1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am 47 years-old and live with my wonderful girlfriend of 27 years, Eileen, and our orange girl-tabby (Pumpkin!) in San Francisco, CA.
Born in Augsburg, Germany I am the youngest of six Army brats (all boys) and have had comics to entertain me all my life. Dad read them as a kid (Action, Superman) and Mom even enjoyed them as an adult (Tomb of Dracula, Werewolf by Night). My oldest brothers were there to see Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko usher in the Silver Age of Marvel and the rest of us were there when Neal Adams, Steranko, Kirby (still), John Buscema, Jim Aparo, Barry Windsor-Smith, Bernie Wrightson, Jeff Jones, Michael Kaluta, and many, many more were kicking it into high gear at Marvel and DC in the late 60s, early 70s. Other interests would come to take hold of my brothers but for me comics were IT.
More artist driven than character obsessed, my collecting interests naturally flowed into the area of original art but that said I still make my weekly pilgrimage to my favorite brick and mortar to see my buddy Frank at Amazing Fantasy and snag a good read or two.
Um, what else? I bat right and throw right. But not nearly well enough to be paid to do either and so I find myself at a large biotech corporation in South San Francisco where I get to work with some of the best and brightest folks on the planet.
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
I really don't have a favorite. Really. It changes day to day but if forced to pick one today? Yoda, by Al Williamson. It captures an ineffable joy and sense of wonder from my youth. Also it's a piece that Eileen helped me acquire so it has that going for it as well.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
Since 1989. And why DID I start? My guess is that it was the result of a post-hypnotic trigger to begin a life as a penniless aging hippie. I started with a sketch by Art Adams (Wolverine), following it up with a sketch by Neal Adams (Adam Strange). Quickly recognizing the impracticality of trying to acquire a collection alphabetically, I then leapt forward to mid-alphabet and got a nice sketch by Kaluta (The Shadow and Margo Lane) from Mitch Itkowitz. And then it just spiraled out of control from there.
I think my fascination with sketches and prelims continues, not just because they are more affordable, but also because they lend some insight into how the artist works. They are often images that I will never get to otherwise see and enjoy and in the case of prelims, are often very different than the published versions.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
As I feel I am just the current custodian of the pieces in my collection, I do as little as possible to change the artwork from the state it left the artist's drawing table or easel. Maybe that's a little too fussy, but there it is anyway. They are generally stored in Mylar, portfolios and museum boxes but I take them out frequently to enjoy them.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
In no particular order:
1) The cover to Batman #241 by Neal Adams and Berni Wrightson, a killer shot of Batman practically flying over Gotham. Is it Neal's best cover? Probably not and in fact it's not even his best Batman cover but it just does it for me on so many levels.
2) A commission by Arthur Adams: A nod to C. M. Coolidge but instead of Dogs Playing Poker, Kirby Monsters Playing Poker. Googam sent home by Goom, not allowed to 'just watch'. Diablo grudgingly allowed to smoke indoors. Rommbu pretty much fed up what with not being able to get a read on Metallo, Orrgo the Unconquerable's incessant gloating and Fin Fang Foom's insistence on always playing Pai Gow. I'm goofing of course, but an Arthur Adams homage to Kirby's monsters would be super cool.
3) The "Answer me that, Mr. Green Lantern!" page from Green Lantern/Green Arrow #76. Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams. Thoroughly memorable. Yes, my bleeding heart yearns for this page.
4) A commission by Adam Hughes: But of what-!? An art nouveau inspired Scarlet Witch? Classic Wonder Woman playing bullets and bracelets? Harley and Ivy's pajama party tickle fight? It hardly matters--It's Adam Hughes.
5) The cover to Creepy #7 by Frank Frazetta, Duel of the Monsters. As long as I'm deluding myself why not go all out? I never get tired of looking at that cover. It's just damn fun.
I'd also love a nice finished piece by Moebius but I think I'm out of spots. Just enough time to thank Bill Cox for this excellent forum. Hats off to you all!
View J. Hiroshi Morisaki's Gallery