1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m from the Great Northwest, a lifelong comics fan who works for an environmental nonprofit. The “nonprofit” part is pretty literal, so it’s hard to imagine participating in this hobby at the high end. But I’m fortunate to have begged, sniped, or traded for a mix of pieces that reflect both my 70s nostalgia and my serious interest in great comic artists (and writers) from the mid-80s onward.
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
My absolute favorite page, I can’t say – that’s too broad a category, like “favorite beer.” For sentimental favorite, I’d have to go with the Irv Novick page from Batman #259, which was the first comic my dad bought me in 1974. It was a 100-Page Giant with a Batman origin, Shadow crossover, and Cardy cover; what’s not to like? That book, together with my dim memories of the 1966 craze, got me started collecting Batman comics.
But for sheer artistry, I never tire of looking at my Mignola Swamp Thing page, Bryan Talbot Hellblazer page, or anything from Eddie Campbell. For artistry and history, it’s still amazing to hold a page that was once touched by Kirby, Wood, Ditko, or Toth. For underrated weirdness, Jerry Grandenetti or Frank Robbins.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
At one of the early Small Press Expos in 1998 or 1999, Chris Staros was selling a huge stack of From Hell pages – seemed like he had most of the book there. I already knew my favorite page from that story, Gull’s Chapter 4 reveal to Netley that leaves the poor sap retching in the street. Sure enough, there was the original, and for around 80 bucks I had my cornerstone piece (still not for sale at 50 times that, sorry!).
Strangely – and stupidly, considering recent price trends – I didn't really get the bug again until 2007, with another Campbell piece from eBay, and then went feverish from there. New artists, past masters, Silver and Bronze Age wackiness or “Dark Age” grimness, it's been great fun chasing a little of it all.
With so much variety out there, you hear people talk about the need to have collecting “rules,” and here are mine. Mostly DC and indie publishers, since that tracks my old comic reading habits (and since the best Marvel art is so much more expensive). I lean toward published pieces rather than commissions, and toward panel pages that highlight comics’ unique blend of words and pictures, rather than illustrations. (That also tends to rule out modern examples with no lettering on the board, unless the graphic storytelling is very strong.) All that said, I certainly wouldn't turn down any Frazetta oils or twice-up Marvel covers, should anyone care to give them to me!
A final consideration, which CAF makes possible, is whether a piece fits or can be shoehorned into my online gallery theme. That theme is best described as “odd pairings and bad puns” – see for yourself, and don't say I didn't warn you.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
Mostly in the ubiquitous Itoyas, which as someone here said, we all better hope are truly acid-free! Some key pieces are framed and hung in our limited wall space. A recent basement remodel helped, though I can't recommend that as the most cost-effective solution.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
Rather than frustrate myself by listing things that are simply out of reach (see “Frazetta oils,” above), I'll frustrate myself by listing things that rarely or never come to market:
1. Eddie Campbell Bacchus or Eyeball Kid page
2. anything by Joe Sacco
3. another JH Williams Promethea DPS
4. Paul Pope Batman: Year 100 page
5. Alex Toth Warren-era page
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