Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dear Comic Art Fan,

With the new year upon us it’s timed to gear up for another year’s worth of conventions. The East Coast’s biggest, New York Comic Con, is already less than a month away. This show has exploded in the past four years to become a must-attend event for comic fans in the northeast. This year promises plenty of great guests, tons of panels, the debut of the Wonder Woman animated movie, the release of the latest Scott Pilgrim book, a major Hero Initiative art auction, and lots more. There is also a petition going around to get Stan Lee to make a return appearance. I’m sure I’ll see many of you there come Friday February 6, jockeying for position on sketchlists. 

See you next week!

Colin Solan
CAF Editor

Premium Member of the Week :: Charles Costas

1. Please tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up and currently live in Chevy Chase, MD – just outside of Washington DC. Local collectors have come to know me as I host an annual comic art get together each Spring which I affectionately refer to as the “Cherry Blossom Spectacular.”

For the last 13 years, I’ve worked with a large Global Management Consulting firm. The job has “allowed me” to travel around the U.S. and to get to know collectors in various cities such as L.A., Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia.

I’ve come to be known as the “Mike Zeck collector”, but my interests are a little more varied. I love the 80’s and have some great examples of early G.I. Joe, Transformers and Teenage Mutant Turtles art . I also love Golden Age Timely/Atlas and DC art as well as classic Marvel and DC art from the 60’s. That stuff will always be historic and is what started it all!

In recent years, I’ve had some fun in the hobby assisting Mike Zeck and Mike Vosburg put together their sketchbooks. I’m currently helping Vosburg sell the artwork from his “Heroine Addiction sketchbook - all those pieces are featured in my ComicArtFans site.

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

Ah, so many pieces… so many memories. Well, if I had to pick one piece, I’d pick the original art to the very first Punisher poster by Mike Zeck and Phil Zimelman. I had this poster on my wall when I was growing up and I admired it every day. When Kevin Eastman’s Words and Pictures museum opened, I had heard that this was one of the pieces in the collection and I dreamed of making it up there to see it in person. Then, when the museum closed in the late 90’s and the art was sold, I was lucky enough to pick up this piece. Oddly enough, Mike Zeck was there to greet me at the NYC show when I picked up the painting – also odd because it was one of the last public appearances Zeck made at a show. The piece is amazing in person - it’s the largest of the Zeck/Zimelman Punisher paintings and the colors on the original are vibrant!

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

Back in the early to mid-80’s, we used to have artists make appearances at the Washington DC area Jublilee, Serendipity, and Creation conventions. The first piece of art I received was from Larry Hama. I sat next to him at a show and he was kind enough to draw me a free sketch of Scarlett from G.I. Joe. I still cherish that sketch today. At first, my interest in comic art was pretty casual – I bought a page here and there, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on it as no one was sure it would ever be worth anything. The first page I remember buying was the Bill Willingham & Rich Rankin’s splash page to Elementals #2. I think I paid $5 for it.

What started me collecting comic art in earnest was a chance meeting with Mike Zeck and John Beatty at a Washington DC Creation convention back in January 1986. At the show, I was helping a dealer that was set up next to them. At the time, I was really into G.I. Joe and I knew Zeck was the artist drawing the covers. I decided before the show that I would try and buy a Joe cover from Zeck if he had one. The second issue of the Punisher limited series had also just hit the stands and I was really impressed with the art from that book. I thought that if I was lucky enough, I might also get a Punisher page or two.

When Zeck showed up, he showed up in full force. My senses were overwhelmed: on display for all to see were the five covers to the Punisher Limited Series! Zeck also had all the interior art to Punisher #2, 3 and 4, three inked prelims for the cover to #3, the finished pencils to some of the Punisher covers, an unpublished Punisher wraparound cover, three G.I. Joe covers (#45, 46, and 47), and the covers for X-Men Classics #2 and X-Factor #2. With so much to choose from, I landed on purchasing the cover to G.I. Joe #47 and the complete interior to Punisher #2. I spent the summer mowing lawns to pay my parents back for all the art I bought.

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

I try to follow different themes throughout the house. In the breakfast room I display Silver Age and Golden Age pages. In the bedroom I currently have covers and some smaller panel pages. The small upstairs bedroom has been dubbed “the Punisher room” as this is where I display my Punisher movie props and my collection of early Punisher art.

Years ago, I taught myself how to frame artwork. For the B&W artwork, I purchase black metal frames from the art store and I buy Plexiglas in large sheets and cut them down. This has helped keep the costs down for displaying art throughout the house. Some of the larger painted pieces are professionally framed.

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

I’ll limit this want list to pieces that are likely out there and attainable…

  • Punisher Limited Series #5 Cover by Mike Zeck and Phil Zimelman – Seeing all those Punisher Limited Series together back in 1986 has set me on a quest to try and reunite all the covers from the mini-series. My goal for 2008 has been to try and locate this cover.

  • Amazing Spider-Man #129 Cover by Gil Kane and John Romita – I have Kane’s preliminary pencils for this cover. I’ve never heard of the final cover surfacing, but it would be interesting to see if it was inked on board or vellum by Romita.

  • G.I. Joe #1 Cover by Herb Trimpe and Bob McLeod – Herb Trimpe, Larry Hama, and Bob McLeod all claim to have never received this cover back. So where is it?

  • X-Men Giant Size #1 Pages by Dave Cockrum – My favorite book from the 70’s. I love each and every page from this book.

  • Conan #131 Cover by Gil Kane - This was the cover that started me collecting comics again in the 80’s. Although it is likely a marker-drawn cover that has faded over time, it’d still be nice to add to my collection.

View Charles Costas's Gallery

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