1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m the world’s least interesting man. I’ve lived in the same town for 51 years and attended two churches in that span, had one job for 30 years, one wife for 29 years, one house for 25 years, same set of kids for 21 years, one dog (just passed) for 18 years.
On the other hand, I designed the control system running the largest refinery in the world and helped make everything from freeze dried coffee to chlorine gas and I’ve traveled to Canada, Mexico, Curacao, Argentina, Chile, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE (Dubai, Abu Dhabi), Oman, Saudi Arabia, India, Singapore, Taiwan, China, Macao, Hong Kong, and Japan on business.
I started collecting comics in the summer after the second grade on the way back from a family vacation in Mexico. I bought JLA #29 for 15 cents from a comic book vending machine at a Howard Johnson’s. Not long ago, my wife gave me a page of original art from that issue for my birthday. I own more than 16,000 comics by my estimate. I’ve got it bad!
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite and why?
My absolute favorite run of comics was Curt Swan and Klein on the Legion of Super-Heroes in Adventure Comics and Swan has remained my favorite comic artist so it would be easy to say my Swan Superman or my Swan Superboy, Mon-El, and Shadow Lass piece.
On the other hand, I commissioned the charming and talented Nick Cardy for a Bat Lash piece that is just flat-out stunning. It vies with the Swan pieces.
Beyond those, I love my Hembeck Sugar & Spike #100 cover (a very clever piece), my Joe Kubert Sgt. Rock, my Gene Colan Daredevil and Black Widow, the page from my first ever comic, and…
Oh, well you get the picture.
Since I have the Cardy Bat Lash on my computer desktop, I guess I’ll place it on the top of the list, but that Swan Superman is awesome.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
I started with OA collecting when I received a very small amount from my grandmother’s estate. She passed away forty years ago and the payout was quite a surprise.
Since we didn’t have any demanding bills, we decided that I could squander it. In February, 2005, I discovered that Heritage had two pieces that I would love to have: a Swan Superman commission from the collection of Richard Pini and a one-page, somewhat damaged Sugar & Spike story. I’m a huge fan of both Swan and Mayer, but I knew nothing about OA pricing. At that point, I’m not sure that I knew about Heritage’s archive and I sure didn’t know about any dealers or the CAF.
So, I bid a bit on both plus an E-man convention sketch. As the days passed, I was outbid on S&S and had only one bid increment on the Swan left. So, I decided that I would lose the Swan Superman and placed the entire inheritance on the Mayer piece. My fear at that point was that I might win both and have to explain that to Kathy.
On the day the auction ended, I logged in and saw the fatal red coloring on the S&S piece. It made me very sad. Above it, I saw the E-man in green so I won something, but…
I scrolled down and to my unbelieving eyes the Swan Superman was in green! I thought it was a mistake. Seriously, I was stunned and was sure that they had goofed; I was only one bid away and no one else bid!
Anyway, that was my start. I’ve been really lucky since a Joe Kubert Sgt. Rock, two Cardy’s, my Mayer one-page Sugar & Spike story, the front and back covers (bought two years apart and from different auction sites) of a Santa and Rudolph Treasury, a Stan Lynde Rick O’Shay commission, and so many more wonderful pieces. Not to mention a page from the first comic that I ever bought!
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
Some are framed and hanging on the wall. Others are in a portfolio. The goal is to (re)claim a room from a daughter and convert it into a library where I can display my art more readily and have my comics within reach – a 14x14 bit of heaven.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
My original list was a Swan Legion of Super-Heroes with a large number of Legionnaires and a page from my first comic. The latter is filled; the former is nearly filled – I have a wonderful commission, but it has only three Legionnaires. So, here’s the current list:
1) A Curt Swan Legion of Super-Heroes piece like the Adventure #333 recreation in Tom Horvitz’s collection, the cover to issue #2 of the Official Legion of Super-Heroes Index in David Mandel’s collection, or issue #1 of the same series wherever it may be.
2) An H. G. Peter Wonder Woman especially some of the specialty pieces I’ve seen for sale
3) A Nick Cardy commission of a scene from the Aquaman/Mera wedding
4) A nice Wayne Boring Sunday especially if it features outer space or alien worlds
5) A Joe Shuster Superman – daily, Sunday, or painting
View Alex Johnson's Gallery