1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a lawyer concentrating in trusts, wills, probate and business set up, a part time college professor, a father (Bobby is 15 now). Both Bobby and Sue appears in my Pics gallery. I’ve written professionally for many years, notably (for CAF people) my article on Good Girl Art in the last issue of Rough Stuff Magazine and the novel, A California Dreamer in King Henry’s Court. I also act and run two marathons a year; I’ve run 16 to date.
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
The Betty and Veronica Grails Combined, which I lump together as a pair. They were the best two pages of an all-pinup comic that I got in a trade right after puberty. I disassembled it and pinned the pages on my bedroom walls. They were my first pinups.
I got into collecting comic art when an Ebay search for that issue turned up an original Betty and Veronica page. When I first started collecting, I imagined getting pages from that issue. Then I heard that they shredded most comic art back then…horrors. When they came up for sale, it was kind of like the scene in Laura when the supposed murder victim, whom the hero has fallen for, turns up alive. Then to actually own two of them, that’s the best.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
Since January 4, 2001; until I got that unremarkable Betty and Veronica page for about $10, I thought original art was unobtainable or too expensive. As a kid, I took the art on comics for granted, gave it no thought. Then I saw a pop art exhibition in high school and began to seriously look at the images in comics as art. I contemplated how original comic pages would look displayed out of context as a type of pop art. As with marathons, it is something I would have started when I was a teenager if I had thought it was something I could do or afford.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
By pure coincidence, I recently counted 488 pieces of original art on display at home.
I’m sure I missed some, so I’ll claim 500. I’ve got a huge house and have used up just about every reasonable wall and other display space. The rest are in portfolios or other folders.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
In no particular order:
1. Wallace Wood’s circus panorama centerfold from Mad #41; it showed an impossibly spectacular old circus, complete with a dinosaur, contrasting with a Bob Clark new circus panorama on the next page with spectacularly lame acts.
2. “The Eternal Question” by Charles Dana Gibson, the most famous and iconic of the Gibson Girl cartoons.
3. A Little Nemo in Slumberland showing a grand procession with princesses, animals and the detail Windsor McKay was so good at producing.
4. I don’t have the date in front of me but a particular 1940’s Hal Foster Prince Valiant featuring Aleta hair down and looking cute as a button.
5. The Vargas Girl featured in the September 1966 Playboy. The caption was something like, “He tried flowers, candy, money, and furs…and they all worked!” Actually, any of a dozen or so of the best Vargas Girls will do.
View Robert Plunkett's Gallery