Monday, December 24, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Capt. Action's new face

Here's a fun project I've been involved with -- Moebius Models is reissuing the ultra-rare 1960's Aurora Plastics CAPTAIN ACTION model kit. As an extra treat to the kit fans who'll be buying this, they decided to include an alternate, improved name plate -- and an alternate face part. Purists can still build the kit with the original parts -- but those wanting an improved look can go "modern" with it. I was recruited to sculpt the new face -- and here are some pics of a test shot of the kit, with that part attached.




Monday, November 26, 2007

New SCARY MONSTERS cover



Here's a preview of my next wraparound cover painting for SCARY MONSTERS magazine. This montage of images from William Castle's fright flick, HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, features portraits of Vincent Price and Elisha Cook Jr.  Acrylic on illustration board.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

"Minnesota Ruts Experiment Part 3"

The night before Thanksgiving, I took part in the open mic/jam session known as the "Ruts Experiment" at Minneapolis' legendary Lee's Liquor Lounge. The backing band is Al Subola's Rockabilly Quartet - and I muddled my way through Hank Thompson's "The Wild Side of Life" and Charlie Rich's "Sittin' and Thinkin'". My friend Karli Sande joined in on "Jackson." This was a "sit in and see what happens" sort of thing -- with no practice whatsoever -- though there were lyric "cheat" sheets (thank goodness!). A few notes are a little shaky, and Karli and I missed a few lyrics (look at us juggle that lyric sheet!), but this was a heck of a lot of fun. Thanks to Jessica for shooting the video. Thanks to Premium Grain Belt ("The Beer of Exceptional Quality") for the courage. Watch and listen, if you dare....

"Wild Side of Life"



"Sittin' and Thinkin'"



"Jackson"

Friday, November 9, 2007

RIP: Hank Thompson


One of my favorite performers, country music legend Hank Thompson has passed away at the age of 82. In the 1950s, Thompson and his band, the Brazos Valley Boys had 21 songs in the top twenty of the music charts -- five of those top ten hits. In '52 Thompson's "The Wild Side of Life" was the #1 country song -- and inspired Kitty Well's "answer" song, "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" -- a classic in its own right. All in all he sold over 60 million records and scored 29 top ten country hits from 1948 to 1975. The Brazos Valley Boys were ranked the top country band from '53 to '65 -- a record yet to be broken. He was touring up until a few months ago -- and I was lucky to have seen him at Green Bay two summers ago. The pic here is one I took at that performance. So long, Hank -- we'll miss you.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

MCAD: Project UFO

I've been teaching in the comic art program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design for the past several years -- and haven't posted much of my students' work. It's time to remedy that. Here are some of the pieces selected to be in the upcoming "Project UFO" show at MCAD.

All the design classes took part in this two week project, producing work with a UFO theme. Some kept to the traditional flying saucer notion -- others pushed the concept in other directions. In my "Comic Art" class, students were directed to create an homage or satire of a vintage comic strip in Sunday page format. Presented here are Maddie Queripel's take on George Herriman's "Krazy Kat" and Hannah Blumenreich's Charles Schulz riff.



My "Figure in Perspective" students created human/alien comparative anatomy charts. Examples here are by Francesca Buchko and David Karrow.




"Comic Art Professional Practice" students drew pitch art / concept art for a proposed project. On view are Sean Lynch's "Aftermen," Evan Palmer's "The Blinding Gold" and Renny Kissling's "True UFO Stories." These and MANY more wonderful pieces of student art will be on display at MCAD from November 7 -14. There will be an opening celebration Friday November 9 in the Student Center from 5:30 to 7:00.



Images are copyright the respective student --used here by permission - all rights reserved.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Why I love Minneapolis: Part Four

The Heights Theater! This beautifully restored vintage theater shows first run films as well as vintage fare. For Halloween they screened a beautiful print of "The Tingler," starring Vincent Price -- to a packed house. A Ben Turpin silent short preceded, with live organ accompaniment. If you live in the Twin Cities and have never been to a show at The Heights, then by all means, make plans to visit it soon!





Monday, October 15, 2007

Why I Love Minneapolis: Part Three

The Museum of Russian Art! This former church (and one-time funeral home!) built in the Spanish Mission style in the 1930s, now houses a remarkable art museum. Currently on view is a one-man show devoted to the works of Geli Korzhev. The exhibition has taken over the entire three floors of the building and includes pieces from private collections in the US and many on loan from Russian museums. This 50 year retrospective of this still-active artist is an absolute "must see" event. Korzhev's massive canvases painted in the "severe style" of "social realism" are melancholy masterpieces reflecting his life in communist Russia. The one sample shown here is from a series of Don Quixote paintings that bring to mind comparisons with certain American illustrators. The show runs through Jan 5 of 2008. There is no book devoted to the show -- yet. I'm told it should arrive near the end of the month. I'll be returning to see this again before it is gone. For more information see: www.tmora.org


Why I Love Minneapolis: Part Two

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts! Located on the same block as MCAD, if I could just live in this museum, I would. Here are just a few of the treasures found within (Parrish, Barye, Van Gogh, Wyeth...!) For more info and hundreds of scans of art from the collection (see the "collections" portion of the website) have a look here: http://www.artsmia.org/ Currently on view is an exhibition of Anders Zorn etchings -- and a Degas sculpture show starts soon. If you are ever in the Minneapolis area -- you owe it to yourself to make a visit to the MIA.





Friday, October 12, 2007

John P at MCAD


"King-Cat" cartoonist John Porcellino stopped by MCAD yesterday to speak to a group of comics students. He's on tour, promoting a hardcover collection of the best of the early years of his comics zine, "King-Cat." Check it out at www.king-cat.net.

Here's a shot of John and his tribute to the Kirby/Ayers giant monster comics -- which, surprisingly enough, he says were a big influence on him and his work!

Monday, October 8, 2007

MS. TREE headed to TV, too!


Hot on the heels of the JOHNNY DYNAMITE announcement comes the news that MS. TREE is headed for the small screen as well. In development at the Oxygen network is a TV movie/pilot based on the long-running private eye comic book series created by Max Allan Collins and me. More info here: http://www.comics2film.com/index.php?a=story&b=29293

FallCon '07

Here are a few pics from this year's comic book show, here in the Twin Cities. -- a few of the (many) guests and some of the displays.

Christopher Jones -- penciller on "The Batman Strikes."


The "Comic Heads" crew from MCAD


Hey -- I had that Beverly Hillbillies truck when i was a kid....!

alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5118974440679672930" />

alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5118974457859542146" />
A great collection of George Petty pin-ups!


A collection of Green Lantern artwork.


Another of the many displays of comic art at the show.


A great C. C Beck Capt. Marvel color piece.


Batmobile!


This deco building next door to the convention looks straight out of a '30s Superman cartoon....



Steve Rude.


Zander Cannon and Chris Jones.


Joe Rubinstein and Xeric Grant winner Tyler Page


My tablemate (and neighbor) Tom Allison with his "Plasma Cannon."

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

JOHNNY DYNAMITE TV show in the works



The mini-series/graphic novel by Max Collins and me is now in pre-production as a TV pilot! You can read more about it here: Variety article

And yes, they did manage to leave any mention of me out of the article -- but rest assured that Max and I are both involved in the project. Hey -- my book cover illo is there.... (and here, too).

Who will play Johnny? Your guess is as good as mine!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Kim Deitch at MCAD

Underground comics legend, Kim Deitch, was a guest speaker at MCAD yesterday, and I had the pleasure of introducing him. The students (as you can see in the pics) were enthralled by his enthusiastic lecture and Q&A session. The night before, I met up with fellow cartoonists and MCAD instructors, Barbara Schulz and Zak Sally, at Big Brain Comics, where Kim was doing a signing. I got a pair of books autographed -- and Kim was kind enough to add sketches as well. Zak, Barb and I got to look through Kim's portfolio of pencil roughs for various projects -- which were absolutely GORGEOUS. I hope someday there will be a book collection of them, as they really deserve to be seen. After the signing, the whole crew, including Kim's lovely wife Pam, all dined out at The Modern -- where Zak highly recommends the pot roast! I had the ravioli -- tasty.