1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
Growing up in a family of both artists and collectors, I think I was always destined to become an art collector. My parents began collecting Star Wars toys before I was born, so I grew up loving the films and developed an appreciation for the artistry and effects that went into making them. Today I'm a professional effects artist in Hollywood and get to contribute to the things that I love.
Comics came into my life when I was about 11 and I went into the local comic shop to hunt for vintage Star Wars toys. Eventually I ended up visiting the store so often that they hired me! The first comics I collected were Predator comics, but I was mostly interested in the art - honestly I don't think I even read them. The first comics that I actually read and loved were X-Men books. The X-Men (particularly Excalibur and X-Factor) will always be my first love when it comes to comics. But another book that caught my interest was Spawn. I started collecting Spawn the day it came out and never turned back - today I run the world's largest Spawn website at www.SpawnWorld.com.
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
Like all of us I think, I love different pieces "the most" at different times. Right now I'll have to cheat and pick two - one from my X-Men related collection and one from my Spawn collection.
For the X-Men, I'll have to say my Alan Davis Excalibur #3 page 6. Davis's run on Excalibur was just fantastic and it really hit the right tone for me at the time - combining humor, adventure and X-Men-style melodrama. That page in particular stuck out to me... I remember going to school and telling my friends about how Juggernaut had punched Captain Britain so hard that he tore a trench in the ground! For years, I remembered this page well and when I saw it for sale... I couldn't believe it. Such a perfect example of Davis's storytelling and humor on the book.
As for Spawn, I'd pick Greg Capullo on Angela #2 page 13. For years, Capullo's art was THE look for Spawn, and being that he doesn't often sell his work, it's tough to find for Spawn collectors. This page is a splash from the moment where Spawn reveals his presence to the forces of Heaven while Angela was standing trial. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better full-body splash of Spawn, particularly one where he declares "In life I was Al Simmons. These days, they call me SPAWN."
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
I started taking an interest in comic art while working at the comic shop and seeing some guest artists come through the doors. I got a few small "convention-style" sketches from them and immediately framed them up. Then when eBay first appeared, I started scanning for Spawn collectibles and found a few original pages pop up now and then. The first page I bought was Spawn #42 page 15 by Tony Daniel, with a cool pose of Cy-Gor. Ever since then I've been buying slowly but steadily the pieces that I like. I also began to collect animation cels (particularly of TV cartoons I grew up with) and movie/Disney production artwork. Something about the process drawings and paintings leading up to the final image has always appealed to me (I prefer DaVinci's sketchbooks to his paintings).
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
I display what I can, which isn't much. To be displayed, everything needs to be archivally framed behind UV glass, and right now wall space is a rarity. I've only framed up production artowrk at this point. Someday though, I hope to be able to display more. In the meantime, the rest is stored in mylars within Itoyas.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
Much like a "favorite" piece, "most-wanted" pieces change so frequently. So I'll ignore reality and shoot for the stars with five long-term wants:
First, a plate from Bernie Wrightson's Frankenstein. I love Wrightson's work, I love illustrated novels, and I love pen and ink work - so put all three together and you have a grail.
Second, the artwork to Jim Lee's X-Men Forever Door Poster. I had that poster hung on my bedroom door for years and never got tired of looking at it - and I don't think I'd ever get tired of looking at the original.
Third, I'd pick a piece of McFarlane's Spawn artwork. Much like Capullo, McFarlane doesn't sell his Spawn work, so finding a piece is next to impossible.
Fourth, I'd pick a Jack Kirby X-Men page. Kirby's X-Men is long before my nostalgia-sweet-spot, but I definitely love his work and would love to own such an important piece of X-Men history.
And finally for my fifth pick I'll go with a non-comic piece: A Ralph McQuarrie painting from Star Wars. His concepts are second to none and his matte paintings are spectacular as well. I'm not picky, anything will do!
View Trent C.'s Gallery