Sideshow Goes From the Shelf to the Wall with Exclusive Art Prints

500269-spider-woman-002Sideshow Collectibles has debuted their new line of collectibles: Premium Art Prints.

These new products feature characters from Sideshow’s various licenses. Their first three offerings are Spider-Woman (from their Marvel Comics license), Poison Ivy (from their DC Comics license), and Kier, Call of the Forsaken Valkyrie (from Sideshow’s original Court of the Dead line).  There is no word on if any of Sideshow’s other licenses (including Star Wars, G.I. Joe, Avatar, and Beetlejuice) will be included; five additional prints have been teased as “Coming Soon” but fall into those three licenses:  Psylocke (Marvel Comics), Catwoman and Harley Quinn (DC Comics), and Death and Gethsemoni (Court of the Dead).

500270-gotham-sirens-poison-ivy-008The three prints are sold for $79.99 each and are expected to ship next month.  All three offerings are 18-inches wide and 24-inches tall and have a penciled signature by the artist as well as an embossed seal of authenticity.

In the past Sideshow Collectibles would often offer art prints as premiums with the exclusive versions of their statues and maquettes.  As a Sideshow collector I often found these to be lackluster–I always sought out the exclusive version of any statue or figure unless the exclusive item was an art print that didn’t catch my fancy.  For example, I thought the art for their Premium Format Hawkeye was not something I wanted to own.  In addition to sometimes having art in a style I didn’t care for, the prints themselves were frustrating to frame and protect.  They were not of any standard size, and the sizes were different even from print to print.

Still, I was disappointed that Sideshow seemed to have ended their print line.  None have been offered as exclusives in the past year, and I fully expected them to be the exclusive item for the recent J. Scott Campbell Spider-Man maquette line.  The statues are based directly on art by the popular Marvel cover artist, so exclusive prints seemed obvious.  Additionally, Sideshow had twice before had lines of maquettes based off the works of a single artist, first with Sideshow’s Adam Hughes maquettes and then later with Mark Brooks maquettes.  Defying my expectations, Sideshow not only didn’t include art prints with the Campbell statues but had no exclusive versions of the Campbell Mary Jane or Gwen Stacy maquettes, and the (sold out) exclusive Spider-Man had a different head piece, but no art.

Now it seems Sideshow has found a way to monetize the art that some exclusive statues had previously included for free.

The positive sides of this are many.  First, fans who enjoy the art are now able to obtain these prints without needing to purchase a statue, which comes at a much higher cost.  Second, there is a chance for more fans to obtain the art than when it was only available with the exclusive version of a statue.  Third, the prints are much larger–the older ones tended to be about the size of a sheet of paper or an 8-inch by 10-inch photo, these are more than twice the size.  Finally, it appears these prints are of a uniform, and common, size making it easy to find inexpensive framing to protect and display the art.

500270-gotham-sirens-poison-ivy-004On the other hand, at $79.99 these are expensive art prints, and Sideshow has provided no details as to the weight of the paper.  Additionally, the type of art collector who would spend nearly $100 shipped on a print would likely want to see the gloss and texture of the print before ordering.  Sideshow’s previous art prints were high-gloss on a heavy cardstock.  The close-up photos on Sideshow’s site show these to appear to be on either a textured paper that may simulate a canvas.

These first three pieces have very low edition sizes, with Spider-Woman and Poison Ivy both having an edition size of 250 and Kier limited to 150.  As of the writing of this article the Poison Ivy and Kier are now “waitlist” items.  It is not shocking to me that Poison Ivy sold quickly, as it is based on a popular statue that Sideshow has issued twice.  With art by popular pin-up artist Stanley “Artgerm” Lau from Singapore, plus the small edition size, fans were sure to snap that up.  I am more shocked by the popularity of the Court of the Dead piece, being the original intellectual property of Sideshow.  That said, it has the smallest edition size.

The Spider-Woman piece is still readily available, and I suspect it will be for some time.  The art is highly stylized which may not appeal to all tastes.  The work was done by W. Scott Forbes, a less established artist whose first official work for Marvel is the upcoming Inhumans: Attilan Rising comic.  Finally, unlike the Poison Ivy piece, the work looks nothing like the Sideshow Collectibles’ premium format Spider-Woman statue.

As a Marvel collector, and owner of the Spider-Woman Premium Format figure,  the Spider-Woman is the piece that would most appeal to me, but as shown on Sideshow’s own page the art is not a great compliment to the Spider-Woman statue.  I find the similarity between the Poison Ivy art and statue to work better–the art helps to accent the statue.  The Spider-Woman pairing would be a nice display for someone with a focus on the female web-swinger, and could also include perhaps the Bowen statue and others, but the two Sideshow offerings are not paired strongly enough to make me feel this is a “must have.”500269-spider-woman-007500270-gotham-sirens-poison-ivy-007

That said, Sideshow has already teased its upcoming pieces, and the next up in the Marvel line is the X-Men character Psylocke.  The pose teased seems reminiscent of Sideshow’s (sold out) Premium Format Figure, so perhaps that one will grab my interest more.

Finally, I have a strong suspicion that the J. Scott Campbell statues will be included in Sideshow’s line of Art Prints sooner rather than later.  While talking with Campbell at San Diego Comic-Con one of his aides brought a stack of large prints for the artist to sign.  Those prints were of his Mary Jane art on which Sideshow based the statue.  As a fan of the character, and that statue, I inquired about purchasing one of the prints and was rudely rebuffed by the aide who told me “These are all spoken for.”  With Sideshow’s announcement I wonder if Campbell may have been penciling his signature on a future Sideshow Art Print.

Stay tuned to Marvelicious Toys and the Venganza Media Gazette–we’ll keep you updated on the future of this new Sideshow line!

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