1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I'm 44 years old and I have an awesome son who just hit 17 months old. I have my Doctorate in clinical psychology. Most of my clinical work is with the deaf and hard of hearing community. I also do consulting for academic institutions.
I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, CA; Reseda to be specific. Raised in a single parent household with a brother 4 years my senior. Money was tight, but we were creative with our time and that's where comic books came in. My mom would secretly buy us comics and hide them in the Sunday paper. One week it was Spider-Man #134. Next week it'd be the Hulk #186.
My mom was always getting us stuff to read. The 70s art by Herb Trimpe, Rich Buckler, John Romita, and John Byrne is amazing. Basically, it was their work that got me into reading and really appreciating art. From there I explored everything Marvel. The Bronze Age comics were what I grew up reading and I believe are still some of the best books ever.
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
I love all my pieces, but if I had to pick one it'd be my X-Men page from #121 by John Byrne. It's been with me since 1982.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
My mom loved fantasy art when I was a kid. She had Boris Vallejo and Frank Frazetta's books that I was always looking at. The first comic art she ever got was a Thor page by John Buscema in the early 70s. Shortly after, she picked up a Man-Thing page for me because I liked monsters. She also picked up an Ernie Chan watercolor piece of Conan. Fortunately, I still have these pieces (in my gallery). Then I purchased my first piece, a John Byrne X-Men page, when I was 12 years old from Golden Apple in Northridge. $120.00 and a three-month layaway plan and I finally got it (Click on the Byrne page in my gallery for the whole story).
I would pick up a piece here and there over the years, but it wasn't until my brother gave me a Moon Knight comic drawn by David Finch that started up my interest in books and art again. I met up with David Finch at the San Diego Comic Con in 2007 and that is when I took more of a serious interest in collecting art. The last few years I have been much more active in acquiring art. There's just so much great stuff out there.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
I actually have copies of some of the originals in frames with the cover and published page from where the page is from in my stairwell. It makes viewing them a bit more fun. The originals are in portfolios. I also have a Dracula themed bathroom with some Dracula commissions I’ve picked up over the years.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
Werewolf By Night #32 cover (Gil Kane) and/or page 1 (Don Perlin).
X-Men #140, page 17 (John Byrne).
Moon Knight cover (David Finch).
Amazing Spider-Man #67, page 1 (John Romita).
Amazing Spider-Man #102, page 1 (Gil Kane).
View Erik Essington's Gallery