1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m probably just like a lot of folks that frequent the site. As a kid, I started reading comics that my brother collected (mostly Chris Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men and then New Mutants during the classic Bill Sienkiewicz days) and then started collecting comics on my own. I went to school for way too many years, collecting comics off and on during that time, and eventually got a decent job providing me a little disposable income. It was a few years after I finished school that I discovered comic art collecting, and I now spend way too much money on comics and art while trying not to feel too guilty about neglecting the wife and kids. I plan on making my children go to a public school for college, so that I’ll have that much more to spend on art.
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
So hard to choose, but I’m going to go with the Afrodisiac pin-up by Jim Rugg, which first appeared in the Project: Romantic anthology published by AdHouse books and was later reprinted in the Afrodisiac hardcover. Jim is such an amazing and versatile artist, who doesn’t get nearly the amount of recognition that I think he should. His knowledge of and passion for the medium of comics and printed matter really set him apart from a lot of modern creators. That and the fact that he’s just a really nice guy. This piece hits all the right notes for me. The character of Afrodisiac is such a clever, tongue-in-cheek homage to pop culture from the 70s. It would be easy for the character to devolve into a crude parody of Blaxploitation movies, but Jim and co-creator Brian Maruca strike the perfect balance between deference and humor in their stories. This piece makes me chuckle every time I see it.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
I think I first started collecting comic art in 2005. That year, I went to Heroes Con because I wanted to meet James Jean, who was doing covers for Fables at the time and was a guest at the show. His Fables covers were some of the most beautiful images I’d ever seen on comic shelves, and they basically made me start reading the series. At the convention, he had a portfolio of pencil prelims and other small pieces of art for sale.
Although I’d been collecting comics off and on for almost twenty years, I hadn’t even been aware that comic art existed at that time, much less that people collected it. I bought a relatively inexpensive piece from him – a concept sketch for a TV or movie pitch that never took off – and ever since then I’ve been hooked. In the beginning, I mainly collected pieces by James Jean, but have since widened my net a little over the years.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
Honestly, I only have a few pieces displayed on my walls at home, and those are primarily pieces that were already framed when I got them. I’m too lazy to take my art to the framers, so most of my art is sitting in a flat file or in portfolios that I flip through when the spirit moves me.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
Fables #33 by James Jean
Fables #5 by James Jean
Moon Knight #24 by Bill Sienkiewicz
Brave and the Bold #91 by Nick Cardy
Daredevil: Born Again TPB cover by David Mazzucchelli
View Ben H's Gallery