Official Press Release
At the Pittsburgh Comicon this past weekend (April 30th - May 2nd), someone stole art from Joseph Michael Linsner - a couple of thousand dollars' worth of original painted art, from right off of the artist's table.
Linsner, of indie comic DAWN fame, is still trying to figure out exactly how the theft occured.
"It was about three in the afternoon on Friday," recalled Linsner's longtime assistant & colorist, Eva Hopkins. "It was one of those crazy-busy moments where there was a whole mob of fans swarming Joe's table. We were trying to get the line into some semblance of order, but sometimes it's hard to get people to move when you ask them to. You don't want to be rude to fans."
Hopkins admits that currently, she'd like to be plenty rude to a certain thief.
Somewhere in the hustle & bustle, the thief made off with an 11" x 14" Itoya portfolio with 8 pieces of original art, which Linsner had hoped to sell at the show. 6 of the 8 pieces were published art; paintings Linsner had done of Marvel characters that saw print in the September 2001 Wizard. The characters were: Thundra, Thing, Deathlok & Adam Warlock. (Please see accompnaying jpegs; Linsner wants it noted that the original Thundra piece is against a grey backround. We don't have the art, so we had to scan them out of the magazine they saw print in.)
3 of the stolen paintings were of Linsner's popular Goddess charcter, Dawn. The two rendered in red pencil just saw publication in Linsner's DAWN: 2004 Convention Sketchbook. The more detailed B & W piece was a brand new piece done specifically for the convention. Fortunately, Linsner had sent Hopkins off to Kinko's to copy the art earlier in the day, so they have a record of what that art looks like. (See accompanying jpegs.)
The last stolen piece was a loosely rendered Galactus sketch, done in blue marker on white paper. (No scan available of that one.)
Linser & Hopkins estimate the total loss at about $2500.00.
The organizers of Pittsburgh Comicon were just as shocked as the artist by the theft. "We're just not used to that kinda thing in Pittsburgh, it's a shame that it did happen & we obviously hope it never happens again. We have a very strong reputation for security at our show & I want it made clear that it's gonna stay that way," said Michael George, promoter of the convention. "It's kinda stupid of them to have taken it at all," he added. "What are they gonna do, put the art up on eBay? The whole community is going to be on the lookout for this artwork, including us."
Linsner was full of praise for the convention staff's quick response to the news of the stolen art. "Within moments of us realizing that the portfolio has been taken, Eva jogged across the hall to find Renee George [Michael's wife & co-promoter of the con]," Linsner said. "Their team was great; they checked bags & had security on the case for the rest of the day."
Hopkins tends to think of the convention scene as a big happy community & is trying not to let the incident change her mind about that. "You assume that the person on the other side of the table from you has the same crazy love of comics as you do," she said. "I've been working at cons for almost 8 years now & I've never heard of anything like this happening. You have to wonder, what kind of a fan would do something like this?"
Linsner himself is trying to remain philosophical about it all, but it's hard for him not to feel angry. Theft of artwork is a lot more personal than someone just stealing money.
"I was shocked," the artist said. "I've been working conventions for 16 years, & this is the first time I've had artwork stolen from me. Worse than the loss of the art is the damage this does to my perception of my fellow human beings. I know that the people who attend comic shows are basically a good bunch, but all it takes is one jerk to cast a dark shadow over everything."
Linsner & Hopkins would like to ask the comics community - art dealers, comic shop owners, other artists, fans - to keep their eyes peeled for the missing artwork. Eva Hopkins's Email address is: email@example.com. Linsner is trying to figure out an appropriate reward for anyone able to help him get his art back.