Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Black Widow image

To be perfectly honest, I WASN'T happy with the green Black Widow image. I suppose what I had in mind was to make her look poisonous, so I wanted to choose a poisonous looking color. Unfortunately, she kind of looked like she was a Dr. Seuss character.

And I didn't like how the poison coming from the glass looked either on the original.

So, it was time to go back to the drawing board and revamp the image a little bit. Add some legs this time around and fix it here and there.

I also used the various lasso tools this time to create the poison coming out of her glass. And I chose red over green. I liked the way her red dress looked in the picture with the Detective Inspector, so I went with that color.

The new image is up and running on the the Black Widow Store if you would like to check it out:


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Two more designs.

I just finished up a couple more t-shirt designs. They should be up and running sometime before the night is up.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

New Black Widow t-shirt design

It's based on the pen sketch I did at stART on the Street. I just finished coloring it up and it should be available on a few t-shirts sometime before the end of the night.

I have Andy Fish to thank for the concept. I just always really liked (and appreciated) the pin-up art he did for the Black Widow trade paperback. So, I wanted to do something inspired by the concept.

If you haven't picked up your copy of Diary of the Black Widow, pick it up. There are some really great artwork by some very good friends of mine!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

20 Artists of Worcester - Book Signing - Gallery Show

Some very good friends of mine were part of this book called 20 Artists of Worcester and there's going to be a gallery opening and book signing for it's release. The show will be taking place:

Date: Friday, November 14, 2008
Time: 5:00pm - 7:30pm
Location: The Davis Art Gallery - The Printer's Building
Street: 44 Portland Street, 3rd Floor
City/Town: Worcester, MA

To find out more about the show and some of the great artists featured in the book, log onto their website at:


So, if you happen to be in WooVegas that night, come on out to what's going to be a really great show!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I finally got the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes on DVD!!

Admittingly, I do prefer Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes over Basil Ratbone. But I DO like both The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Both of which are the only films Ratbone did on screen which were set in Victorian England.

I had gotten The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes on video a while back. As much as I wanted to dislike the film for Nigel Bruce's horrible portrayal of Watson as a bumbling oaf, I honestly cannot hate this film. Although, this movie doesn't tend to get as much notice as it's predessesor, I actually really like this movie a lot more than the Hound of the Baskervilles.

On a side note, I tend to wonder if the people who wrote the Rathbone films mistook Holmes and Watson for Jeeves and Wooster. Much like the Holmes series which has Watson as the narrator, the Jeeves series is narrated by Bertie Wooster. Who was written as a bumbler by P.G. Wodehouse. Something for you guys to ponder.

But back to Holmes. It was a film I really enjoyed because I am a sucker for old movies to begin with. Especially when they are well done and well casted. I like old movies because it was a simpler time for films and films didn't need big budget super realistic special effect to be enjoyable. It didn't matter if it looked like an obvious blue screen or a painted set. You just suspended your disbelief and imagined it was really Victorian England.

I think we have all lost that aspect of enjoying a film. And I suppose that makes watching The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes so enjoyable for me. If you are a Sherlock Holmes fan and you have not seen it, I highly recommend you either by a copy or put it on your Netflix list.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sherlock Holmes cover art.

I just finished up the second cover for my two part (perhaps three part) Sherlock Holmes graphic novel. The illustration is based on a Sherlock Holmes piece by Frederic Dorr Steele. Yes. This time I'm more than certain it's by Frederic Dorr Steele.

Since William Gillette WAS Sherlock Holmes at that time, many of his Holmes illustrations featured Gillette's likeness. Sort of in the same way now how people immediately identify the character of Sherlock Holmes either with Basil Rathbone or Jeremy Brett. Although, there have been many, many really fine actors who have taken on the role in between, THOSE are the actors I think of when you mention Sherlock Holmes.

I also drew upon (no puns intended. really. seriously. honest. well, maybe a little) Sidney Paget's artwork for Holmes's attire. Which has been used in both Peter Cushing's series for the BBC in the late 1960's and Jeremy Brett's series in the 1980's to mid 1990's.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A bit of a historical correction

I had mentioned in a previous blog entry that the cover for volume one of my Sherlock Holmes graphic novel was based on an illustration by Frederic Dorr Steele. Upon further investigation I discovered I was incorrect. The illustration I based this upon was illustrated by an artist named SPRY for a 1901 issue of Vanity Fair.

Nonetheless, it still fits in the realms of wanting to use artwork which depicts William Gillette as Holmes for the covers of both volumes. With a few changes inspired by Sidney Paget's illustrations. The second cover will be indeed inspired by a Frederic Dorr Steele illustration. Which I am applying Deleter #3 ink to the pencils as I sit here and write.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The first 50 pages are in the can!!

I just finished penciling and inking the first 50 pages of the Sherlock Holmes story yesterday and finished reworking the script this afternoon. The next step will be getting the pages copied and ready for graytones in the next couple weeks or so as well as getting some of my Sherlock Holmes illlustrations I have done ready to be published in the first volume.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pink Floyd member Richard Wright dies age 65

I am in absolute shock over the news. I got hooked on Pink Floyd the moment I discovered Dark Side of the Moon in my Dad's record collection. Richard Wright was such an amazing and underrated pianist and singers. Not many know how much he sang along with David Gilmour on some of the most famous of the Floyd tunes. He had such a great and haunting voice. It makes the reunion for Live 8 all the more special because not many bands get the chance to play together with all the original members one more time. Rest in peace Richard Wright and thank you for contributing to some of the best songs ever written. Including my favorites Great Gig in the Sky and the painfully beautiful piano part for Us and Them:

LONDON - A Pink Floyd spokesman says founding member Richard Wright has died. He was 65.

Wright died Monday after a battle with cancer at his home in Britain. His family did not want to give more details about his death. The spokesman is Doug Wright, who is not related to the artist.

Richard Wright met Pink Floyd members Roger Waters and Nick Mason at college and joined their early band Sigma 6.

Sigma 6 eventually became Pink Floyd and Wright wrote and sang some of the band's key songs. He wrote "The Great Gig In The Sky" and "Us And Them" from Pink Floyd's 1973 "The Dark Side Of The Moon."

He left the group in the early 1980s to form his own band but rejoined Pink Floyd for their 1987 album "A Momentary Lapse of Reason."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Art supplies and yet another casting call type bloggie...

Well, I am completely sold on two things. Deleter #3 Black Ink and Canson's Fanboy Comic Art Board. For those of you who have used Blue Line in the past and been completely disappointed by it like myself, Canson has put out a quality product with it's comic art board. It's a great penciling and inking surface. Absolutely perfect for any comic book series or graphic novel you may be working on!!

A short while back, I did a blog about which actors I had in mind while I am working on my Sherlock Holmes graphic novel. As I have nearly wrapped up part one and I sit here listening to Claude Debussy on this rainy afternoon, I thought I would go a little further and do a little what if I was given the authority to cast an adaptation of my graphic novel. Well, my fine friends here's my definitive list of who would be the main cast of either a live action or animated Sherlock Holmes.

There are going to be several repeats in the list:

Richard E. Grant as Sherlock Holmes

Ian Hart as Doctor John Watson

Emily Mortimer as Alice Faulkner

Rupert Everett as James Larrabee

Lisa Edelstein as Madge Larrabee

Mark Gatiss as John Forman (aka Judson the Butler)

Bob Hoskins as Sidney Prince

Peter O'Toole as Professor James Moriarty

Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It's go time, my fine friends...

As many of you know, and I have well documented, I have been spending the past several months penciling and inking a Sherlock Holmes story. The story itself is looking very much like it's going to top off at 120 pages. Perhaps more.

Now that I'm 10 pages away from reaching page 50, I am beginning to lean heavily towards my idea of breaking the story into Act One and Act Two.

I think the danger you run into with a project like this is the fact if you don't have something pushing you (i.e. a deadline) then you tend to start getting slack on finishing it. So, I am thinking that if I am able to get 50 pages in the can and have those pages published in the first volume (or act), then it will push me all the more to get the second volume (again act) finished.

And I've kept in mind the distinct possibility of this turning into an ACT THREE as well.

After seven years of planning, plotting and scripting, I cannot tell you how pleased I am to see a stack of 39 fully pencilled and inked pages staring back at me. And page 40 sitting on my desk already layed out in blue pencil.

Once again, Rori will be joining me on both cover coloring and gray tones duties. My goal is to make the panels resemble the gray tones Sidney Paget used in the original illustrations.

If you haven't had the chance to check out Sidney Paget's artwork, you really must do a Google search. It is probably some of the best illustration work only second to Gustave Doré.

I'm also in the process of plotting and scripting a second Polly and Handgraves story. Once again the plot is set in Worcester Massachusetts picking up a month or so after A Sinister Aura left off.

September to December looks like it's going to be a very busy month indeed. Between the art shows and teaching my very first graphic novel class for adults, I'm looking forward to everything that is going to be taking place.

But I'm also taking advantage of the downtime I've been given at the moment by trying to put a huge dent in my Sherlock Holmes project. And there may be a follow up to this one in the works. I shall keep you posted on that.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Worst Sherlock Holmes ever in my humble opinion...

Well, I mentioned my favorites last time, why not now mention the worst!!

I have never seen Stewart Granger's The Hound of the Baskervilles, which I had heard is probably the worst adaptation of the story to date. But Matt Frewer's (Jim Carrey lite) series of Sherlock Holmes movies for the Hallmark Channel is probably the worst and I say capital, and bold print THE WORST production of Sherlock Holmes to date. Those people out there who have ridiculed Richard Roxburgh's portrayal of Holmes in BBC and Tiger Aspect's adaptation of the Hound of the Baskervilles have obviously not seen the train wreck which is Matt Frewer. This movie manages to make A Case of Evil (yet another revisionist attempt at a Young Sherlock Holmes style adventure) look Murder By Decree. Which was a terrific Sherlock Holmes film!!

I could only get past Hound of the Baskervilles and the Sign of Four. I have not seen either The Royal Scandal and the Whitechapel Vampire because Matt Frewer's overly-exaggerated trying to sound like Jeremy Brett accent makes me want to tear my hear out. And of course they have to add their little anti-smoking message with Watson constantly disapproving of Holmes smoking a pipe. One of those loverly little annoyances of the P.C. age we live in.

Smoking a pipe was the least of Holmes's bad habits.

And the revisions of to the story, not to mention trying to make Canada look like Devonshire, is just plain awful. I suppose Hallmark is trying to make things family friendly. But all they managed to do was make a really crappy series of television movies.

But worst of all was Matt Frewer's accent. It's honestly like Ace Ventura: Consulting Pet Detective!!

If you're looking for a couple of decent post-Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes movies, then I recommend Checking out The Hound of the Baskervilles with Richard Roxburgh and The Case of the Silk Stocking with Rupert Everett. I thought Rupert Everett did a decent job as Holmes and actually wouldn't mind seeing more with him in the part. It was kind of like Jarvis Cocker as Sherlock Holmes.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Some of my favorite Sherlock's

Continuing on the subject of Sherlock Holmes, I thought I would compile a list of actors I really enjoyed in the role of Sherlock Holmes. It's probably been one of the most played parts. And you would probably need the fingers of several of your friends hands to count the number of actors who have played Holmes over the decades.

JEREMY BRETT: The DEFINITIVE Holmes in my opinion. To be honest, it took some time to get use to his voice with the character of Sherlock Holmes. I think that's because every actor since Basil Rathbone has been playing Holmes with this almost wooden dictation. Now I cannot read the novels and short stories without hearing Brett's voice in Sherlock Holmes's lines. Or either David Burke or Edward Hardwicke's voices in Watson's narration. Brett made Sherlock Holmes live. As Ratbone cast a shadow on the part for the longest time, I think Brett has now cast his own shadow upon the part. I have no problem with people continuing to make Sherlock Holmes films. And I love to see how other actors approach the character. I didn't mind either Richard Roxburgh or Rupert Everett's takes on the character. But Jeremy Brett is going to be a hard act to follow for a long time to come.

PETER CUSHING: Was actually considered to be the definitive Holmes by many Sherlockians for many years. Even though Hammer made The Hound of the Baskervilles somewhat unrecognizable. I still enjoyed the film for two things. Peter Cushing as Holmes and Christopher Lee as Sir Henry. What I liked about Peter Cushing is he was a man after my own heart as far as how both Holmes and Watson should be portrayed. And he got his chance to stay true to the original Conan Doyle stories playing Holmes for a second time in a BBC Sherlock Holmes series when Douglas Wilmer stepped down from the role. I got to see the Hound of the Baskervilles. And despite some weak acting from some of the supporting actors and the usual tatty sets from the BBC Productions at that time, it's a great production. I really wish that they would release the Peter Cushing series of Sherlock Holmes over here in the States.

ROBERT STEPHENS: A somewhat forgotten Sherlock Holmes actor and a somewhat forgotten film with The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. But I enjoyed both the film and Robert Stephens's acting in the part. It should be mentioned that Robert Stephens was good friends with Jeremy Brett and actually tried to discourage Brett from taking the part because of how miserable of a time he had when filming Billy Wilder's film and the possibility of being typecasted. Although, Stephens would end up playing the part again on stage in a production of William Gillette's Sherlock Holmes.

JOHN NEVILLE: Another somewhat forgotten Sherlock Holmes actor in another favorite film of mine A Study In Terror. I was already a big fan of John Neville because of the film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. When I had read in a Sherlock Holmes book that he had played Holmes in a film, I had to see it. The plot has Sherlock Holmes face off against Jack the Ripper. The film itself doesn't particular stick very close to some of the facts of the case. It's a very Hollywood sort of explanation behind the identity of Jack the Ripper. But it is still highly enjoyable. The film also features Robert Morley as Sherlock Holmes's brother Mycroft. Morley is probably one of my favorite actors in the role of Mycroft to date. Charles Gray who played Mycroft in the Jeremy Brett series is a very close second favorite for me.

CHRISTOPHER LEE: Unfortuntely, the films he did play Holmes in weren't the greatest as far as great Holmes films are concerned. The biggest problem with his first film as Holmes is when they dubbed it from German to English, they got this awful American voice actor to dub his dialogue. Why they wouldn't get Christopher Lee, who has one of the best voices in the world (possibly next to Tom Baker's) is beyond me. I would imagine the company that did the dubbing were cheap bastards. However, I found Sherlock Holmes and the Incident at Victoria Falls to be one of the better of the three Holmes films Lee played the role of Holmes. But what made all the films worth watching was Christopher Lee's performance. He made a very good Holmes.

SIR IAN RICHARDSON: Another actor I really enjoyed in the role of Holmes. Unfortunately both films he was in, The Hound of the Baskervilles and the Sign of Four, were horribly Americanized and the production tried to make them more exciting for an American audience. BUT Richardson was marvelous and the films aren't without their charms. Actually, Sir Ian ended up having a great deal more success in the role of the man who inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to create Sherlock Holmes: Dr. Joseph Bell in the series Murder Rooms.

CLIVE MERRISON: Although, he has never played Holmes on screen, he has the distinction of doing every Sherlock Holmes story created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on radio. If you have not had the chance to hear one of the stories, I highly recommend you go out and purchase one either on tape or CD. They're very well done and create wonderful pictures in your mind.

BASIL RATHBONE: As much as I don't like how they placed Holmes in the 1940's and how much Nigel Bruce's idiotic Doctor Watson made me want to tear my hair out, I liked both The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Both of those films are set in Victorian England. Actually, they're the only two of Rathbone's Holmes films that are set in Victorian England One must give credit where credit is due. Rathbone helped make the character popular for many years to come. And now is pretty much part of a great debate in the same way who is better, Kirk or Picard? Who is better Rathbone or Brett? I will, of course go with Jeremy Brett. But probably without the Basil Rathbone films there might have not been any of the Holmes films we see today. Perhaps.

WILLIAM GILLETTE: Okay, so I have never seen him perform Holmes. But unless you're over the age of 100, neither have you!! But I did get the opportunity to listen to him perform as Holmes in a radio play someone posted on Youtube. Why I like William Gillette is because of what he did to popularize the character in the United States. Sure, some people grit their teeth because he was the man who basically pidgeonholed Holmes to wearing the deerstalker hat and smoking the curved pipe. And famously having him fall in love. But it's his play and his portrayal as Holmes is what helped the character to become more well known here. So, with that said I think Gillette owes a great deal of respect for what has become somewhat a tradition with actors.

Somewhat like what playing James Bond or the Doctor on Doctor Who is today.

Mr. Sherlock Holmes

Well, I'm about 33 going on 34 pages into the project. And I'm probably nowhere near having the book tied up anytime soon. I have mentioned several times in several blog entries that I'm hoping to have it all finished by the end of the year. But there's the operative word. Hoping.

Nonetheless, I am having a whale of a time working on it since I started a couple months ago. It was just one of those things I felt after a few false starts over the past five or more years, I had to get this project going or it would never get thing started let alone finished.

Before I started working with the Undercoverfish Group, one of the most difficult things I have faced was seeing a project through till the end. Probably one of my biggest achievement as a sequential artists (I know there are a few of you out there that hate that term, but get over yourself) came during work on the Black Widow when I got past the 20 page mark. Before that I hadn't really gotten past the 10 to 15 page mark with projects.

Before then, I had a prior attempt at a Sherlock Holmes story with an adaptation of The Adventure of the Cardboard Box. It suffered the fate of falling apart after the 10 to 15 page mark.

But I felt like I turned a corner when I completed the Black Widow. It was my first full story. Completed from start to finish. And perhaps it isn't my best work to date story-wise. I'm very proud of it. Because it was the beginning of being able to continue working on work.

And having a deadline with all three issues of the Black Widow did help too ;-)

But now event though I do not have a deadline per say on this project other than the pressure I tend to put on myself. It's the thrill of having this story published what gives me the drive to want to see it finished all the way through.

The book is coming along great!! I'll always be very critical of my work. I'm probably my worst critic. But I also have an understanding that I can only do so much to a page and then I need to stop obsessing and move on.

I suppose it's sort of like a director who keeps going back to a film he had success with in the past and continuing to amend it. I suppose a directors cut with added scenes is one thing. Sometimes that's even an asset to the film. But to constantly be going in and constantly changing a film just ruins the film.

So with that said, you will probably not see Diary of the Black Widow: The Directors Cut. I prefer to move onto my next project after I've finished the first one.

But here's hoping that I have everything done with the current project by the end of the year. If not then, at least by the beginning of next year.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"Peanuts" animator Bill Melendez dies

I will always have a soft spot for the Peanuts Specials. And the Snoopy voice. Seeing the spinning CBS Special Presentation intro is what made a school night worth living. So, I was very sorry to hear about the passing of Bill Melendez. He seemed like a rather salty and amusing character from the special PBS had on Charles Schulz about a year or so ago.

By Mike Barnes 37 minutes ago
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Bill Melendez, best known for bringing the Peanuts characters to life with such classics as "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," died Tuesday at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica. He was 91.

Melendez, the only animator permitted by Charles M. Schulz to work with the Peanuts characters, earned eight Emmy Awards, 17 Emmy nominations, one Oscar nomination and two Peabody Awards. He began his career at Disney and Warner Bros., working on classic characters at those studios, and spent more than 70 years in the entertainment industry.

In 1948, the Mexican native left Warner Bros. and for more than a decade served as a director and producer on more than 1,000 commercials and films for United Productions of America, Playhouse Pictures and John Sutherland Prods.
It was at UPA that Melendez started doing work for the New York-based J. Walter Thompson ad agency, whose clients included Ford. The carmaker expressed interest in using the Peanuts characters to sell its cars on TV, and in 1959 Melendez prepared his animation work and showed it to Peanuts creator Schulz.
Melendez went on to bring Charlie Brown and his pals to the screen in more than 63 half-hour specials, five one-hour specials, four feature films and more than 372 commercials. In addition to perennial favorites "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (1965) and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" (1966), Melendez produced the Oscar-nominated "A Boy Named Charlie Brown" (1971), "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" (1973), "She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown" (1980) and "You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown" (1975). He also provided the voices for Snoopy and Woodstock through the years.

Melendez also animated TV specials "Garfield on the Town," "Cathy," "Babar Comes to America" and "The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe," among others. He shared an Emmy in 1987 for outstanding animated program with three others for "Cathy."
His last credit was as a producer for the 2006 TV special "He's A Bully, Charlie Brown."

Melendez, who sported a handle bar mustache for decades, began his career at Walt Disney Studios and worked on "Pinocchio," "Fantasia," "Bambi," "Dumbo" and classic Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck cartoons. He then moved to Warners to animate Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and others. He worked under the monikers C. Melendez and J.C. Melendez.

Bill Melendez Prods., its sister studio Melendez Films in London and Sopwith Prods. (Melendez's art distribution unit) will continue to animate, direct and produce features and commercials.

Melendez is survived by his wife of 68 years, Helen; two sons, Steven Melendez and (Ret.) Navy Rear Admiral Rodrigo Melendez; six grandchildren; and 11 great grandchildren. A memorial service will take place for family only.
Donations can be made in Melendez's name to Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Always Buy Corroded

It's a parody I did of the old Chesterfield Cigarettes ads with Basil Rathbone I submitted for an upcoming publication using the Detective Inspector. Since he's usually seen with his pipe smoldering, I decided to make it an advertisement for a pipe tobacco. Here's the original ad with Rathbone:

stART on the Street approaches fast and furiously!!

Well, no time like the present to begin pushing the event!! If you're going to be in the Worcester MA area that Sunday come on out because it's going to be a lot of fun!!

Hosted By: stART on the Street
When: Sunday Sep 21, 2008
at 11:00 AM
Where Park Avenue (between Highland and Pleasant Street)
Park Avenue
Worcester, MA 01609
United States
stART on the Street