Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dear Comic Art Fan,

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the booth last week during Comic-Con. I got to meet plenty of CAF members including Ken Martin, David Mandel, Wayne Nichols, Steven Ng, Joseph Damon, and more.

Comic Con is definitely a unique experience and I am glad that I finally had the opportunity to see it for myself. The mass media venues have basically taken over but their lines are so long it takes a full day commitment to go to one panel or signing. Plus it's made the convention more dangerous, poor Bill Cox was nearly trampled by a stampede of Twilight fans chasing after Robert Pattinson's car. Although I do have to admit that I was impressed with the lengths to which actor/model Tyrese Gibson went to promote his new comic Mayhem. He was hawking the book, taking pictures, and signing almost every time I passed the booth.

However, even with the Hollywood takeover, Comic Con is still the largest gathering of comic and animation artists in the world and a must-go destination for collectors. There still remain the opportunities to meet artists from all over the world or such high profile that they only do one appearance per year. The highlight of the convention for me personally was getting to shake hands and chat for a few moments with Simpsons creator Matt Groening; that instantly made me the happiest kid on the playground. 

You stay classy, San Diego!!

Colin Solan
CAF Editor



Premium Member of the Week :: craig macmillan
1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
 
I am a Brit living in the south-east of England and partially own a finance company situated in the heart of London which provides me with enough excess funds to occasionally indulge myself in this potentially expensive hobby of ours. I am a divorced baby-boomer rapidly approaching the big six-oh and I live alone so have no-one to complain about all the lovely painted ladies with which I surround myself. Although my married daughter studiously ignores the decoration when she visits me and my parents have passed the age of driving so don’t get the chance to visit and comment; however my father at 90 still appreciates a well-turned ankle. My banking profession has also allowed me to travel extensively (care of large US & Swiss banks’ big pockets) and I have lived in Hong Kong and Chicago in my youth and married a Thai in a Buddhist ceremony in Bangkok so consider myself a man of the world.
 
2. Which is your favorite piece in your gallery and why?
 
It is almost impossible to choose a favourite painting considering the many lovely ladies in my collection. I am lucky enough to own some very remarkable pin-ups such as my Frazetta, Vargas, Sundblom, Elvgrens but many of my commissioned works are also dear to my heart and a painting does not have to be expensive to be really good. I have to duck this question because the true answer is "the artwork at which I am looking, at any moment in time." I love them all or I wouldn’t have them.
 
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
 
My first frameable print purchased was the Halloween Vargas bought during a visit to San Francisco in 1998 from the SF Art Exchange who are the agents for the Vargas family. But the first original painting was the Red Monika by Kevin Taylor bought in Village Comics in New York at Christmas time the same year. Both were entirely impulse purchases; I came, I saw, I bought.
 
But the reason I was in Village Comics provides the background to the start of art buying. I have always been a reader of graphic stories; as a European I started with Tintin, my language skills are minimal (typical Brit!) and Tintin in French or Dutch provided an easy way to learn a language. British comics as a boy provided a love of Dan Dare which lead to a love of science fiction and also it was possible in the late 50s and early 60s to buy American comics. I well remember reading the early Ditko Spider-Man and Kirby Fantastic Four from Marvel comics; sadly none of which I kept. Later on in the early 70s in London I discovered a newspaper shop in Soho that sold Italian Fumetti books hence my love of Frollo and Manara. Living in the Far East introduced me to Manga and many a happy hour was spent in Japanese bookshops in the late 70s reading (actually following the pictures!!) manga and hentai magazines. But collecting comics was properly restarted for me by a visit to New York around 1990 and finding Village Comics and the adult comics of Kevin Taylor and Wally Wood, the explosion of this sub-genre in the 90s has resulted in my comic and graphic novel collection building to in excess of 10,000 items, and from there it is a very small step to start in on art collecting as well. Obsession rules!!
 
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
 
See the gallery tour of my home!!! Actually only about half my collection is framed and only about two-thirds of the framed art is on my walls. I have less wall space than art sadly so they have to be stored in sliding art-racks in my loft; drawings and prints are kept in a specially constructed print cabinet. I suppose that like most collectors I have as many prints as originals and often these were the earlier part of the art collection as they are obviously cheaper and easier to buy than original paintings (except of course my Picasso etching!!)
 
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
 
Sadly the current recession has cut back on my collecting and this has happened at the same time as my late friend Charles Martignette's pin-up collection coming to auction so art in that collection that I lust to buy I will have to let pass. There are also many artists who I have promised to commission who will also have to wait a while before we can restart creating new works together but I have ear-marked one particular Elvgren that I really would like to get and I know just who has it for sale. Other items lacking in my collection are an early Ziegfeld Vargas, a robot-girl Sorayama, and a Zoe Mozert.  On the comic-art front an Annie Fanny story from Playboy and a Wally Wood Sally Forth page have both still escaped me.

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