Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dear Comic Art Fans,

Congratulations to the new President-Elect of the United States, Barack Obama! His ascension to the White House is a historic first on many levels but of direct relevance to the CAF community is that he’s a self-avowed comic book fan! From dismissing messianic allegations by saying he wasn’t born in a manger but rather on Krypton to citing Paul Pope’s Batman: Year 100 as his favorite superhero, Obama easily swept the geek vote in this election.

See you next week!

Colin Solan
CAF Editor

Premium Member of the Week :: Ron Sonenthal

1. Please tell us a little about yourself.   

 Having been born around the beginning of the Marvel age, comics have been a part of my life for as long as I could recall.  Frankly, I think I learned my love of reading from Superman and Spider-Man comics.  In fact, I remember watching my grandfather, who emigrated from Russia, read the western comics, like The Rawhide Kid, Two-Gun Kid, and others to help him with his English.  Now?  I'm a Tax Partner with a large accounting firm.  I've been married for over 20 years and have three daughters.  I'm a lucky guy.  My family is generally tolerant of my addiction.  And having found CAF and met a ton of great people through this hobby has been just a lot of fun.  Because of comics and comic art, I've corresponded with people around the country and around the world.  It's been amazing.   

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

My favorite piece is an interior page from Daredevil #169.  It features Bullseye and Daredevil fighting in a movie theatre.  I had originally purchased it from Frank Miller.  In the early 80's, while in college, I attended the Chicago Comic Con. At that time, it was small, and the artists basically hung out in a mid sized room. I wandered around getting sketches, and bought my first pieces of comic art. One, I bought from a guy named Frank Miller. He was quiet, but very easy to talk to, and I loved Daredevil. Anyway, he had a stack of pages (knowing what I know now, I should have given him my tuition check and bought everything I could carry), and I found the best fight scene I had seen involving DD and Bullseye. I bought it for $90, which was not insignificant at that time, and certainly more than the $15 to $20 per commission everyone was charging. Still, I loved that page.  I had it framed and it hung in my dorm room all through college, and then after in my apartment. I had a small collection of art - about 8 pages (Byrne X-Men and Fantastic Four, Sienkiewicz Fantastic Four Cover, Anderson X-Men annual cover, and some others - still looking for those!), and some great commissions. I got married five years after graduation, and my wife was generally accepting of the comic book habit, but she just plain thought the artwork was scary. In fairness, the Marshall Rogers commission of Batman chasing the Joker across the rooftops at night in the rain was pretty scary looking. Anyway, I digress. The artwork was too scary to hang up, and if we ever had children it was going to give them nightmares. I liked cartoons too, so animation cels were a compromise. To buy those, I needed cash.

So, I sold everything. Roll forward fifteen years, and I get the bug again, and start buying original artwork. I've been wondering where that Miller page was. And, the more that I got into it, the more I realized that finding that specific page would be impossible.

 Until CAF. David Mandel, a great guy to deal with, had the page I was looking for, and was willing to sell it to me - albeit for a small premium over my original $90 purchase price (HA!). And, it's once again home. It's a great fight scene, a great example of Miller at his prime, and it means so much more than that to me. I hope and plan to buy others, but this one is special.

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

I started collecting comics and comic art when I was in college.  I attended the Chicago Comic Con in the early 80's for 5 or 6 years.  But, work, kids, and life took over.  A few years later, I decided to sell my comic collection (some 30 boxes strong).  Unfortunately, the dealer took the books and disappeared.  After that experience, I couldn't look at comics any more.  I think five years passed before I picked up another comic.  The next thing I knew, I was hooked again.  About 5 or 6 years ago I started buying Original Art and have not looked back.  

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

I've got about 10-15 pieces in frames.  I rotate half of those on a regular basis, and the balance is either in Itoyas or in Mylar with boards.  Of course, the balance of the collection is stored in a safe protected by a moat and professional assassins!

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

My wants?  I'm more of a published art fan than commissions.  I'm always on the lookout for pages from Civil War, and Finch's New Avengers.  But for top 5 grails?  That is really hard.  I'd have to say my top five (and I'll cheat a little) are:

Frank Miller - Daredevil Cover and/or splash pages

John Byrne - Captain America, X-Men, or Fantastic Four

Neal Adams - Superman vs. Muhammad Ali

John Buscema - a Silver Surfer splash

Marshall Rogers - Splash from the original Detective Comics run

View Ron Sonenthal's Gallery

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