Collector Spotlight – Harry Mendryk
Hi everyone, please warmly welcome comics historian, author and collector, Harry Mendryk! Harry is intensely knowledgeable about the medium, having provided much valuable scholarly contributions over the years, and maintains a keen passion for comic books and artwork. Harry’s the epitome of an original comic art connoisseur, possessing an appreciation for works from all ages. This is clearly reflected in his absolutely jaw-dropping OA collection, which is filled with some of the most exquisite (and historic) artwork imaginable!
I’m a 68 year-old retired software engineer living in Manhattan, and started reading comics when I was young. Initially, I tried DC’s and Marvel’s monster comics, but frankly they bored me so I abandoned them. Because of that I missed the very start of the Marvel Universe, but not by much.
Luckily, I became aware of Marvel’s new comics and quickly turned into an avid fan, following pretty much all of their superhero titles. Even then I was a big fan of Jack Kirby’s work. I liked the other artists who drew for Marvel, but for me Kirby was King! Though like many, as I got older I stopped reading comics.
Fast forward to the 90’s, when my interest in comics was renewed. Through eBay and conventions, I began buying old comic books. While I did purchase comics that I had read in my youth, I also discovered the works created by the Joe Simon and Jack Kirby collaboration.
I will explain below what attracted me to Simon and Kirby, but my interest in the team led me to a project of restoring the line art for all the Simon and Kirby covers. It took years, but eventually I was able to hand bind a limited set of books containing all those covers. Because these volumes contained copyrighted material I was not able to sell them, but that project had significant consequences. Through it, I became friends with Joe Simon and had access to his incredible original art collection!
Some of the scans I made of that collection were eventually published in Abram’s The Art of the Simon and Kirby Studio. It also led me to doing colored versions of comic book restoration that would be published by Titan (The Best of Simon and Kirby and The Simon and Kirby Library: Superheroes; Crime; Science Fiction; and Horror volumes).
For a little over six years I had a blog dedicated to Simon and Kirby and the various artists who worked for them: the Simon and Kirby Blog, still hosted by the Jack Kirby Museum. Finally, my work on restoring Simon and Kirby cover line art also opened my eyes to the beauty of comic book original art!
I began collecting original art sometime around 1996 or 1997. While the first piece I purchased was the cover art for Dakota North #1 by Tony Salmons, most of my collecting concentrated on works by Simon and Kirby. Since these were published before I began reading comics in my youth, nostalgia was not a factor in many of my purchases. Rather, aesthetics were the main concern, and I concentrated on covers, splashes and pinups. Still, I did not limit myself to Simon and Kirby. I was a big Captain America fan and collected Cap art by Kirby himself, and other artists. My collection also includes a smattering of art by more modern comic book artists.
Examples from My Collection