1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I studied illustration but strayed into graphic design instead, in the mid 1980s just before the computer began to take over. Layouts were drawn by hand then, which was an interesting training ground for young artists. I've been reading comics since childhood, never quite managing to give up the habit, and don't plan to any time soon. Comics are a wonderful medium to combine written and visual storytelling techniques. I'm an avid reader, but when it comes to comics, it's primarily about the art; I can forgive a lousy story if the art is good, but can't choke down even a great story if the art is crap.
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
I have widely varying tastes, so picking a single favorite is impossible. However, among the pieces in my gallery, the Berni Wrightson Comic Buyer's Guide cover is probably it. I've been staring at that brushwork for more than 20 years and the excitement still hasn't worn off.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
I started buying comic art at conventions in around 1978 or ‘79. I was devouring every issue of the Chris Claremont/John Byrne/Terry Austin Uncanny X-Men at the time, and Byrne and Austin were guests at a local convention. It took every penny my brother and I had at the time but we bought the two pages shown in the gallery which we've had ever since. Some people don't get the excitement of the originals; we always have. There's nothing that compares to holding a piece of art that really calls to you. It was a revelation to discover you could actually line up and (if you were lucky) buy a drawing or piece of published art directly from the artist.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
I'm concerned about framing comic art. The paper sometimes tans even in controlled circumstances, so most of the pieces I have are in portfolios. Lately, I've been slipping favorites into mylar sleeves with rigid acid free backers and putting them out temporarily on shelves to ogle while I'm working. It's great to change up the selection and move them around to wherever I happen to be.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
I don't have a definite grail list as such. I like to keep open to new possibilities, and to constantly be looking at what comes available. However, there are a few things I fantasize about, some realistic, some not...
1 - A nice HUSH page with Batman and Catwoman (probably can't afford it)
2 - A really detailed pencil commission from David Finch in the 2007-09 zone. (could afford that)
3 - A killer New Avengers cover by David Finch (could maybe afford that)
4 - A complex Mark Schultz drybrush piece with a great gal and dinosaur image (could maybe afford that)
5 - The Steve Ditko splash page with the Vulture from the original Sinister Six (not a chance of affording that!)
View Neil Mechem's Gallery