1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am 47 years old and I have a 15 year old daughter who loves to draw and knows many of my comic artist friends. My girlfriend was an art major and is an amateur painter too-I love to be surrounded by art! I am a partner in an Atlanta based law firm specializing in retail development and leasing. I also am the current co-editor of the CFA-apa, the only amateur zine dedicated to comic and fantasy original art. Besides comic art, my interests include finding ,eating and occasionally cooking ethnic food of all kinds, hiking, biking, reading fiction and non-fiction of all sorts and going to see live music-I try to see as many concerts as my schedule will permit including an annual visit to Bonnaroo music festival in Tennessee. I really enjoy art of all kinds and my favorite leisure activities would certainly include travel-especially to places with great galleries and museums. I am generally a pretty gregarious guy and I am lucky to count several of the people I have met through collecting comic art among my closest friends.
2. What is your favorite piece in your gallery and why?
Well, I guess that would have to be the Dark Knight splash by Frank Miller. That book was so important to me in terms of refueling my interest in comics back in the mid eighties when I had started my working life as an attorney and was seeking a bit of relief from the hum drum reading that I did every day in the office. I was so lucky to have gone to San Diego the next summer and all of the art from the first and fourth books were being sold by someone representing Frank Miller. At the time I thought it was absurdly expensive and of course it turned out to be the bargain of a lifetime.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
I bought my first piece of comic art in the summer of 1975, but it was really only a sketch and a hand colored print. The first real piece was a gift from my parents. I found out Berni Wrightson was selling originals at a gallery in New York City via an ad in The Buyers Guide (later renamed the Comic Buyers Guide) . I contacted the gallery and they sent me a catalog and a price sheet for stuff that wasn't in the catalog. Although I wouldn't turn 16 for a couple of months and I was away being a junior counselor at a camp in Wisconsin that summer, I called my father and begged him to get me a piece as an early birthday gift. He acquiesced, though he was shocked at the price ($300.00) My father was a collector of impressionist and modern art prints and so I was always exposed to art when I was young. He was sort of skeptical about comic art as "real" art, but he knew I had a passion for it and he understood all too well what the obsession of a collector is like. I loved the idea that unlike the prints he collected and the comics I had been collecting, original comic art was one of a kind. It has gone it spurts of frenzied activity and long lulls since then.
4. How do you store and/or showcase your collection at home?
I have about 20% of my collection in frames and have it interspersed with fine art on the walls of both my home and my office. I like hanging Frank Miller, Jack Kirby and Hal Foster next to Toulouse Lautrec , Marc Chagall and Grant Wood(among others.) The rest are in a variety of portfolios of all different sizes. Since I have begun collecting a lot of preliminary art that is smaller in size, I have been very happy to find smaller folios that I can thumb through like a book sitting in my lap and really enjoy the pieces close up. I have to admit, the big folios are currently under the bed!!
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
That is a tough one. I collect widely and not deeply for the most part. I like to have a broad variety of art by many different artists and like to try to find a nice representative piece by each one rather than a lot of art by one artist. I am lucky that I have many of my favorite artists in my collection already, but my list seems to change all the time. Right now I would say that something by the following artists would definitely make me very happy:
1. Charles Schulz-I screwed up and didn't get any when it was affordable. I may have blown that altogether.
2. A really good Winsor McCay political cartoon.
3. A nice Jack Kamen EC page with a sexy girl
4. A nice Al Williamson Science Fiction page
5. My probably never will happen grail would be a Calvin and Hobbes piece by Bill Watterson.
View Benno Rothschild's Gallery