1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Jimmy Lawrence. I’m a 36 year old elementary school teacher who lives right outside of Charleston, South Carolina. I teach fifth grade mathematics and absolutely love what I do. Working and learning with kids = positive energy and I like that. Every day is different, I’m affecting the future in my community, and uh, yeah, I get summer and holidays off! I’m married to the coolest wife any comic art nerd could ask for (she reads a good 10-15 books off of my pull list each month!) and doesn’t complain (too much) when new art arrives. I have two teenage stepsons who are just as awesome as their mom and are really two of my best friends. In my free time I read comics, stare at everyone’s art on CAF/ebay/dealer sites, play with my dogs, surf, and skateboard. I just finished a master’s in history so I’m looking at even more free time for art, comics, and all of the other things I enjoy doing. I do have to say thanks to Bill Cox and everyone at CAF—this site is amazing and has allowed me to interact with some really good people who I’ve become friends with because of our shared passion for comics and art.
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
Now I understand why people have so much trouble picking just one piece as their favorite-this is difficult! Should I pick the first page I bought that got me started, the sketch I finally scored that I’ve been trying to get for years (by the way, thank you again Mr. Hughes!), the commission by that artist I really enjoyed interacting with (Cliff Chiang, Chris Samnee, Dustin Nguyen, Guy Davis, Ron Garney, etc.) or that page that I bought that’s from a comic I read over and over as a kid? With all of that said, I’m going with Secret Wars issue 9 page 6. I know this comic was built around a toy line, Jim Shooter wrote it, and there are all sorts of opinions regarding those factors, but this comic was just magical to me as a kid. Along with Crisis on Infinite Earths and John Byrne on Alpha Flight, Secret Wars helped hook me into comics. For my twelfth birthday my parents paid $18 for all 12 issues of Secret Wars from a local shop; it was my “big” gift that year and I was ecstatic! When this page came up on ebay in the late 90s I had to have it. It’s got a slew of heroes in that first panel where Reed is stretching, Iron Man’s boot jets are going, the Human Torch’s flame is on, Thor’s flying with Mjolnir, Cap’s leading the charge with Ben Grimm in Human form and Hulk and a smart-alec Spidey are bouncing along! The third panel has a lot of great detail as well with Reed’s arm stretching, Cap’s shield, and Thor’s hammer and helmet. Add in the philosophical Hulk and it’s a page that captures these characters at this time well. Heck, the first word on the page in the caption box at the top is “Meanwhile”—that’s kinda cool right there!
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
I was bitten by the art collecting bug in the summer of 1995 and haven’t looked back since. I started attending Heroes Con in Charlotte annually in the early 90s since it’s nearby. At first I would just buy comics to fill in holes in my collection and get signatures on books as a reason to interact with creators. In ’95 I spent some money on an Al Bigley Joker sketch and bought a page from the first volume of Grant Morrison’s Invisibles by Phil Jimenez. I knew I could get sketches but some dealer had a ton of pages of original art and it clicked with that Invisibles page that you could actually buy/collect the original artwork. Soon after that show, I discovered some art dealers online and also realized you could bid on original art on ebay. It just boomed from there and now I am just consumed with looking at/collecting comic art. I’ve been on a kick with acquiring commissions and convention sketches in recent years (Batman and Phoenix are my favorite male and female characters for this) but I’m always looking for pages I enjoy or pages that are from books I liked as a kid.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
A lot of my art is in portfolios but at last count there are about 40 pieces of original comic art framed and on the walls throughout my “comic room” and home. Like I said above, I have one very cool wife...
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
1. Any page from Crisis on Infinite Earths. My mom came home one day and handed me issue #1 that she bought from a spinner rack in a hospital gift shop when I was a kid. I was the right age at the time for this story to blow my eleven year old mind. ANY page from this series would be a “grail” piece for me.
2. A nice Phoenix commission from John Byrne. She’s my favorite character and Byrne is my favorite artist. I have to make this one happen.
3. A full commission Captain America or Batman from Jim Cheung. I love his lines and his commissions are just amazing.
4. A Jae Lee commission featuring Roland, Jake, Eddie, Susannah, and Oy from the Dark Tower series. Those comics led me to reading the novels and I can’t get enough of that world now.
5. A Death commission by Chris Bachalo. He’s the definitive artist for my favorite member of the Endless and this would definitely be a crown jewel in my collection.
View Jimmy Lawrence's Gallery