1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am a product of the east coast during the 1960s and ‘70s; born in Delaware, attended college in Pennsylvania, graduate school in upstate New York, and then moved to North Carolina to work in one of the foremost renal physiology labs in the country. After spending 12 years at UNC-Chapel Hill, I have spent the last 20+ years researching the mechanisms of diabetes and obesity for GlaxoSmithKline. That is my job which allows me to have a life. During that time, I have been able to meet most of the artists I admire, and even came to call some of them friends. I am also a charter member of the Comic and Fantasy Art – Amateur Press Association (CFA-APA) a group interested in chronicling the history of comic art and artists. I have contributed to almost every issue of the APA and followed Roger Hill as the second Editor-Collator.
2. Which is your favorite piece in your gallery?
Over the years, I have focused my collection (although not exclusively) on Superman. During that time, my “favorite” has changed, so it is tough to pick, “The one.” But for today I’d say the Star Wars cover by Al Williamson.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
I collected comics since I was five. But unlike many I read about, I grew up more a fan of DC than Marvel (with hit-or-miss distribution, I really didn’t like their continued stories) and definitely more a fan of Curt Swan than Jack Kirby. In fact, I am in a distinct minority since I don’t like Kirby at all, and have never owned a piece of his art. As I hit my teens, began to play sports and discover the opposite sex, I left comics behind. But in college, I learned that the father of my girlfriend was a science fiction writer. She took me to my first science fiction convention in New York in 1972. Aside from meeting Isaac Asimov, Ben Bova, and others, I saw an original Steve Ditko Dr. Strange splash for sale there. I was in college (with no money) but the reality that the originals existed reinvigorated me and I started looking at comics again. I bought my first piece of art during my first year in graduate school in 1975, after finding one of Russ Cochran’s catalogs. That was a Frank Frazetta Johnny Comet daily I got for the princely sum of $75. I still own that daily 35 years later. I quickly bought another Frazetta daily from Larry Shell and, as they say, the rest is history.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
My collection is displayed several ways. My favorite pieces (i.e., those which my wife allows) are on the wall. I keep another special group in hard top loaders (more protective than mylar, I believe) for me to handle when viewing, and many, many others are in portfolios. I actually like to collect complete stories, to see the thought process of the artist as they tell the story. Obviously, displaying entire stories is difficult since that is 5 to 22+ pages of art. I wish I could find a better way.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
Number 1 would be the Alex Raymond Rip Kirby of the day I was born: August 9, 1952. I own several dailies dated that day (including a Frazetta Johnny Comet). I’d love to get that daily, but in all the auctions I have looked at, I have never seen it offered.
Number 2-5: As I mentioned, I collect complete stories and have bought several groups of pages in hopes of completing them one day. I need a page or 3 to complete each of these and I’d love to put these stories back together:
Action Comics #379 – Curt Swan and Jack Abel
Superboy #141 by George Papp and Chic Stone
Adventure #399 – Supergirl story by Mike Sekowsky
Green Lantern #62 – by Jack Sparling and Sid Greene
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