1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
My brother Steve (the sports writer) introduced me to comics when I was in the 4th grade. I was captivated and used to sneak into his room when he was off to college. I would carefully move his stacks of comics discovering his (almost) full runs of all of the Marvel books. The Avengers were a favorite right off. I started going to conventions in 1980 (eleventh grade) with my high school buddy Brian Haberlin. To think of the things we bought and sold back then just to make money to take girls on dates. None of those gals lasted and those Frank Miller Daredevil covers and Michael Golden Dr. Strange pages should have been hung onto. Lucky I work in an industry (Real Estate) that usually is pretty lucrative (but not right now) to support my habit. I am also lucky my wife prefers art collecting over drinking, gambling or spending weekends glued to the TV watching sports. Brian has introduced me to many of the guys he works with so that is how I got into being an art rep. Most of these guys have turned into some of my closest friends. I am a lucky guy to be surrounded by them.
2. Which is your favorite piece in your gallery and why?
I have two: #1 is my Jim Starlin Rampaging Hulk cover. When I was in junior high I walked into a liquor store and picked up this issue of Rampaging Hulk and was in awe of this cover. I thought Namor was the coolest. I said to my brother "I am going to own this piece of art someday." As fate would have it, in 1980 I went to San Diego Comic Con for the first time and I bought this piece from an art dealer for $300. I have no idea where or how I got that much money as an eleventh grader but it was the first piece of published art I ever purchased. Thus was born my art collecting! Thank you, Jim Starlin, for creating this piece. Number two is my ongoing commission of the Marvel Universe I am doing with Jay Anacleto. You see what is done already and we still have the Inhumans, the cosmic people, two X-Men teams, and then the street characters to go. If/When we get that done, a companion piece with all of the villains will happen.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
I wanted to by original art as early as the sixth grade; I just had no idea how to find it. I am not sure how I found out about San Diego Comic Con but I did and went in 1980. It was held at a little hotel called the El Cortez back then and I was in heaven. I don’t think I have missed a show there since.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
I display most of it in various places in my house up on the wall in frames. I have run out of wall space so that is why I am selling so many things (besides pieces for artists whom I rep). So if my art commissions or purchases from New York Comic Con are better than what I have up then that stuff comes down and goes on sale. Most of us art collectors are hoarders. I am trying not to be like that. Everyone should be able to enjoy the art they love so I try to keep only four or so pieces from each of my favorite artists.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
Geez, only five? I’ll try
1. Avengers #127 & #133 covers (I am cheating already) ~ I love Gil Kane’s art and I love the Avengers
2. Avengers #100 pages 5-6 DPS ~ Barry Windsor Smith did amazing things in the 1970’s and beyond
3. Captain Marvel #137 Cover ~ again by Gil Kane and Klaus Jansen (nobody inked him better)
4. Incredible Hulk #193 Cover ~ again by Gil but inked by John Romita this time; you gotta love Doc Samson
5. Thor #225 Cover ~ by John Buscema; what a powerful image of Firelord and his back is turned to you!
The only reason Avengers Annual #7 cover or the Cosmic 1976 calendar piece, both by Jim Starlin, didn’t make the list is that I have an outstanding replica of both of them by Joe Rubinstein.
View Kirk Dilbeck's Gallery