Some Original Comic Art pages, on display in my Comic Art Fans gallery…..
A testimonial I did for CAF. This was the first version. I did send an amended version, but they went with this one anyway:
1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in 1969 and comics have been important to me pretty much my whole life, as both my parents were comic fans. Growing up on Marvel and DC during the 70s and 80s was a blast. I also remember the joy of 2000AD #1 and realising things would never be the same again in UK comics. In a good way. The rebirth of The Eagle was also an important part of my childhood, and I have many fond memories of reading my copy at my Dad’s house at the weekend, after he’d read it! It was through my Dad’s love of comics that I first became aware as an eight year old of 70s Batman. I loved reading my Dad’s copies of Batman and Detective Comics. Neal Adams, Dick Giordano, and Jim Aparo will always rank for me as Legendary Batman artists. It was with my Dad that I first started going to Timeslip Comic Shop in Pink Lane, Newcastle Upon Tyne. I then started making weekend trips there myself and spent many happy Saturday afternoons rummaging through the treasure trove of goodies they had. As a teenager my love for comics grew and I started bagging and boarding comics and getting more into the collecting side of the comics world.
I also loved to draw comic characters, and was often sketching and copying from my favourite panels. Much later I did my first degree at university in art and design, specialising first in natural history illustration. After that, through various life experiences, I lacked the confidence to pursue Art as a career. I had a strong urge at that point to help people though, and after working for a while in care homes I trained to be a mental health nurse, something I’ve done now full time for about ten years.
I live in the north of England with my wife and our beautiful seven year old daughter. My daughter encourages my interest in cave art, while also helping me develop my interest in feminist ideology. It has been fascinating and often frustrating to see how superhero culture continues to be marketed differently to girls and boys, and the assumptions that are perpetuated. I would describe myself now as a male-feminist-in-training, and I love to see female superheroes depicted respectfully as strong heroes in their own right, with practical battle-ready costumes!
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
The end splash to Final Crisis. Beautiful art by Doug Mahnke. It’s a personal art grail to me. I love Final Crisis and the ending was just awesome! By taking Bruce back to the most basic and fundamental ‘human cave’, and having him tap into the core of human creativity, Grant took his Batman epic saga to a whole different level. For me, this splash is a perfect example of story, storyteller, artist and metaphors harmonising together beautifully.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
I’ve been collecting original comic art about ten years now. I initially found out about CAF via a work friend, but his collecting interests are very different to mine, so I very much went my own separate way in collecting. Through CAF I’ve made contact with some great artists. When I started collecting a lot was tied up with the loss of my father at the time. It was a sad time, and I started to find a lot of meaning in thinking about primitive cave art and how messages can be communicated symbolically through time in different mediums. Cave art has been the dominant theme throughout my collection, and while it has at times spun off into different themes, such as the Moon, it always seems that cave art is what I come back to!
A few years ago I started a sketch book with a cave theme, and I continue to take this with me to UK conventions I attend. As I only usually manage to get to one or two conventions a year it is slow going, but talking to artists directly and ending up with a sketch is something I get a lot of enjoyment out of, as I’m sure many other CAF members would agree! The drawing Lee Garbett did for me in 2013 of Nightcrawler and the Christian Cave Art symbol was fantastic, but that is the most recent picture in the book as I write this!
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
I only have a couple of original art pages framed: the JLA Primeval cover, and the Wolverine Return of the Native splash. They complement each other really well. Wall space in our house is limited, so the rest of my collection is stored in Acid-free portfolios.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
I’m not really looking to buy new pages right now, due to family commitments, so #1 and #2 are pipe dream type stuff!
1. A Howie Post Anthro cover. Way out of my price range, as is number 2:
2. A Jim Aparo / Dick Giordano / Neal Adams Batman cover.
3. I started a joint sketch with Grant Morrison when I met him last year in Edinburgh. He did his part, I just have to do my part! My aim is to do it in 2014, and then hoping for some kind of visual response from Grant!
4. A Doug Mahnke/J.G. Jones sketch jam for my cave-book, based on Final Crisis.
5. Any further inspirational pieces for my cave-book! These have happened so far through face to face conversations with artists, so I have no idea who could be next!