1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am the host of Pod Sequentialism on the Meltdown Podcast network and the author of Pop Sequentialism: Great Comic Art of the Modern Age, which catalogs the first survey of modern comic art presented in a fine art gallery setting. I am also the director of La Luz de Jesus Gallery, which is where the lowbrow art movement was born, and the gallery most associated with the rise of pop surrealism.
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
I think my favorite piece right now is the Steve McNiven Old Man Logan cover pre-lim which I actually like better than the finished cover. In its simplicity it captures the abstract nature of violence, but it does so figuratively. There is also a Frank Quitely page from All Star Superman featuring his interpretation of Lois Lane. His Lois is one of my favorite illustrated characters of all time. Everything I have listed in my gallery is for sale, which has led to some very difficult decisions in my collecting habits. As a gallery director I have an immense collection of art and not nearly enough walls to showcase everything, so I want to present a chance of ownership to collectors who love and cherish and hopefully display them.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
I started collecting art before I was even in high school. I bought drawings from classmates and I sold my own drawings, but when I started working at a comic book shop in my early teens, I had the opportunity to buy published work and commission drawings from working comic book pros. The first published page I bought was an alternate cover from Stephen Bissette's run on Swamp Thing during the Alan Moore years. I worked after school and on weekends at that shop to pay for it. I wish I still had it. It was either lost or stolen at a convention years ago, along with a shortbox of all my Bernie Wrightson & Richard Corben stuff. There were fanzines and really small print run magazines that would be impossible to replace now. I had quite a few drawings from Eastman and Laird who were on my local convention circuit in Boston back before the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles really blew up. My vendor booth (at the ripe old age of 16) at a particularly slow show was right between them and Arthur Adams, and out of sheer boredom they would draw whatever insane thing I could come up with. Kevin drew me a really great team-up of Raphael and Badger, and Peter drew Leonardo standing over Boris the Bear's smoldering ashes with a flame thrower with the caption, "Remeber Kids, Only YOU can prevent Boris fires!"
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
I have a few sequential art pieces framed and hanging, but they're not what you'd probably expect from a guy who wrote a book on the art of modern super hero comics. I've got a Joe Coleman page from one of his first underground comix (Final Days of Paul John Knowles), which is very much in the vein of his Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer poster art. I've got a Robert Williams full page drawing from his Zap comix era ("The Marinated Heart"), and I've got a Junko Mizuno page from her Cinderella manga, but most of the original comic book art I have is stored in the same type of original art binders you'd see at a convention, or in my architectural drawers. Then there's the Jerry Robinson preliminary Batman page that I have, which has been the subject of three appearances on Kevin Smith's podcasts. It may very well feature an alternative origin for Robin in which the Joker is the gangster that has his parents killed at the circus. This Joker is much more like the harlequin in a deck of playing cards than the Man Who Laughs style Joker that emerged in Batman #1. I've been collecting the provenance on this for years and working hard to get Jerry full credit as the co-creator of the Joker. I can't claim the credit for it, but DC didn't start giving Jerry a co-creator credit in their movies until after I embarked on this project. Jerry fought so hard for other creators but he didn't demand credit for himself. I think now, everybody in comic fandom realizes that almost all of the characters credited to Bob Kane were in fact created by Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson, but just a few years ago that was not the case. I think this original art page, which is an inked prelim (very rare for the era) helps establish that argument. We hear people refer to certain art works as Holy Grails, but this really is one. At some point this page will either go to a museum or into a very important private collection. It's too valuable for me keep at my home so it's under lock and key for now.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
My top 5 most wanted comic book art pages are in descending order:
V. Kitty and Colossus Finally Kiss in Astonishing X-Men (John Cassaday).
IV. Dave Stevens' "WOW!" splash page of Bettie in The Rocketeer.
III. Batman K.O.s Guy Gardner in Justice League (Kevin Maguire)
II. Tony Stark confesses to a dead Captain America in Civil War by Alex Maleev
I. 7 Faces of Death (originally printed in DC Releases) by Chris Bachalo
The piece that occupies the top spot I have tattooed on my arm. Bachalo was saving the art for me and I went to SDCC back in 1993 to buy it from him, but when he wasn't at the booth his wife accidentally sold it to someone else who said their name was Matt. I could have killed that guy.
View Matt Kennedy's Gallery