Wednesday, September 30, 2009

3rd Annual Hillside Craft Fair

I just wanted to pass along if you're going to be at The 3rd Annual Hillside Craft Fair this coming Saturday 10/3/09 from 8am till 5pm!! Yep!! Rain or shine I will be there the whole time.

I will be selling and signing copies of Diary of the Black Widow and The Adventures of Polly and Handgraves: A Sinister Aura. For those fellow Spencerites out there, Polly and Handgraves is the book inspired by the Prouty/Hammond Murder which took place in 1899. So, what better place to buy a book about the murder than the town it was based in ;-)

Hillside Baptist Church is located on 472 E Main St in Spencer, MA right on Main Street right across from the Veterinary and Fallon Clinic and (almost) right next door to the Spencer Country Inn.

So, come on out and get your copy signed. And perhaps find a few attic treasures while you're poking around.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Stephen Fry as the Detective Inspector... well, sort of.

I had mentioned this in the past but when I was originally creating the illustrations for The Black Widow, Stephen Fry's performance as Inspector Thompson was my inspiration for the Detective Inspector. I just loved how he played arrogant and blithering at the same time and the way he treated Constable Dexter.

Probably what also stuck with me is how he was barely able to get his name out when he would introduce himself. Something that I ended up doing with the Detective Inspector to a greater extent where I never really named him at all.

But then again, I never really gave the Black Widow a proper name either. Something I don't really plan to do to either character anytime soon.

So, Fry's character from that movie really just stuck with me as I created the series of illustrations and then worked on the performance piece and then finally in Diary of the Black Widow and The Spaghetti Strand Murder.

I haven't really got any future stories planned for the Detective Inspector anytime soon. But you never know.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Batman and Robin #4

Well, issue #4 of Grant Morrison's Batman and Robin was about what I expected. The story is still very good and you have our heroes facing off against this great anti-Batman and Robin duo with the Red Hood and Scarlet (I like the concept of the characters a lot).

But the artwork just isn't cutting the mustard for me.

And that's not a knock against Philip Tan's artwork. I think his artwork is fine. I do find the page setup a bit confusing and cluttered. But with that said his character design and his artwork in general is really great!!

On a side note, I suppose I'm a bit old fashioned when it comes to page layout anyways since I cut my teeth on How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way and I still layout my pages pretty much in that style. And most artists have been doing their pages in the Todd McFarlane Spider-Man/Spawn style for some time now.

I can't help being a relic ;-)

For me, his style just does not fit the feel of this Batman on acid world Grant Morrison has created for this series. And Frank Quitely's work fit the nature of this series perfectly.

Philip Tan's artwork just seems too clean and tame for this insane world. Probably in one of the other Batman titles it would be fine. But it just doesn't fit for me.

If you like it, that's fine. Like I said, he's a very good artist and if you're a fan of his work you have every reason to be. It's good. But I think an artist like a Frank Quitely, Simon Bisley or Andy Fish would be better suited for the feel of this particular series.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Abomination of Dr. Frankenstein

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

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Another great stART on the Street this year!!

What a great day and what a great event!! I had a lot of fun at stART on the Street today. Both the turn out of people checking out the event and the artists and crafters involved just seems to get better every year.

The people involved in putting stART together every year outdid themselves this year. Not to mention the weather was absolutely gorgeous today. I really think this was probably the best year yet for stART!!

I was also very pleased to know some of my fellow Woo-Town comic artists as well as a few up and coming young comic artists did really well at this year's show.

Last year I think I sold all of three books and a print. This year was completely different!! It was just so much fun to talk with the people I met. All of which were very pleased when I offered to sign their copy (or copies) of their book to them :-)

Now I'm looking forward to Holiday Art at the Station in December!!

Thank you everyone who came out to check out the event. It was really nice to see quite a few familiar faces as well as some new friends I made at the show.

stART on the Street is TODAY!!

Well!! Today's the day!! Come on out between 11am - 5pm (rain date Sept 27) along Park Avenue between Highland and Pleasant Street in Worcester, MA !!

Hope to see you there!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Five Bowies

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

Someone is taking the David Bowie's past selves out of time and space, placing them in a vast wilderness - a battle arena with a sinister tower at its centre. As the various incarnations of Bowie join forces... and so on. Thank you Paul Magrs for planting the idea in my head.

I took my favorite incarnations of DB which include Ziggy Stardust Bowie, Thin White Duke Bowie, Modern Love Bowie, Goblin King Bowie and Earthling (1996) Bowie in a distinctly Doctor Who sort of way.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Doctor Who: Dimensions in Time

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

Based on the famous (or infamous depending on how you look at it) 1993 Doctor Who Children in Need charity special Dimension in Time which featured all five of the living actors who played the Doctor to celebrate the program's 30th Anniversary.

Doctor Who had been canceled in 1989, so good or bad this was the closest anyone was going to get to a new Doctor Who episode. This would also mark the last televised appearance of Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor.

So, I wanted to treat it like it was an actual television adventure in this illustration. I made a couple changes to the look of the Doctors to make them appear as they did when they were portraying the Doctor. Peter Davison in particular I made his costume appear as it did during his time as the Fifth Doctor. Particularly the cricketing sweater and the roll up Panama hat. Because the hat and the sweater he wore in the special were not even close to the ones he wore as the Doctor. The other four Doctor's attire were fairly spot on, I just opted to make them appear younger.

Since Sylvester McCoy was still the current Doctor at that time, I kept him looking pretty much the way he looked in the Children in Need special with the long hair he was sporting in the episode.

stART on the Street is this coming Sunday!!

It's almost here!! Sunday September 20, 2009, 11am - 5pm (rain date Sept 27) along Park Avenue between Highland and Pleasant Street in Worcester, MA !!

The event is so much fun!! Lots to do for the entire family!! Artists, crafters, performers and so much more! I hope to see you all there!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Doctor Who: The Sixth Doctor and Frobisher

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

The Sixth Doctor with one of my favorite companions never to appear on television Frobisher. The shape-shifting Whifferdill who decided to remain a penguin for personal reasons. He originally appeared in the Doctor Who Magazine comic book story "Voyager" back in 1985. Although, Frobisher has both made an appearance in a BBC Books story as well as a couple Doctor Who audio plays for Big Finish Productions.

I just always loved the idea of the Doctor having a companion who was a talking penguin.

New illustration

Illustrated in Deleter #3 Black Drawing Ink with Crow Quill Pen and colored on the Photoshop.

Inspired by a really great hairstyle I saw online.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Doctor Who: Fourth Doctor and the Master (illustration two)

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

A second illustration of the Fourth Doctor and the Master. This time I decided to do an amalgamation of the Master as he appeared in both The Deadly Assassin and Keeper of Traken. I thought both the mask used in Deadly Assassin and the makeup used in Traken to show the Master as a burnt out husk in his last regeneration were great. So, I wanted to use both ideas when I was illustrating the Master.

I was also inspired by Hieronymus Bosch's interpretation of the angel of death in Death of the Miser for the look of the Master's face as well.

The Fourth Doctor's costume is directly taken from June Hudson's gorgeous costume design from Tom Baker's last season as the Doctor. I also had Dave Gibbons design of the Fourth Doctor as reference as well while I was designing the costume.

The way I designed the scarf was actually taken from an earlier Sherlock Holmes illustration I had done a couple years back titled "The Valley of Fear".

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Believe it or not...

The Fonz and the Happy Days gang time traveling with a talking dog named "Mr. Cool"? The Three Stooges as cyborg superheroes? Laverne and Shirley join the army? The Dukes of Hazzard in a race around the world to save the family farm from Boss Hogg... for some reason or another.

Yep!! It all happened on Saturday Morning thanks to Hanna-Barbera making these really bizarre cartoons based on popular television shows at time.

And yes!! There was even a Mork and Mindy cartoon believe it or not.

It really seems bizarre now looking at it but it seemed perfectly normal to me at the time to see these shows squashed in between Hanna-Barbera's World of Super Adventures at around 6am and the Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner Show sometime later in the afternoon.

But at the time Hanna-Barbera pretty much had the monopoly of the Saturday Morning time slot. The animation was pretty awful but I'm amazed to find out that the people who played the characters on these shows actually did the voice over work. So it was actually Robin Williams and not someone like Frank Welker trying to imitate Robin Williams.

Although, yes. You could probably find Frank Welker in most of these (if not all of these) cartoons. The 1980's seemed to be very kind to old FW since he was in demand the most during that era. You could probably open a cereal box and find his voice coming out of it.

Naturally, I would never compare him to a Mel Blanc. But at the same time he's built his own respectable reputation as a voice talent with the body of work he's done.

Work is work and you have to be doing something right if you're still in demand.

But honestly, as bad as the cartoons I mentioned look when I see them now, it really was a fun childhood and it really isn't as much fun since they pretty much did away with Saturday Morning Cartoons.

And yes, I think a time traveling Arthur Fonzarelli is a pretty awful concept.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Probably one of the most misrepresented names in film-making history. A great deal of people think it's the name of the monster. Why? My reason is that for some reason that particular name and the way it sounds off the tongue just fits the look and feel of the large blocky creature Karloff helped create.

Although, this is not true. Even in the first two Karloff films he's referred to as the Monster. And even Karloff's identity in the film was left with only a "?" at the very beginning credits. And as a matter of fact, he's only referred to as Karloff in many of his early horror films. Which I actually think was a great idea because it just added to the terror of the characters he played.

That and I think he had such a fantastic last name.

I think the misnomer of Frankenstein being the creatures name probably came around because of later films like The Ghost of Frankenstein and Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man. It gives the impression that the creatures name was Frankenstein and not the Baron (or Doctor) himself.

The Peter Cushing series probably did a better job at reinstating (slightly) the fact that Frankenstein was the name of the scientist and not the creature he created since his name is attached on the credits as being Baron or Doctor Frankenstein. Or on occasion Dr. Stein or Dr. Carl Victor when the character was incognito in some of the films.

Well, getting what I originally was going to post, I had thought about creating a graphic novel based on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein sometime in the near (or far) future. My idea was either to stick to the original text. Or do a different twist on the story where it either takes place in post-Civil War America or the early 1900's.

But the one thing I have decided on if I decide to tackle this monster of a project, I will have the Creature speak.

I had stated in an earlier blog post that I always thought it was kind of a shame that Jimmy Sangster didn't have the Creature speak in his original script. So, I have Christopher Lee's distinct voice in my mind when I think of the Creature.

Although, I should mention that there is a scene in the script where he very cleverly places a scene near the end of the film that this is a thinking creature and not just a lumbering mass of reanimated tissues. And it all had to do with Christopher Lee's movements and facial expression while acting in the scene.

It's quite good.

I still have a couple projects in the works at the moment but I shall keep you posted if I decided to add this one to the list.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hammer Horrorfest

I decided this year to watch Hammer Horror films (as well as a few other classic horror films) all the way up to Halloween either while I work or when I'm relaxing.

Yesterday I started by watching my personal favorite The Curse of Frankenstein before I went to bed. That film and The Horror of Dracula are my favorites. For one they have both Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee in them. I like Curse in particular because of Christopher Lee's makeup as the creature. Much like most of the early Hammer films is they're very atmospheric and the sets design is very good.

Sure, they're still a bit of the tatty sets with the very silly special effects. But movies weren't supposed to be realistic back then. They were suppose to be an escape from reality.

The real thing I felt The Curse of Frankenstein fell flat on was the fact they did not take advantage of having an actor like Christopher Lee with such a rich and resonate voice. In Mary Shelley's original story the Creature spoke. It would have been really great to have Christopher Lee speaking some of the lines from the original text rather than just playing another mute monster.

Otherwise, I absolutely love the fact that Peter Cushing plays the part of Baron Frankenstein in this remoreless clinical way. Not seeing what he's doing as an abomination against nature and showing no pity whatsoever for his actions.

Today I popped in Curse of the Werewolf and Phantom of the Opera while I was working. I wasn't too taken by Curse of the Werewolf. Oliver Reed was excellent as the tortured Leon and the makeup they used for his werewolf transformation was really well done. But I felt they took too much time telling the back story and not enough time with the action.

I found Phantom of the Opera much more engaging to watch. I was delighted to see Herbert Lom as the Phantom. Which kind of sounds strange for me to say since he is most famous for playing Chief Inspector Dreyfuss in the original Pink Panther series AND there was a catburgler character in a couple films of the series known as the Phantom.

Like all Hammer films, there are some inperfections. But what I do like is they don't try to do a direct remake of the Lon Chaney film. And I liked both the makeup and the set design for the film. And Michael Gough is quite good in it too.

It's kind of strange to see Batman's butler acting rather nasty and lusting after young opera singers.

Tonight I wrapped up the day with watching The Revenge of Frankenstein. The sequel (of many) to The Curse of Frankenstein. I enjoyed it although I didn't particularly care for the ending when I first saw it. But I don't mind it as much now. It was still at the peak of the Hammer Frankenstein series and still everything that made the early Hammer horror enjoyable.

I'm probaby going to continue to keep watching Hammer films I haven't seen yet mixed in with a few I have. I also plan on throwing in a couple of Vincent Price films into the mix like The Witchfinder General which I've wanted to see for a while now as well possibly watching the Werner Herzog Nosferatu and Christopher Lee's non Hammer Dracula film again too.

This is all going to lead up to Halloween night which I plan on watching Lugosi as Dracula for the first time. I know, GASP!! But I've never seen the original and I've been meaning to for some time now. And what better day than All Hallows Eve to make it my first time with an all time classic.

Lovely in Blue

A little out of the ordinary for me for a potential client. Illustrated in Deleter #3 Black Drawing Ink with brush and colored on the Photoshop.

Monday, September 7, 2009

stART on the Street

sTART on the Street is probably the only thing I look forward to about September. I've been taking part in the event since 2006 and every year I have a great time just meeting people and meeting all the artists who are taking part in the event.

I had started doing a lot of the local Worcester events when I first took part in Spring Art at the Station back in March 2005. It was between that and working with a lot of my artist friends, especially the Undercoverfish Group, that I began to get involved with shows like stART on the Street and becoming a member of ARTSWorcester which I have done several members shows at their gallery.

But stART on the Street and Holiday Art at the Station are my favorite shows to take part in and the most fun as well.

If you've never been to the event it's taking place Sunday September 20, 2009, 11am - 5pm (rain date Sept 27) on Park Ave, between Highland and Pleasant Streets in Worcester, MA.

Hopefully I will see you all there. Heck, even if you don't particularly care for my work or my books, there are so many great artists and crafters to choose from. It's win win!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Brenda and Effie

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

Brenda and Effie are a couple really great characters from Paul Magrs books Never the Bride, Something Borrowed and Conjugal Rites. I based Brenda on Joanna Lumley and Effie on Prunella Scales.

Right now I'm in the middle of reading the first book in the series Never the Bride. It's such a fun read and I think it would make a really great television series. The first three chapters pretty much read like episodes one, two and three.

I highly recommend you pick up a copy of the series today :-)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Guy Ritchie to direct Lobo on the big screen

I had just read online that the former Mrs. Madonna Guy Ritchie has been tapped to direct the big screen version of the DC Comic bastich Lobo.

For those who read The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas and the Infanticide mini-series, I kind of have a feeling that this is probably going to be a bit more toned down version of Lobo seeing that most of the humor in those books probably wouldn't fly in this day and age.

Variety described the premise: Lobo is a seven-foot tall, blue-skinned, indestructible and heavily muscled anti-hero who drives a pimped out motorcycle, and lands on Earth in search of four fugitives who are bent on wreaking havoc. Lobo teams with a small town teenaged girl to stop the creatures.

I suppose if he uses his usual profanities of "frag," "Feetal's Gizz," and "bastich" the film shouldn't be too, too bad. I guess.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Disney buys Marvel Comics

I suppose if you want to look at the bright side of it all, it DID get people to stop trying to strangle one another over the whole health care issue for about an hour and a half. Okay, more like for fifteen seconds.

I never particularly cared for Disney. I never liked either their cartoons or their live action movies. The British probably still hate us over Dick Van Dyke's awful cockney accent. I would.

But nothing against people who DO enjoy the magic of Disney. If you enjoy Disney films and cartoons, go on enjoying them. It's just not my pint of beer.

And I've always liked DC Comics more than Marvel. But I don't dislike Marvel Comics. There's just too much about classic Marvel Comics to simply write them off. I liked Ditko's, Romita Sr. and McFarlane's run on Spider-Man, bits and bobs of the Star Wars series, Jim Lee's run on the X-Men, Doctor Who Magazine early on and The Death of Captain Marvel.

Great stuff!!

I can see the side of some people's argument why this would be bad. Seeing that Disney had been known historically for creating saccharine induced light-weight family movies and more recently tween focused shows that have cornered the young girl demographic.

Does this mean that suddenly you will see the Incredible Hulk rocking out with Hannah Montana or Wolverine singing along with the Mickey Mouse Club? It's quite possible the result of the sale might end up with watered down version of your favorite Marvel characters.

But probably not and here's a possible reasons why.

This is Disney's opportunity to nab the male demographic. Most young guys like to read superhero comics and movies. And so I think the brain trust at the Disney Corporation will focus on that high octane element in hopes to rope in more guys to see a Disney film.

And with a character like Spider-Man, you have that best of both worlds where you can create both an action movie and a chick flick.

Although, they might do this under one of their Umbrella companies. It still might lack the punch to have the Magic Kingdom with pixie dust sprinkling down on it appearing in the title sequence just before Wolverine comes at you covered in blood and rearing his claws.

All in all, I'm not completely surprised by all of this. Seeing that DC Comics is owned by one of Disney's biggest historic rivals, Warner Brothers, it seems to make perfect sense to me that Disney would buy one of DC's biggest historic rivals in Marvel Comics.

Will it be good or bad? Only time will tell. Excelsior! Excelsior! 'Nuff said!