Thursday, June 29, 2006

Still More Unused Collages

Here's the final two unused collages for the Shaman Drum Bookshop website. These were created to illustrate the categories "World War I & II" and "Pulp Fiction."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

More Unused Collage Work

Here are two more of the unused images for the Shaman Drum website. These were created for the categories of "South Asia" and "Taoism."

I was particularly happy with the tiger piece for South Asia.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Unused Collage Work

Towards the end of last year, I created a batch of collage pieces for the Shaman Drum Bookshop website. The pieces were meant to illustrate various categories of books in the store's inventory, and would be viewable only as postage-sized images. Because of this I had to take a more simplified, graphic approach to creating these illustrations; something that would be representative, and recognizable at such a small size, but hopefully, without resorting too much to cliche. This last part was tough to avoid as reducing the images to symbolic graphics, it became almost necessary to resort to cliches.

It was a fun exercise. The actual collages were pretty small as well. Most were no bigger than 4" x 5".

After creating these, the project languished as responsibility for the website changed hands, as did ideas for what would be on it. Now, many months later, my collages are back in action---with one slight change. The categories have been rethought, so that many of the collages I did are no longer necessary, and where new ones will need to be created for newly chosen categories.

The illustrations being used will most likely be up on the Shaman Drum website by Fall. In the meantime, here are some of the images that won't be seen there. These two were created to illustrate "Africa" and "CDs and DVDs"

I'll put up a couple more tomorrow.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Marvel Superhero Ads

Here are some representative samples of some of the earliest comic book work I've done. This is a random assortment of fake ads that I wrote (and did layouts for) for issues of "Marvel Year In Review" and "Marvel Swimsuit Special" in the very early 90s.

Believe it, or not, because of these ads I was offered a job with a pretty prestigious advertising firm in NYC. I didn't take it.

For the record, I'm not responsible for the mispelling of deodorant.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Dead Policeman

Here's what I woke up to the other morning. Sadly, the fate of plastic army men and their brethren has changed little since my childhood.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Mike Power - Atomic Man

In"Mr. Potatohead vs G.I. Joe" in the last post, there is a reference to Mike Power, Atomic Man. I thought that for you young'ns out there, I'd provide a little footnote.

When I was a kid, the best toy was G.I. Joe, not those sissy 4" G.I Joes, but the manly 12" version with flocked hair, the scar on the chek and with, or without kung-fu grip. You don't believe me? Check out this site for all the evidence you need.

Towards the end of G.I. Joe's run as the dominant boy's toy, Hasbro noticed the tremendous success of a tv show called "The Six Million Dollar Man" as well as it's licensed toys. To cash in on this success, hasbro introduced it's own bionic man, in this case it was Mike Power, who had a blinking atomic eye, transparent atomic arm (with a rotating wrist which powered a hand held helicopter rotor blade), and a transparent atomic leg. As many have pointed out, myself included, having one superpowered atomic leg makes little sense when your other, normal, leg is not going to be capable of running 65 MPH, or leap tall buildings, etc.

I still though he was really cool.

Mike Power would soon be joined by superheroic Bullet Man, the human bullet, but more on that another time.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

More Spiders and Microwave Ovens

Here are a couple more Date Due stories involving spiders and microwave ovens.

The Amazing Spider-Boy

It's been pointed out to me that some of the images in the previous entries were a bit on the small side, and that the previously posted installment of DATE DUE was a bit hard to read. I'm not going to adjust the comic book covers, but will post any future ones at a larger size. As for DATE DUE, I've done what I could to fix it, but it's still tough to read, so I've provided the text from the problem areas in the text portion of the post.

To make up for some of these technical difficulties I'm providing you with a second DATE DUE strip.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Featuring Satan

Here's another classic cover from circa 4th grade. Clearly I didn't concern myself with words usually forbidden other kids, as good old h-e-double hockey sticks is right there on the cover, and as far as villains go, why not just go for broke and pit the heroes against Satan himself.

The Freedom Fighters were clearly up to the task. They were my version of The Justice League of America, or The Avengers. Their roster would change and expand over time, but these original four members; Daredevil (a costumed stuntman, and not based on the Marvel character surprisingly enough -- this was the era of Evel Knievel after all), Mrs. Fantastic (not sure who Mr. was), Captain Patriot, and the Invisible Man, remained the team's core to the very end. I'm guessing that the Freedom Fighters won since Satan never made a return appearance.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Last Chance!

There are less than 24 hours left if you'd like to take hope Wilma Flintstone, or any of the more than one dozen original cartoon character collages that I have posted on ebay right now. Staring bid is low, so act now!

The Winged Wonders

As a kid, I not only read comics, but made up a bunch of my own. Most of those never saw any completion beyond the covers. I recently dug a big pile of these out of storage, most of them drawn in pencil on manila paper. As you'd expect, the images are pretty faded.

The majority of these were done when I was in about 4th grade. Based on "evolving" drawing ability, it looks like I came across these covers periodically, and decided to add to them, mostly, it appears between 6th and 7th grade, when it stopped. I noticed, as on the cover of "Super Spectacular" #3, (one of the first of these I drew) shown here, that the original price of 25 cents was changed to $1.00, I'm guessing due to the rising cost of comics when I was a bit older, and to the "spectacular' nature of the Winged Wonders vs Spike man story within. There are many images recognizably lifted from professionally published comic books, and many of the characters such as "The Green Giant," and "The Web" were obviously rip offs of The Hulk and Spider-Man (though in a prescient move, I changed the Web's costume to a black one, predating Spider-man's "Secret Wars" outfit by a good number of years. See you in court, Marvel.)

Like other comic book companies, I'd created an entire expansive universe, with characters guest appearing in each other's titles, and characters with their own titles also belonging to groups. There was even three universe shattering crossover events, also years before Marvel and DC had theirs. One here was called "The Stand" which appears to have been a self-contained mini-series which killed off a few of my major villains and heroes. Another multi-title event had some sort of plague turning the heroes and villains into vampires. A third was some cosmic event with a world shattering Galactus-type named Black Hole set on destroying the earth. This story took place mostly in the pages of the flagship title "The Freedom Fighters," a Justice League/Avengers-type group containing all of my big guns.

I have to admit a fascination with looking over these again. From the covers alone, I can see that there was obviously a rich interconnection between all of these home made comic book characters, that only my younger self could reveal. I only wish that my younger self had bothered to deal with the interior of these comics as well. Except for the first couple of pages of "The Green Giant" #1, it doesn't appear that any interior work was done.

It may interest those of you who don't know this, that when I was writing KOBALT for Milestone Media, I actually came across these covers, and decided to use some of the characters in KOBALT. Off the top of my head, the characters I know I used for certain were the villain trio, Hook, Line and Sinker. I was hoping to find a cover with them on it, but no luck, so far. I did find a list of villains, and a few looseleaf pages of character indexes for most of the comic book titles I created way back then, and did find their name mentioned several times. I'm still sure there's a cover somewhere.

If only I could go back and tell my 4th grade self that one day, some of those characters he created would be in a real comic book. Maybe, that would have spurred him into finishing some of the interiors.

In Comic Book Stores Today

Available in comic book stores today are two volumes of the CARTOON NETWORK BLOCK PARTY compilation digests.

Volume 3: "Can You Dig It?" contains a short Johnny Bravo story and a spooky Dexter's Laboratory story that I wrote. Volume 4: "Blast Off!" contains a short Dexter's Laboratory story I wrote. All three stories have been previously published in individual issues of CARTOON NETWORK BLOCK PARTY. If you missed them, now's your chance to avoid those expensive back issue prices.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

From the Archives 1

I've returned, not exactly well-rested, but bearing gifts of negligible value. I spent some time digging through stored files and came across a bunch of rare stuff that may be of interest to fans of XOMBI, KOBALT, and my work in general.

I'll be posting some of it here periodically, but the bulk of it will wind up in the improved "Writing" section of the website, which will hopefully be all shiny and new by summer's end.

Today's offering is a sample of "Date Due" a comic strip I used to due for the amusement of myself, friends, and colleagues, way back when I worked at the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library at NYU. The strips were obviously drawn on the date due slips from the library books (hence the name) and varied in quality depending on how quickly i was trying to get them done between visits by patrons to the circulation desk.

Most of the stories ran several pages in length, and were pretty random in their content. Eventually, most of the stories centered around three kids, Randy (seen here), Barry, and Travis. While no date was given, based on their toys and interests, and despite numerous anachronisms, it was clearly the early to mid-1970s, a period I was well familiar with.

I realize that some of the dialogue is hard to read. So, the bottom tier reads like this:

Panel 7:

Randy: "Then some zombies to eat it."

Sara: "Randy! Stop, you're ruining it!"

Panel 8:

Randy: "Okay! Okay!"

Mrs. Marlette: "Sara! What are you doing? You're supposed to be putting a brain on your paper."

Sara: "I'm working on it!"

If there is any other dialogue difficult to decipher, please let me know.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Cartoon Character Art - Dirt Cheap!

In an effort to raise some funds to attend Monster Bash at the end of this month, I'm putting up a batch of the cartoon character collages that I'd been posting here under the "Fun With Scissors" heading on ebay. Opening bids for these are dirt cheap, so get them while you can.

You can view the auctions here:

I had ScOttRa post them up for me, because he knows about such things. But I assure you that I'm the one selling them.

Eventually most of the cartoon character collages will be offered for sale, but not for such low prices.

If there's a character you are interested in that's not part of the ebay auction, please let me know, and make me an offer. Commissions are also welcome.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Vacation Fun

I'm going to be out of town until mid-June, and will only have sporadic internet access at best. Until I return here are some other fun places to visit. There's something for, well not everyone, but if you're interested in goofy robots , Bigfoot , religion and lego , old dimestore products and more , or strange products for the home you're pretty much set.