In his down time, Kareem uses photoshop to re-work iconic comic book illustrations with luxury brand logos – one in particular is the Daredevil’s ‘Born Again’ cover in which the subjects are repurposed into a status symbolistic manner – wearing Christian Dior. For many like myself, comic books are simply for reading but as we fall deeper in a world where memorabilia in sports and music has become such a phenomenon (not to mention the acceleration in value) comics are, depending on the rarity, an esteemed collectible. Aside from the fandom though, Kareem collects comics – some that are signed by scribes – while also remixing versions of what we can all agree on, characters could be wearing. Some wearing Supreme, others Goyard. I first discovered Kareem’s work through Instagram where he usually posts his covers (of course he’s private but I’m trying to get him to start his own page!) As I started to see more and more of his work, I realized, Kareem is in his own rights, is an master at remixing comic book illustrations. For this interview, Kareem walks us through his personal collection that fuels his creativity. Oh and if you’re wondering who he is, he’s just a simpleton – reimagining the way we see classic comic book illustrations.
(Q) What kind of comics do you collect?
Currently my favorite comic artists are Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Jim Lee, Todd Mcfarlene – all of who I have in my collection. Their illustration really give life to the superheroes and villains that make up the fictional world of comics art. I collect actions figures as well, like Spider-Man, X-Men, Batman.. etc. My friends and I like to collect various things – like my friend Kit who’s a very talented tattoo artist, also has a fantastic collection of collectible figures of all types of famous characters from Terminator figures to Marvel and DC super heroes; alongside comic books. It’s something me and my friends like to do.
(Q) Name a few artists in the comic book collection you’d like to highlight you think are significant to your interests.
I personally love collecting Todd Mcfarlene comics. He’s truly a talented artist. He developed his skills as an artist growing up by creating his own characters and taking an independent route in comics instead of working for big companies like Marvel. Eventually he worked for them to draw some of their most famous characters. His detailing is very unique and in my opinion gives a more raw feel to the super hero by not making everything so dry with bright colors but instead darker – highlighting the character’s struggle. He made his characters very ground level and I loved that as I could relate to it.
(Q) Why do you collect these?
Comics for me have been present in my life since childhood. Growing up I didn’t really have a functional father figure and my mom did her best to raise me. For me it was almost like a form of escapism away from my reality. These characters really were the basis for my moral barometer, they taught me not only how to seek furthering my own development for the sake of defying the odds of your environment, but what it means to be a good person and to try and do good by your fellow man. The lessons I’ve learned from reading comics resonate with me until this day and the moral of the stories is the basis of what I believe in today. I am actively buying and selling comics/collectibles on a day to day basis. I’m always up early every day so I can bid on new auctions for single issues or lots of comics and other collectibles, that’s really the best way right now for most collectors and sellers to buy/sell/trade since comic cons are canceled until next year. Thankfully I collected a lot of business cards from different vendors while I was traveling going to comic cons last year so it kept me on my feet and still able to do what I do.
(Q) What’s your favorite piece in your collection?
I love my Spider-Man #50 comic, being how much Spider-Man’s perspective changed to the readers. It really took the character from being this kid who wants to be a hero to a conflicted human who understands the weight of having powers to help and the responsibilities that come with it. Reading that comic, I personally felt the weight of the decision that the character had to make between continuing on the path of the selfless hero or to carry on life a normal human and concern yourself with your own affairs knowing full well that you have the capacity to help but you won’t due to the odds being stacked against you. Truly amazing story, art and writing! The reason why it’s so meaningful to me is because I was actually able to find a copy in decent enough condition, considering how old that comic is – it’s very hard to find in a good condition let alone signed by Stan Lee!
(Q) Walk me through your Daredevil poster, what is it about? Who’re the artists and why is it so significant for you?
The daredevil poster is an edited cover of one of my favorite comic book storylines of all time, Daredevil ‘Born Again’ series by Frank Miller. I can’t express how much this man’s writing is truly biblical. He gave so much depth and weight to the Daredevil character that was never done before – easily making him one of my favorite characters of all time – I highly recommend reading it. Besides loving that story, my admiration for comics drew me in to editing covers and applying my take on comics with a twist on the things that I like such as fashion and music. I take these classic covers and I edit them applying my imagination to it by portraying them as how I would like to see them. Mixing high end brands such as Dior, Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga which are some of my favorite brands. I guess you can say in a way I’m imagining those characters as how I would be if I was in those illustrated in those pages.
(Q) Do you wear any of these brands?
Yes, I am wearing Dior right now.