Questions asked by davenchit.

1. Why collect?
Because I want to pay my kids’ school fees and still, you know, be able to live a normal life.

Think about it. The number of children to the number of schools available is a ratio that is bafflingly high right now. ( I should know, I have played Caesar 3 too long ). Schools ask for donations to admit kids, and increase school fees by about 20% every year. By the time my kids start going to school, I should be able to respond to their demand for the month’s school fees this way.

“Dad, school fees.”

“Hold on, my eBay auction for the Eric Powell Goon pages and the Essential Spider-man series get over in half an hour, and I will pass on the buyer’s payment to your Paypal account. You will have to mail off the stuff tomorrow, though….”


I get back to my hologaming console, and my kid goes out to score some weed. Everybody’s happy.

Belated April Fool’s Day.

Actually, collecting for me is the reason why I am earning money. I can see where my money goes. I get a reason every morning to wake up and not think of how I have to spend the next ten hours cooped up in a cubicle. It’s the adrenaline rush that comes with possessing something that is not easily accessible. It gives me good memories, ones that can pile up on unhappy ones and make everything seem all right again. It makes a life more complicated than it actually is, when I agonize over the hard choices I have to make everytime I see a Matt Wagner Demon page and a Gene Ha Starman page selling for the same price and wonder which one I should buy.

And yes, it means I am cooler than everyone else out there. Hoo-ah!

2. Deathmatch: High Culture vs. Popular Culture. Who wins and why?
The term “Deathmatch” you’ve used in the question refers to a word that was brought into everyday usage by Doom, a video game and pro wrestling. Does that answer your question? ;-)

But seriously, I find the terms too blurred to come to a conclusion. My inherent bias says that Popular Culture would gobble up High Culture in a trice, and that HC would not even evolve without dissolving an older iteration of itself into PC, and morphing itself into something that’s more H than P. Go figure!

3. How does Augustus du Ponti compare with the monkeys you have known? Is he an ideal, grown out of bitter disappointment in the monkeys you’ve met in real life?
I do not know too many monkeys in real life, alas. I am trying to get to know Augustus better, and so far the only thing he has made abundantly clear is that I shouldn’t grin at him, bared teeth makes him feel threatened.

4. 5 pieces of art you would buy if money and access were not constraints.
Ah. There are just too many, my friend! Ok, here goes. Terms and conditions: I won’t talk about the obviously historical pieces like the origin page of Batman or the first issue of Action comics, because nobody knows if the art to those actually exist or not.

– The interiors to a complete Frank Miller Sin City comic. Sin City: To Hell and Back issue 7, to be precise. Why? Because Miller never sells any of his art, and getting a complete Sin City comic would be a feat worthy of Collectorial Hosannahs for many millenia. Because this is the ONLY Sin City comic that is in colour, the honours done by Miller’s wife and partner, Lynn Varley. Because this issue is a drug-riddled trip in which the title character hallucinates fictional characters around him – which ensures guest stars like Elektra, Lone Wolf and Cub, Wonder Woman, the characters from 300, basically characters from every Miller comic.

– A Charles Addams’ cartoon. My absolutely favouritest black humourist ever.

The cover to Amazing Spider-man # 122, the issue after the one in which Spider-man’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy died. It’s by John Romita Sr, the definitive Spidey artist and calling the storyline iconic would be an understatement.

– A Dave McKean cover to one of the Sandman books. Preferably this one.

– A huge-ass painting. Not an Alex Ross, I am not that crazy about Ross nowadays. This painting by Steve Rude gives me this kick in my intestines every time I see it due to its Norman Rockwellishness ( I would love to own a Rockwell, but that’s not really comic art. I don’t even want to think of illustration art at this point of time in my life…) Maybe a Barry Windsor-Smith fantasy painting, or a Boris Vallejo one. *sigh*

5. I suppose this has to be asked. What was your first graphic novel and how did you like it?
Truth be told, I don’t remember. Depends on what you qualify as a graphic novel, I think. The first comicbook I remember reading was Amar Chitra Katha’s Krishna. The first superhero comic was a Batman issue from the eighties which I tracked down later – turned out it was a one-shot drawn by Gene Colan. All the superhero comics I read as a kid were stray issues from this series and that, but I guess if I were to think of the first self-contained story that made sense to me as being part of something that was bigger than other comics I’ve read would be Alan Moore’s work on Swamp Thing, which I have talked about sometime back. At about the same time, i read stray issues of Miller’s Daredevil, Giffen’s Ambush Bug and Romero’s Axa, all of which were very different from the “normal” comics I had read so far. Do they count?


True Story

I am obsessed with comicartfans.com. As if you didn’t know. While collection-hopping sometime last week, I landed up on a Spanish collector’s gallery, where, to my surprise, I found an Alan Davis page for sale. Not just another Alan Davis page, it was a page from an issue of Batman and the Outsiders, published sometime in 1985. It happened to be the issue where I had seen Alan Davis’s work for the very first time. And also, it was cheap, remarkably so. So, in my nostalgia-induced headiness, I sent a message to the collector saying that I wanted the page, and would he be all right with mailing it to India, and all that jazz.

He replied in a couple of hours, and quoted a price that was extremely reasonable, shipping included. Everything fine and hunky-dory. I would pay him on Monday, I told him. Cool.

So on Monday, just before I am about to pay, I notice that he’s online in GTalk. Just engage in casual conversation for a while, talking about comic conventions and collecting addictions and how tough it is to pay for Uderzo pages. While we are talking, I tell him that I am ready to pay and go over to Paypal, type in my information and click on “send money”. Just then, he asks me, “have you checked out the site that represents Alan Davis and sells his art for him?” “No”, I said. I hadn’t come across any site that sold Alan Davis artwork. He passed on a URL to me, and the moment I clicked on it, I knew I should have been more careful. There were Alan Davis pages GALORE, and truth be told, much better than the ones this guy had put up. It even had a page from The Nail, with all the JLA characters in it, and some pages from the X-23 debut in X-Men, including a kick-ass fight scene between X-23 and Wolverine.

And this guy, he takes my Paypal payment and returns it to me. I don’t know if he got charged for it or not, but this is what he said after returning the money:

“Maybe this way I lost a sale but won a friend. :D”

You sure did, Pablo.