Wednesday, February 29, 2012


It's been a mixed bag of a week, but with no shortage of artwork being produced. And, like an old saying went that I'm probably misquoting, a bad day fishing is still a bad day fishing. Replace day with week and fishing with drawing, and who am I to complain?

 Last week I mentioned how I'm working on a new book for Ape Entertainment (still not sure how much I'm allowed to talk about), and I showed some of the roughs I drew before beginning the completed art. Since last Wednesday, I finished roughing out all 48 pages, and as of this typing, I've penciled and inked the first four finished pages. So far I'm very happy with the results. I'm hoping to get one more drawn today, then shift gears to other projects. But one pile at a time...

 I've been fortunate to have had a good amount of commissions on my drawing board lately. Here is a small sampling of some of my favorites. Oh, and here is where the "parental guidance suggested" bit comes into play. Nothing too outrageous, but I'm certainly treading on PG-13 territory with this last one.
This first piece was a pin-up I drew for cartoonist Danny Limor's "Neutron City Comix" web comic, which he's compiling into a collection and is taking pre-orders on his website right now. The characters on the left are Danny's, and as per his request, I paired them up with my own Dead Duck and Zombie Chick.
You may recall this drawing of Medusa, drawn by animator Tom Bancroft, which I showed you a couple weeks ago. This was a team-up drawing Tom and I planned, where he'd draw Marvel's long haired heroine and I'd draw her cloven-hoofed cousin, Gorgon. Here's the finished piece with my artwork included. Lots of fun, and I hope to do more of these down the road with Tom and other artists!
This was a commission where I was asked to draw Marvel's Enchantress turning Spider-Man's girlfriend's, Mary Jane, Black Cat and Gwen Stacy, into frogs. The biggest challenge was to have the frogs bear any resemblance to the women they represent. I think putting a domino mask on the middle frog would have helped.
This was a commission where I was simply asked to draw Zombie Chick playing pinball. I love pinball, but have always noticed that most pinball machine themes are taken from pop culture icons that are as far removed from pinball as can be. In keeping with that, I went with one of my favorite books and movies in designing my pinball machine that, while weird, fits Zombie Chick's backwards persona to a T.
And lastly, this was another Dead Duck-themed commission. I was asked to draw my character Dead Duck bumping into the Morrigan, an Irish goddess who makes love to fallen soldiers on the battlefield in order to see them off to the afterlife. Those familiar my character Dead Duck know he also delivers the recently deceased to the afterlife, but in a decidedly non-coital fashion. This piece really sparked my imagination, and may serve as the seed for a future Dead Duck story.

That does it for this week. Be sure to catch up with DEAD DUCK when a new comic posts tomorrow morning. And see you here next Wednesday for more news and updates!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Almost missed this week's post, but I pulled a clutch cargo at the last mo' and here you have it! Just a few little nuggets to share, then I'm off to the races--and by races, I mean grocery shopping, making and mailing prints, buying art supplies and working on comics. And speaking of which...                      


I've spent the last few days doing thumbnails for the latest comic project that I'm writing and drawing for Ape Entertainment, which I'm not entirely sure I can talk about yet. For those who don't know, thumbnails are VERY rough (and usually small) drawings that lay out each page of a comic before the final art is drawn. They're kind of like blueprints.

Now, I don't typically thumbnail my pages. My process was always (1) write script (2) draw the pages (3) eat a celebratory cheeseburger.  But my previous stories had always been short vignettes that didn't require much preparation. With this new project, I'm doing one big 48 page story, my longest to date, and I felt I needed to block the action (a theatrical term from my acting days) to assure I had enough material to fill the page count. This also brings to light the ass-backwards process I employ in script writing. Rather than figure out how long a story will be as I write it, I typically write something until I say, "Eh, that feels like it could fill 48 pages" or whatever. Obviously I'm still working out a more fool proof formula for comic production.

Anyway, without divulging too much about what this new comic entails, here is the thumbnail for page 1 of the book:

 I'm currently thumbnailing page 34 of 48, and here's that one:

Inexplicably, my "sketch quality" gets rougher the further I go. And compared to page 1, page 34 is starting to look like a drunk Egyptian's hieroglyphic that he carved with the chisel up his butt. Seriously, I drew better than this when I was two.

For the last few years, Ape has been publishing comics based on the Dreamworks animated characters (Shrek, Madigascar, Kung Fu Panda). I even wrote my first comic script for someone else to illustrate for the Shrek comic around 2009, which I assume saw publication. I've recently been tapped to draw some of these characters for a new Dreamworks book Ape is developing, and in my own style, no less. While I'm capable of drawing licensed characters on model, it's always fun when I can put my own flavor into it. I sent Ape some samples, and if Dreamworks approves them, I'll be working on that in 2012. Here is a sample I drew of the characters from "How To Train Your Dragon" (my favorite Dreamworks flick, and co-directed by my idol, Chris Sanders):
The word has been spread this week that comic publisher Archaia is planning their second volume of Jim Henson's "The Storyteller". Based on Jim's 1989 TV series, "The Storyteller" is narrated by an old man and his dog, and spins tales that hint at familiar themes and archetypes in classic folklore. If you know me at all, then I shouldn't need to explain my lifelong obsession with all things Jim Henson. Suffice to say, I tried to get on the first volume when it came out a year ago. Didn't happen. Now I'm trying to get on the second volume. Sounds like hundreds of comic folk are vying for a spot in the book, so odds are rough. But who knows? Maybe the spirit of Jim still recalls that ten year old aspiring artist who wrote to him all those years ago with his pile of Muppet drawings, and perhaps he'll sway the fates in my favor.

Here's a sketch I did last year of The Storyteller and his Dog:

So that's about it for this week. Catch you next Wednesday with another update. Have a great week!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Great feeling for a great cause...

So I don't know what the heck Garfield is talking about. Mondays are fast becoming my favorite day of the week. I tend to feel renewed from the weekend and rarin' to go. Not to mention that in the last couple weeks, Monday has been the bearer of cool news for me. Such was the case with THIS Monday...

Perhaps you've heard of the comic strip, "Cul DeSac", by Richard Thompson. It's one of the greatest comics to hit newspapers in the last 17 years (I say 17 because a mighty blow was struck against newspaper pages in 1995, when "The Far Side", "Outland" (aka "Bloom County part 2"), and "Calvin and Hobbes" simultaneously retired from publication). For his efforts, Richard has won the accolades of  his peers, and the prestigious Reuben award for Outstanding cartoonist of the Year from The National Cartoonists Society in 2010. Recently, Richard was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. It can result in physical tremors that can totally incapacitate the bearer. You can imagine the effect it would have on someone who draws for a living. But Richard continues producing incredible cartoons, and along with Chris Sparks, has parlayed "Cul De Sac's" popularity into a worthwhile cause.  

"Team Cul De Sac" put out the call to professional cartoonists last summer, asking them to create "Cul De Sac" themed artwork that would be auctioned off, with the proceeds going towards Parkinson's research. I was one of the cartoonists who contributed, and it was a joy to draw Richard's characters for such a worthwhile cause. It was known to us contributors that some of the donated artwork would be featured in a "Team Cul De Sac" book, whose proceeds would also go towards the cure. On Monday, "Team Cul De Sac" posted the list of artists whose work would be featured in the book. And I was thrilled to no end that my work was selected alongside so many of my cartooning heroes.

You can visit the "Team Cul De Sac" website hereto pre-order the book, and check here to see the complete list of participating artists. I encourage you to purchase this one of a kind collection that will greatly benefit Parkinson's research. And please, help spread the word to others about it, too.

And in other news:


So I can officially announce now that I'm contributing to Rittenhouse Archives' "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" (aka "Avengers") sketch card set. Rittenhouse posted some samples of my cards on Facebook on Monday, but you can view the selection below:

I've had the best working relationship with Rittenhouse, and I'm pleased to report that I'll be participating in other Marvel Comics sets for them throughout 2012 and possibly beyond.


I recently became online pen pals with cartoonist Tom Bancroft. Tom is a former Disney animator, and was the designer of the dragon Mushu from the film, "Mulan". Being fans of each other's work, Tom and I decided to collaborate on a couple Marvel-themed pieces, where he'd draw one character, and I'd draw the other. While these pieces are still in development, I can show you Tom's half of the piece that I get to keep, which will feature The Inhumans' Medusa (drawn by Tom), and eventually, her cousin Gorgon (to be drawn by me)...

I also started a second piece that he'll complete, where I drew Captain America, and he'll draw Ms. Marvel...

I'll be sure to post these when they're both complete.


Here's a piece I was commissioned to draw of Marvel Comics' She-Hulk. For those unaware, in her secret identity, she's a lawyer. So I decided to mix up her two identities a bit...

And this was a commission where I was asked to draw the Marvel Comics' villain, The Enchantress, turning SHIELD agent Maria Hill into a yak. Weird sounding perhaps, but a heckuva lotta fun to draw...

That's it for this week. Check back next Wednesday for more news!


Monday, February 06, 2012


I am both happy and frustrated to introduce my first blog post of 2012. Frustrated because January blew right by me, with assignments and grown up responsibilities getting in the way of me talking about myself as if I were some kinda big shot. Well, here's where I repair the damage. A self-stylized, reality-rootless big shot I shall once again pretend to be, and hopefully I'll get this blog back on track, posting once a week with any little nugget of news I can pinch off. We'll see how long that lasts...


The "DEAD DUCK" WEB COMIC is steady moving along, posting a page from my graphic novel each Monday and Thursday. For those who think they've seen it already, I assure you, there's much new to see. In some cases, I've re-colored or tweaked/edited/overhauled some of the pages to meet my current standards. Also, I've painstakingly included piles of never-before-seen-trivia--painstakingly, in that I've had to remember what my thought process and inspirations were when I drew these pages five to six years ago. So be sure to check the comic out every Monday and Thursday, and experience each installment in a brand new way.

I've also just completed a new "DEAD DUCK" story, and have another script ready to be drawn. I'm hoping to get a few more done in the coming months, and run them on my "Dead Duck" web comic once I've run through all the old stories I'm posting. In the meantime, here's a sneak peek at the newest tale, "Le Morte D'Mia" or "Swede Home Avalon, Yeah". It manages to mix Arthurian legend with the music of the 70's Swedish pop group, Abba (or at least a very loose parody of them):

I finished work on the final volume of "LITTLE GREEN MEN" for Ape Entertainment. Just as a refresher for those who may have forgotten, "LGM" is about a trio of aliens with their sights set on invading Earth, only to discover that we're towering giants compared to them. According to Amazon, "LITTLE GREEN MEN: SMALL PACKAGE, BIG FUN" ships this week. So if you've followed the aliens' adventures this far, now's your chance to snag the conclusion. Check out the cover art I drew for the book here:

I just wrapped up work on a new all-ages comic for Ape Entertainment called "DINO DUCK" (I must stress there's absolutely NO connection to "DEAD DUCK" here). "DINO" is also published through Ape Entertainment, and like my work on "LITTLE GREEN MEN", this was a concept that the publishers of Ape came up with, then passed off to me to design, write and draw. It's set in prehistoric times and sees a tribe of cave ducks at war with a tribe of monkeys. Dino Duck is the one brain among his dim-witted flock, and his crazy inventions are constantly misused by his tribe to battle their enemies, usually with failed and comical results. You can see the character sheet I designed here:
 "DINO DUCK" hits stores sometime in 2012. I'll be sure to post the actual release date when I know more.

I'm currently working on a new comic for Ape Entertainment that I'm not sure I can divulge too much about right now. What I will say is that it's an all-ages funny animal book with monsters, so it's right up my alley. More news on that one as it develops.

I'm still plugging away at "NECRONOMICOMICS", my monthly comic for Rue Morgue Magazine, and loving every gore-caked minute of it. The art director and editor at Rue Morgue have been enthusiastic about my work, and are still giving me a free hand to slaughter the sacred cows of horror filmdom however I see fit. You can see one of my most recent cartoons below. One of my favorite stock horror movie concepts is the swarm of pint sized monsters that ravages a community, and I managed to include all my favorites in this installment:

For those who need clarification, the monsters I drew here are from (left to right, top to bottom) "Critters" (1986), "Ghoulies"(1985), "Munchies" (1987), "Troll" (1986) and "Gremlins"(1984). Hopefully people recall that the actual name for the monsters in "Gremlins" was "Mogwai", which also sounds funnier. Hence, the name's inclusion in the punch line.

I'm still working on completing "BODIE TROLL". I want to have some samples to show around the San Diego Comic Con this summer (see COMIC CONS below), so finishing at least a few pages is a priority. I'm also developing an all new comic that's still in the concept stages. What I can say is that it involves a burned out puppeteer and is set in the late 70's. I want to have samples of this comic, "Bodie Troll", "Dead Duck", and "Necronomicomics" to show at Comic Con, and I'm confident I can make it happen. Here's a sketch I did of Bodie last year, drawn on the back of a coaster from the Grizzley Peak bar and grill in Ann Arbor:


I just completed work on a new Marvel set for Rittenhouse. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say which characters, but I can tell you it's a superhero team, it's not Fantastic Four or X-Men, and they're making a movie about it starring Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans that comes out this Spring. Oh, and it rhymes with muhvengers. Count on seeing these mysterious cards sometime in 2012. In the meantime, here's a sneak peek. But you didn't get it from me:


The biggie for me this year is The San Diego Comic Con. I won't be in artist alley, but I plan on some face time at the NationalCartoonists Society booth at least, and perhaps a couple others I'm affiliated with if they'll have me. My main goal is to network and show my art around. Fingers crossed that everything falls into place in getting me there. Once there, I'm content to work my own magic. More news as it comes.

Now, the real blow to my con stops this year comes from Wizard World. Last year I was cordially invited to attend any show Wizard put on across North America, with a free table no less. I had counted on the same offer this year, and sent an e-mail to Wizard to confirm it. As I type this blog entry, I just received a response, essentially saying I wouldn't be a guest of Wizard this year. Evidently, there is a "strict comped table limit for each show as per the management" this year, and I didn't make the cut. I've already had to bow out of C2E2 in downtown Chi Town because of costs, and now Wizard World has given me the brush off. So sorry Chicago. I won't be seeing you this year. Or Columbus, Ohio for that matter, since the MidOhio Con was run by Wizard.

The couple places you CAN find me this year will be 21stCentury Comics in East Lansing for Free Comic Book Day on May 5th, and DetroitFanfare on Sept. 24th and 25th. I'll report in if any other shows pop up on my radar.

Though not technically a convention, The MSU Comic Forum was a wonderful meet and greet of comic artists that was held on Feb. 4th on Michigan State's campus. It was my third year attending, and I had my best time yet. We artists all had tables and sold our wares, but more so, we got to reconnect with each other and bask in the glow of each others' talents. Talented artists and great guys Jay Jacot and Ryan Claytor put on the event, and I'm indebted to them for allowing me to be a part of it. Here are two sketches I did during the show, of Wolverine and Frodo Baggins:

That's about it for now. Like I mentioned earlier, I'm going to try and maintain a weekly schedule for posting fresh news every Wednesday, even if it's only a couple crumbs of info. Please keep checking back here to give me an excuse to reach my goal. Thanks, my friends.