Monday, August 31, 2009

Catching up on commissions!

In between comic book projects, I'm catching up on a few long-overdue commissions.  Today we have Ms. Tree teaming up with Modesty Blaise.  Below that is the always popular Harley Quinn, about to deliver a pie.  Three more and then I'm caught up!  

I'm starting work very soon on a big project. so I probably won't take on any more commissions for the duration.  I do enjoy doing these -- but when print deadlines loom, it's tough to squeeze them into my schedule.  As always, click on the image for a larger view.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Milt Caniff

Some items from the Milton Caniff file -- a cover and article from the "Flatiron" magazine -- and the covers of two Terry and the Pirates coloring books.  I have a lot more Caniff -- so will be posting more in the future.

Maid Marian

Another random item from my collection -- a gorgeous color promotional photo of Olivia DeHavilland in "Adventures of Robin Hood."  The 1938 Technicolor masterpiece is one of my favorite films -- I never tire of it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I've just finished the wraparound cover illustration for the 72nd issue of Scary Monsters magazine.  For those who've wondered why this blog is "Scary Terry's World," -- this is why -- for more than a decade, I've been providing art for this mag, and since Scary and Terry conveniently rhyme, the nickname was inevitable! 

After years of painting these covers in acrylics on illustration board, pasting up copy on an overlay and shipping it all to the publisher in a big bulky cardboard box, I'm now experimenting with new ways to work, and making the final cover in Photoshop -- delivering the piece electronically.  Yes -- I know it's a shock to some, but I'm digging this 21st century technology.  

For this werewolf themed cover, I searched the web for images of Oliver Reed in the Hammer Studios movie, Curse of the Werewolf, and used a flopped version of a frame from the film for my preliminary drawing -- also referencing other stills and promotional photos for details.  The Lon Chaney Jr. Wolfman images came from still-frame screen images.

I started with pencil drawings on vellum -- shown here in their original black and white state.  The next step was scanning them and playing with color and contrast in Photoshop.  For Lon's Wolfman, I gave the linework a rich brown treatment, with a pale yellow in the highlights.  For the Oliver Reed Werewolf, I went with a deep blue, and then using the airbrush tools, added pinks, purples, reds and yellows under the linework.

The final step was to combine the images and add copy, logo and plug in the mag's mascot, Sam Scare.  

Click on the images for a larger view!

Next on the drawing board -- finishing up a few commissions, drawing a band gig poster and starting a major new project that'll keep me occupied for six months at least....

More vintage comics

The vintage Sunday comics I posted leading up to the release of Big Funny proved so popular, that I'm going to post a few more.  Today we have Prince Valiant from June 17, 1945, and the Terry and the Pirates strip from the same day (printed on the reverse of the Val).  I especially like this Val.  Look at the compositions, the visual storytelling and the character acting on this page -- spectactular!  The second panel is one I've used in my MCAD comics classes to show how to make every element in a panel serve a purpose.

I'm also sharing a Skippy strip from 1930.  Percy Crosby was a fascinating character -- and if you love comics like I do, you'd really enjoy Jerry Robinson's book about Crosby and his art -- if you're lucky enough to track down a copy of this long-out-of-print volume....

This Skippy comes from a Sunday comic section that is literally falling apart.  I'm going to try to scan the rest of it, to preserve what I can from it -- it's sad to see the brittle paper crumbling as it ages.  The actually paper is far more yellowed than this Photoshopped scan would suggest -- and the creases in the paper are an unfortunate blemish that I couldn't remove.  Check back over the next couple weeks, as I'll post more strips as I get them scanned and cleaned up....

And feel free to leave a comment, folks.  I'd like to know what you think about the content of this blog, and what else you'd like to see here. 

Saturday, August 22, 2009


There are a couple great dinosaur posts over on Mr. Door Tree's always wonderful "Golden Age Comic Book Stories" blog -- a big batch of Charles Knight paintings -- and Joseph Clement Coll's illustrations for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Lost World."  

In response, here's a promotional image for Willis O'Brien's silent film version of "The Lost World."  I didn't even recall how I came to own this vintage still -- but from the pencilled price tag on the back, it seems I paid a whole two bucks for it -- lucky me! 

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Bilko bonanza!

Since the post office is honoring early television shows with their TV Memories stamps, I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon and share these images of Phil Silvers as Sgt. Ernie Bilko. Yes -- all stuff from my crazy collection.  From a coloring book to a Camels ad* -- we're covering all the bases!  Enjoy!

* By posting this vintage cigarette ad, I am in no way endorsing the use of tobacco products -- I'm quite opposed to it actually.  It's here for it's historical (and hysterical!) value.


This great website has been posting some of my Jack Kirby-inspired drawings -- along with the work of many talented artists -- all doing their Kirby thing.  Click HERE to see.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What does a WInkerbean taste like?

I'd forgotten about this breakfast cereal until I stumbled across this ad in an '80s Chicago Tribune Sunday comics section I'd saved.  I think I actually bought a box or two of this stuff.  I don't recall what it tasted like, but I do remember liking the idea of the box covered in comic strips!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Greatest SYMBOLS in Comics!

Dig this early Marvel Comics ad!  Unlike most in house promo ads, which re-used existing art, this seems to have been drawn especially for the ad.  Art by Kirby (and Ayers?) -- from Sgt. Fury #1!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Today we have a series of images showing the process behind my cover illustration for A Killing in Comics, the first of the Jack and Maggie Starr comics mysteries by Max Allan Collins.  There were a few rough preliminary sketches before this pencil prelim.  The drawing style is inspired by 1940's DC Comics in general -- the Batman newspaper strip, specifically.

Image #2 shows the inked and cleaned up line art.  My favorite inking tool is the Niji "Waterbrush" (the large size) filled with Rapidograph "Ultradraw" ink bu Koh-i-noor.

  This is followed by the colored version in #3.  Melissa Kaercher did a great job (from my color notes) on the faux '40s comic book color --big dots,  bad registration and all!  And finally, there's the printed version of the book cover, incorporating a slightly cropped version of the art.

My cover illo for the second in the series, Strip for Murder, was a painting, incorporating some cartoon art.  Unfortunately, the series came to a halt before the planned third book, which would have had an EC horror comics theme.  Darn it -- I was really looking forward to illustrating that one.  Heck -- I was really looking forward to reading it!  Some day, if luck is kind, Max  and I will be able to return to this series.  In the meantime, we have other things planned....

Monday, August 10, 2009

I yam what I yam!

Here's a great vintage Popeye item I used to own -- but sold on eBay years ago.  Why the heck did I sell THIS!?!  What a great piece!  And why didn't I keep a bigger, better scan of it? Aw shucks. 

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The M.M.M.S. wants YOU!

I had copies of these posters from Marvel's M.M.M.S. (Merry Marvel Marching Society) fan club when I was a kid (I belonged to Marvelmania and F.O.O.M., too).  They're long gone -- I'm sure they got tossed after being torn and tattered from being taped and re-taped to my bedroom wall.  I found these scans on the web a loooong time ago -- they were a bit yellowed and worn, so I cleaned them up in photoshop.  I hope whoever originally posted them, doesn't mind me re-posting them here. I only wish they were larger -- but you can't have everything, can you? What wonderful, iconic images of these silver age Marvel heroes!  Face front, true believer!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Inking the "King"

Now that Big Funny has made its debut, I'll get back to posting more of my work, as well as various graphics and assorted "cool stuff" that I find worth sharing.  Today I'm bringing you a few examples of my inks over lightboxed Jack Kirby pencils from Jack's  "Heroes and Villains" sketchbook.  

These were initially done as an inking exercise -- but I ended up using them in a birthday greeting to Jack published in a San Diego ComicCon convention book.  Later, just for the heck of it, I colored them.  The originals were sold at auction in a 9-11 benefit at another convention.

I recently discovered these scans which I hadn't recalled making.  I'm glad I found them -- a nice surprise for me -- and I hope you enjoy them, too.  The experience of inking Kirby's pencils is such a pleasure for me -- I wish I'd been able to have really worked on something with him.

Friday, August 7, 2009

BIG FUNNY has arrived!

The Big Funny opening reception was -- or is -- as it's still going on while I type this -- a rousing success. The gallery was packed and copies of the publication were flying off the shelves.  The vintage Sunday sections I'd donated to be given away with early purchases went fast -- gone by the second hour of sales.

Original art from Big Funny was on display, as well as select vintage Sunday strips.  Many of the artists who had work in the show were there, as well as other local cartoonists such as Zak Sally (Sammy the Mouse) and Jim Keefe (Flash Gordon).  Winsor McCay's Gertie the Dinosaur was playing on a loop, projected on the gallery wall.  

Many of my former MCAD students were in attendance, as well as fellow faculty members.  I even bumped into an old pal from my hometown who I hadn't seen in twenty years (Hi Mitch!).  All in all, an impressive event, and a great show.  If you missed the opening, the show will continue through the 29th -- details here.   Enjoy the photos!

That's one of my MCAD students, Renny Kissling, in the center of this pic.

Sean Lynch and Eric Schuster, both former students of mine, chatting with MCAD comics instructor, Barbara Schulz.  

Cartoonist and MCAD visiting artist Zak Sally and MCAD design instructor Erik Brandt.

Big Funny contributor Lewis Tuck.

Original comic art by William Ede.

My Big Funny contribution (on the left).