1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
My parents originate from India although I was born in Africa and have lived in Birmingham, United Kingdom most of my life. I’m married and have two sons, aged 19 and 14, and a dog. We named the dog Wrex, not because of any Royal connection but he kept wrecking things. I work for a large multinational company. My official job title is “Bid Support Consultant” but I tend to refer to myself as Pleb.
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite and why?
I think the current favourite is the Mike Vosburg, Power Girl Commission I bought. Like so many artists I’ve been in contact with, Mr. Vosburg is very friendly and replies to emails. He had the piece done well before the scheduled deadline. The piece has a bit of colour and is a bright cheerful piece and most importantly my wife liked it.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
Around 1970-ish, I remember looking at Captain Marvel #19 (the Gil Kane art and colours can only be described as magic) and some issues of Captain Atom that my brother had bought. In 1972 I started collecting Hotspur and in 1973 Countdown, then went on to collecting Marvel and DC. In the early days of collecting I did sell my collection and found I was buying it back later for even more then the original cost, but it’s not all bad news because during the selling period I met up with Nick Shingler, Steve Fullerton, Donald Thompson, Paul Chokran and Rachel (Now Mrs. John McCrea). We had a get together after 20 years at the BICS2010, it was a most happy and memorable couple of days. It was really good to see these guys again.
Around 1979 I went to one convention where Jim Steranko signed my X-Men #49-51 and around the same time at another convention in London I got Jim Starlin to sign my copies of Captain Marvel. The two other major events that happened around this time were that I can across a Fanzine called “Gone to the Dogs”, which was created by a group of guys that used to meet in a pub in Coventry, I think it was every first Sunday of the month. This is where I met Paul Duncan; Paul was the publisher of a very professional fanzine that looking back, you would not believe that one guy produced it, wrote it, edited and financed it. In 1982 I had a sketch published in the UK Marvel Super-Heroes comic.
In the mid 1980s I attended conventions and the first pieces I bought were by Bryan Talbot (Ladies night / Judge Dredd) followed by art by other noteworthy artists; John Bolton, Michael Wm. Kaluta, Arthur Adams, Barry Windsor-Smith, Alan Davis, Charles Vess and others. In fact I have uploaded a load of pictures from these conventions to the PopCons website. In 1991, with a wife, mortgage, and birth of my first son I stopped collecting but kept the comics and art. I would recommend to anyone that comics are like stocks; they go up and down in value and you should only invest in amounts that you can afford to lose.
In recent years I’ve been working my tail off so I guess I can afford a few luxuries. And with the mammoth crossover storylines in modern day comics that I really don’t have the time to keep up with, artwork seems appeal to me. To give my collection some focus, nowadays I try to concentrate on getting Power Girl drawn by as many people as possible. The other reasons I have started collecting is the ease with which I can get artwork through the internet. I think the best bargain I have picked up has to be an original painting by Paul Mounts, from eBay seller sterlingclass. This piece is over 19”x20” and the final auction price was $1, yup, one solitary dollar. Probably the best dollar spent. And thanks to CAF I have a means to display my collection including my own drawings.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
Some of it has been framed and displayed on walls around the house, but most of the new stuff is in Art folders
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
Batgirl by Alberto Vargas (published in July 1966) – Somehow I suspect this may be slightly out of my league – but I can dream can’t I?
E-man by Joe Staton, I think it’s #6 where Nova Kane throws E-man out of her changing room, don’t want to say too much as it may spoil the joke for anyone who hasn’t seen it.
Any nice piece by Tony Hart, most of my generation will have seen Vision-on, a program for deaf kids, but I’m sure appealed to anyone who liked art. Mr. Hart was amazing and in fact anyone who didn’t like art but appreciated the creative and innovative style of presentation and animation and storytelling; the Professor could have been the forerunner to Mr. Bean. He could take anything anywhere and make a painting. Mr. Hart is one of those people that seemed to have a TV personality that you could put in front of the Silver Surfer to show why the human race needs saving. I’m so sorry I never got a chance to meet him.
Frank Bellamy’s Thunderbirds or Captain Scarlet stuff. The colours and art are amazing and dynamic.
Mike Matthews – pages from “I was bound to give my heart to a Cannibal”. Mike was an underground artist who had a quirky sense of humour, unfortunately, he passed away in the late 1980’s but I shall treasure the convention sketches he did for me. Gone but not forgotten.
Thank you for reading about me and thanks to all the artists who have given me such pleasure and joy to see their art, Sorry if I’ve missed anyone. I am getting old you know!
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