Since Profiles got the Marvel account and began working on the Captain America: The First Avenger Auction, I have been living, breathing, eating and drinking Captain America. We began putting the catalog together in earnest in January. We literally hit the ground running immediately after the holiday break.
The first visit at the Marvel warehouses got our brains spinning, as we instantly started envisioning what kind of catalog we wanted to produce. The Shield was unquestionably going to be on the cover–that, we pretty much all agreed on. There was just a decision of which version to use. Everyone would immediately recognize the iconic stripes and star. What about using the shield in ice? Perhaps backlight it and have it pop out against a dark background.
As a matter of fact, that was the first cover that we submitted to Marvel. However, we were asked to resubmit a different cover and use the conventional view of the Shield. The final cover is admittedly a safer route, but I think it is still a good one. Maybe Marvel was right in that we didn’t need to convey mystery or drama. The Shield, indestructible and symbolic, can and should stand on its own, unhidden and in full view.
The contents of the catalog almost wrote themselves. Marvel was and is a dream partner. Everything we asked for, we almost always received, if it was available. (Schmidt’s car, sadly, was not available.) As you can see from the lots being offered, we got the best of everything. From hero costumes to hero weapons and vehicles to artwork and special effects props, even material that were still in the UK, Marvel personnel went out of their way to accommodate our needs. It was a matter of our editorial and graphics staff getting the proper descriptions and images together.
This was Ryan Dohm’s final catalog and Joe Moe’s first. It was sort of like the passing of the baton. I think it’s one of Ryan’s finest work. Joe Moe will have big shoes to fill, but with his already extensive background I am sure he will be just fine.
Similarly, the art department unleashed a dose of creativity that has not been seen before. The clever rotoscoping of the features of the models in the costumes was playful and ironic, since this was a comic book movie made into live action. Even the stylized line drawings in the certificate of authenticity is sort of whimsical and lighthearted, something that Profiles is arguably not known for.
In deciding how to lot the items, it was actually easy. The story was told so well in the movie that we wanted to maintain that narrative. So we lotted the catalog chronologically based on order of appearance in the film. That is why you don’t see all the shields together in one section, or the costumes grouped in another section, or the numerous weapons one after another. No, that would not have worked. We had to keep in mind what it would be like at the auction if we did that. The audience–more importantly the bidders–would doze off due to the monotony. To successfully run an auction, it is important to take into account pace and cadence, much like a movie.
After the catalog was completed, we began promoting the auction. Press releases, media interviews, private and public previews, were all on the schedule. However, this was not a typical auction for us. As such, we needed to promote differently. This was a fan-driven genre and the fans deserve to be rewarded. This was the thinking behind the raffles. With Marvel’s blessing, we will be giving away two original prop Captain America comic books from the movie, one via online raffle and the other raffle is live in-person at C2E2.
Speaking of C2E2, we will have a booth (#609) there. We will be setting up about 50 items from the auction to be on display, including the hero Captain America costume, the Cosmic Cube, a vial containing the Super Soldier serum, Schmidt’s SS costume, a Hydra soldier costume, a Hydra motorcycle, the hero Captain America motorcycle, both Allies and Hydra weapons, and much more. You will also see Mjölnir, Thor’s war hammer on display, along with a few other Asgardian weapons. It will be an epic showcase. It behooves you to come see it if you are in the Chicago area.
The months of work now come down to this week. The planning and promoting is essentially done. It is time to execute. I have staggered the Profiles crew’s arrival in Chicago. As the Hand, I get to go first to set the table for the events of the week, which will consist of more than just the auction. For example, Joe Maddalena will be doing an on-the-air interview at WGN Thursday morning. On Friday from 4:45 to 5:15pm, there will be a Hollywood Treasure autograph signing session at C2E2. Then at 6:15 to 7:15, the cast of Hollywood Treasure will host a panel discussion to talk about the show, the collectibles field and most certainly about the auction as well. (Oh, and, Sean Astin will be hanging out with us.) So it’s a busy week, to say the least. But this is the fun part of my job.
Wheels down in Chicago in 36 hours. See you there!