Collector Spotlight – Francesco Brisighelli
Hi everyone, please warmly welcome Italian OA collector and website author, Francesco Brisighelli! Francesco is a phenomenal comics and original art buff, with deep knowledge of genres including American and European superhero, strips and alternative comics. Moreover, he’s eager to share this information with other fans, writing weekly OA-focused auction previews on his site. Francesco’s also an extremely friendly guy, as well as generous with his time and energy, all in efforts for the betterment of our hobby!
Hi, I’m Francesco, a 38 year-old from Italy. I’ve been collecting OA since I put my eyes on a piece of comic art for the first time! When I was 16, in 1995, Lucca Comics (the most important Italian convention) announced as guests John Romita Sr. and Jr., and I convinced my parents to bring me there. We booked a hotel room for the weekend and they left me at the gates in the morning. I started walking between the aisles until I passed by Ted Lanting’s stand… in that moment I discovered that original comic art existed and it was also for sale! My obsession started. I spent hours looking at everything that was on the table – I remember a pile of about 200 Conan pages by John Buscema priced at 80-100 dollars, Frazetta, Kirby… I finally settled on a Sal Buscema Spectacular Spider-Man page that cost me all of the little money I had. From that moment on, I stopped collecting comic books and never looked back. I never pay more than cover price for a comic – I only buy comics for reading purposes and keep the rest for original art!
Original Comic Art Tips
I’ve been following online OA auctions for many years. I started with eBay around 2005, then came Heritage and the dozens of sites lately that offer original comic art. Last year I realized that I spent hours every week watching auction lots and results, and the knowledge I got could be useful to other collectors – some would like to follow auctions but don’t have the time, while others see a piece they like but simply forget to bid on it when the auction is closing. I decided to start a weekly newsletter that comes into collectors’ inboxes as a reminder of closing auctions, where I highlight some of the best lots from each one. It’s a free service, and I hope it can be useful to every collector reading this! You can sign up at http://www.comicart.tips.
In many years of collecting, I’ve bought and sold maybe hundreds of pages. I regret that I’m too eclectic in my tastes; I’m a bit envious of collectors who can focus on a single genre and save money for 1-2 big pieces every year. But I like comics and comic artists in all genres, so I just can’t do that!
If I have to try and organize my collection, I can divide it into 3 main areas:
I almost don’t read superhero comics anymore, so I only buy superhero art for aesthetic reasons – I like the art style and follow/collect artists. My biggest years in collecting superhero comics were the late 90’s early 00’s, so I have a soft spot for art published in that period.
Chris Bachalo is one of my favorite artists, and I have several of his originals in my collection. I “discovered” him with the two Death miniseries, then followed his entire career at Marvel. The craziest piece I have in my collection is this page from Gen X #22. It was the Halloween issue and every page had zombies and monsters fighting outside the margins. I’d like to own all of the pages from this issue but have never seen another one for sale (if you see a page somewhere please let me know)!
Mike Wieringo is one of the best artists from his generation, in my opinion. I’m collecting his art with Spider-Man and the Thing, and I have 3 pieces of each character. I’m still searching for the perfect Fantastic Four example, but I think I’m pretty happy with my Ringo drawn Spider-Man art, mostly due to this pin-up. I bought it in 2005 and it’s still one of the pieces that gives me the most satisfaction!
To most fans (and I), Romita Jr. reached his peak artistically with Daredevil: The Man Without Fear. But in my heart, there’s his run on Thor. I loved his rendition of the God of Thunder – to me, the power expressed in his drawings is second only to Kirby and Buscema, so I’m very happy with this half-splash!
Vintage/Historic Pieces (comic strips, magazine panels and illustrations)
I enjoy reading old comic strips and biographies of yesterday’s comic artists. I like the “bigfoot” drawing style used in the early years of comics, and get a thrill owning a piece drawn 100 years ago. In a perfect world, I’d like to own an example of every strip I like!
Gasoline Alley is one of the greatest strips of all time and I’m very proud to own a small lot of strips from 1921, the most important year in the strip’s continuity. Skeezix was famously left on Walt Wallet’s doorstep on Valentine’s Day 1921, a day that changed comics history. While that particular original was out of my league, I still can’t believe that I won the auction for this daily published less than a month after February 14. Sometimes I’m happy that comic art is not as highly regarded as “fine” art, so somebody like me can afford a piece like this!
Italian Artists and Alternative Graphic Novels
Nowadays, I mostly read European graphic novels and alternative comics from the USA. I don’t have the patience to read a serialized/monthly comic anymore – I prefer to read a self-contained story in a single sitting. I then collect original pages from some of the best comics I read.
Dave Cooper’s Ripple is one of the best alternative graphic novels of the last 20 years, and I think Cooper’s art reached its peak with this ‘sketched’ style. I approached Scott Eder’s table asking for a small illustration to buy, instead, he surprised me with some of the best pages from this story! They were also very affordable, so I added this personal favorite to my collection.
Gipi is one of the modern masters – almost all of his stories are masterworks, and Notes for a War Story is where it all started. I think I got this page in 2011, traded for a Hellboy illustration by Mike Mignola I bought in 1997. That Hellboy has probably tripled in value since 2011, but I felt that was not the perfect Mignola piece for my collection, so traded it for the perfect Gipi page instead!
Thanks to everybody who read my article! If you like, you can reach me at my CAF page.
Please also check out Francesco’s weekly OA newsletter at http://www.comicart.tips!