1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I just turned 40 and work for Hewlett-Packard as a Marketing consultant and live in Belgium. Being single without children makes my art addiction my own problem if you know what I mean. My passion began in the mid-seventies when I discovered my first heroes, Flash Gordon (by Alex Raymond), The Rocketeer, and The Phantom in an old dusty pile of books that I found when I visited family friends. I can’t describe the first feeling, especially when I discovered Mongo’s world, his creatures, the space ships, the winged men, the Giants… I spent hours and hours reading these books, dreaming of some wild Sci-Fi adventures.
Then a little bit later I came across the Marvel world through the French comics Strange (Lug edition), Nova (pocket size – my preferred), Titans, Spidey… No more heroes but super-heroes, a lot of powers, groups of super dudes, splashing colors, galactic adventures I could never imagine nor dream of. Something totally different from what I could locally find. When I say different it’s because in Europe mostly in Belgium and France we do have another comics culture – “la bande dessinée franco-belge” with characters like Tintin, Spirou, Blake & Mortimer coming from artists like Hergé, Moebius (Jean-Giraud), and Franquin. I became completely hooked, my first favorite characters were Spider-Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Hawkeye, Iron Fist and groups like the Invaders and the Avengers. I was never a huge X-Men fan except in the early 90s when Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld produced the X-Tinction Agenda.
I’m also a movie addict – Film Noir (40s-50s-60s), Sci-Fi freak, love the first Flash Gordon movies with Buster Crabbe and Charles Middleton, Metropolis, I love the Horror period with Vincent Price and Boris Karloff. Except these two passions I’m a sport zealot, my second job. Lot of running, biking, scuba diving and skydiving; well when my art passion does not leave me with dry pockets!
2. Which is your favorite piece in your gallery and why?
A favorite? Only one? Why are you so cruel?? I really don’t know, I love my first big buying when I started my collection over, the Civil War #3 Variant Cover by Michael Turner. Also love the deep dramatic Jae Lee Avengers #76 Cover, the painted Red Sonja #4 Cover by Gabriele Dell’Otto, the huge JG Jones Wonder Woman #216 Cover and the highly detailed Civil War Variant Cover with Captain America by Adi Granov (from the period of his art when he used another drawing technique than the one he’s using now).
That being said Jay Anacleto’s pencils have no match on the market, the Spider-Man cover and the Red Sonja’s are incredible. So each of these completely different in style (pencils, inked, painted) are my favorites. But ok let's play the game and pick up one! I think I’ll stick with my love for the old Mignolas and among these in my collection I'll choose the ’90 – Dark Horse – Alien vs. Predator Cover. Creepy creatures, awesome artist, yes I believe this one could be my favorite. Mike with his black and white shadow technique, mix of Victorian/Gothic architecture with his own rough & unique line style. I’m a true admirer of his old style, a single look at one of his old art can plunge me in a deep daydream trance for quite a while ah ah!
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
I got my first “franco-belge” sketches in the 80s at local conventions. No American original art was available on the Belgian market at that time or at least not like today! Then John Byrne came in my local comic shop in the early 90s (I still have his Wolverine sketch in my gallery) and this event changed my world. I started to collect originals art round ‘93/'94. My collection was mostly made of simple pages and sketches from the late 70s, early 80s (among them a superb highly detailed Captain America sketch by Jim Steranko). I lost everything in 2004, one of blackest day of my life, a burglary stole almost everything in my apartment; the only “souvenir” I have from this time is my Byrne Wolverine.
Disgusted, I stopped my collecting period for over a year and then the CAF came in my life, a thousand thanks to Bill Cox. This was a sudden world wide window open into the original art universe. I discovered pages and pages of childhood souvenirs, incredible people (check out my gallery description), new talents, artists, agents, and galleries which gave me the collecting taste again.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
I have a few hung on my walls when most of them are stored in Itoya portfolios. Once a week I open them and begin to dream.
My intention is to frame most of them but I do have a mammoth fear, leave one of my "precioussss" in the hands of the framer.
People here do not understand the value of these beauties. Last time I went in the best framer shop in town and the guy said to me, "Are you sure you want this child pencil paper in a $300 frame?" He was speaking of the Iron Spider-Man Civil War Cover by Michael Turner. So I left the shop with my "child pencil paper" under my arm and stored it back in the Itoya.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
Gosh speaking of choices to be made!
1. Captain America #110 DPS pages 12-13 - by Jim Steranko
1. Captain America Vol 1 #50 Cover - by Alex Schomburg
3. Sub-Mariner #13 Cover - by Bill Everett
4. Daredevil #122 Cover - by Gil Kane
5. Sub-Mariner pinup from Marvel Fanfare #45 and yes I know I cheat: Gotham by Gaslight Cover - by Mike Mignola
...and so many others...
View Olivier D's Gallery