Friday, June 26, 2009


Here's a project that has been in the works for years!  At long last, we're done and going to print -- with boxes to be released in August.  There are 50 cards in each of these sets -- with additional 3-D versions of the SHOCK cards!  The cards have stories written by Kurt Kuersteiner --and all are drawn by me (my pals Chris Bailey and Michael Collins helped with pencils on a handful of cards -- thanks, guys!)  I've just finished drawing 250 sketch cards (with the assistance of my talented MCAD intern, Hannah on some of them -- thanks, Hannah!) that will be randomly inserted into card packs.  I'm very excited about this project, and can't wait to have the printed versions in my hands!  If you'd like more info, check out Kurt's site: Monsterwax .

Below are an ad for the cards that will be running in Non Sports Update magazine, (which will be running a feature article on the cards), title cards and previews of several cards from the sets.  These will be limited to 1000 boxes, and pre-orders are being taken -- so, if you'd really like a box, I'd suggest ordering soon, as we expect this to sell out -- especially after the NSU article sees print. I really enjoyed getting to cut loose and draw all the creepy monsters and such featured on these cards. If you like EC horror comics, or vintage monster movies -- or just like an old fashioned scary story (the kind told around a campfire), you'll dig these. 

If you'd like to see them, I'll post some preliminary pencils for the cards -- maybe some inked versions (pre-color) and a preview of a few of the sketchcards.  Want to see them?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wash Tubbs and Capt. Easy

Roy Crane is one of my cartooning heroes, and I often show his work to my students when discussing drawing simply but effectively.  I'm posting this book cover just because I think it's a great image!

They don't make 'em like this anymore!

Continuing to share stuff from my collections as I sort through them.  This nifty little digest mag of girlie pics and cartoons from 1957 features the late great Bettie Page on the inside front cover -- and panel cartoons by the like of Wenzel and Machamer.  Nothing like this on the newsstands anymore!  Well, except for my pal Java's Bachelor Pad Magazine!

Dick Tracy Looks at Television

With all this fuss over the change from analog to digital television, I thought it worth looking at this 1953 TV Guide piece on television by Dick Tracy's creator, Chester Gould.  Click on the pages for a larger, more readable view.

Tarzan of the Iowans

From my collection -- this vintage Tarzan booklet is based on the Rex Maxon version of the comic strip -- not my favorite (I'll take Hal Foster, please) -- but I especially like it because of the pasted on promotional sticker on the back.  This was given away by a shoe store in my home town of Muscatine, Iowa!

The Secret Origins of Wild Dog!

Shown above is Ed Hannigan's rough design for the cover of the first issue of the Wild Dog mini-series.  You didn't know he designed that, did you?  Ed did a lot of uncredited design work for DC over the years -- and all four of the Wild Dog mini-series covers are from his designs.  A very (extremely!) belated "thank you" to Ed!

Max Allan Collins and I created Wild Dog for DC Comics some twenty-two years ago.  We produced a four-issue mini-series, a one-shot special, and several serialized stories in the ill-fated Action Comics Weekly.  That was it.  Wild Dog had a short and sweet life.  Hugely popular in the Quad Cities area where the series was set, it never quite caught on big enough with the rest of the country to continue.  Still, DC maintains ownership of the feature, squeezing WD into some company-wide crossover every few years -- for just a panel or two.

Several years after the initial run, Max and I pitched a revival to DC -- specifically to (much missed) editor Archie Goodwin.  We had some good talks and I did a few drawings - but eventually we decided DC wanted so many changes to the core concept that it wasn't working for us anymore, and we went on to other things.  We never did work on anything for Archie, darn it.

But despite his short time on the shelf, Wild Dog still has a (pardon me for saying it) rabid following.  When I (very) recently dipped into my "keeper" art files to sell some original comic art I'd held onto for years, it was the Wild Dog art, more than anything that caused a stir.

So, spurred by that interest, I started digging through my files for anything else Wild Dog related.  I found the material posted here -- most of which I'd forgotten I had.

Wild Dog began as "Machine," a name rejected by DC because of its similarity to "Machine Man," a Jack Kirby feature at Marvel. It seems we may have also considered calling him "Commando" for about two or three minutes....

After rejecting "Mad Dog," we settled on "Red Dog" as the character's name and proceded to put together a package to sell the series to DC.

A detail of the cover page for the 16 page series pitch written by Max Allan Collins.  The pitch ends with a suggestion that Max write the feature and I ink it over pencils by some classic silver age artist.  Thankfully, we all decided I should pencil the thing!

The first drawings of the cartoon dog mascot for Red Dog/Wild Dog's shirt.

Here's the evolution of the "pitch art" used to sell the series. He's still "Red Dog" here. I left the shirt blank on the second piece and made a stack of photocopies of it, on which I drew different versions of what would become the dog mascot design.

Logo concepts provided by DC.  I'm sorry to admit I've forgotten which talented letterer designed these.

Rough concept sketches for covers -- done when the feature was still being called Red Dog.  The first of these ended up being drawn -- but rejected by DC.  Eventually it was used as an Amazing Heroes cover.

"Red Dog" became "Wild Dog" after discovering a GI Joe action figure had already used the Red Dog name.  If we ever wanted action figures of the character, we'd need a name that hadn't already been used.  Never did get those action figures, darn it.

Preliminary roughs for a few Action Comics Weekly pages and photocopies of pencils for an ACW page and two of the mini-series covers  are shown below.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of this long-hidden material.  Who knows if Wild Dog will ever return -- but I'm grateful that after all these years, his fans still remember the series fondly.  Stay wild, kids!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pocket Cartoon Course

Here, in its entirety is the 1943 "Pocket Cartoon Course" from the "Snack-Pack" company (whatever that was) of Indianapolis.   Already a bit old-fashioned looking for the '40s, it's still a cool cartoon item. Mailed in a little cardboard folder, this entire course is printed on one folded page. The art style seems familiar -- but I don't know who created this. I'd love to know who the artist is, should anyone out there know.  Click on the panels to see them at a more readable size.

"Fame" by Nell Brinkley

While sorting through my collections I've come across some fun items I'll be sharing here.  From a lot of clipped newspaper illustrations and comic strips I scored some fifteen years ago, comes this great Nell Brinkley cartoon about fame and the life of an artist.  As true today as when it was written and drawn in 1927. Click on it to see, and read, a larger version.