1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
After years of working as a Camera Operator in the film industry, I settled down to get married and start a family. Now I am the Director of Creative Services for a small university where I run the TV Station, teach film production, and generally warp the fragile little minds of my students. As for the collecting side of things, I guess I am a collector of what I like. I never spend mad money on a piece, but settle for something less if it suits my taste. I have moved into illustration art (Krenkel for example) and have developed a growing appreciation for art beyond just superheroes.
2. Which is your favorite piece in your gallery and why?
I tend to buy or commission pieces that have a connection to my children or to my childhood. Sometimes those are pages from comics I read 100 times when I was a kid or a commission that ties those elements together. So, from a page from The Land that Time Forgot to the Lou Feck Star Trek #4 cover to the Russ Heath Roman Toy Ad, looking through my art is a trip down memory lane for me. There are several pieces that I own that invoke a nostalgic feeling for those days and the Drew Struzan Kermit the Frog commission stands on top of those feelings.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
I started collecting in 2004. I stumbled upon a few pieces that I thought were cool and wanted to make an effort to pick up some pages and commissions that I could hang up to stimulate my growing children's interest in reading. Kayleigh (age six going on 16) and Jace (age four) have constantly asked what is that page from, who is that character and can I read them a story about them. Now my daughter will sit down and read some old comics and my son loves having me read the Al Williamson Star Wars strips to him.
One of the great rewards of this hobby has been reaching out to a lot of the Golden and Silver Age artists who started this hobby. I have had countless hours of conversations with several of these legends and have been thrilled to obtain art directly from them. Sadly, most of them have passed on, but I am grateful that I had the chance to talk with them and show my appreciation for their work. I have two galleries dedicated to them, G.O.G (Grand Old Guard) and Son of G.O.G., which shows work from those I have talked with and those I wish I had.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
I have dozens of pieces hanging in my children's rooms, playroom in the hallways, and the rest in a portfolios waiting to be framed. I do rotate them out quite frequently as I let my kids decide what they want in their rooms and their tastes are constantly evolving.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
A Joe Shuster Superman drawing would probably be number one. A true pioneer in several aspects ranging from creating Superman to fighting discrimination to artists' rights, it would be great to have an original piece by him hanging on the wall.
Jack Kirby pencils of Dr. Doom or the Silver Surfer or really anything along the lines of some of those really beautiful renderings he did of the Marvel characters.
Gee, doesn't everyone want a Watchmen page? Well kind of, what I have always wanted would be a Gibbons commission of the Watchmen if he had been allowed to use the original Charlton characters. I like to have something unique and I think that would really be something.
Star Trek covers from the James Blish adaptations; any of those would be great, I have one and I want more. I read those books a hundred times as a child.
A Hildebrandt Brothers Lord of the Rings painting from one of the early calendars. Before cable, Internet, and VCRs, books and paintings were the instruments to fire the imagination and those calendars brought Tolkien to life for me.
View Lee Laska's Gallery