1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up on Long Island, pretty much during the timeframe of the old “Wonder Years” TV show. As a young kid, I liked DC comics, and even the occasional Harvey book – but I’d read them and toss them out. When I hit about 14 or so, I got into Marvel comics, and that’s when I became more of a nerd collector.
I was always a decent artist, and decided that I wanted to be a comic book illustrator. I applied to art schools after I graduated High School and I got accepted into the Rhode Island School of Design and the School of Visual Arts in NYC. I chose SVA because of their cartooning program. Once there, I looked around and quickly realized I didn’t have anywhere near the talent required to draw a comic book, much less earn a living at it. So I slid over into the advertising program, and that’s the career I ended up pursuing – and still work in to this day.
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
I don’t have a favorite piece per se. I have a favorite book, one that I am lucky enough to own in its entirely. It’s New Gods #7, a.k.a. “The Pact.” The cover is one of my Featured Pieces.
If you’ve ever visited my CAF Gallery, you’ve probably figured out that I am a total Kirby freak. In fact, outside of a few other random pieces, my collection is exclusively Kirby. And to me, “The Pact” represents the pinnacle of Jack’s magnum opus: the Fourth World. I think Jack counted it among his most favorite stories as well, so that’s an added bonus.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
Well, as I said earlier, I started collecting comic books in my early teens. My parents would take me into NYC and I’d go to the old McAlpin Hotel where they held these sort of mini-cons (although they seemed pretty maxi at the time) run by the late Phil Seuling. For the most part, I’d emerge at the end of the day with a shopping bag or three full of Marvel back issues. But in 1975, Jack Kirby was a guest at Creation 75, and his son Neal had a small booth with some beautiful finished pencil pieces for sale. I bought four. And that was it for any original art for quite some time. Around ‘76 or ‘77, I became disillusioned with the whole back-issue comic market, (“What? $300 for a copy of Fantastic Four #1?? That’s outrageous!”). That, plus my new interests at college, spelled the end of my comic-collecting life. But I always held a special place in my heart for Kirby. In fact, I still remember where I was (in London, shooting a TV commercial for UPS) when I read his obituary in a stray copy of USA Today that was lying around the set.
Cut to several years later; the Internet is gaining more and more steam, and I decided to do a search for “Jack Kirby.” The Jack Kirby Collector came up, and that’s where I discovered the original art that was – at the time – being sold by Roz Kirby. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was back into collecting full-force. But this time it wasn't books -- it was original art. And exclusively Kirby.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
Everything is in slipcases in an architect's flat file, save for one framed Sky Masters daily that I have leaning on a bookshelf.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
I have no specific wants in terms of “oh, I want that particular piece, and I’m going to chase it.” I’m always on the lookout for prime Kirby – “prime” to me being splashes, spreads and covers from 1967-75, give or take. Although, they are getting more expensive and even more rare. I feel like over the last several years, very few new, great Kirby pieces have come to the general market, so I am extremely grateful for what I’ve been able to collect and keep thus far.
I don’t play it particularly close to the vest, which is why for the past several years, the bulk of my collection – with the exception of complete stories, as they’re too much of a pain to scan and post -- is viewable in my CAF Gallery, for anyone to browse and enjoy.
View Tod Seisser's Gallery