.
This growing rare digital art movement has been evolving since 2018 (give or take) but it was not until earlier this year (July 2020 to be exact) that we witnessed the rise of digital comic art collecting. In a few short months, comic art has become one of the most popular genres within the rare digital art movement. In fact, the one of the highest selling artworks in rare digital art history is Genesis, a comic art x fine art collaboration depicting the Dark Knight by José Delbo and Trevor Jones, which sold at auction for over $110K.
The rare digital comic art movement has been catalyzed by José Delbo, a veteran comic artist who has worked on numerous bronze/silver age comic classics such as Wonder Women, Batman, the Transformers and more. Delbo joined the crypto art/rare digital art space in July, subsequently transforming both comic and crypto art spaces with his bold foray into the emerging world of rare digital art.
The initiation of a comic art legend like José Delbo into the world of rare digital art has opened doors for a number of other iconic comic illustrators to learn about and join this movement. One such artist is Mark McKenna, a long time Marvel/DC comic illustrator who has been credited with over 1000 comics including Spider Man, Batman, Star Wars and much more.
Mark McKenna Joins The Rare Digital Art Movement
Mark McKenna is a globally acclaimed American comic artist who has been creating comic art for over three decades. McKenna is a 2012 Inkwell Hall of Fame resident who has been credited on over 1000 comic book related titles.
Having worked extensively for both Marvel and DC comics, McKenna’s artwork can be found within the pages of some of the worlds most influential comic books, such as X-Men, Spider Man, Batman, The Justice League, Dead Pool and Star Wars. You can also find his work in Legendary Pictures’ Pacific Rim movie prequel and Dark Horse Comic’s Star Wars-The Old Republic: The Lost Suns. His artwork from an online web comic, Star Wars: Blood of the Empire, was transformed into an 84 page paperback and served as inspiration for The Old Republic video game.
Now a certifiable comic art OG with over 35 years in the industry, McKenna was introduced to the world of comics as a young teen in Brooklyn, New York after his friend, an avid comic collector, gifted him a Dare Devil comic. The rest you could say was history, as McKenna quickly fell in love with comic book culture, first as a collector himself and later as an artist.
At the time, artists like John Romita Sr (Spider-Man) and Brian Bolland (Judge Dredd) served as major influencers for McKenna. As the years progressed and McKenna found himself at the center of some of the world’s most important comic book projects, these idols soon became friends. McKenna still to this day looks up to and credits these late and great artists as huge inspirations during his rise in the comic art ranks.
Aside from his work inking for numerous comic book publishing powerhouses, McKenna has also created his own sci-fi/horror comic book series COMBAT JACKS and a children’s series Banana Tail.
Mark McKenna spoke with our Community Manager, Aisha, about his upcoming artwork release, experiences in the comic industry, thoughts on the future of the industry and more! Check it out below.
José Delbo x Mark McKenna Bring Us Into The Future of Comic Art
One thousand comic books and twelve hundred pages later, McKenna is propelling his classic comic art style into the future by publishing his first ever artworks on the blockchain. For his debut, McKenna will reveal three of his own works, plus a special collaboration with fellow comic legend José Delbo.
The artwork that McKenna is revealing for his debut series, Science Fiction Fantasy in a Galaxy Far Away, features some of the classic comic characters he is best known for facing modern day predicaments.
McKenna and Delbo have also collaborated on an extremely special creation which symbolizes the evolution and progression of the comic art genre, as the industry moves forward towards a digital future. This artwork highlights a crucial turning point in art history, as we see more and more creators entering into the digital realm of art.
José Delbo is also revealing a collaboration artwork with his daughter, Silvana Delbo, an amazing pop artist in her own respect, which celebrates the strength of tenacity of all women by paying homage to the world’s greatest heroines.
Science Fiction Fantasy in a Galaxy Far Away
McKenna’s debut rare digital artworks will feature the most iconic characters that we know and love, from a galaxy far far away. 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone and, unfortunately, no planet has been spared. McKenna seamlessly ties in the timeless comic art aesthetic of our childhoods with 2020 narratives, allowing us all to find a bit of humor and hope in the current state of the world.
Intergalactic Unemployment Office
Edition of 20
Price: 0.35 ETH (~$200) (The final edition will be auctioned)
“You think unemployment is at an all-time high on Earth? We’re not the only planet struggling with lack of jobs. Talk about long lines!
The virus has expanded its reach past earth’s atmosphere, wreaking havoc on planets across the galaxy including the galaxy’s capital city Coruscant. In this artwork, McKenna gives us a look into how the city’s residents have been affected and highlights the universal struggle brought on by this turbulent time in history.
SPARRING with the PAST
Edition of 10
Price: 0.8 ETH (~$450) (The 10th and final edition will be auctioned)
“Let the past die. Kill it if you have to. It’s the only way to become what you were meant to be. The ever present struggle between darkness and light threaten to consume the soul, and every action brings us closer to redemption…or… closer to our true selves.”
The eternal struggle and complex relationship between forces of good and evil are made salient in this artwork by McKenna.
Edition of One
Price: Only accepting offers (auction ends 7pm PST the next day)
“On their path of planetary domination, two of the most devious and dark characters in science fiction history come across Planet Earth. They’ve been researching Earth and it’s problems and deem it unworthy to conquer.“
This satirical artwork highlights the current struggle that we as a planet have faced during the current year by providing a critical outside perspective.
The Collaboration — Into the Future
A symbolic collaboration, Into The Future speaks to the catalyzation of the comic art industry as it pushes further into the future of art creation and consumption. José Delbo has acted as a crypto art pioneer within the comic art community, paving the way for his generation of classic comic creators, such as McKenna, to join the blossoming rare digital art movement.
This iconic artwork will feature a combination of Delbo and McKenna’s most popular characters, being led by the one who started it all: Death.
Into The Future – Classic Edition
Edition of 10
Price: 1.8 ETH (~$1,000) (The 10th and final edition will be auctioned)
“Jose Delbo and Mark McKenna team up to depict four characters they famously illustrated marching forward together as Delbo’s blockchain comic character Death leads them into the digital future of comic art.“
Into The Future
Edition of One
Price: Only accepting offers (auction ends 8pm PST the next day)
This emblematic artwork combines the timeless styles of José Delbo and Mark McKenna, bringing some of the duo’s most iconic characters together as they venture into the future of digital comic art, much like the coming together of classic comic artists like Delbo and McKenna as they venture into the new territory of rare digital art.
A Delbo Father-Daughter Collaboration
In this special creation, José Delbo teams up with his daughter, Silvana Delbo, to pay homage to some of comic history’s greatest heroines. This artwork blends both artists distinct styles — José Delbo’s vivid expressionism and astute attention to detail and Silvana Delbo’s bold colors and whimsical visual story telling style. The result is a powerful, inspirational and stunning creation.
Together We March
Jose Delbo x Silvana Delbo
Edition of 20
Price: 0.9 ETH (~$500) (The final edition will be auctioned)
“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” – Nora Ephron
A celebration of female empowerment portrayed through three iconic characters that embody the strength and determination each woman possesses. The heroines are surrounded by the shadows of other countless women, representing the universal tenacity and beauty of womanhood.
Pop Art! by Silvana Delbo
Silvana Delbo brings her vibrant, colorful style to the blockchain with the release of her new series Pop Art! The artworks reflect Delbo’s bright, vivid and undeniably unique style. Representational images carry strong symbolism and tell rich stories through bright color, intricate patterns and free flowing forms.
“There is something quite majestic about elephants. They are strong animals but yet have a sensitivity and a kindness about them.“
Edition of One
Price: Accepting Offers Only
The Beautiful Game
“O jogo bonito…the beautiful game. It captivates the minds and hearts of people of all ages, genders and races from all around the world“
Edition of Five
Price: 0.35 ETH (~$198), final edition will be auctioned
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