1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I'm an advertising writer living in New York City, but I do a significant amount of writing work for Wizard Magazine, ToyFare Magazine, ToplessRobot.com, and UGO as well. I stopped reading comics for a number of years, but when I started writing for ToyFare in 2005 I picked them up again with a vengeance. To explain my collection a little, I only collect pieces with the Mad Hatter in them. He's my favorite Batman villain (and a big part of Alice in Wonderland, which is one of my favorite books and movies) and I love tracking down pages with his appearances. Plus, when I ask for Mad Hatter commissions, every artist does their own take on him - unlike Batman or Spider-Man where you're kind of tied to the standard characters.
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
The cover for Gotham Central #20; it's my favorite Hatter cover appearance and an image that I give to artists when they ask for reference material for sketches or commissions. I even had a photocopied version of it hanging above my desk at work. Then it became available (on CAF, actually) and the owner was nice enough to part with it. My favorite commission has to be the Gregg Schigiel one with the Mad Hatter and Spongebob. He was the artist for the Spongebob series and I asked him to come up with something using both characters. Tells a little story too!
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
I've only been collecting since 2008. I was covering the New York Comic Con for Wizard and spent three days wandering around. On the last day I had some money in my pocket and figured I could use it for some convention sketches. The first table I hit was Daniel Bradford's and I liked his dark style so much I asked him to draw me a Mad Hatter. It turned out great, so I talked to Ramona Fradon to see what hers would look like. Unfortunately for CAF members, both pieces are framed and on my wall, so I haven't gotten around to scanning them yet. After that I started finding cheap Hatter pages around the internet, and built the collection from there.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
All the original pages and cels are framed, matted, and up on my walls. They're battling for wall space with my Alice in Wonderland collection too. My apartment is on the back of the building, so I'm not worried about sunlight getting in and fading the inks. Only a few of the sketches and commissions are on the walls, mostly the ones my girlfriend and I think are fun. The rest are residing in a number of portfolios in my home office.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
Really, I'm a sucker for Mad Hatter art and I jump on any affordable page I can find. But there are a few that I'd love to add to the collection:
1. The final Mad Hatter reveal splash from 2006's Secret Six #1 by Brad Walker and Jimmy Palmiotti.
2. Any Dave McKean Mad Hatter art from Black Orchid, Arkham Asylum, or a commission. Out of my price range for a while now.
3. A Tim Sale Mad Hatter page from Batman: Madness, Long Halloween, or Dark Vengeance. I waited too long to purchase one that became available and it's gone now.
4. Mad Hatter concept art, either sketches from the animated Batman series, or from any of the toys/video games that have been made.
5. The final Mad Hatter reveal splash from Gotham Central #19, with the Hatter in the Arkham cell; a really cool Michael Lark page.
View Ethan Kaye's Gallery