1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I'm an American, 40 years old, born and raised in Washington, DC. My CAF name is taken from a neighborhood my family inhabited for a couple years when I was young. When I was a pre-teen you would often see me tearing open plastic comic baggies (just pulled from the mailbox or snatched out of my father's hands) and devouring the contents of Uncanny X-Men, Amazing Spider-Man or Daredevil. I suspect many CAFers can relate… The art of Alan Davis, Marc Silvestri, Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, John Romita Jr., and Mike Mignola left permanent impressions on my developing artistic mind. My friends and I eventually wrote, drew (and sold to any sucker willing) our homemade comics. These were crudely drawn on folded sheets of white 8.5x11 paper, carefully stapled twice along the center fold line. I now live outside New York city. I'm married and have two young boys (the oldest is two, the youngest 11 months) that I hope to eventually share our hobby and community with.
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
The cover to Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus #4 by Mike Mignola. This piece is special to me because, first and foremost, I love looking at it. I've always been fascinated by Mike Mignola's art. When I was a young aspiring artist I remember being turned off by his art but at the same time intrigued. Even back then it was clear to me that he was an immense talent. His art pushed me to think about what I didn't like about it. This meant to try to be specific about my tastes rather than just a consumer, as I felt I was with some of the other greats of that period. Now I see an architectural quality to his current style that fascinates me; I spent several years studying art, art history and architecture. I often find myself staring at length at a black and white Mignola piece, my brain straining to process how he constructed the shadows and shapes to form the final product. It seems as if it would be so simple to do but it isn’t… Mignola is also a master story teller. This is true for his sequential pages as well as his covers, pin ups etc. There is often a depth to his composition that requires focus and occasionally introspection. In short, pretty much everything this man does impresses me.
Also, I should mention this cover is from a trade paperback I read, and really enjoyed, after being away from comics for many years. I was someone that lost interest in comics when the art (and stories) became hyper-sexualized and collectors (some were my close friends) became fanatical about all the multiple versions being published of the same issues. The combination of the two turned me off completely and I lost all interest in spandex clad heroes. Maybe seven years ago I picked up a couple books on a whim and really enjoyed some of what I read. It was around then I read several Mignolaverse trades. The Lobster Johnson stuff came across as good clean fun.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
I’m pretty sure I bought my first page of original art in 2009 but I would say it took me 12-18 months before I got serious. It also took me another year to understand that with comic art there are various avenues of appreciation/attraction. Lloosely explained, What I like to look at now vs What I enjoyed aesthetically as a teenage reader vs What was/is significant in terms of the actual story being told, etc.. Each plays on your emotional attraction/attachment. I think these different levels (a better word escapes me right now) are what make this hobby so compelling to so many of us. My wife would probably say I’m overthinking it though…
I'm not really sure what prompted me to start. Maybe being able to reconnect with some of the emotions of my childhood? Having a full-time job definitely helped.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
Framed and on the wall or in an oversized Itoya folder. Most of my Mignola covers are in sleeves in a single folder, ordered chronologically. This makes it easier for me to compare them. A couple pieces on my wall aren’t yet in my CAF gallery. I will get around to it eventually.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
There are so so many possibilities but I will limit myself to Mignola covers otherwise my brain might explode. The ones below are pieces I find myself looking at time and time again. Also, each one of these is already on CAF. This allows me to admire them from afar. Many thanks to the owners for sharing them!
Hellboy: Third Wish #2 cover (Love the mood, Big Red, the whale and that fish's face on the left side).
Hellboy: Third Wish #1 cover (I've spent time in Tanzania and South Africa and well I could look at those lions all day... And again the mood Mignola creates!)
Drawing on your Nightmares Halloween Special (I look at this once a week. Every time I do it makes me smile.)
Hellboy: Wild Hunt #6 cover (I see this as a perfect Mignola cover.)
Hellboy: Seeds of Destruction HC cover (I just love this.)
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