1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
My name's Stefan Behringer and I live in Germany with my wife and daughter. Working as a freelance graphic designer I have always been interested in graphic arts and being 43 years old means I know first-hand about the time when you could not use a computer to do graphics even if you wanted to. Most of my own work is business-to-business graphic design; I design logos, letterheads, business cards, brochures, websites, GUI, apps, etc. for various companies and organizations.
A collector of original comic art in Germany faces grave difficulties; there's nothing like an American-style comic convention near or far and there are no dealers selling international contemporary comic art (at least I haven't found any yet). So this means you have to travel a lot or to trust in the internet. But finding a great page on the internet doesn't necessarily mean that you can get your hands on it, because a lot of US-based sellers are not willing to sell overseas. If they do, the art you bought has to somehow survive modern day shipping; needless to say that any kind of insurance is complete rubbish. Assuming the artwork hits German soil after several weeks safe and sound it will most likely be withheld by German customs authorities who will charge you 7% import VAT, on the art value AND the insanely high postage, before you can bail out your treasures.
But hey! It's a great hobby and I'm so grateful to all you guys who do sell overseas and especially to those I could talk into it.
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
Though you might recognize certain tendencies in my collection, I do not hunt for a specific artist, hero, series, publisher or comic book era. I try to find pages that do appeal to me, pages that do tell a story of their own.
So it's very hard for me to decide which piece is THE favorite page, for I will have to weigh Arthur Adams' delicacy against Mike Mignola's very distinct style or the great inks of Simon Coleby. One page that brings together almost everything I love about comic art is the Andy Kubert Page 1 of Thor #31. It has a great perspective, a simple yet very strong linework, it's somehow dark and energetic. I love inked pages and this one's getting everything out of the black & white.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
Though I have been (very occasionally) collecting contemporary art for quite a while I just recently started to collect original comic art in February 2011. I more or less gave it a try and among the first pages I got there were some covers by Simon Coleby. I totally fell for those and worked my way into the fascinating world of original comic art.
Apart from (very few) disappointing experiences with online sellers, commission artists, and parcel services it has been a pure pleasure ever since. I really enjoy the visual and haptic quality of original comic art. It's fascinating to see - in close-up detail - how different artists use their tools and how their characters come to life.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
Everything that's not framed is stored in Panodia Texas Printibooks that I buy from a London
based online store. The problem is: Germany has a metric system of measuring paper size, so there are absolutely no sleeves, boxes or books that fit e.g. a 11 x 17" page. Thank god Europe has these great folks on an island, that call themselves "Brits."
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
1 - Any great Mike Mignola Hellboy or B.P.R.D. covers, splash pages, or pinups (pre-2000 if I'm allowed to be picky).
2 - Any great Arthur Adams covers, splash pages, or pinups (especially one of his amazing female characters).
3 - Any great Guy Davis covers, splash pages, or pinups.
4 - A Lord Baltimore commission done by Ben Stenbeck (I'm currently working on that).
5 - Any great original comic artwork by a major artist or upcoming comic art talent.
View Stefan B's Gallery