Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy 2010!!


Well, I survived another First Night at the Worcester Art Museum! And I had a blast!! I've done First Night at the Art Museum nearly every year I've been there. The first year I did it I found it a bit overwhelming. But since then, I've found it to be a lot of fun!!

Last year I wasn't able to do it and I really missed taking part of it. So, I immediately jumped on the chance to do it again this year. Sure, it can be an insane at times with how many people come swarming in to do the craft you are teaching that night. But unlike most of the lessons I teach, you don't have to do much thinking and preparing. You show them the basics and let them do the rest.

Not bad for four or five hours of work. And I was thrilled to find out my friends Andy and Veronica were doing First Night at WAM as well this year. So, it was nice to know I was in good company that night :-)

It wasn't so nice to have some jerk of a truck driver parked right behind my car as I tried to leave. And then take his dear precious time to get everything loaded and chat with his buddy before he decided to depart.

But he finally moved, I got home to have dinner and a drink to toast 2009 and look forward to 2010. Here's hoping the new year is a happy and healthy one for everybody!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Alice in Wonderland 1966

I haven't gotten a chance to see this version all the way through. It does exist on DVD but the cheapest copy costs $39.90 at the present. However a less expensive version is supposed to be out in 2010.

It was directed by Jonathan Miller for the BBC in 1966 and starred a list of well known British actor of that time which included Peter Cook as the Mad Hatter.

What also intrigues me about this production is that the characters like the March Hare and the White Rabbit are not played in animal costumes.

Mind you, this was also the beginning of the psychedelic era in the 1960's. So, films were beginning to take on this very surreal approach to the way many things were presented. Including Alice in Wonderland.

I think Peter Cook is very well cast as the Mad Hatter. He's not quite kooky wacky as some other versions have portrayed him. But he puts on one of those silly Peter Cook voices that just seems to fit the character well.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Alice in Wonderland


Along with several other projects I'm either working on or getting started which includes the second Polly and Handgraves story, I've also thought about doing an adaptation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Doing some Alice inspired E-Bay art has definitely given me the itch.

I don't know if anyone has really done an adaptation of Alice that has remained true to how weird and unsettling Lewis Carroll's original tale was. There have been a few really good exceptions to the rules. But I've found most, including the Disney version, to be too bland and have really taken the teeth out of the original story.

Which is funny I say all this. Because as much of a purist as I tend to be when it comes to books and such, I am eager to see Tim Burton's take on Alice in Wonderland. Even though he is taking his own slant on Alice as he has done with many of his adaptations, it doesn't bother me too much because his movies tend to be very stylishly done. And he's not afraid of taking a risk with something even if it doesn't end up working as a whole.

Which is something I do respect.

And a few of the Alice in Wonderland comic books and graphic novels I've seen down at That's Entertainment basically borderline on fetishist. Borderline? Okay, who am I kidding. Alice is wearing a very short skirt and naughty underwear.

But I wouldn't mind taking a brave stab at it and create something that has all the strangeness I love about the old story with some of that family-friendly charm without it being so sugary that you might need a root canal after you've read it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Worst Movie of All Time: Manos


Plan 9 From Outer Space has unfairly over the years gotten the reputation of being the worst film of all time. Sure, it's pretty awful with it's pie plate flying saucers, random stock footage that doesn't mesh with the scenes, the woman's "Off you go into the wild blue yonder" dialogue along with several other aviation cliché's all in one scene, the plane with no steering devices that looks like two people being filmed in a Porta John, a kiss scene that looks like the lead actor basically just playing the leading lady's face like the bagpipes, the crypt that basically looks like they're all crawling out of Snoopy's doghouse and of course the dentist who looks nothing like Bela Lugosi.

Not to mention, unconnected footage of Bela Lugosi obviously film during the day while all the other shots of his character (with the dentist in his stead) at night.

But with that said, Plan 9 still has a watchability factor. As wooden and badly done as the movie is you can still watch it and have a good laugh all the way to the end.

Which now brings me to Manos: The Hands of Fate. This film makes Plan 9 look like The Empire Strikes Back.

Personally, I've only seen this movie on the episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and I think that's the only way this film can really be viewed. I enjoyed the episode for Joel and the Bots comments. But it's still a very hard film to get through. And stay awake during.

A bit of history behind the film, it was the brainchild of Harold Warren a fertilizer salesman from El Paso, Texas who produced the film as a result of a bet.

Yes, you read this right. A BET!!


He also starred in it, alongside El Paso theater actors Tom Neyman as the title character and John Reynolds as Torgo. Manos was an independent production by a crew that had little or no background or experience in filmmaking and a very limited budget at their disposal.

The main plot from the film is about a vacationing family who stay the night at a lodge where the caretaker is a supposed to be a satyr named Torgo with an erratic, repetitive speech pattern who takes care of the house "while the Master is away".

With lines like: "There is no way out of here. It'll be dark soon. There is no way out of here."

When I first saw the film back in the 1990's, I didn't realize Torgo was supposed to be a satyr. Mostly for the lack of hooves. I just thought he was, as Tom Servo pointed out, a man where his Depends the wrong way.

Michael and Margaret stumble upon "The Master" (Tom Neyman) and several women dressed in translucent nightgowns, later revealed to be his wives, who are asleep. Torgo ties Michael to a pole and The Master suddenly comes to life. His wives also awake, and a short argument over the fate of the family ensues. The Master decides to sacrifice Torgo and his first wife to the film's mysterious deity and namesake, "Manos".

The production according to Wikipedia:

Warren was very active in the theater scene in El Paso, Texas, and once appeared as a walk-on for the television series Route 66, where he met screenwriter Stirling Silliphant. While chatting with Silliphant in a local coffee shop, Warren claimed that it was not difficult to make a film, and bet Silliphant that he could make an entire film on his own. After placing the bet, Warren began the first outline of his script on a napkin, right inside the coffee shop. To finance the film, Warren accumulated a substantial, but nevertheless insufficient, sum of cash, reportedly $19,000 ($124,751 in 2009), and hired a group of actors from a local theater and modeling agency. Because he was unable to pay the cast and crew wages, Warren promised them a share in the film's profits.

Under the working title The Lodge of Sins, the movie was filmed in mid 1966. Filming mainly took place on the ranch of Colbert Coldwell, a former judge of El Paso County. Most of the equipment used for production was rented, therefore Warren had to rush through as many shots as possible to complete filming before the deadline for returning the equipment. Footage was shot with a 16 mm Bell & Howell camera which had to be wound by hand and filmed for only 32 seconds. This has been suggested as a possible explanation for the many editing problems present in the final cut. The Bell & Howell camera was incapable of double-system recording, and thus all sound effects and dialogue were dubbed later in post-production, reportedly by only three or four people including Warren. Later during production, Warren renamed the film from its working title to Manos: The Hands of Fate. The word "manos" in the title is Spanish for "hands", therefore the film's title literally translates to Hands: The Hands of Fate.

Early in production, one of the actresses broke her leg. Warren rewrote her role to have her make out in a car with an actor during the events of the entire film. The couple appears in the beginning of the film interspersed with the opening credits and shots of the main characters driving through the Texas desert. Despite events in the film portraying police officers ordering them to leave, they are seen again later in the film while the events transpire at night, still embracing in the same location. The inclusion of these characters has been the focus of criticism for having no apparent connection to the main plot of the film.

To portray his character Torgo as a satyr, John Reynolds constructed what is described as a metallic rigging worn under his trousers. The effect conveyed by his work was to leave his character with oversized knees and difficulty in walking. Fake cloven hooves may have been made by Reynolds for his costume, but they were not worn during filming, as he is clearly shown wearing boots in several scenes, which can even be seen in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version which superimposes the silhouettes of theater seats and three of the show's characters over the bottom of all the films they feature.

Warren decided to shoot night scenes at nighttime, which proved to be difficult, and for unknown reasons, Warren did not choose to use the normal technique of shooting day for night. In many of the night scenes, the camera and lights attracted swarms of moths, which can be seen in the film's final production. In the scene in which the cops "investigate" Mike's gunfire, they could walk only a few feet forward, because there was not enough light to illuminate the scenery for a panning shot, creating the unintentionally amusing impression that the officers hear the gunfire, step out of their car, consider investigating but then give up and leave before making a proper check of the scene.

Post-production efforts were reportedly minimal, despite promises by Warren that any problems in the film would be fixed in later editing. One of the more visible examples of this is a brief moment at the beginning of the film in which the clapperboard is visible after a cut to the "make-out couple". It is rumored that the entire opening sequence, which consisted of the main characters driving around looking for their hotel for minutes on end with minimal dialogue or effect on the plot, was the result of such neglect. Warren had intended to include opening credits at this stage of the film, but forgot or was unable to add them. Reportedly, Warren's small crew became so bemused by his amateurishness and irascibility that they derisively called the movie Mangos: The Cans of Fruit behind his back.


Apparently, the reception the movie got on opening night was less than spectacular. After a great deal of laughter from the audience over it's poor quality and redundant dialogue, the cast of the film made a hasty exit.

And John Reynolds, who had played Torgo in the movie, committed suicide approximately six months after production wrapped.

After a few local screenings at the drive-in's the film was almost entirely forgotten. The film ultimately surfaced through a public domain video supplier.

These are usually the films you can find on the $1 rack at Wal-Mart.

And a copy from a television package landed on the desk of Frank Conniff. Better known to the world as TV's Frank on MST3K.

If you've never seen the film, I highly recommend you check it out the MST3K version of it. The riffing makes the film a bit more bearable to watch.

But if you're a brave soul, there is a DVD of just the film on the market which you can purchase on places like Amazon.com and Half.com!!

Instead of posting a clip from the movie, I posted a video from a theater group in Portland, Oregon who staged a very funny production of Manos. Unlike the original, it's meant to be funny. And very fun to watch.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

December Workshop, Winter and Spring Sessions at the Worcester Art Museum


If you're looking something fun for your kids or teens to do over Christmas Vacation, you can sign them up now for either my Comic Art or Mural Painting Classes taking place the last week of December at the prestigious Worcester Art Museum. The links to sign up on the WAM website are on the left hand side of my blog filed under Classes at the Worcester Art Museum being taught by Bret M. Herholz.

Winter and Spring classes are also available for sign up. And the classes I'm teaching during Feb Fun should either be up or should be posted soon!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Apparently you CAN choke on your own uvula


Well, this has been an interesting week from start to finish. And nothing tops it off like a nice allergic reaction.

For those of you who are not familiar with the uvula. Which to be honest, when I first look at the spelling myself I think it's another part of the body.

But the uvula is that thing in your throat that cartoon characters occasionally use as a punching bag. **See picture of Tweety above**

Well, Wednesday I had gone out to get some wood later in the day. Some of the wood in storage is from last year and has gotten a bit musty and dry. So, I could have very well breathed in something from the wood cellar that irritated me.

But I start feeling what I think is a sore throat coming on. In the past anytime I've had a sore throat a cold isn't too far behind. So, I just resigned myself to the fact that quite a few people I knew were getting the nasty old cold bug and seeing I work with children and teens I was probably going to get bitch-slapped with it too. Or so I thought.

So, I just started going through my usual regime when I come down with a cold. I still had some cold syrup left over from my previous illness. Just enough for one more helping. I figured in the morning I'd just go out and get some more and went to bed.

That morning I woke up with what felt like crap in my throat. Yeah, I know. Gross. But remember I think it's a cold.

So, as I'm going through my usual morning routine of checking my e-mail, trolling Facebook, seeing how things are going with some of the stuff I posted on E-Bay, I'm just sniffing and clearing my throat. It was suddenly when I went to clear my throat I realized what I was trying to clear out of my throat was in fact my uvula. Which was now resting on my tongue.

Before you start wincing and writhing. It was STILL attached. It had just obviously swollen. I knew it must have been considerably because I can't talk and it felt like I was gagging on it.

Okay, you can wince and writhe now.

So, I go find a mirror and a flashlight. Sure enough, it has swelled up to epic proportions. I'm a bit concerned because I'm suddenly aware that it's touching my throat and my tongue. So, I immediately feel like I'm gagging on it.

And even though I'm having a lot of trouble talking, I can still breath. So, that's a plus. So instead of going into a panic (which I felt coming on) and before it turns into one of these things where it might affect the rest of my throat and potentially cause it to swell up too, I called my clinic.

But it was 8:30am and I found out from the recording they didn't open till 9am. So, I made myself a hot cup of tea and (tried to) wait patiently.

Finally, 9am rolls around and I give them a call explaining what's up. I immediately get an appointment and I am in the car and down there faster than you can say Jack Robinson.

After a short wait in the waiting room, I see the doctor who looks at my throat and immediately says "I'm impressed!" which I respond, "I'm not sure if that's something I should be proud of".

Thankfully, she said it was nothing dreadful but serious enough that it needed dealing with. So, I was prescribed antibiotics and something called Milton's Miracle Mouthwash, which I eventually picked up at CVS after a long snafu with them screwing up my health insurance and having to go back and forth with my insurance assuring CVS that I had not been terminated.

After the rigmarole I've gone through with Network Health in the past, I was starting to get a bit miffed if I had to go through this again.

The doctor had also prescribed taking a Benadryl and doing a warm salt water gargle. Which I did and it caused the swelling to go down a bit.

FINALLY I come to find out they screwed up my birth date and I finally get my meds without shelling out $100! Which now I wake up a day later with both the soreness and swelling gone down considerably. I still feel awful and sinusy. But considerably better than I did this morning.

Well, as much as a nightmare this week has been for me. I am grateful that most of the problems I have dealt with have been manageable.

Tops on my holiday wish list: Sherlock Holmes starring Peter Cushing


This will probably be my gift to me this Christmas. Or at least my post-Christmas gift to me!!

I've been waiting for the BBC to release the Sherlock Holmes television series Peter Cushing starred in after taking over the title role from Douglas Wilmer in 1968.

From what I have seen online, it has become my second favorite Sherlock Holmes series next to the one Jeremy Brett starred in for Granada Television. And for a lot of the same reasons as the Granada series such as the costumes and the actor playing the title role. I like Cushings sharp, energetic and occasionally rude take on Sherlock Holmes. Which is very much the way the character was written in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's story.

Although, he doesn't have that maniac spark that I really liked about Jeremy Brett's take on Holmes. At the same time that's the reason I liked Cushing's Holmes.

Much like Basil Rathbone, Douglas Wilmer, Robert Stephens and much later Jeremy Brett, I like seeing people's approach to the character. In the same way as Doctor Who or James Bond, each actor brings something different to the table. And much like both of those series's, it's inevitable you have your favorites. And Peter Cushing and Jeremy Brett are definitely mine.

What delights me even more is to find out that there WAS a proper adaptation to A STUDY IN SCARLET. Although, there are a few deviations from the original story, this one sticks pretty close to the original text. I thought the only adaptation was a 1930's starring a rather portly Reginald Owens as Sherlock Holmes, which had very little in common with the story except for sharing the same name.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Interview Press

My friend and former college roomie Aaron Krolikowski runs a great website called Interview Press. Aaron's the original triple threat being a cartoonist and having written and staged numerous plays with The Grand Deacons of Erin Delaney as well as front a concept group called Cho Young and the Davenports. Not to mention taking part in yearly themed costume parties. This year it was Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Which Aaron was fittingly George "Rufus" Carlin.

If you like the delightfully chaotic and imaginative stream of conscious scribbly style of Sergio Aragonés, then you will enjoy the work of Aaron Krolikowski!! And while you're there, find out how you can get your hands on a copy of Aaron's collection of cartoons!!

New Addams Family illustration


Illustrated in Deleter #3 Black Drawing Ink with crow quill pen, brush and ink wash on Canson 9x12 Smooth Bristol Board.

A second attempt at my earlier Addams Family illustration. I kept the pose somewhat similar to my earlier one with a few changes here and there. But this time I decided to have the family standing in their quaint little mansion.

I also went easier on the initial ink wash this time around and gradually got darker with every wash.

Also for those Charles Addams enthusiasts out there, I added another Charles Addams piece that I really like in the background :-)

Another chance to win Sherlock Holmes!!

If you happened to get outbid in the last auction, click on the link below at another chance to win a copy of The Painful Predicament of Alice Faulkner and original artwork!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Poster for Comic Con

I'm thinking about printing out a 16x20 promo for Alice Faulkner to hang up being me when I take part in Boston Comic Con this April! I noticed a great deal of artist attending Comic Con do this and I thought it might not be a bad idea. But this is what I came up with.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday auctions

New books, artwork and holiday deals available to bid on!! The perfect gift for a family member, friend or perhaps yourself.

So, click on the link below to check out my E-Bay Auctions and get all your holiday shopping done in one place:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Alice Faulkner on E-Bay!!


To celebrate the release of my new graphic novel Sherlock Holmes: The Painful Predicament of Alice Faulkner, I am having a special E-Bay Auction!! The winning bidder will not only receive their copy PERSONALLY SIGNED to them but they will also receive the ORIGINAL COVER ART from the book.

See artwork above.

Click on the banner below to start bidding today:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

stART at the Station is tomorrow!!


I heard the weather is suppose to be better than it was originally predicted. So, come on out to Worcester's Historic Union Station tomorrow December 6th from 12noon till 5pm and check out some really talented artists and crafters. And get some really great handmade gifts!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

OUT NOW!! Sherlock Holmes: The Painful Predicament of Alice Faulkner

My graphic novel Sherlock Holmes: The Painful Predicament of Alice Faulkner based on the 1899 play by William Gillette and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is OFFICIALLY available for purchase!!

With cover coloring and graytones once again masterfully done by Rori Shapiro and a really fantastic introduction written by Brenda and Effie/Doctor Who: Hornets Nest author Paul Magrs.

Click on the links below to order your copy today:



AND AT:

Holiday art with a classic twist

I wanted to create a small series of holiday art for this year's stART at the Station. But instead of the usual Currier and Ives inspired Winter scene or some illustration of Santa squeezing his way down some chimney, I would do illustrations based on classic literature.

Something that has a warm and fuzzy holiday feel to it yet something you can frame and hang over your child's bed all year round. I want to get a couple more done but here's what I've completed thus far:






New print!! The Blue Carbuncle

I try to do at least one new print for every art show. This year I created a color print of an earlier illustration I did based on Sidney Paget's illustration for the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.

Five signed copies the print will be available for purchase at this year's stART at the Station on Sunday December 6th. So, get them while they last!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

A really great review on Diary of the Black Widow :-)

Boston Bibliophile wrote a really nice review about Diary of the Black Widow on their blog. And I was chuffed to bits over the kind things people had to say. Click on the image below to check it out:

Alice Faulkner on Amazon.com!!

Now available at Amazon.com!! Stellar cover coloring and graytones by Rori Shapiro with a terrific introduction by Brenda and Effie/Doctor Who Hornets Nest author Paul Magrs and a dedication to my late Professor Patrick Welch. Who I owe a great deal of my inking style to.

Click on the image below to order your copy today:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Alice commission


An illustration I did for a client. Illustrated with Deleter #3 Black Drawing Ink with crow quill pen and brush on Strathmore smooth bristol board.

The look of Alice was actually inspired by a 1949 Alice in Wonderland illustration created by Ayres Houghtelling.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Book Recommendation: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century 1910


Before you confuse this series with the 2003 movie of the same name STOP RIGHT THERE!! This is another unfortunate case where a less than spectacular movie adaptation completely ruins a really smashing comic book series.

And it's been well documented that Alan Moore will not have his name put on the credits of any movie adaptations of his work because of the treatments his books like From Hell, V For Vendetta and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen have received. In the case of From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen the adaptations have been so far removed from the original graphic novel that the only thing they have in common is the name and a few of the characters. Johnny Depp's Detective Abberline was not a psychic or clairvoyant or whatever. The psychic in the original case was Robert Lees but the film producers saw it fit to consolidate them into one character.

However, the movie had good bits in it with Johnny Depp, the late Sir Ian Richardson (another favorite Sherlock Holmes actor of mine) and Ian Holm.

But enough about that.

If you have not had a chance to read the original LOEG series, you're missing out. I think it's probably one of the most clever and original series to come out in a while. I really can't say much more about Alan Moore's writing that hasn't already been said numerous times. But I don't know how much has been mentioned about Kevin O'Neill's artwork. I really like it because it reminds me a lot of Keith Giffen's artwork for some of the Lobo mini-series's. But probably a bit technically better than Giffen's art.

So, expunge the 2003 movie from your mind as you're reading the series. You'll find that very easy once you get several pages into the books.

And this brings me to the newest chapter of Moore/O'Neill series Century 1910. I've gotten through the first chapter in this new series What Keeps Mankind Alive and it is great!! Mina Murray has returned with an entirely new League which consists of Allan Quatermain's son, Orlando, A. J. Raffles and Thomas Carnacki.

I was quite pleased to see the inclusion of Raffles in the league. For those unfamiliar with the Raffles series, it was actually created by E. W. Hornung, a brother-in-law to Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Raffles was supposed to be the anti-Holmes. Holmes is a consulting detective who is absolutely brilliant at fighting crime. Raffles is a gentleman thief who is absolutely brilliant in crime.

I had thought about doing an adaptation of Raffles at some point. Then again, I had thought about doing an adaptation of several things I may or may not ever get around to doing. Typical ;-)

What really grabs me about this entire series is how Alan Moore has brought these fictional heroes from both classic literature as well as pulp magazines together in a very fun Justice League/Avengers sort of way while still remaining true to the personalities created for the original characters by their respective authors.

The first book is only $7.50 in graphic novel format. And even if you have not read the entire League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series, you can still jump in here and enjoy this story on it's own.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Promoting my friends: Dawgtopia!!

Have a pet you adore? Well, why not take them on a little day trip up to Dawgtopia located in Bath Maine and have them groomed by the very best!! Please feel free to print off the flyer below and pass it along to your friends who would like to take advantage of these great deals!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Alice and the Mad Hatter


Illustrated in Deleter #3 Black Drawing Ink with Crow Quill Pen on Canson Smooth Bristol Board.

December Workshops and Winter/Spring Classes now being offered!!

To close out the month of December and 2009, I will be teaching four ONE DAY workshops at the Worcester Art Museum. For anyone who has never taken an art class at WAM before, this is a great way to get a taste of the types of classes the Art Museum has to offer:

Comic Art 8 - 10 Years 12/28/2009 12/28/2009 Monday from 10:00 AM to 12 N

Comic Art 11 - 13 Years 12/29/2009 12/29/2009 Tuesday from 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM

Mural Painting 8 - 10 Years 12/29/2009 12/29/2009 Tuesday from 10:00 AM to 12 N

Mural Painting 11 - 13 Years 12/30/2009 12/30/2009 Wednesday from 10:00 AM to 12 N


And my list of Winter and Spring classes are up on the website:

Cartoon Characters 5 - 7 Years 01/05/2010 03/02/2010 Tuesday from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM 18

Drawing Dark Stories 14 - 17 Years 01/09/2010 03/06/2010 Saturday from 10:00 AM to 12 N 18

Art of Cartooning 8 - 10 Years 03/16/2010 05/11/2010 Tuesday from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM 18

Comics - Villians Rule! 11 - 13 Years 03/20/2010 05/15/2010 Saturday from 10:00 AM to 12 N


Click on the link below to sign up for any of these classes today:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Introducing the new Polly and Handgraves cover!!


This will be the cover for the next installment of The Adventures of Polly and Handgraves. I penciled, inked and designed the sky. The characters were all colored by Rori Shapiro!!

I liked the colors she had previously used on a color version of my Sherlock Holmes and the Valley of Fear illustration so I asked if she could use them on the cover.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Books you should read: Brenda and Effie

I first got into Paul Magrs writing when I read his Doctor Who novel Verdigris. What I really liked about the book is how he captured everything about the Third Doctor era of Doctor Who on television as well as the feel of the 1970's. I could just imagine the fun tatty sets and gloriously over-the-top villains.

I was also very pleased to get to know Paul Magrs through many of the online networking site and do a little book swap.

This brings me to a series of books he has written featuring a pair of characters by the name of Brenda and Effie. I had just finished reading the first book in the series Never the Bride about a month or so ago and now I'm onto the second book Something Borrowed.

I have to say this is probably the best new series I have gotten into for some time now. The first thing I like is Paul makes the lead characters a pair of older women rather than a couple of young girls going on these rather otherworldly adventures.

As a matter of fact Brenda is quite a bite older than most and had a very long and checkered past before she decided to settle down and run her little bed and breakfast in Whitby and finally live a quiet life...

...or so she thought as she and her friend Effie seem to be dragged from one strange adventure to the next.

There are so many things I love about the first novel alone. The first being how Paul Magrs has broken each chapter in the book to read like a separate television episode. The other is how he has taken the best bits of classic science-fiction literature, the Universal Monster Movies of the 30's and 40's and reintroduces them in a very fun and unique way by blending them with a humor quite reminiscent of writers like Evelyn Waugh and Stephen Fry.

The way the characters talk in the book are so much fun to read.

I highly recommend you pick up Never the Bride, Something Borrowed, Conjugal Rites and the recently released Hells Belles on Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com!! You will not be disappointed!!

I should also mention that Paul has also has a series of Doctor Who audio plays out called the Hornets' Nest which star none other than Tom Baker as the Doctor. These plays are great for people who are fans of Doctor Who or Tom Baker. As well as people who are fans of the old Sherlock Holmes radio drama's starring Basil Rathbone. These plays read very much like those radio drama's.

Speaking of the nocturnal dandy Sherlock Holmes, Paul was very kind to write a great introduction for my upcoming graphic novel Sherlock Holmes: The Painful Predicament of Alice Faulkner.

New Alterna Store is opened for Business

Alterna Comics not only has a great brand new website but they also just launched their brand new web store!! So, click on the link below to check it out and either order or pre-order a particular title today:

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Cooking Blog


Cooking has kind of become one of my newest obsessions. I've been doing it off and on for the past couple of years. Most of my culinary dabbling have been steak, chicken, hamburgers, pork chops and meatloaf. What's has kind of gotten me interested are shows like No Reservations, Bizarre Food and Man vs. Food. Yeah, I usually switch it off when it comes to the "potentially watching someone choke to death" sort of challenges. But there were a couple of dishes I really would like to try at some point.

That and doing a lot of cooking on the grill outside over the Summer (well the days we actually HAD Summer) got me to really enjoy (and somewhat obsessed) about cooking.

The third thing was the Montreal Steak and Chicken seasonings got me hooked as well.

One of things I've tried lately that has turned out really well was Shepard's Pie. I had adapted the idea from this restaurant Eller's where they would take the leftover prime rib from the previous night's special and make a Shepard's Pie out of it. Naturally, I wouldn't do this with prime rib because it's quite expensive. And if I did have a cut, I wouldn't be using it for Shepard's Pie.

But I've been able to take a leftover London Broil and use that. The trick is to chop it up into cubes and then slow cook it in a marinade. What I do is I take a frying pan and put a small layer of water on the bottom and add a mix of steak sauce and Worcestershire Sauce and just keep turning over and stirring the meat under a low heat until all the liquid is dried up.

Then you just put it into the dish you're going to be using to make the Shepard's Pie with and add the corn, mushrooms, mashed potato topping and whatever else you use to make your Shepard's Pie with.

This steak and Worcestershire sauce marinade works great if you put some water into a freezer bag and put the steak in the marinade and let it sit all day till you're ready to cook.

Another thing I was thrilled to try this week was Curry Chicken. I love Indian Food. I probably had it when I was very, very young over my Aunt Patricia's house many years ago. But I was too young to remember. But I've absolutely loved it ever since I tried it about six or seven years ago at the Chef of India in Shrewsbury.

Sadly, that restaurant is no longer there and has been replaced by the Bollywood Grill. However, the India Cafe right across the street is excellent!! Especially for those who have never tried Indian Food before and would like to experience it for the first time.

Well, I had some Curry Powder on the spice rack and I decided I would give it a try. What's the worst that could happen? Well, apart from the food being unfit for human consumption, that is.

I found a couple really great recipes online:

http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1839,154163-229204,00.html

and:

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Indian-Chicken-Curry-II/Detail.aspx


What I ended up doing was taking the best bits out of both recipes and consolidating them.

And thankfully the results were indeed fit for human consumption. I also opted to use spinach instead of mushrooms in the curry. Which I thought was great!!

The curry recipe was by far my favorite and the most fun to work with of everything I've been cooking. So, I am definitely looking forward to doing that again.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The cover for the next Polly and Handgraves adventure


Illustrated in Deleter #3 Black Drawing Ink with Crow Quill Pen and Brush on Canson Comic Book Cover Sheets.

Polly and Handgraves updates


After a couple of false starts I have begun work penciling and inking pages for the second Polly and Handgraves adventure. Once again utilizing Worcester 1929 as the backdrop for the story.

I don't want to give away too much of the story just yet. This includes the title. But as for the story itself it will take place directly after the events of A Sinister Aura. Neither Polly and Handgraves will be given anytime to rest when an old friend of Polly's call upon her for help.

I'm pretty set with the beginning of the story for the most part. It's more near the end and tidying up the loose ends and iron out the conclusion of the story which is giving me fits at the moment. But I have two good friends of mine Ainsley Waller and my cousin Jared Wicklund proofreading my script.

I've been trying to do that more and more with my work nowadays. Having friends read it before I commit myself to pen on bristol board. Just so I know I have my facts right and my storyline seems realistic. Well, as realistic as a fantasy story can get.

But I just finished penciling and inking the cover yesterday and I will be posting a black and white version of it before I send it off to Rori to color.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Doctor Who: Eighth Doctor and Charley


Illustrated in Deleter #3 Black Drawing Ink with Crow Quill Pen and Brush on Canson Smooth Bristol Board.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Revisions

A revision to my poster. I decided to change one of the band names to Letters to Cleo.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

90's Alternative Poster


A submission I completed tonight for an upcoming show at Space 242 inspired by 90's Rock Posters. I got the idea from a Nirvana poster but I made a conscious decision NOT TO go with a readily recognizable band like Nirvana, Soundgarden or Pearl Jam for the alt rock acts featured in the poster.

And I chose Shonen Knife just because I love them to death ;-)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sherlock Holmes: Frank Langella

A clip from a production of William Gillette's play Sherlock Holmes which starred Frank Langella. He had had success on stage with another pale creature of the night in Edward Gorey's production of Dracula. Now he appeared as another as Sherlock Holmes. The play was filmed for HBO sometime in the early 1980's with the title Sherlock Holmes and the Strange Case of Alice Faulkner. Which is one of the reasons I chose an alternate title for my own adaptation of the Gillette play. I wasn't sure if the people who did this particular adaptation still owned the rights to use that particular title.

If I were ever given the chance to do an film adaptation, my choice for Holmes would be Richard E. Grant.

I am notoriously picky when it comes to the look of a Sherlock Holmes production and immediately I don't like the costuming. As for Frank Langella's acting. I'm not the fence because there are some very good bits from what I have seen of his performance.

Nevertheless, I find him more convincing than Matt Frewer. That's for sure.

But since I have not seen a film of the entire play, I really can't give too much of a critique. And as a matter of fact one of the clips they posted online of the play a while back was actually very helpful in making my graphic novel. Unfortunately, it was pulled from Youtube.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Danger, Watson!

"Watson, I should be very much obliged if you would slip your revolver into your pocket. An Eley’s No. 2 is an excellent argument with gentlemen who can twist steel pokers into knots." ~Sherlock Holmes from The Adventure of the Speckled Band

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Doctor Who: The Six Masters


Illustrated in Deleter #3 Black Drawing Ink with Crow Quill Pen and Brush on Canson Smooth Bristol Board.

An illustration of seven of the actors who have portrayed the Doctor's arch-nemesis The Master on Doctor Who. From left to right Roger Delgado (the original from Terror of the Autons to Frontier in Space) Peter Pratt and Geoffrey Beevers (who portrayed the same emaciated incarnation of the Master. Pratt in The Deadly Assassin and Beevers later in The Keeper of Traken), Eric Roberts (The 1996 Paul McGann movie), Anthony Ainley (Keeper of Traken to Survival), Sir Derek Jacobi (Utopia) and in the center John Simm (the current model starting in Utopia).

Halloween Pick: The Abominable Dr. Phibes


I saw this movie about a couple years ago and it is such a delightfully strange horror film. It stars Vincent Price as Dr. Anton Phibes thought to have died in a car crash while rushing to the side of his sick wife in 1921. Hideously disfigured by the accident he fashions himself a wig and lifelike mask to hide his injuries, and using his musical expertise creates a system whereby he can speak through a hose connecting his windpipe to a gramophone.

The film is a product of the James Bond era. It's a great mix of art deco and dark humor with shades of The Count of Monte Cristo with the way Phibes dispatches with his victims.

And of course Vincent Price's over-the-top performance as Dr. Phibes is fantastic!!

Go and check it out when you get the opportunity. It's going to be my Halloween movie tonight. And there was an equally bizarre sequel called Dr. Phibes Rises Again.

Halloweenfest at That's Entertainment today!!


Along with local horror artists being there, there is also a costume contest planned for later in the day. I think sometime after 6pm!!

I will be signing copies of Diary of the Black Widow, The Spaghetti Strand Murder and The Adventures of Polly and Handgraves: A Sinister Aura as well as selling signed prints and original artwork at That's Entertainment's Halloween Event this coming Saturday October 31st from 12noon till whenever!!

Also, don't miss out on the opportunity to bid on an original Dracula illustration (see below) I did which will be appearing in a SILENT AUCTION!!

That's Entertainment is located on 244 Park Ave in Worcester, MA!! So come on out!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Doctor Who: The Three Doctor


Illustrated with Deleter #3 Black Drawing Ink with Crow Quill Pen and Brush on Canson 9x12 Smooth Bristol Board.

Inspired by a concept I had in a previous illustration. Since Tom Baker was the Doctor for seven years (still the longest tenure of any of the Doctors on television), I always felt like the Fourth Doctor could be at least two or three different incarnations.

You had the version Fourth Doctor which could be wildly smiling and bug-eyed one minute and deadly serious the next minute from episodes like Robot and The Brain of Morbius. Then you had a much sillier wide eyed and wildly grinning Fourth Doctor offering all his enemies Jelly Babies in episodes like The Pirate Planet and City of Death. And then you had the much more somber and angrier (somewhat similar to William Hartnell's First Doctor) Fourth Doctor in episodes like The Leisure Hive and Logopolis.

I thought I would show that in an illustration which showed the different incarnations of the Fourth Doctor.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sherlock Holmes: John Neville

John Neville starring in another favorite and lesser known Sherlock Holmes film A Study in Terror. Based on an Ellery Queen story of the same name, it's the first first which has Sherlock Holmes facing off against Jack the Ripper. It was produced around the time both the Batman series and James Bond films were really big and you can tell the filmmakers were really trying to capitalize on that with a young John Neville playing Sherlock Holmes as an action star of sorts.

But it works because it's done in a way where they don't make the character completely unrecognizable and still remain fairly true to the original feel of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original tales.

There was another Holmes/Ripper movie made called Murder By Decree which starred Christopher Plummer as Holmes and James Mason as Dr. Watson which was also very good and a bit more historically accurate that A Study in Terror. But I enjoyed the John Neville Holmes film a lot more.

This film is also one of the few times where they cast the right actor to play Sherlock Holmes's brother Mycroft in the guise of Robert Morley.

Most of the productions have this tendency to get a thin actor who resembles Holmes to play Mycroft. Although, Mycroft is Sherlock's intellectual superior (as confessed by Sherlock himself). Mycroft is supposed to be physically the polar opposite of Holmes.

The only other time they've really got the right actor to play Mycroft was Charles Gray who played him twice. Once in the film The Seven-Per-Cent Solution and again for the Jeremy Brett series.

But I thought Robert Morley looked the closest to the original Sidney Paget illustrations,

Sherlock Holmes: Peter Cushing

Peter Cushing is my second favorite actor to play Sherlock Holmes. Much like Jeremy Brett he took great care in staying true to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original tales. Although, this wasn't completely the case with his first attempt as Holmes in Hammer's adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles, he did finally get a chance to play Holmes the true to the character when he took over BBC's Sherlock Holmes series from Douglas Wilmer in the late 1960's. I'm very happy they're going to be releasing some of the surviving episodes of the BBC Series with Peter Cushing around December.


Sherlock Holmes: Jeremy Brett

I'll start this blog out by saying I like Robert Downey Jr. and I think he's a marvelous actor. I've liked him ever since I saw him in the movie Chaplin back in 1992. But the episode The Speckled Band starring Jeremy Brett from the Granada series will show you why I'm having a very tough times taking RDJ seriously as Sherlock Holmes.





Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween at That's Entertainment 10/31/09!!


I will be signing copies of Diary of the Black Widow, The Spaghetti Strand Murder and The Adventures of Polly and Handgraves: A Sinister Aura as well as selling signed prints and original artwork at That's Entertainment's Halloween Event this coming Saturday October 31st from 12noon till whenever!!

Also, don't miss out on the opportunity to bid on an original Dracula illustration (see above) I did which will be appearing in a SILENT AUCTION!!


There will be a costume competition later in the day. And as an added bonus, if you come out dressed as one of my characters, I will create a FREE SKETCH FOR YOU right on the spot!!

That's Entertainment is located on 244 Park Ave in Worcester, MA!! So come on out!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dracula's Seduction


Illustrated in Deleter #3 Black Drawing Ink, ink wash and spotted in red gouache with Crow Quill Pen and Brush on Canson Smooth Bristol Board.

An illustration depicting Count Dracula as inspired by Max Schreck and Klaus Kinski with his vampyre bride.

But who is seducing who?