I'd been an underground comics fan since my early teens, scoring the forbidden mags by fudging my age on the order forms. My apologies to the mail order dealers I hoodwinked way back then! But geez, I had to have my comics -- and once I'd seen Corben, Crumb, Deitch, etc. there was no turning back.
The EC Comics line was a favorite since the Christmas my parents gifted me the Nostalgia press oversized hardcover collection of EC Horror Comics. Here, as usual, I'm aping the artists I'm tipping my hat to -- and spouting off in the word balloon.
Will Eisner tribute -- where those white spots in the gray tones came from, I still don't know.
At this point, my friend, and frequent collaborator, Max Allan Collins was writing the Dick Tracy newspaper strip. This piece was done in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the strip. I'd started experimenting with color now on these TBG covers -- using mylar overlays, rubylith film and markers -- and cutting zip-a-tone for the dot patterns!
Max and I were doing the Ms. Tree and Mike Mist comics by '81 -- and, being all about self-promotion, here they are on a TBG cover. Ms. Tree is unfortunately long-necked here, and Mike is rather pinch-faced -- but hey -- early days. That's me, playing dead on the floor -- and the background is my bedroom/studio of the period. I wish I still had that Chet Gould Dick Tracy Sunday original that's shown framed on the wall here....
The TBG cover Mike is holding shows a previous cover by me -- the Adam West Batman and my "new wave" character Marilyn Monrobot (yeah -- it was the '80s) doing the Batusi!
My most ambitious cover -- 400 characters for issue #400! Can you name them all?
Showing some love for Steve Ditko in this Dr. Strange homage.
My tribute to Ramona Fradon -- Metamorpho meets Brenda Starr.
A plug for Max Collins' Nolan and Jon crime novels -- "sidekick" Jon was a would-be cartoonist and comic book fan. ECs and undergrounds were often mentioned in the books.
My first attempt at a TBG cover featured Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu. Long lost, that drawing was submitted to publisher Alan Light several years before my first published cover. Thankfully, he had the good sense to reject it -- but I revisited the subject here -- using a photo of Bruce Lee as my model for the hero -- and Boris Karloff as villain, Fu Manchu. The Japanese sword is completely out of place, of course.
Two favorite characters at the time -- seemed to me they'd make an interesting team up.
Jonah Hex -- one of two Western-themed covers I did for TBG -- the other teamed up E.R. Kinstler's Zorro and Silvertip.
The final TBG cover, showing Alan and his mother Lavon wishing good luck to new editors Don and Maggie Thompson. Superman is holding a copy of the first issue of TBG -- and I obviously didn't know the "new TBG" would be "CBG" with the next issue.
And a rarity here -- this Bizarro image was intended to be a TBG cover -- but never used. The original art is still in my files.
Thanks to Alan Light for letting me loose on all these covers -- it was a whole lot of fun!