Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dear Comic Art Fan,

This past weekend rocked!! I had such a great time at the Emerald City Comicon. Seattle is a great town for a convention since there’s plenty to do all within walking distance of the convention center. I met lots of West Coast artists for the first time, including Paul M. Smith, Humberto Ramos, David Hahn, and Derek Kirk Kim. Big thanks to Jim Demonakos and everyone involved!

Meanwhile, back home the Boston Comic Con apparently went like gangbusters. Mike Allred is certainly raving about it on his message board. Tell your friends!

See you next week!

Colin Solan
CAF Editor

Premium Member of the Week :: Gene Park
1. Please tell us a little about yourself.

I have been a collector, of various things at various times, all of my life. My hometown is San Diego, but I have lived in New York City for more than 15 years. Professionally, I am a managing director and portfolio manager at a leading macro hedge fund, having spent my entire career on Wall Street in investment banking and investment management.

I pursue a variety of other interests outside of work and comic art, including soccer, salsa dancing (there is an incriminating video of me on YouTube), fine art, opera, watches and sports cars. I am also a lifelong, die-hard James Bond and Conan the Barbarian aficionado, having discovered the original Ian Fleming and Robert E. Howard stories at an early age. Perhaps my biggest indulgence, though, is traveling – I have been to about 30 countries over the past ten years. In fact, most of this questionnaire was filled out while on holiday in Rio de Janeiro.

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

Many collectors know me as "the guy who owns the G.I. Joe #21 silent issue original artwork". While that is certainly among my favorites, as is some of the illustration artwork in my collection, like my Gil Elvgren pin-up and Boris Vallejo oil paintings, I'm going to have to pick the frontispiece to Vampirella #39 by Jose Gonzalez for the top position. I've always been a huge admirer of Gonzalez's work on Vampirella and this is one of the most iconic images of the character. Even though I was too young to grow up with the old Warren magazines, I've really come to appreciate the stories since discovering them and, especially, the artwork, which I consider to be some of the most beautiful ever published in the genre.

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

Although I have been a comic book collector since 1983, it wasn't until 2002 that I realized the comic art hobby even existed, when I stumbled upon and won an eBay auction for a Mike Deodato Elektra double-page splash. I was starting to lose interest in collecting comic books around this time, and getting that first piece of artwork was a revelation. Since then, I have assembled an eclectic collection of both comic book and illustration art. It may not be the biggest, best or most valuable collection out there, but it speaks to my personal tastes – no one has ever accused me of following the crowd or jumping on the latest bandwagon!

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

Most of my pages are stored in Itoya portfolios, though I have about 17 professionally framed paintings, drawings and pin-ups by comic book or illustration artists hanging on my walls, in addition to other framed photos and artwork. A number of friends and family members have suggested that I have overdone it with the comic/illustration art décor - I hope to eventually move into more spacious surroundings, so that the same amount of comic art will take up a smaller percentage of the available wall space!

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

There is one cover out there that I consider to be my Holy Grail – the owner knows about my longstanding interest and I am hoping that, one of these days, he will finally be willing to part with it! Excluding that (unnamed) grail, my top five would probably be: a top-quality Barry Windsor-Smith Conan splash, cover or pin-up; a Boris Vallejo Savage Sword of Conan cover; a Marvel Red Sonja cover from the 1970s; a definitive early-to-mid 1980s Dave Stevens cover; and at some point I probably need to fill the X-Men void in my collection with something representative by John Byrne and/or Paul Smith, given that it was that uncanny band of mutants that got me interested in collecting comics in the first place!


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