For Craig Rogers, his collecting journey began one day during his childhood when his mother brought him a three-pack of comics from the drugstore. The packet contained issues of Hulk, Fantastic Four, and Daredevil. “I read the three books, and I gravitated toward Daredevil.”
A few months later, he was at the grocery store with his dad when they came across a newsstand. His dad asked him if he wanted anything, and he browsed the newsstand and found a Daredevil comic book, with an image of Daredevil backed up against a wall. “It stood out to me because I recognized the character,” shares Craig. “The subtitle was ‘Daredevil: The Man Without Fear.’ It caught my eye because he looked completely terrified. The irony appealed to me.”
That was the first comic that he picked out for himself. The thing that truly got him hooked on comics was when his dad informed him that there was a comic book store in town. “That was it!” Craig says. “I went there every week looking for issues of Daredevil that I didn’t have. I was 100% hooked from that point on.”
Today, Craig’s collection is comprised mostly of comic books and other comic-related art. A notable addition to his collection is the original cover artwork to that issue he had bought with his father. “I asked my husband for permission to buy it, but unfortunately, the seller informed me he had just sold it that day,” he recalls. But the seller reached out to the buyer, and as luck would have it, the buyer had only picked it up because he was doing a trade deal – it wasn’t something he was actually after. He was willing to sell to Craig for the same price he had paid for it. “I ended up with the cover art of Daredevil #223 – a classic John Byrne cover,” Craig says. “It’s especially cool because it has such a history with me, with it being the first time I picked up a comic book.
What makes his collection unusual is the fact that Craig focuses primarily on the character of Daredevil. “This was born out of necessity because when I first started collecting comics and art, I was buying up anything and everything I liked. It just got out of hand, so I had to narrow my focus to keep the spending in check.” He decided to focus on Daredevil, and at one point, he collected the complete Volume 1 of the Daredevil series. He has since sold many of these, but recently he got back into trying to complete this series again – only with higher grade copies of everything. Today, he has narrowed his search to just the best copies he can get of the first 100 issues, as well as the comic book art.
While selecting a favorite from his collection is impossible, there are three major pieces of artwork that stand out. The first is the Daredevil cover, with the personal history behind it. The second is a commission piece by Gene Colan. “I asked him to do a self-portrait of himself and Daredevil, the character he’s best known for drawing,” explains Craig. “It’s his interpretation of the famous Norman Rockwell triple self-portrait, with Gene sitting and painting Daredevil.”
Craig wanted to meet Gene and thank him in person, so he went to a show in San Francisco and gave him a leather sketchbook as a thank you gift. That spurred a friendship, and they kept in touch, right up until Gene sadly passed away. The third piece of art that stands out is a creature design by Bernie Wrightson. “It’s a beautiful picture – beautiful of a monster!” laughs Craig. Bernie sadly passed away, and after his death, a friend gifted Craig with two of Bernie’s last drawing pencils, which are framed with the drawing.
One of the most valuable items in his collection is a page of original artwork from Daredevil #3 from 1964. “I love it because it’s historically significant.” Craig originally paid $1,500 for this piece, but today it’s worth between $15,000 and $20,000. “The prices for collectibles in the past few years have gone bonkers! It’s hard to know what things are now worth versus two years ago. There are things I could have gotten for a fraction of the price a few years ago. If you’re selling, it’s fantastic, but it’s pricing people out of the hobby.”
While the original art is quite valuable, Craig gets more enjoyment out of finding artists and commissioning pieces from them. “They are not worth as much as published pieces, but it’s always fun! There are times when I have an idea of what it will look like, and it comes back and it’s a thousand times better. It’s fun to know I helped bring something to life with my idea. [I enjoy] that collaborative aspect of commissioned art.”
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