1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I just turned 41 in New York City, married to a New Yorker with our two young daughters, but I have carved out a niche here in NYC for my fellow ex-pat Chicagoans. In addition to comic art, I also collect bronzes by Edward Kemeys, a Chicago artist popular in the late 1800s who sculpted the lions in front of the Art Institute of Chicago and the mountain lion perched above the running path in Central Park (“Cat Hill”). Making the shift solely to comic art and getting rid of a lot of my CGC slabs has greatly reduced my collection’s footprint, a very important point when living in less than 1000 sq. ft. Communicating directly with artists on modern books is the part that I really enjoy about the original art hobby; My collecting focus is only a couple modern books at a time with an eye for great art and story (like Manifest Destiny, Wild Blue Yonder, and The Wake). My daughters are responsible for the pile of My Little Pony art, but there is some great work in there to appreciate without being a brony.
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
Detective Comics #582 by Jerry Bingham, part of an interlocking group of covers during the Millenium cross-over in 1988. I was able to get all four covers which was important to both myself and the seller. I distinctly remember these on the shelf from my first year reading comics, and I can’t wipe the smile off my face that I actually found them and got them. Jerry grew up a couple of miles from me in Chicago, and we kept in contact regarding his current work and my search for these covers; he was super pleased to see them still intact as a group.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
It hasn’t been all that long. I stopped reading comics in the early 90s when I went to college and ended up at various jobs abroad for the next 20 years. Every year or so, I’d call my mom to not throw away my long boxes in the basement. So I missed the crazy days of foil covers and Image’s launch, and re-approached the hobby twenty years later in 2011. Focusing on Bronze Age Batman, it was a very steep learning curve of initially buying ungraded raws (done poorly) to slabbing my raws with CGC (done very poorly), to buying at auction CGC slabs (done very expensively), and then being exposed to the wonderful world of original art. The great part of missing comics entirely from 1991-2011 was that the separating of the wheat from the chaff had already been done…I binged on Y: The Last Man, Sandman, Locke & Key, Dark Victory/Long Halloween, Invincible, and The Walking Dead for six months. Then I started checking the auction sites, reading the message boards and CAF, and then in 2012 it got interesting when I started networking and making direct relationships with a couple modern artists and agents and fellow collectors. A lot of lessons learned the hard way in a very compressed amount of time…
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
Wall space is a premium in our apartment, but my lucky daughters’ room is dominated by the massive OA interlocking covers to My Little Pony #1 by Andy Price, and littered with other My Litle Pony covers by Amy Mebberson and Sara Richard which rotate with commissions or con sketches that my girls have picked up at New York Comic Con (Supergirl, Mouse Guard), making for a very comic-centered room full of original art. The rest of my art is in Itoya portfolios which get pulled out quite often. The Jerry Bingham Millennium interlocking covers are headed to the framers. This year at NYCC, I brought a coffee mug that you could sketch on and bake the ink permanently into the porcelain, and had a bunch of the artists I know sketch a character from their book onto the mug (and inside in Five Ghosts/Chris Mooneyham’s case); my morning coffee has never been this awesome!
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
1. Locke & Key interior splash pages (if Gabe Rodriguez will only let me buy one!)
2. Any one of the Jim Aparo covers to Adventure Comics #431-440 with the Spectre dishing out justice in the most brutal manner possible, all while dodging the Comics Code. Any one of the “dispatch” pages as well!
3. Splashes from each of my favorite Batman stories: Dark Knight Returns (Frank Miller), Killing Joke (Brian Bolland), Long Halloween (Tim Sale) or Son of the Demon (Jerry Bingham)
4. Mike Zeck’s cover to Batman #417 (first issue of the Ten Nights of the Beast arc)
5. Winsor McCay Little Nemo in Slumberland (impossible to find, expensive if found, but man, these are the freshest 100+ year-old comic strip you will ever see) I would be proud to curate one of these for a very long time.
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