Wednesday, June 30, 2010
THE WEB #10, which is the final issue, hits stores today. THE HANGMAN co-feature was written by me with art by Tom Derenick and Bill Sienkiewicz, Travis Lanham handling the lettering, and Guy Major on colors. This issue brings everything that's happened in the previous nine issues to an exciting, and hopefully satisfying conclusion.
I'd like to thank everyone who supported this book by purchasing it and/or promoting it. If only there'd been more of you. I'd also like to thank everyone named above, as well as editor Rachel Gluckstern for a really pleasurable experience chronicling the adventures of the Hangman. There was so much more we wanted to do. Alas. Also thanks to my friend Sachiko Sato Castleman who not only lent me her expert knowledge as a critical care nurse in the surgical intensive care unit at Mass General Hospital, but became an ongoing character in this series as well.
Finally, thanks to all of the other writers and artists involved with the Red Circle characters, particularly fellow writers, Brandon Jerwa, Eric Trautmann, and Matthew Sturges. Brandon and Eric will be continuing on with these characters in the MIGHTY CRUSADERS mini-series, the first issue of which goes on sale July 14th. Don't miss it.
Come back here next week for an insiders look into the world of THE HANGMAN.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Today is Ray Harryhausen's 90th Birthday. I can't imagine what my childhood would have been like without the continuous presence of his movies. He's certainly been one of my biggest inspirations throughout my childhood and throughout my career. What I took from him most of all is the importance of making non-existent creatures seem truly alive, and the idea that work and play did not necessarily have to be two separate things.
Thank you, Ray! Happy Birthday!
Here's a link to a complete list of every creature and object Ray Harryhausen has animated in his feature films.
I've also added a post about Ray Harryhausen on my blog for kids.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
During high school, I'd toyed with the idea of becoming a special effects make-up artist. I put a lot of time in learning as many techniques as I could, but was hindered in their practical application by things such as cost of materials and difficulty obtaining them. There was no internet then, so finding suppliers for liquid latex and comparison shopping was incredibly difficult. Nearby physical locations such as medical supply companies, and morticians were suspicious of a 14-year old kid inquiring about ordering mortician's wax and dental supplies, and not simply less than helpful, but often rude and dismissive.
One of the make-up artists that inspired me (and countless others who actually became professional make-up artists) was Dick Smith. It wasn't simply his body of work which included such movies as "The Exorcist," "Taxi Driver," "Altered States," "Scanners," "Amadeus," "Little Big Man," the first two "Godfather" movies,"Marathon Man," "Ghost Story," "The Sunshine Boys," and "The Alligator People" among many others, but it was his willingness to share the secrets of his craft, many of which he pioneered with so many others. From his book "Dick Smith's Do It Yourself Monster Make-up Handbook" which was a staple of the Captain Company ads in the back of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, and allowed an army of monster kids to transform themselves into a variety of monsters inexpensively, to his correspondences with the next generation of make-up artists, such as Rick Baker, Dick Smith was generous with passing on the knowledge and enthusiasm which not only allowed his craft to thrive, but in the 1980s turned make-up effects technicians into superstars thanks to groundbreaking movies such as "An American Werewolf in London" and "The Thing."
Happy 88th birthday, Dick Smith! Thanks for all of the inspiration.
Friday, June 25, 2010
The total number of comic book covers scanned to my complete works archives is almost 200 now with many more still to come. I don't know how many stories that includes since some of those issues include more than one. All story information and credits (for stories I wrote) are included for each issue.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
This is without a doubt the nerdiest post I've ever put up, and should more accurately be labled as separated at manufacture. I give you...
NOMAD from the Star Trek episode "The Changeling"
IG-88 from Star Wars - Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
The above comic book is not the first issue of DEXTER'S LABORATORY published by DC Comics. It's actually a premium that was given out by Burger King in 2002. I suspect this would make it the most widely read Dexter's Laboratory comic of all time.
Inside it contains two Dexter stories reprinted from the regular monthly DEXTER's LABORATORY comic book. One is "Spoonj" by Bobbi JG Weiss, Chris Savino, Jeff Albrecht, Ryan Cline, Lee and Loughridge. The other is "Bubble Boy" written by me with pencils by Mike Manley, inks by Jeff Albrecht, letters by Ken Bruzenak, and colors by Zylonol Studio. "Bubble Boy" was one of my more popular Dexter stories and this was the third of three times it was printed. The story debuted in DEXTER'S LABORATORY #7 (March 2000), and was reprinted in THE POWERPUFF GIRLS DOUBLE WHAMMY #1 (December 2000).
The stories in the Burger King premium were flanked by a coloring page and a word search puzzle. There are no ads except for an ad on the back cover for Burger King's Big Kids meal.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
It was recently pointed out to me (as it is periodically) that the section of my website which lists my writing work is woefully out of date. To be honest, it was woefully out of date before my website went up. that is something that has nagged at me since the beginning.
I've long wanted to have my entire website overhauled, and still plan to. The amount of work I need to do to prepare it for a web designer to turn it into something that dazzles the eye and engages the mind has been a slow, stop and go process, that will probably take me another year or two to complete.
Not wanting to wait that long to upgrade certain sections, I've opted for a temporary solution. Today I have begun the long tedious process of scanning the covers to every comic book I've ever written, adding complete credits to the stories that I wrote in them and have begun posting these on a flickr account.
As of today, there are about fifty comic books posted there. I'm hoping to double that by the end of the weekend. There is not much rhyme, reason, or order to what's been posted so far. Right now I'm simply trying to get the covers and interior credits posted so that they are available to anyone who wants to look at them. Once I have the bulk of my work on there I'll begin to organize it.
In the meantime, stop over there and take a look around. There's recent work, golden oldies and some stuff in between. Here's the link, which I will also add to the links bar to the right by Monday.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Because so much of my work is for an all ages audience (ie; it's aimed at kids) I decided a few months back to begin a blog aimed especially at kids.
Using my own work primarily, because that is the material I'm most familiar with, I'm going to use that blog to instruct them on how comics are made. This will cover the general process as well as more specific aspects. I'll talk about different ways to use the visual language of comics to tell stories, what has inspired some of the stories I've written, how I choose the way I tell a story and so on.
I'm also planning to have people who contribute the other aspects of what goes into making a comic book talk about their part in things, editors, pencillers, inkers, letterers, colorists, cover artists, and maybe even printers.
At some point I may even expand to include the other work I do, whether it's writing for television animation, or creating illustrations using cut paper collage.
For right now, the focus is on comic books. For several years now I've discussed comic books, and writing for comics in a number of public schools and covering grades from 1 - 7. The interest in the subject has always been high and the questions generally excellent. Much of the subject matter for this blog is in fact taken by questions kids have asked me during these presentations. The blog is also meant to be interactive with the idea that kids can ask any questions they want and I will try and answer them. I may even create some fun assignments to try on their own.
The blog has been up, quietly now, for a few months as I tried to add a bit of content to it for people to browse back through. A few people have discovered it already, but beginning today, I think it's ready for it's big launch, and will be adding new material all next week.
If you have kids, or know someone who does, please bring this new blog to their attention. A link can be found to the right under "links," or simply by clicking here.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Head to a comic book store near you for SCOOBY-DOO #157 which features 2 installments of my popular "Velma's Monsters of the World" series. This issue Velma spotlights Yama-Uba and the Griffin. Both stories were drawn by Fabio Laguna with Travis Lanham providing the lettering, Heroic Age the colors, and Harvey Richards editing. The creepy cover is by Vincent Deporter.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
The world of comics and illustration lost another great this past Sunday. Al Williamson died at age 79. For me, Williamson, like Alex Raymond, will be synonymous with science fiction adventure. It was through his science fiction work, particularly the Star Wars newspaper strip which introduced me to Williamson's clean, precise line and his particular vision of extraterrestrial worlds and their inhabitants. After that his work became readily identifiable and he's remained a favorite of mine ever since. His work for EC and on Flash Gordon are other favorite highlights of his career for me. I saw him once in the late-1980s, but didn't have the nerve to approach him, and never had the opportunity to meet him since. His work is gorgeous and I'm glad we are left with it. My condolences to his family.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Now that summer is upon us, less web surfing is happening as more people head outdoors. Imagine my surprise over Memorial day weekend when the number of visitors shot up by hundreds of people when I expected them to drop down to the low double digits.
My thanks to the folks over at the awesome futuristic site io9 for plugging my tribute to THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK which I featured here throughout May. I'd also like to thank my pal George Taylor over at Imaginerding for also plugging the TESB tribute on his great Disney related blog.
Visit both of these sites and enjoy what they have to offer.
I'm also going to recommend some other sites that I've not mentioned here before.
I'm a big fan of retro-futurism; all of the designs, predictions, and expectations for what the future was meant to include, but somehow never did. Paleo Future celebrates in depth all of the futures that fell by the wayside.
Boom Pop! goes in somewhat the other direction by taking a nostalgic look at pop culture of yesteryear and is the creation of Jeff Pepper who is also responsible for 2719 Hyperion one of the best Disney sites out there.
I'm a big fan of Doc Savage, and so is Keith Wilson who has created some new fantasy Doc Savage books and their covers at his site here.
I'm a sucker for Batman merchandise and Bat-Blog has tons on display.
Halloween is never off my mind and one of the places that I visit to put me in the mood throughout the year is Haunt Style.
Finally, an artist who continues to amaze me is Rob Kelly and once you visit his blog you'll be amazed as well.
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Monday, June 07, 2010
When I first saw the above image of Dren, the genetically created chimera at the center of the new movie "Splice," I was immediately smitten. I just think it's such a fantastic and beautiful design. I couldn't wait to see the movie and now I have.
Without getting into a lengthy review I just want to say that this is likely to be my favorite genre movie of the year, much as "Let the Right One In," "Pan's Labyrinth" and "The Host" have been in previous years. It's essentially the "Frankenstein" story for the modern world. Even the two main characters are named Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) after Colin Clive and Elsa Lanchester. Clive and Elsa create a pair of lifeforms from DNA taken from a number of different animals with the goal of harvesting pharmaceutically useful material from their creatures. When the company they work for becomes more interested in the harvesting than the creation, they decide to try one more thing before they are repurposed, and add human DNA into the mix. The result is Dren (Abigail Chu/Delphine Chaneac), a smart, lovely, creature with an accelerated metabolism which causes her to age rapidly. The two scientists become emotionally attached to their creation, and find various reasons not to destroy it. Eventually though, as Dren matures, she decides she wants a mate of her own and things go wrong from there.
Given the type of movie this is, you know things can only end badly, and the process of getting to that point adds tension and dread to the experience. Both Clive and Elsa are well rounded characters whose seemingly stupid decisions, seem like decisions real people would make. Dren is the real star of the movie. As I said, she's an absolutely beautiful creation, and a return to a truly sympathetic monster. Thankfully this movie did not turn into "Species" once Dren matured. I found myself very attached to her and emotionally engaged with her character, yet wary of her at the same time. It was also interesting to watch the fluid dynamics of how both Clive and Elsa interacted with her as the movie progressed.
"Splice" could almost be described as David Cronenberg's version of "Frankenstein" (it would make a nice double feature with Cronenberg's "The Fly"), only much warmer and without Howard Shore's music. I highly recommend this movie.
Thursday, June 03, 2010
This is my 1000th post on this blog. I'm also trying to think of it as being the first post. I'm constantly trying to think of ways to improve it, from my long held dream to have my entire website overhauled and given a new professional look, and accurate up to date information, to simply finding the time to give the format of these posts a bit more structure than the seemingly random nature they've been.
This website and blog have always foremost been about my work; promoting what's new and what I'm working on as well as answering questions and sharing inside information of past projects. Related to my work I've offered a look at the various things that have inspired me throughout the years from children's books to monster movies and posted about things either related to my work and interests or things that I think people who like my work might likewise appreciate.
Me, me, me, me. All of this is for two reasons. One: In the current climate, you can't rely on large companies to promote projects you are doing for them, you've got to do that work yourself. Two: People actually ask me about this stuff. I get dozens of emails every month asking me about past or future projects. This website and blog was meant to make it unnecessary for me to feel compelled to answer all of those emails, but hasn't. I still try and answer as many as I can, but I am terrible about answering my email. Please don't take it personally.
So, in the spirit of moving forward rather than looking back, I'm going to try and improve the content of this blog as time moves forward, and to work in some types of posts that will be given a regular schedule. First, to deal with the email problem, I'm going to try and post a monthly "ask me anything' post to which I will also try and answer everything asked.
I had thought of beginning a 1000 things that have inspired my work, doing 1 thing at a time, but immediately realized I'd soon regret it. Instead, I'll try and schedule a regular post on what has inspired my work, and how.
In the meantime, check back later this week and next for a couple of announcements.
Thanks to everyone who has stopped by for a visit, especially if you've left a comment, and even more so to the many of you who have become my friends over the years even though we've never met.