1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am 58 years old and originally grew up on a farm just outside a little town in southeast Missouri called Senath which is, by the way, about 10 miles from Sheryl Crow's hometown. I moved to Oklahoma City 40 years ago where I attended Oklahoma Christian College for four and a half years. After graduating from college, I attained a Master's Degree in art in 1982 and then a Bachelor's in marketing in 1988. I now reside in Edmond, Oklahoma just north of Oklahoma City.
Twenty-seven years ago, I became Batman artist Dick Sprang's art agent until his death on May 10, 2000. Dick and I both toured the country together at various comic book conventions, promoting his cover recreations and specialty commissions. During that time I also started my own hobby retail business in Edmond which I named Hobgoblin Hobby Shop. Not only did I sell comic books and gaming supplies I also sold trading cards, model kits, and vintage toys. To better promote my business, I invited both John Byrne and Dick Sprang to make a special appearance in 1994 to meet their fans in Oklahoma. In 2000, I started working for the Oklahoma Publishing Company as an Advertising Sales Executive until 2009. After that, I took on the role as caregiver taking care of my elderly mother until her death in 2013 at the age of 99.
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
My favorite piece in my gallery has to be the title page for Batman #156, "Robin Dies At Dawn!" a story written by Bill Finger, drawn by Sheldon Moldoff, and inked by Charles Paris. This issue was published in the summer of 1963 however, it was reprinted just three years later in Batman #185 (80 Page Giant) which just so happened to be my first exposure to this classic Batman story. At the time, I was only nine years old and I can still remember that fall day.
I was visiting my childhood best friend at his house and he had just bought a new comic book. I was immediately captivated by the cover with the image of Batman carrying a dead Robin in his arms. Then when I first glanced at the title page, which featured Batman and Robin fleeing for their very lives from a giant stone idol on an alien planet. I was absolutely hooked! After reading this strange tale, basically a story about Batman's greatest fear losing his crime fighting partner and friend forever to the grim arms of death, it became one of my most memorable Batman stories of all time!
It was two decades later, that I would become good friends with Shelly Moldoff and Charley Paris which made "Robin Dies At Dawn!" even more special to me. In 1986, Mike Barr wrote another one of my favorite stories in Detective Comics #571, "Fear For Sale", which pretty much revisited Batman's greatest fear. I would like to think Mike was inspired by Bill Finger's classic tale.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
I have been collecting original comic art since the summer of 1976 which was 39 years ago. Up until that time, my main obsession was collecting back issues of comic book but it wasn't until I received a catalogue from Pacific Comics that my collecting interests started to take a drastic change. Thumbing through the pages of the catalogue, I came upon an ad which featured original comic book art pages for sale. Until that moment, I never realized that you could actually purchase "one of a kind" originals such as these! To say the least I was pretty much excited at the very prospect! So I placed my order for two Curt Swan pages from Action Comics #359 and a Kurt Schaffenberger page from Adventure Comics #395. Since it was first come first serve, I had to list alternates, just in case any of these pages were already sold. Well, I didn't end up getting the Swan pages, but I did get three Schaffenberger pages for $15 each. But at that time, it really didn't matter to me just as long they were original art pages!
After that I was pretty much addicted! I went on to collect covers, splash pages, and interior pages which, unfortunately, I no longer own such as House of Secrets #92 and #93’s Bernie Wrightson covers, Detective Comics #476 Marshall Rogers’ cover, Justice League of America #1 title page, Flash #120 and #135’s Carmine Infantino covers, Superman #151’s Curt Swan cover, Adventure Comics #302’s Curt Swan cover, Mystery in Space #92 Infantino/Anderson cover, Justice League of America #24’s Murphy Anderson cover, Howard the Duck #1’s Frank Brunner cover, Amazing Spider-Man #40’s John Romita cover, Justice League of America #21 title page, Detective Comics #168 cover (Red Hood), Jimmy Olsen #133’s Jack Kirby cover, Silver Surfer Kirby splash from Fantastic Four #76, Venom first appearance splash from Amazing Spider-man #299 by Todd McFarlane, Uncanny X-Men #142’s John Byrne title page and many more great pieces. Today I still collect comic book artwork but I now have a great interest in comic strip art as well.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
Of course, the majority of my original art is stored in Mylar sleeves with acid free backing inserts. Also, much of my art is framed and matted and displayed on my wall in several rooms of my house, shielded from direct sunlight. Other pieces are stored away in a roll away Craftsman tool cabinet with drawers wide enough to hold large art pages.
5. What are your top five most wanted original art pages or commissions?
1) Dick Tracy Flattop daily from 1943/44 by Chester Gould.
2) Original art page from Batman #180, "Death Knocks Three Times!" (1966) by Shelly Moldoff/Joe Giella.
3) Original art page from Flash #133, "Plight of the Puppet Flash!" (1962) by Carmine Infantino/Joe Giella.
4) Cover to Unexpected #156, "Death Is A Dummy In Disguise" (1974) by Nick Cardy.
5) Original art page from Detective Comics #469, "By Death's Eerie Light!" (1977) by Walt Simonson/Al Milgrom.
View Ike Wilson's Gallery