1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
Although I started collecting comics back around 1970 when I picked up a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #100 and saw that Spidey had six arms on the last page, my interest in comics goes back to the early 1960s. I can still remember flipping through my older brother's copy of Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 before I could even read. What a great kick-butt comic that was, my all time favorite! I can also remember buying Daredevil #1 off the newsstand. Damn, I'm getting old!
Later in the 1970s I started buying as many comic collections as I could get my hands on as well as starting a mail order business for comic supplies (bags, boxes, inventory cards, etc) and selling at local cons. Some of you old timers might remember Eldorado Comics from the Comics Buyers Guide, Comics Journal, Overstreet, or Wizard ads we used to place. In the late 1970s we opened up a comic shop primarily because we needed more space for all of our inventory. A young Will Gabri-El was actually one of our customers back then and I still see enjoy seeing Will at the Philly and New York cons.
I was lucky enough to attend some of the New York cons in the mid-1970s and I obtained my first sketches at the 1974 con. Some of those sketches are on my CAF site. Others were subsequently sold off to "finance" my divorce (sigh). At the New York cons I got to know many of the Marvel artists and we used to have many of them come to our shop for signings and sketch sessions. Back in the day, we had John Romita Jr, Bob Layton, Dave Cockrum, George Perez, Jerry Bingham, Rudy Nebres and others to our shop. What a great time it was. We'd also buy artwork from them. We were the original owners of covers for the Amazing Spider-Man #200, Uncanny X-Men #122, and Avengers #181 as well as many high quality interior pages (Golden Micronauts, Brunner HTD #1, Perez FF, Adams Avengers, Alcala SSoC, Gulacy DHoKF, Buckler Avengers, and the list goes on). Unfortunately, these too were sold to finance my divorce.
I should also point out that during the mid-70s, I joined a comic fan club that started in New Jersey, the Fans of Central Jersey or FCJ. You might recognize names like Rob Stolzer, Bob Andelman, Bob Pinaha (who went on to be a letterer for some time), Al Czarnecki, Chris Padovano to name a handful, all members of FCJ.
Like many other fans, I was in and out of comics -- mostly out -- for various stretches of time. While I don't read any comics today (for lack of time), I have started collecting artwork again with a passion over the past 3 years and look forward to building my collection although it seems each month it is getting harder and harder (and more expensive) to find good quality art to add to my collection!
Now I collect primarily Marvel artwork that goes back to the silver or bronze age (my reading time period) plus a select few "modern" artists like Adam Hughes, Budd Root, and Todd McFarlane. I have a lot of trouble admiring the style of most newer artists. Like many other things in life, the artists and artwork just seemed better "back then"...
2. What is your favorite piece in your gallery and why?
It really is hard to decide on my favorite Gallery piece of artwork. If I didn't like them all, I wouldn't have bought them!! I guess if push came to shove, I would have to say that my favorite piece is the Cavewoman Reloaded Special Edition #1 cover by Budd Root. The coloring on this piece is just phenomenal and my eyeballs don't seem to mind focusing in on Cavewoman either! I also have to give an honorable mention to the tremendous Black Widow piece that I just obtained from Adam Hughes at HeroesCon this past weekend! As good as it looks on my CAF site, it is even better in person where you can really see the highlights, shading, etc, that Adam put into this piece. Simply outstanding!
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
I started collecting comic art back in 1974 when I attended my first New York comic con and was lucky enough to get free sketches from John Romita, George Perez, Rick Buckler, Jim Starlin, Mike Kaluta, Howard Chaykin and others. Those were the days!! I collected sporadically through the 1970s and then really didn't start collecting again until about 2005. I originally started collecting art as an extension of collecting comics. It was so cool to meet the artists whose art I admired in the published comics and then when I learned that with a little butt kissing and cajoling you could get a free sketch. My momma didn't raise no fool!
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
I have struggled with the best way for displaying my artwork. I have to say that I do not display most of my artwork primarily due to concerns over maintaining the condition of the artwork and just the cost of archival framing. Most of my artwork is safely stored in Itoya binders. I do however have a couple of Spidey (my favorite character) pieces on my office wall (as well as a handful of Spidey drawings from my 7 year old son, Matthew). I really do need to get some more of my artwork framed and displayed, but I'd rather spend the money on artwork than expensive frames. For the most part, I enjoy looking at scans of my artwork that I have stored in my computer or on my CAF site. I find this is the easiest way to look at my artwork whenever I want to. It also helps me to share scans with other collectors!
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
My 5 most wanted pieces of artwork would have to be interior pages (who can afford covers any more?):
(1) A Ditko Spidey page (my holy grail would be the cover or splash page to the Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1)
(2) A Romita Spidey page (as noted before, I used to own the ASM 200 cover -- I have since obtained a recreation as a fond memory -- now I would settle for any Romita Spidey page)
(3) Starlin artwork from his vintage 1970s Marvel period (Captain Marvel, Strange Tales, Warlock plus Giant Size Defenders and the Avengers and Marvel Two-In-One Annuals and the handful of other titles that he provided an issue or two of artwork for)
(4) A Bill Everett Sub-Mariner page (especially from his last Marvel run in the 1970s with the issues in the #50s)
and finally (5) a nice Alcala/Buscema (notice that I listed Alcala first as I think he was the master of these fantastic issues) page from any of the first 28 issues of the Savage Sword of Conan magazine this team worked on, especially issues #7 (a former page of mine now resides with Juame Vaquer) or #24.
Finally, I have to say what a pleasure it was to recently discover the CAF website. It's a great vehicle for displaying your artwork, seeing other collector's artwork, and meeting a lot of great collectors who share your passion about collecting comic artwork. It's also a blast when you finally get to meet a web pal at a con while chasing down some artwork!
I hope you'll visit my CAF site and please leave a comment or two!
View . BRAUNY's Gallery