Friday, September 30, 2005

Kirby Dots

It's not everyone who can have an "art style" named for them, but if anyone deserves it, it's the legendary Jack "the King" Kirby.

If you trust Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia; The roughly circular dots that are used to represent energy are called Kirby Dots or Kirby Krackle.

hmmmm.... maybe I could come up with something that becomes a standard style used by other artists.

I know! I'll draw women's' breasts in a unique way and it'll be known as Marcej Mammeries!!

Uh....... on second thought............................................

Happy Birthday! (9/30/05)

She's appeared in a ton of films in her career. Some well known: Rio Bravo, Oceans Eleven and Dressed to Kill. And some, not so known: Rome Adventure, The Black Whip and The Bramble Bush. But it was her role as television detective Sgt. "Pepper" Anderson in Police Woman that made her famous.

Here's an "unofficial member of The Rat Pack" Happy Birthday to.....

Big Bad Mama is 74 today.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

It was seven days ago today...

... that I saw Paul McCartney in concert. (but I was too busy preparing to drive to Bethesda last Friday to write about it.)

Last thursday evening, myself (along with thousands of others) packed the Wachovia Center in south Philadelphia to watch the legendary Rock/Pop star perform the fourth date on his current US Tour. (during the show Paul described that "US" stood for us, you know, you and me. meh, come on Paul, you know it stands for "U.S.")

This was the third time that I've seen Sir Paul perform live. I'd seen him first during his mid 90's tour in a football stadium at Ames Iowa. The second time was here in Philly, three years ago, during his Driving Rain tour.

Though the cost of my ticket clocked in at just under $100 (yeow!) and I was about 6 rows from the ceiling, the show was worth it!.

The concert was to begin at 8PM promptly-but it didn't. To kill some time I talked with an attractive blonde girl in her early 20's about McCartney and the Beatles. She and her mother came to tonight's show but had single tickets. They couldn't get a pair together. So she sat here and her mother sat clear across on the other side of the arena. She told me that not only did they have tickets for the Friday show (9/23/05) but for the October 8 show in Washington DC as well.

That's either devotion or people with a lot of disposable income.

At 8:15 the "opening act" began. It was a DJ and he stood very tiny on the stage scratching his records that combined obscure McCartney solo work. (for god sake, when was the last time anyone played Temporary Secretary???) Now had this been a dance club this may have been bearable, but in a jam packed arena full of fervent fans waiting for old Beatles and Wings tunes- this went over like the preverbal lead balloon. So we did what any self respecting crowd would do.

Booed him the hell off the stage!

About 8:20, the lights went down and a brief bio-film was shown (as if anyone in this crowd didn't know any of his history). Finally, the curtains went up and the 5 piece band broke into Magical Mystery Tour.

Over the next few hours Paul played a nice combination of Beatle and solo tunes. He of course also shoe horned in tracks from his new release, Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard (much to chagrin of most at the show, but hey, I liked them).

So after the opening number, he followed with:
Flaming Pie (solo),
Jet (Wings),
I'll Get You (Beatles),
Drive My Car (Beatles),
Till There Was You (Beatles),
Let Me Roll It (Wings),
Got To Get You Into My Life (Beatles),
Fine Line (New Solo),
Maybe I'm Amazed (Solo),
The Long and Winding Road (Beatles),
In Spite of all the Danger (Never released First Beatles tune),
I Will (Beatles),
Jenny Wren (New Solo),
For No One (Beatles),
Fixing A Hole (Beatles),
English Tea (New Solo),
I'll Follow the Sun (Beatles),
Follow Me (Beatles),
Classical Bach tune that he and George would play together,
Blackbird (Beatles),
Eleanor Rigby (Beatles),
Too Many People (Solo),
She Came in Through the Bathroom Window (Beatles),
Good Day Sunshine (Beatles),
Band on the Run (Wings),
Penny Lane (Beatles),
I've Got A Feeling (Beatles),
Back in the USSR (Beatles),
Hey Jude (Beatles),
Live and Let Die (Wings),

And then they left the stage. Ah, but we're a concert going savvy crowd, we know what we have to do. We stand, shout, whistle and clap until our hands are raw for the inevitable encore.

So Paul headed back on the stage (eventually joined by the rest of the band) for:

Yesterday (Beatles),
Get Back (Beatles),
Helter Skelter (Beatles),

Then, they left again. OK, let's do our part. Yell, clap, whistle, yadda, yadda, yadda and, the weary five-some reappeared, waving both the American flag and Pennsylvania state flag. Once, done with the flag waving, they lit into:

Please, Please Me (Beatles),
Let It Be (Beatles)
Sgt. Pepper, Reprised (Beatles)
and finally
The End (from the Abbey Road medley)(Beatles)

And that was it. I great way to sum up the show As an aside, before the Sgt. Pepper number, the band brought on stage three little kids dressed in Sgt. Pepper garb. Their parents had brought the trio garbed like that to the show and on stage the kids sang along with the number. That's a nice way to end the show, though the cynic in me began to wonder if they were a plant.

But hey, I'm not a cynic..............right?

On the way out, I succumbed to the souvenir stand and pulled out the plastic to purchase "affordable" trinkets like a $30 program (the cover you can see at the beginning of this piece) and $35 for a T-shirt. I justified my splurge to the fact that this quite possibly could be the last chance to see him live.

I wasn't surprised by his choice of a finale since I believe he ended his 2002 tour with the same tunes. I was surprised by the really Beatle heavy number of tunes (what no love for Wings?) and was equally surprised by the inclusion of I Got A Feeling (the drummer sang the John part) and Helter Skelter (an extremely hard rocking version that they played, hours into the show as an encore!)

Which leads me to my final note. Sir Paul is 63 years of age now and the concert ran just under 3 hours. While the rest of the band took breaks while Paul soloed on acoustic guitar or piano, Paul was on stage the whole time!

And he sounded great!

(take that losers like Brittany Spears and Madonna who have to lip-sync!)

If the tour comes to your neck of the woods and you can spare a house payment for a ticket, do it. You won't be let down.

(unless of course you're one of those rat bastards who think that the Beatles are an overrated pop band. If that's the case, stay home. Maybe there'll be a "kewel" video to watch on MTV 2.)

Buy a Comic Book for a good cause.

On Monday I mentioned the comic book anthology that the Baton Rouge Cartoonist Society put together. At the time I didn't have a link where you could order a copy.

So here's all the info (including a list of all contributing cartoonists) for the two book set of The BRCS Hurricane Relief Anthology.

Don't forget All proceeds go to the Red Cross to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina.


One advantage of attending the SPX Show this past weekend (besides selling books, buying books, sketching for fans and just hanging out) I got a chance to meet some friends that I haven't seen in over a year.

One such fellow is artist/cartoonist Mike Manley. (and no, that's not a self portrait, it's a drawing of Hellboy from one of his sketch books. But you know, if you squint just right...)

I just added his blog, Draw! to my list of blog links. While you're checking that out, be sure to visit his web site, Action Planet.

A New Religion...

... or just a fanatical fan?

Over the weeks that I've been gone from the "blogverse" I did occasionally take some time off from the drawing table to scan the net. One of the more strange sites that I found was this blog, Church of Klugman.

What can you find on Church of Klugman? Here's their blog statement:

This is a brand new religion - a religion worshiping a man who is a legend, a myth, who brings a new social conscience to our troubled times. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Church of Klugman!

OK, that's all well and good, but where's the Temple of Randall?

Happy Birthday! (9/29/05)

She was one of the funniest ladies on TV and in the movies during the 1970's. If it was as Eunice Burns in
What's Up, Doc?, Elizabeth in Young Frankenstein, Empress Nympho in History of the World: Part 1 and especially as Lili Von Shtupp in Blazing Saddles, whenever she was on screen you'd find yourself laughing.

So here's a "It's twoo, it's twoo" Happy Birthday to...

The Gypsy Moth in A Bug's Life would have been 62 today.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Great One- on your breakfast table!

It's kind of funny how our memory works. You remember a certain Sit-Com or movie or comic you loved when you were a kid only to revisit it years later as an adult to discover....

What the hell was I thinking???!!

Luckily though, that's not a steadfast rule. That not everything you enjoyed through 10 year-old eyes was crap or not worthy of adoration. For me, one of those was Baseball Superstar, Roberto Clemente.

I didn't start following baseball until I was nine (1970) and I of course became a fanatical fan of my hometown team, the Pittsburgh Pirates.
By that time Clemente had been winning batting titles, MVP awards and throwing runners out at the plate for well over a decade. This was the twilight of his career. But for me, all this was new.

He easily became my favorite. Not only by his play on the field, but for the persona he had off the field. His nickname was The Great One and it fit.

Well I'm going down memory lane a bit here because of the latest Wheaties Box. As I strode down the cereal aisle at my local grocery store (searching for a chocolate flavored cereal with marshmallows and a decent prize inside) I was surprised to see the Clemente Wheaties box there.

Surprised because:
a) He's a Pittsburgh player and this is a Philadelphia grocery store
b) He's been dead for over 30 years.

It turns out that this Limited Edition box is a salute to Latin Major League Baseball players. While that may be true, for a few minutes for me as I bought the box, it brought back memories of a time when baseball players were great, not obnoxious over paid jerks-

and the Pirates actually went to the playoffs.

Happy Birthday! (9/28/05)

When it comers to cantankerous, ultra-conservative one legged cartoonists, this guy was the best!

So here's a "Sadie Hawkins Day" Happy Birthday to...

Li'l Abner's creator would have been 96 today.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

SPX 2005 The Conclusion

As Saturday wound down most everyone in our group were ready to call it a day and get something to eat. (especially Chris and Melissa. Saturday was Melissa's birthday and Chris was taking her to a special, secret, hideaway for dinner. Nudge-nudge.) Because the Ignatz Awards (which none of us were planning on attending) were being held in our room, at 6:50, the powers that be did their best to shoo us the hell out of there!

Since the elevators at this place are incredibly slow and the mass of humanity would be stampeding towards them, we decided to grab as much of our stuff and climb the stairway. As we trudged up the 8 flights I could hear the huffing and gasping behind me. Yes, artists, cartoonists especially, are in general not a hale & healthy lot.

Another delicious dinner awaited us this night. We walked down the street to the Mongolian Grill. An Asian restaurant that allows you to choose anything to mix in with your rice (veggies, meats, seafood, sauces, etc...) and they cook it right there.
Yes, the food tasted good, but what made it great were these simple words:
All You Can Eat!

Me, since I had no lunch that day, I took three trips.

As we ate I noticed a somewhat disturbing (to me anyway) aspect about the glowing neon sign on the front window. The Mongolian Grill's logo looks somewhat like...well, an inverted penis. As we all discussed this, the birth of the character Balls McGillis occurred.
I won't go into details, it was one of those "had to be there" instances.

Much like the night before, the rest of the evening consisted of more drinking, bull shitting and half-hearted mingling. Around 1:00 AM I figured it would be time to head up to the room as the talk became crankier and angrier (about the state of the comic industry) and I'd heard one too many cries of "Werewolf vs. Unicorn-Get it On!"

Sunday morning (wow, I got up at 8:00 and got in a 3 mile run in today. Gotta work off all that beer) we headed down to The Pancake House for a huge breakfast! Omelets the size of hub caps and my pancakes dripping in chocolate and whipped cream. (and Jamar actually got what he ordered this morning. No discrimination here!)

I guess we could have hung around and checked out a few of the panels and go to the softball game/cook out, but we'd had enough. It was back in the rental and a drive back to Philadelphia.

I'm not sure what the future holds for SPX. Overall the show seemed somewhat laid back to me, not the usual high energy that I'd seen in the past. Also, the Holiday Inn has just changed owners so whether they continue their association with the show is up in the air. There's always been rumors that SPX would combine with the Baltimore Con (held a week earlier). I'd never liked that idea, but after this years' show, perhaps a change is needed.

Happy Birthday! (9/27/05)

He's everyone's favorite fat crime solver on TV!
Whether as Hawaiian crime fighter Jason Lochinvar 'J.L.' McCabe on
Jake and the Fatman or as mystery solver Nero Wolfe from Nero Wolfe or as my personal favorite, Detective Frank Cannon in Cannon, if you needed a man with extra chins to catch the bad guys, this was your man.

Here's an original Matt Dillon Happy Birthday to ...

The narrator on Rocky and Friends would have been 85 today.

Monday, September 26, 2005

SPX 2005 Part 3

As much as I enjoy attending and appearing at shows like MOCCA and SPX, when it comes to purchasing material I find that, for the most part, I steer clear of a lot of the true Small Press books. While I appreciate the creative zeal by many of these artists, I'm turned off by the amateurish artwork and lack of story telling ability that permeate through many of these books. (just because you can get a book or comic printed, doesn't mean you should).

The first book I bought at the show was the SPX Anthology for 2005. (cover pictured above) Like most anthologies the quality of the work varies from story-to-story and from artist-to-artist. I don't mind buying these every year though, since the money goes to the CBLDF .

Next up I went over to the table of artist Batton Lash. Known most for his work on his own title, Supernatural Law, I wanted to pick a copy of Radioactive Man. He'd worked on this particular issue and I love these Radioactive Man titles from Bongo Comics. They're great spoofs of the many eras of the comic industry. This copy takes a neat swipe at the DC comics of 1971, especially about the New Gods titles by Jack Kirby.

While walking through the show I did scoop up a few free mini comics, but none that really grabbed me.

Some of the larger Small Press companies, like Fantagraphics Books and Top Shelf usually have a lot of high quality (and very pricey) books, that I and my wallet were able to avoid, but I couldn't elude the enticement from Drawn & Quarterly. Not only do they have a nice selection of titles and cartoonists but they usually have these damn cute French Canadian girls working their tables.

And this year was no exception.

First I bought Walt and Skeezix. It's a beautiful hard covered collection of the 1921-1922 strips of Gasoline Alley. I'm a huge fan of comic strips from the first 50 years of American comic strips and had meant to pick this up since I'd hear D&Q were planning this collection. Gasoline Alley is one of those strips that I'm very aware of but haven't had the opportunity to read most of the classic years of it's publication.

D & Q had some titles and books by artists I'd heard of but never read. I took a chance and picked up a book by Michel Rabagliati called Paul Moves Out. I was impressed not only by the design and layout of the hardcover but by Rabagliati clean competent style, line weight and storytelling. I'm looking forward to reading this.

Yes both books were expensive (and yes, the cute French Canadian girls had uttered the magic words "we take plastic") but D & Q not only gives you quality work to buy, but freebies too! Because I bought Walt and Skeezix I received a mini poster, a reproduction of a classic strip.
But that's not all.
Because I'd spent over a particular amount, I also got, for free, a copy of the hardback Crumb book, Waiting For Food Number 3.

And that's about it. Sure, I didn't buy a lot, but I believe the quality of the books more than makes up for the lack of the quantity.

Next Up, I finish up the SPX weekend.

SPX 2005 Part 2

After the show closed Friday evening (and we were informed of the closing with a guy and a blow-horn, walking around the show sounding more like a fast food drive through box than a P.A announcer) our very hungry group walked next store for an excellent Mexican dinner.

One nice thing about Bethesda, for such a small little town, they have a good selection of places to eat.

Well packed with a gaseous meal, of course now it was time for drinking. Our group wasn't much for mingling (though Jamar and Mike are very good at it) so by midnight we'd had enough of shelling out $5 a bottle for beer, and a few of us headed up to Jeff's room (which of corse was well stocked with coolers of beer), drank and Bull shitted well until 3 AM.

Somehow I got the energy at 8:30 the next morning, to get a 2.5 mile run in, before meeting up with everyone for breakfast.

Saturday's show opened at 10:00 and since this years' Con had gone back to it's two day format, this would be the day to sell (and buy) as many books as possible.
Even though this is a Small Press show, it's not much different than the larger Cons. You get waves of dead times and waves of massive crowds.

Throughout the day, while sitting at or respective tables, most of us kept busy by sketching. Either it was drawing in copies of the Philadelphia Cartoonist Society Anthology (for people who'd bought one) or passing around sketch books for everyone to draw in.

Jamar had a book filled with various different artists depictions of Fat Wonder Women. This was a cool concept and everyone had a blast, trying to "outdo" the other guy's Obese Amazon Warrior. For my contribution, I was inspired by the season premiere of Nip/Tuck. A gargantuan Diana Prince sitting on a couch seemed right to me.

I did take some time and walked around, checking out the other tables. There's a danger in doing this. The danger of buying a lot of books and spending a lot of money.
(especially when they say those magic words, "we take credit cards".)

Next part: What I bought.

SPX 2005

This past weekend I was in Bethesda, Maryland, along with a ton of other Small Independent publishers, hawking their wares at the 2005 edition of SPX; The Small Press Expo.

When it comes to comic/book shows and cons SPX stands above as a con devoted only to books and comics.
No huge overblown companies.
No "silicon valley" models
No movie companies
No toy booths
No obscure supporting actor from some long ago forgotten sci-fi TV show or movie.
Nope, Just Comics, Mini Comics and Graphic Novels.
(and the creative folks who make them)

So, on Friday, September 23, myself and fellow Philly Cartoonist Andrew Hoffmann, hopped in my rental car, and drove the 2.5 hours to the Holiday Inn, Bethesda (where the show is held and where I stayed.)
That's another nice aspect of SPX, you can stay in the same place where the show is, no scrambling with cabs, hauling all of your stuff. Just dealing with slow elevators.

The show started at 2:00 PM Friday and ran through 8 that first day. Unlike other shows that I've appeared in the past, we had a great set-up this year. Our tables were lined up so we could sit beside friends that made the weekend more fun.

Our group (The Philadelphia Cartoonist Society & Baboon Books) had 1.5 tables.
Besides myself and Andrew, sitting at our tables were fellow PCSer's Jeff Kilpatrick, Chris Patchell, Melissa Lomax, Ed McKeogh and his wife Rebecca. (while she isn't a cartoonist, she was pregnant).

Here are (from L to R) Chris, Andrew and myself drawing sketches (with Rebecca overseeing):

Here's Jeff after coming back from another PBR run (from L to R) Jeff, Rebecca & Ed):

Besides selling copies of the Philadelphia Cartoonist Society Anthology, Melissa & Chris did very well selling personalized illustrated/painted t-shirts and mail bags. (from L to R) Melissa & Chris:

To my left sat cartoonist Robert Bienvenu, a member of the Baton Rouge Cartoonist Society. Besides being a talented artist, message poster on the Captain Comics Message Board and a great guy, he (along with his son) were at the show selling copies of The BRCS Hurricane Relief Anthology. A great book, collecting submissions of artists all over the world, with all proceeds going to the Red Cross to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Next to Robert sat another PCSer, cartoonist Jamar Nicholas. (from L to R) Jamar paging through the Anthology as Melissa looks on.

And finally, last (but not least), to the left of Jamar, is another Philly guy and a hell-of-an-artist in his own right, Mike Manley

Well, that was our lineup for SPX. I'll be back later tonight with more pictures and stories of the goings on at the show.

I'm Back!!

Yes I know, there are a lot of folks out there in "blogland" who because of a myriad of reasons seemingly abandon their daily posts to only return one day, thinking that they need to give some detailed reason, why they were gone.

Well..... here's another one....

Besides the toils of daily life and a HUGE pile of projects with my day job at Concord Confections, I decided to devote as much free time to finish off all the artwork for issue one of Action Figure.

And..... it's finally done.

The dummy copy and info has been sent to Diamond Previews and will be solicited in the November catalog. So run (well, not literally) to your local comic shop in early November and place your order!

It'll hit Comic Shops in January, 2006.

For a little more info on #1, go here.