THE WALLACE WOOD ESTATE posted this on Facebook earlier today. With permission, I'm reposting it here (updated) for those of you who might be likely to purchase some of the questionable items on eBay.
We noticed some Wallace Wood "transparencies" on eBay. Supposedly rare printing production items (but with no crop marks, grids or other technical notes outside the image area). Maybe they are real, maybe not. Buyer BEWARE. We sent this message to one seller of such:
I am the Director of the Wallace Wood Estate, founder of Vanguard Publishing and have a long background in graphics production going back to the mid-'70s. What you have is more properly named a "Film Positive." A "transparency" is designed to have light flow through the image -- as in a 35mm slide (but usually bigger). In a Film Positive, you have an opaque black emulsion (light can not travel through) on transparent film medium. Normal (traditional, pre-digital) comics production DOES NOT call for the creation of Film Positives (but tend to use film negatives, PMT/Stats which are often hand-colored, and ColorKey layered, CMYK color film proofs, or flat MatchPrint color proofs). True, vintage, comics Film Positives are
practically unheard of (except for a few painted graphic novels where the paint was on a blue-line print with the line-art on an overlay/Film Positive). At least 90% of the purported comics Film Positives I have seen (at conventions) are fakes. They aren't even shot on a true graphics camera (like stats and Veloxes are shot on) but are (recent) Xeroxes on clear film (treated heat-resistant acetate). It is EASY to tell the difference if you know what to look for. On true Film Positives, the black is totally opaque. No light at all can pass through any of the deep, rich black and the film is crystal clear. On most of the fakes -- the film Xeroxes -- the black is less dense (sometimes even grey) and sometimes the film is not quite as crystal clear and shiny-smooth as it has been treated to withstand the heat (without melting) inside a Xerox machine. Maybe you don't care if yours are real as long as they sell. But in case you do care, I thought you should know to watch out for the fakes. Also, if a real Film Positive ever were made for comics, they would be one-of-a-kind.... you would never see another real Film Positive show up of the same page. They would also tend to have crop marks and other technical notations in the gutters outside the image area. I hope this proves helpful.