1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I'm 49 years old, married, with three daughters. I started collecting comics when I was about 14. Fantastic Four #171 was the book that got me hooked. It was the first part of a Galactus/High Evolutionary story and I had to find out what happened next. By the time I read it, Fantastic Four #176 was on the stands so I found a used book store that had a wall of back issues and, once I realized these things were numbered, the collector in me took over. I had read comics before this but just casually. This was the issue that did it; I wanted them all! I started a shop out of my basement when I was 16 years old and then when I moved to Michigan I opened my store in Kalamazoo in 1983.
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
My favorite piece is the Gary Gianni Green Lantern Annual #6 cover painting. Love the story; Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner) is drawn into a painting to a world very similar to Burroughs's Mars. I met Gary in Chicago at a show and he was willing to part with it. He had me over to his studio and even had it already framed for me; great experience. When Gary was asked to do the painting he did Hal Jordan (brown hair) as that was who he knew as Green Lantern. They changed the hair color on the published book so it looked more like Kyle. My favorite piece the day I got it and still is today. It has a great "pulp" feel to it. I'm trying to complete the interior story as well but it's 52 pages so it's quite the task. I have 39 pages so far but it's been years now since I have found one. Jeff Johnson and John Lowe did the art so give me a shout if you ever see any. Close seconds are my John Carter #1 cover and my Fantastic Four #171 cover.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
I started collecting art in 1998; I had picked up a few random pages before that but I had a guy bring in a stack of original art near the end of 1998 and that was what got me hooked. The one of a kind nature is appealing. So very different from collecting comics. Condition doesn't play near the part.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
I display a number of paintings and illustrations at my office with the remaining items kept in portfolios or mylars. My office walls are full and I have many more pieces I would like to see hanging so I may just have to invade other parts of my store.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
Frank Frazetta Silver Warrior. Love this painting. (Yeah, I know...not likely)
Gino D'Achille Princess of Mars Cover Painting. Had my shot years ago but got outbid. Went way over market at the time too but someone else had more bucks.
Mike Grell Superboy & Legion #212 cover or ANY/ALL pages. My first Legion issue. Loved the art and am still a huge Mike Grell fan.
Mike Grell First Issue Special #8 cover and page one splash. Have the rest of the book and would love to complete it.
Joe Kubert Weird Worlds #1 cover featuring John Carter.
View Tom Fleming's Gallery