(Image via eBay. Buy it now!)
It's been a while since I've written about fakes, copies, and forgeries in comic art, but this drawing currently offered on eBay is such a useful case study, I can't pass it up.
First of all, is it a drawing by Charles Schulz? Goodness, no! The Lucy is pretty good, but Schroeder's face looks like it's melting. Also note how the artist misunderstood the division between sock and shoelace. It doesn't pass the "glance test" even for a moment. Also, Schulz always signed his work. Always.
So is it a forgery? I doubt it. It's hard to imagine a forger leaving off the signature.This is without a doubt a drawing made by a Peanuts fan for their own enjoyment, probably in the mid 1960s (what I call Schulz's "jut-jaw" period). I made many such drawings myself, as did thousands of other kids around the world.This drawing, then, is similar to the peculiar Mutt and Jeff copy I posted here.
So is the seller aware of this? Is the seller knowingly trying to pass off this period copy as the real thing? Again, I doubt it. The seller appears to mostly deal with railroad spikes, so they're basically just out of their depth here. Perhaps the seller found the drawing tucked in a book in a thrift store? Something like that, no doubt.
So this is a case where the creator of the drawing never intended it to be a forgery, and years later it pops up on eBay, offered by a seller who doesn't know what he/she's got. Simple enough. No crimes committed, and no intent to deceive detected! A dishonest seller would have added a signature to transform the copy into an ex post facto forgery (I've seen examples of this).
But that doesn't obscure the fact that there's a non-genuine Schulz drawing listed on eBay for $5,000! I'll repeat the lesson from my earlier posts: if you're going to collect comic art, stick with published work. Stay away from "convention sketches" and other casual doodles. Even when they're genuine, they're problematic, difficult to prove, and rarely end up being worth anything.
Oh, and Happy New Year!