1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
As a kid I totally fell in love with the magic of Marvel Comics, the incredible energy of Jack Kirby's graphics, Steve Ditko's unique, iconoclastic strangeness, John Buscema's clear illustrative lines and incredible yet accurate figure work - aided and abetted by Stan the Man Lee's wonderfully hyperbolic language. Growing up it was Roy Thomas and John Buscema or Barry Windsor Smith on Conan, Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson's Swamp Thing, Neal Adams and Marshall Rogers on Batman, all of which moved the medium in exciting new directions! Then the revelatory dialogue and narrative of Alan Moore on Swamp Thing, V for Vendetta, Marvelman, and Watchmen blew the lid off the whole shebang - mind-expanding stuff. Anything by Moore is Gold, and he brings out the best in any artist. These are a few of my favourite things - the medium is part of my history!
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
My favourite piece - that's a hard one! It often changes according to what I'm looking at or hanging up! But I think that potentially the most amazing piece of visual art is my hallucinatory John Buscema & Alfredo Alcala splash from an early Savage Sword of Conan - its perfect illustration of a very high order, incredibly elegant and tells the story at a glance. Plus it has a glorious Buscema babe!
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
I started collecting comic art pretty late on - have only been doing so over the last 8-10 years or so, way too late to get most of the mad bargains which a fan could pick up decades ago! If I could build a time machine, getting some of that stuff would be my first priority! Having collected comics from early childhood, it just occurred to me how incredible it would be to own actual original pages from some of my favourite artists - picked up several Alan Moore/Chris Sprouse Tom Strong pages and was fascinated by the amount of detail and masterful work in them. Couldn't believe such sublime art was available for peanuts, price-wise. Moved on to collecting many other artists. Everyone is a prize. These are my Picassos and Rembrandts!
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
I have about half a dozen pieces hanging in frames which I rotate to avoid too much exposure to light. At the moment there's a George Perez CrossGen, a Steve Ditko horror, A Chris Sprouse Tom Strong, an Alan Davis X-Men, a Bryan Hitch Ultimates page, and a fantastic Milivoj Ceran recreation of Steranko's iconic Hulk annual #1 cover. Anything hanging up I study at length and thoroughly enjoy. They are worth every penny of what I paid for them, and often considerably more.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
Another hard one, but top of the list would be:
- a Jack Kirby/Chic Stone page from the early Fantastic Four run - a page with the Impossible Man would be perfect, if you're saving up to get me one!
- a Steve Ditko Dr. Strange or one of his sci-fi/horror/monster pages from the 1950s - he was at his brilliant, inventive design height in many of these, a true original!
- a Bernie Wrightson Swamp Thing or Frankenstein Alive, Alive page. Probably the latter, as I think this is the best work he's ever done in the graphic narrative medium. Incredible to see that this childhood hero of mine continues to improve on already remarkable work!
- a John Buscema Silver Surfer page. Anything with lots of chrome-dome on his board, posing dramatically and showing off Big John's wonderful figure-work and flawless anatomy!
- a Jazzy Jim Steranko Cover! One of the iconic Nick Fury pieces or the Hulk Annual # 1 cover - that's why I had the very talented Milivoj Ceran recreate it for me! I have that beauty hanging to enjoy every day
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