Vice President, BookExpo America/New York Comic Con/C2E2—Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo/New York Anime Fest
Do you remember your first comic book or graphic novel? If so, what was it?
The first I can really remember was the Todd McFarlane Spider-Man #1. The one where they came out with three or four supercool variant covers. I bought them all. I doted over those comics. I read to those comics at night. I tucked them in. I spoon fed them. I LOVED THOSE COMICS. They were soooo cool.
What do you love about the graphic novel as a format for storytelling?
It is accessible to nearly anyone no matter the reading level, and it is mixed arts.
Whose work do you admire?
Chris Ware, Chip Kidd, Grant Morrison, Dean Haspiel, Alex Ross, Gene Luen Yang. I guess those guys are all contemporary, but admire them I do nonetheless.
Who do you read outside of the graphic novel format?
I love nonfiction. I just finished a pretty old book about the homeless that live beneath New York City. I’m also reading Petal Pushers by Laurie Lindeen (lots of good ’90s Twin Cities stories and she’s married to Paul Westerberg!).
How many graphic novels do you read a month? How many of those are manga?
Depends on how much I’m traveling and if I’m busy running a big show like I was in February with New York Comic Con! More travel equals more reading!
Which do you prefer and why: color or black and white?
Black and white for pure reading, as it seems to stimulate my imagination more, but color when I am looking at it for the art of the art.
How did you first get involved in the field professionally?
In an odd way, I started running New York Comic Con! That’s not really true; I was an independent booksellers for many years in the Twin Cities before I got the opportunity to ruin BookExpo America. Running the bookstore is when I started to really get into graphic literature.
What kind of reaction do you get when you tell people what you do?
No one understands it unless they are in this space; then they usually ask me if I am serious. Besides that, no one gets what I do, not even my friends!
Do you collect comics? What is the most valuable piece of art, graphic novel, or comic book in your collection?
I have my entire collection from when I was a kid, but I don’t know the value. It’s somewhere in my parents’ house in Minnesota! Now I collect books. Lots and lots of books.
Is there something you covet adding to your collection?
A personal assistant.