Wednesday, June 27, 2012


As Comic Con gets closer and closer, my stress level grows higher and higher. Don't get me wrong, I'm totally looking forward to attending and hanging out with my pals in the industry. But it seems like there's so much riding on the trip, and I've seriously been losing sleep. I suppose the pressure I feel is entirely my own creation. But I don't have the knack for harnessing my chi and chilling the hell out. The best I can do is dive into my workload and complete as much as I can before the con, so when the time comes, "Did I get that assignment in by deadline?" will be the only thing I won't be sweating. Here's a small dose of what I've been completing thus far...

The web comic is still going strong, posting twice weekly every Monday and Thursday. This week began the latest storyline, "The Ballad of The Lotto". It's unlike any other Dead Duck story I've done, and I think you guys will dig it. Check it at the link above, and keep following for more undead hilarity to come!

I'm still hard at work on my latest book for Ape Entertainment: "OLD MCMONSTER'S HAUNTED FARM", which comes out around Halloween 2012. You'll recall from previous posts that this was an idea from my editors at Ape, who imagined the classic Universal horror monsters (Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) as cartoon animals. They came up with some character names and descriptions, and asked me to design, write and draw the whole magilla, same as I did on "Little Green Men" and "Dino Duck". It's been a fun project that allows me to play with two of my favorite subjects--monsters and cartoon animals. Here's a recently completed page from the upcoming book (click to enlarge). In the script, I only wrote that Beefenstein goes on a rampage. It wasn't until I sat down at the drawing board that I came up with him busting into a grocery store. I love bringing impov into my cartooning...
You may also recall that I contributed artwork to Dreamworks Animation Magazine. I'm still producing more sketches for future issues, and it's been a fun gig. Here are some recent samples that should appear in an upcoming issue...
I mentioned last time that I had a speaking engagement booked at The Snite Museum of Art on the Campus of Notre Dame University. In a room filled with aspiring artists, I showed slides detailing my career and work process, and did some quick sketching as I answered their questions. It was without a doubt one of the greatest experiences I've had as a presenter. The program's curator and instructor were very receptive to what I had to say, and the kids were friendly and interested. That might not seem like much, but I've done plenty of these talks where the kids were far from interested (though they're always friendly). Everything just clicked with this event, and it gave me a feeling that I rarely experience. To those responsible for having me there, thank you for the gift. Below are some pics from the day...

Because of our work schedules, my wife and I rarely get to experience a good summer festival when the season rolls around. And as festivals go, Michigan is the state that does them best and most frequently. So when we heard about Howell, Michigan's Balloon Fest just forty minutes north west of us, we knew this was the one fest we should make an effort to attend. We both love hot air balloons (from a distance. I wouldn't ride in one on a dare), and carnival food is a once-in-a-long-while journey that must be taken. As it turned out, we showed up at the slow end of the fest, when most people had come and gone, with plenty of parking and room to see things at our own pace. The down side was that, inexplicably, there wasn't a hot air balloon in sight. There were, however, some cool stunt kites being flown, some sky divers diving, and lots of cool stuff to buy (we got a root beer scented soy candle). But best of all was the food. Oh the food. Here's some pics of the day...
There were plenty of carnie-owned and operated food vendors, but we opted to eat at the one place that was local, and served food that seemed more legit than the batter-dipped variety common to festivals. We chose well. That was one damn fine burger. Laura, however, did succumb to the trashy allure of deep friend Twinkies. I was content with an elephant ear.
 That about does it for this week. I'll be steadily stressing, planning and packing for Comic Con in the coming weeks, but I'll do my best to have weekly updates for anyone who wants to read 'em. Take care, folks.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Just a quick update and I'm outta here...

It's midnight on Wednesday morning as I type this, and I'm scrambling to put together a two-hour long power point presentation for a talk I'm giving at Notre Dame (yes, THE Notre Dame) this Thursday. That's about all the news I have to share, and about all the time I have to tell it. Catch me back here next Wednesday for a new update. And be sure to read Dead Duck--this week starts a whole new storyline, "The Ballad of the Lotto!"

Catch ya soon!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Can you tell me how to to get to...South Bend?

Sunny day...                      
I've spoken at length (and shown more than a few samples) ofthe artwork I drew for Dreamworks Animation Magazine. That was a fairly immediate project, where my publisher at Ape Entertainment asked me to whip up some drawings, and within days they were approved by Dreamworks, and within a month of that, they saw publication, with another issue with my work in it on the way. Well, I think I can now talk about another licensed property that I may be contributing to this year, one that's been in the works for quite a while...

Ape is going to produce a Sesame Street comic book. It was being whispered about over a year ago, and when I heard, I campaigned like mad to be a part of it. Everyone reading this knows I'm a Muppet fanatic, right? I really don't need to repeat my history with all things Jim Henson, do I? Didn't think so. Anyway, my publisher told me to submit some Sesame Street sketches to show I knew how to draw the characters. This is what I came up with:
I've since been told that Sesame Workshop approved me as an artist on the book. More recently, I was asked to send them some pitches for one-page comics featuring the Sesame Street characters. My editor at Ape seemed to like them, and I should know in a week or two what Sesame Workshop thinks. I'd just be one of several contributors if this all works out. But anyone who knows how deeply I care about Jim Henson and the Muppets will get how monumental working on this comic would be for me.

I kinda feel like Rudy...
Though I never aspired to play football for the Fightin' Irish, a cool opportunity has landed in my lap that will bring me to Notre Dame. The Snite Museum of Art at Notre Dame has asked me to do a presentation on my career in comics. My audience will be a select group of area children who are aspiring artists. While I've talked to kids about my career before, I've never gone out of state to do it, nor at such a lofty venue. I'm honored to be asked, and once again, I'm indebted to friend and cartoonist Dave Coverly for recommending me to the museum's curator of education. This will all go down on June 21st, a week from today. So I've got some serious preparing to do. That is, coupled with my monthly comic page quota for Ape, prepping for San Diego Comic Con....good gravy. What am I getting myself into...?

That's enough for now, I think. We'll see what's left of my frazzled brain next week, and if I can put words together in a coherent sentence enough to post a new update. Friends and followers, gimme strength.


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The latest beans have arrived. Join me as I spill them...

Hopefully enough time has passed that I can make mention of the latest set I'm working on for Rittenhouse Archives. It's called "Marvel: Bronze Age", and focuses on Marvel Comics characters that were created (or at least made appearances) between 1970 and 1985. I spent the better part of the past few weeks hammering these cards out in time for the July deadline, and just today I beat it by a month and a half as I Fed Ex'ed off my cards to Rittenhouse. While I don't think I can show you my cards just yet, I can reveal that you'll find several Howard the Duck cards, and a nice pile of Spider-Ham characters, which were so much fun to draw. If Rittenhouse ever releases a Spider-Ham set, I'll be all over that like a bad hairdo on Trump.

 Remember me mentioning this one before? Richard Thompson's awesome syndicated comic strip, "Cul De Sac", has been celebrated in collection called "Team Cul De Sac", featuring several professional cartoonists (myself included) drawing their renditions of Richard's characters. The proceeds from the book will go towards research for Parkinson's Disease, which Richard is afflicted with. The book has just hit stores and it's already #9 in Amazon's best sellers of comics and graphic novels.

So, what more do you need to hear?! Order your copy now onTeam Cul De Sac's website! You can also bid on the original artwork produced for the book here, with those proceeds also going towards Parkinson's research. And if you want the bid on the piece that I created for the book, you can dothat here! If you're a fan of the comic, then this is a must-purchase for you. And if you're looking to make a difference towards curing Parkinson's, this is a fun and beautiful way to do it! 

  • On sale today is my newest all-ages graphic novel published through Ape Entertainment, "DINO DUCK", conceived by Ape publishers David Hedgecock and Brent Erwin and written and drawn by me. The official description goes: "The race up the evolutionary ladder is on! But the only duck in the Duck Tribe who knows it is Dino! With the monkeys watching and copying his every move (and his fellow tribesmen ignoring him completely), it's up to Dino to drag his people out of the stone age and into evolutionary superiority before the monkeys beat him to it!" You can order it here on Amazon. And you can see a sample page below. Go give it a buy and lemme know what you think!

  • I mentioned awhile back that my friend and fellow cartoonist, Evan Shaner, would be the colorist for my first "Bodie Troll" story. Evan just sent me the first coloring sample of my character, Gossamer. Just seeing what he did here proves that I made the right choice, and that I have one hella talented friend.
I'll be unveiling "Bodie Troll" at San Diego Comic Con next month. So advance thanks to Evan for classing up my line work and helping me make the best impression!
  • I'm still plugging away on writing and art chores on "Old Mc Monster's Haunted Farm" for Ape Entertainment. I should be wrapping up the project by the middle of the summer, with plans for an October release. Here's is a sample panel from the latest batch of pages.
I just wrapped up my annual all-night caricaturing gig for Flushing High School (Flushing, MI)--though I'm fuzzy on the exact anniversary, it seems as if this was my fifteenth year attending the event. As always, the parents were nice and helpful, and the kids were fantastic. I drew some good caricatures based off their great suggestions ("Draw me with a taco head and fighting a bear!" "Draw me and her as celery and a carrot swimming in a bowl of ranch dressing!"), and had some really nice conversations with the kids. Stand-out conversations were with fellow comic enthusiasts as we gushed over the Avengers movie, as well as a very nice talk with three Norwegian exchange students about their experiences here and in their homeland. It's connections like this that I enjoy most about my caricaturing gigs, and why I keep returning to this particular event. Thanks for another great one, Flushing High!

This weekend I'll be caricaturing for a graduation party here in my home town of Ann Arbor, MI. It's rare when I actually get a gig that's within ten miles of my driveway, so I jump at those opportunities. I owe this one to my friend, fellow Ann Arborite and fellow cartoonist Dave Coverly (creator of the syndicated comic, "Speed Bump"), who suggested me for this gig. As Dave has helped me out on many occasions (he sponsored me for membership for The National Cartoonists Society four years ago), I owe him many times over. So thank you, Dave. There's a kidney with your name on it inside me right now. How you got in there to autograph it, I'll never know...
If you're not following my "Dead Duck" web comic online, then you hate your mother and think kittens are tasty. If that doesn't describe you (and damn you if it does), then you better put things right and start following "Dead Duck". Hilarity waits for no man.

It's no secret that I'm  HUGE Rocky and Bullwinkle fan. I decided I wanted a hat emblazoned with "Moose and Squirrel's" image, so I ordered a vintage patch online, bought a ball cap here in town, and had my wife stitch 'er on for me. For those not in the know, Wossamotta University (or Wossamotta U) was Bullwinkle's alma mater. And now with this hat, it's my alma mater too. Wonder if I can get the next college bowl to be held in Moosylvania...?

See you next week!