Monday, September 1, 2008

Dear Comic Art Fan,

In 1938 two Cleveland teenagers created the very first superhero, Superman. Today the home in which Jerry Siegel dreamed of leaping over buildings in a single bound has fallen into disrepair. Writer Brad Meltzer (Identity Crisis) became aware of this dilemma while researching his latest novel, The Book of Lies, and decided to start a campaign to save the birthplace of the Man of Steel. In this video you can watch Meltzer's appeal for help as well seeing the deplorable condition of the Siegel House. Several comic creators have donated items that will be available on eBay in the coming weeks, including CAF members Frank Cho, Dave Johnson, David Mandel, Michael Bair, and Ernie Chan, whose contribution is up for auction right now.

This building should be preserved as a national landmark and certainly no home should be allowed to remain in such a dilapidated state. The city of Cleveland has not seen fit to even affix a plaque denoting the historic value of the site, so it falls onto those of us who recognize the significance it bears in American culture to step forward. Please check out their website and give what you can.

See you next week!

Colin Solan
CAF Assistant

Premium Member of the Week :: Michael Rankins
1. Please tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up as a U.S. Air Force brat in the 1960s and '70s, with stops in Hawaii, Greece, and the Philippines, among other exotic locales. Because I was an only child whose family moved constantly, comics and the characters who populate them were my constant companions from an early age. They still are -- only now I have to look at them through reading glasses! These days, I'm the married father of a college-age daughter, and a professional speaker, writer, and aspiring voice actor. My claim to minuscule fame derives from the fact that I'm one of the 100 all-time top winners on the TV quiz show Jeopardy! My modest windfall from the show's 2005 Ultimate Tournament of Champions provided jet fuel for my comic art habit.

2. What is your favorite piece in your gallery and why?

If you asked me this question five minutes from now, I might have a different answer. At this moment, though, I'll say that it's the Hawkman/Thunderstrike commission that Keith Pollard penciled and Joe Rubinstein inked for my Common Elements theme gallery. (For those who don't know, Common Elements is a series of commissions featuring pairs of superheroes who are tied together by some shared -- and often obscure -- characteristic.) Getting my long-time art hero Keith Pollard to apply his talents to my theme was the realization of a dream, and the superb inking job by industry legend Joe Rubinstein added the perfect icing to the cake. A close second would be my Wonder Woman commission by the underappreciated Geof Isherwood.

3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?

Although I've been reading comics for more than 40 years, it never occurred to me for most of that time that professional comic book artists would deign to draw anything for lil' ol' me personally. One day about four years ago, I stumbled upon the website of one of my boyhood favorites, Bob McLeod, and discovered to my giddy surprise that Bob accepted commissions. A McLeod Black Panther commission ensued, followed in swift order by an expensive, doggedly unshakable addiction that haunts me to this very day.

4. How do you display/store your collection at home?

The majority of my collection is stored in Itoya Profolios, which in turn are kept in a sliding drawer in my office for easy (and frequent) access and perusal. My office wall has space for five framed pieces, and I rotate items in and out of these frames as the whim strikes me. Two additional framed pieces -- one of which is Darryl Banks's DPS cityscape from Doc Savage: Monarch of Armageddon #1 -- hand permanently in my living room.

5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?

The list of living artists I'd love to see represented in my Common Elements gallery is longer than the wait at the Department of Motor Vehicles. At the top of my "I Can Dream, Can't I?" chart would be (in no particular order) Adam Hughes, Barry Windsor-Smith, Mark Schultz, Arthur Adams, and Mike Kaluta. And although I don't collect much published art, I would be thrilled to own a Matt Baker "good girl" cover, a Lee Elias Black Cat page, or anything by Lou Fine, Mac Raboy, or Billy Graham.

View Michael Rankins's Gallery

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