Monday, December 21, 2009

Everett Shinn's Santa

My childhood notion of Santa Claus was largely formed by images from the Everett Shinn illustrated edition of The Night Before Christmas.  Here are a few of those images, snagged off the web.  My own copy of the book -- the same that was read to me as a child, is ragged, torn and marred by repairs done with yellowing scotch tape.  Some day I'd like to own a nicer condition copy -- but I think I'll hold on to that ragged copy no matter what.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gumps Greetings - 1953

Seasons greetings from Gus Edson and The Gumps --scanned from the original 1953 daily strip.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

TBG Christmas cover 1982

In the early days of my comics career, I was a regular contributor of cover art to Alan Light's weekly fanzine, The Buyer's Guide for Comic Fandom.  I'm not sure how many covers I drew for TBG over the years (though someone did send me a checklist once -- which I'm sure is packed away somewhere in some box in my storage closet) -- but I only kept the original art for a handful, and this Christmas cover below is one of them.  This scan is of the original -- the color added version done in Photoshop, after scanning the original color mask overlay.  I did at least one more Christmas cover.  If I can find it before Christmas, I'll post it, too. 

The comics and toys are items from my own collection that I thought collectors might enjoy finding under a Christmas tree.  I've since sold that Daredevil #1 (darn it!) -- but still have the rest of this stuff.   Shortly after publication, Milt Caniff  sent me a postcard telling me he enjoyed seeing the Terry and the Pirates characters on this cover!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Wally Wood Christmas

Wally Wood drew this holiday comic strip continuity in 1967.  This complete version of Bucky's Christmas Caper was scanned from an issue of Jim Steranko's Mediascene magazine.  Click on the strips for a larger view. Merry Christmas to my fellow comics fans everywhere!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Simians' Greetings!

For my first Christmas-related post of he season, I'm sharing this fold-out Christmas card featuring the monkey illustrations of the astounding Lawson Wood.  This standard-sized card folds out into the huge illustration shown at the bottom of this post.  Click on the pics for a larger view.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

William Overgard out West

Quite a few years ago, I purchased a batch of Australian editions of Dell Western comics.  The bad news about these particular versions is that they are all edited -- the first several pages of the stories cut to fit into a smaller page-count format -- but the good news is -- they are printed in black and white.  This allows for a clean reproduction of the linework, unobscured by the sometimes heavy handed color found in comics of the period.  I'm particularly glad I got this book in that lot -- Zane Gray's The Rustlers as drawn by William Overgard.  

When teaching in the comics program at MCAD, I used panels and pages from this book as examples of simplicity and clarity in composition and storytelling.  I've scanned a few pages to share here.  I'm knocked out by how good this work is.  Click on the images for a larger view.

Chester Gould and Dick Tracy

This wonderful autobiographical comic strip was drawn by Chet Gould for Collier's magazine in 1948.  I love every thin/thick line of this.  As always, click on the image for a larger view.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


It's  Scary Monsters time again!  Here's the wraparound cover for the seventy-third issue.  Considering the subject matter was '50s space kids, I couldn't resist going all retro-comic booky this time.  I worked the magazine's mascot, Sam Scare into the crowd of frightened kids on the back cover -- though he doesn't exactly seem scared.  I loved drawing that big globby space brain/amoeba thing!  The various elements were drawn in ink and/or pencil, and combined and colored in Photoshop. 

Now on to several commissions, more Return to Perdition pages, and packing up some artwork I've sold to collectors....

Monday, November 23, 2009

SHOCK STORIES original art and printed cards

I couldn't resist another post related to the URBAN LEGENDS and SHOCK STORIES cards.  Here are a couple shots of my original black and white line art, compared to the printed colored cards.  The art was done at 5 x 7 inches and reduced for publication.  These are both from the SHOCK set -- so there is a 3D version as well as the standard color card.  The 3D cards are the ones with the simpler "flat" color.  I told you some of these were grisly!  These two are in my "keeper file" and not among the originals I'm offering for sale.

Urban Legends and SHOCK STORIES trading cards

At long last, I have my comp box of the URBAN LEGENDS and SHOCK STORIES trading card sets I drew for Monsterwax!  This project was a long time in the making, and it's a treat to see it finally on the market.  I spent this afternoon sorting through the cards, assembling my sets by opening the packs contained in the box.  Each box contains a complete basic 50 card set of both SHOCK and UL -- as well as 3D subset cards and various extras.  I even got two of my own sketchcards back!  The original B&W line art art was also returned -- and I'll be offering up the majority of the originals for sale -- including the paintings for the wrappers.  Contact me for details on that if you're interested. 

As someone who collected trading cards when I was a kid -- way back in the 1960s, when you could get cards of The Beatles, The Outer Limits or Gomer Pyle, it's a real kick to have created the art for an entire set (two sets, really!), and to see it presented in the traditional "wax pack" manner.  Now if only each pack contained a crumbling stick of dusty pink bubble gum....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mighty Joe Young

Dig this double-page magazine ad for Mighty Joe Young!  Enjoy, fellow stop-motion fans.

More comic strip ads

As promised, here are a pair of Fearless Fosdick Wildroot Cream Oil ads.  I'm also posting a couple Terry and the Pirates Canada Dry advertisments, a Sgt. Bilko photo comic (for Camels) and several more Li'l Abner Cream of Wheat strips.  I have MANY more Abners -- comment if you want to see them here.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Li'l Abner -- pitchman!

It's a testament to the popularity of Al Capp's comic strip, Li'l Abner, that clients must've been falling all over themselves to use Abner as pitchman for their products.  Have a look at the variety of ads shown here.  As always, click on the images for larger versions.

 Abner and family want us to buy Fruit of the Loom underwear -- Abner seems to prefer boxers, while the next generation is sporting briefs. 

Abner is knocking back Kraft caramels in this ad.  A previous blogpost on comic ads featured the Daisy Mae version of this advertisement.

Abner hawks laundry soap, while urging you to name this Shmoo!  Heck, I'll name a Shmoo for 20 grand!

Abner plugs the Bob Hope movie, That Certain Feeling -- which, not so coincidentally, features a cameo by Al Capp!

And now we come to the cream of the crop -- literally!  Cream of Wheat ran an ad campaign featuring Li'l Abner for over a decade -- from the early '40s into the '50s. The two full page ads directly below are not typical of the campaign.  Most of the ads were of the comic strip variety -- keep scrolling down to see three examples of those.

The first comic strip ad is an early one -- from 1941.  Early examples all have this "long shot" look to them, but it wasn't long before someone figured out the format allowed for a big top panel - and that panel could feature a big sexy shot of Daisy Mae (or Wolf Gal, on a few occasions) -- and the strips started looking more graphically pleasing (in more ways than one).   Ads usually ran in black and white or two color -- I've only seen a very few full color examples.  I have dozens of these -- and if you folks like them, I'll scan and post more -- just ask.

Alas, all good things come to an end.  After a decade of  selling their product with comic strips featuring a lunkheaded hillbilly and (more importantly) his gorgeous backwoods gal, Cream of Wheat retired the Li'l Abner campaign and brought in a rambunctious kid to pitch their cereal.  Here's Dennis the Menace taking Abner's place.  Dennis' mom is kinda cute -- but I must admit -- she's no Daisy Mae.
Now before anyone takes me to task for forgetting the Fearless Fosdick Wildroot Cream Oil ads -- I do have a few -- and will scan and post them soon.  In the meantime, please let me know if you'd like to see more of these comic strip ads!

George Tuska 1916-2009

Cartoonist George Tuska, probably best known for his run on Marvel's Iron Man in the '60s, passed away recently.  This prompted me to go to my files and pull out these pencil drawings he sent me in October of 2000.  I'd written him a fan letter, and asked if he had any drawing advice he'd pass on to aspiring cartoonists.  I wasn't teaching at MCAD yet, but had taught a few cartooning classes at schools and museums in the Quad Cities area, so thought it a question worth asking.  George responded with this lovely pencil drawing of Iron Man -- and a page of notes on inking.  The sideways comment reads: " Years ago working with Will Eisner, Will's pencils were very sketchy.  He knew how to ink The Spirit. I couldn't ink it!"

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pumpkin... GOOOOOD!!!!

A Happy Halloween to all the readers of my blog!  Here's the "Frank O'Lantern" I carved this afternoon.  We're getting ready for Trick or Treaters, and will be giving out back issues of various Batman comics that I've inked along with the traditional candy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Halloween is on the way!

Our great migration is done.  We are out of the old place and in the new.  There is still much to unpack -- but my studio is 90% together and I'm back to work.  To celebrate that -- and the upcoming holiday -- here are some cool Halloween images.  For your viewing pleasure -- some vintage Halloween decorations and some Wheaties cereal box masks  -- artists unknown.