Monday, August 30, 2010

The Perfect BBQ Chicken and Miller High-Life

For those of you who just load your chicken up with BBQ Sauce and throw it on the grill, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG! Don't argue with me about it. It's a fact. You're wrong. Deal with your failure and get on with your life.

The problem with doing chicken that way is the fact it never cooks right. It never cooks all the way through and you end up with this rubbery/blubbery taste to both the meat and the skin. It's gross. No matter how much hot sauce and BBQ sauce you load that bugger up with. It tastes gross.

The secret is boiling the chicken first. What you say? I said you boil the chicken first. No lie!! Having it boiled before you throw it on the grill I've found actually makes it really tender. Because what you're pretty much doing is just browning it up on the grill to give it that BBQ flavor.

Here's another trick to help give it a great flavor. Add either the BBQ or hot sauce to the water and boil in the sauce/water mix. I've been doing this almost the entire Summer and the result is probably the best grilled chicken I've ever had.

After you've boiled it you can still add a layer of BBQ or hot sauce to the bird before you throw it on the grill.

And here's a fun drink combination you might want to try before the Summer ends. I had gotten the idea from an artist friend of mine Derek Ring. Mix Miller High-Life with Country Time Lemonade.

Don't make that face while you read this!! I mean think about it. People drink Bud Lime (for some reason) they put lime in Corona and they put a lemon on the edge of the glass when they serve a Hefeweizen at the restaurants. So, adding Lemonade to High-Life is really no different.

And the results are really great!!

I don't think it would work as well with a beer like Narragansett, Schlitz or Sam Adams. I think it might have something to do with the fact that High-Life is a Pilsner style beer. But I'm not sure if it would work with any other Pilsner beer.

If you happen to drink another brand of Pilsner and would like to try it, write me at this blog and let me know if it works!

The Valley of Fear

I confess I haven't read The Valley of Fear from cover to cover as of yet. I listened to a really great radio adaptation of it starring Clive Merrison a while back. But I have not read the book as of yet myself.

So, I dug out my old dusty copy of it (as seen above) and started reading it a couple days back. I also have the book in a Bantam collection but I much prefer reading it separately. I don't know. Unless it's the short stories collected, I have a hard time reading the full Sherlock Holmes novels in the collected editions. Yeah, I know. Yet another strange hang up.

This novel is the only other story where Professor Moriarty is mentioned apart from The Final Problem and The Empty House. It's funny to think much like Irene "The Woman" Adler, he only really appeared in one story. Yet, think about all the movies written that have used the character as Sherlock Holmes's chief nemesis.

Of course, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is famous for muddling his own continuity in this book. Since in The Final Problem Watson has no idea who Moriarty is yet in this story Watson knows about Moriarty.

I suppose this all stems from the fact that this particular story was written 22 years after The Final Problem was printed. Famously, Doyle has become tired of his creation by when he printed The Final Problem. So, it's possible he just didn't feel like going over the old manuscripts to check certain story elements.

Or he knew and he really just didn't care.

Of course nowadays if a writer were to do that, can you imagine how many fans would complain about this on message boards, blogs, websites, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter or anything else they can find?

I still find it really odd how few film and television adaptations there are of this particular story. There are only two films I know about. The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes starring Arthur Wonter and Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace starring Christopher Lee. But both are only loosely based on the novel. Arthur Wontner closely resembled Sidney Paget's artwork in a way that was eerie. But the films starring him are so slow and boring. Sorry, it's a fact. The Christopher Lee film is not bad in the sense that it's directed by the great Hammer director Terence Fisher and physically Christopher Lee is the best choice for Sherlock Holmes. It's also filmed in German. And this could have been a very enjoyable movie to watch but the travesty of the film is the fact that when they dubbed it in English they DID NOT get Christopher Lee to dub his own lines. Instead they got some truly terrible American actor to do it. And that just ruins watching the film for me. Especially since Christopher Lee has the most amazing voice this side of Tom Baker. There is one animation starring Peter O'Toole that is a direct adaptation. I haven't seen it and I heard apart from Peter O'Toole's performance the acting and the animation really terrible.

Ever since I wrapped up working on Alice Faulkner I have been putting a great deal of thought into doing another Sherlock Holmes story. This time I had wanted to do something from the canon as opposed to doing another pastiche. I think what continues to draw me back to The Valley of Fear is the fact that it has not been done a great deal.

So, we'll see.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dracula by Andy Fish

For those of you who prefer your vampires NOT glittering in the sunlight, I highly recommend you check out Andy Fish's long awaited and highly anticipated adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic novel Dracula!! I just received my personally signed copy of Book One in the series and does not disappoint.

Much like the classic Tod Browning adaptation starring Bela Lugosi, Andy's version takes place in 1931 rather than 1897. Which he explains his reasons for the switch at the end of the first book. He touches upon many of the changes happening at that time such as the Nazi's coming to power.

While keeping many of the elements of Gothic Horror which the story of Dracula is known for, Andy has also infused elements of film noir, action adventure as well as a touch of humor.

Not too much to make the story too jokey or a parody. But enough so the story isn't too, too dark. As someone who enjoys and writes humor, I think it's a very important thing. And also something very difficult to write.

Now we come to Andy's interpretation of Dracula. And I like it. Just from the cover you can tell his appreciation for both the look of Dracula (or Orlok) in the silent film Nosferatu with the overall rat-like appearance and bald head. But in the face, he's maintain that strong sense of nobility and dignity Bela Lugosi gave the character.

The combination of the two gives us a version of Dracula I don't think I've ever seen. And it works really well. He's ancient and diseased with his pointed ears and broken claws. Yet there's strength and dignity in his face.

This is what makes it different from either Max Schreck or Klaus Kinski's plague-ridden Count.

For me, it's more like if Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee were to do that look for Dracula. But portray them the way they do in their films.

Another thing that shines about the book is Andy's art. His admiration for Jack Kirby shines through in this project. Not in his art style, mind you. But in the way he subscribes to Kirby's approach to art where he's not afraid to try something new as far as projects and styles are concerned.

His artwork in this book is vastly different from the style of work that he did in books like The Tragic Death of Turkey Boy and Fly. The characters in this book for the most part are very photographic looking. His talents as a painter take center stage in this project. But he mixes that with many comic book styles and techniques.

The result is this very satisfyingly brilliant mixed media feel that varies from page to page. It becomes a very exciting action adventure story rather than just a straight horror story.

I highly recommend you order your copy online by clicking the picture above. You will not be disappointed.

Restaurant Recommendation: Asmara's in Cambridge MA

I love trying new places. I suppose that all started for me back when I ate Indian food for the first time several years ago. It definitely got my feet wet and made me (slowly) opened to trying food that was outside of my comfort zone. And I think seeing shows like No Reservation, Bizarre Foods and even Man Vs. Food has made me more opened to trying cuisine's I'm unfamiliar with.

Granted, I have no intention of eating eyeballs, brains, scrotum's, maggots or anything else that might be on the menu in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. But I'm a lot less close minded about those things than I was in my 20's.

A couple days ago Sydney asked me if I wanted to go to Boston for the day with her. She was from that area and went to college there. So, she wanted to show me around some of the places she liked going to when she's out that way.

One of which was Asmara Restaurant in Cambridge. Which serves Ethiopian cuisine.

I've never had Ethiopian food before. I don't know if there are any places that serve Ethiopian food in Worcester. There are a lot of Chinese Restaurants. Several Thai Restaurants. A few Japanese Restaurants. Three Lebanese Restaurants (two of the same places but in different locations). And a few Vietnamese places.

But no Ethiopian restaurants.

Well, I was all up for that. So after a great late breakfast/early lunch sandwich at the Parrish Cafe (and by the way Elephant Walking on Eggs “Sandwich from the Mountain” is amazing!! Especially when you put your side veggies in the sandwich) we walked around Boston for several hours checking out many of her favorite shops and stores.

I had kind of a flashback when we went to the Garage in Cambridge. I haven't been to that shop since 1995. I didn't realize it until I was walking up the ramp. There used to be a great Science-Fiction bookstore that is no long there. But for a moment I felt like I went back in time.

Flash forward to 2010. At around 5pm we finally made our way to Asmara's. It wasn't too crowded when we got there. It was still early and the dinner crowd really didn't start arriving until we left. But Sydney warned me that you eat with your hands there.

They do have seating where you can sit at a table and eat with silverware. But we wanted the traditional experience so we ate at one of the tables as seen in the photo above.

Our server recommended us getting one of the samplers. Which gives us both an opportunity to have a small sample of each of the dishes. Sydney is a vegetarian so I decided to get the Ahimilti Bebaynetu Vegetable Combination which consists of Cabbage, yellow split peas, spinach, chick peas, lentils, and tomtato salad.

Even though I don't hide the fact I enjoy my burgers, chicken and steak (not at the same time, mind you) I was vegetarian for seven years until about 2004 when I fell of the wagon. However, I still happen to enjoy vegetarian food as well. You need to keep an opened mind about things or you can miss out on a lot.

And I'm glad I got this dish because I would have missed out!!

After having a really nice Ethiopian Light Lager, we were served the dinner. And it was excellent!! We both agreed the spinach was our favorite part of the dish. And I loved the bread they served with it. Both on the side and under the food itself.

Much like Indian Beer, the light lager I was served really complimented the spices. Definitely helped put out a little of the fire of the spicier food we were served.

Ironically, the label had a picture of St. George on it. Which was fitting because it certainly helped put out the fire of the spices ;-)

I definitely had some Anthony Bourdain moments while I was eating the food. Although, I'm not trotting the globe traveling from country to country like Mr. Bourdain. I'm just taking a train trip into Boston for the day.

And I didn't leave feeling empty. I don't think we finished it all but I left feeling very satisfied.

Well then!! If you happen to be in the Cambridge area, be sure to check out Asmara Restaurant. You can click on the link below to check out their menu and get driving directions:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pinup Art at Dark World Gallery

A piece I just completed for a show at Dark World Gallery which features illustrations based on pinup art. When I asked what they were looking for they told me that they wanted pinup art in my style but they were actually looking for more male pinup art to give a little bit of a twist on the show.

And this was the result. It also gave me the opportunity to use some Winsor Newton Color Ink that I got a while back which I've been really wanting to use in more illustrations.

You have no idea how difficult it is to find a photo of a turn of the century style male swimming costume on the web ;-)

Doctor Who: Demon Quest promo

A promo I did for Paul Magrs upcoming follow up to his Doctor Who series Hornets Nest titled Demon Quest. Which once again stars Tom Baker as the Doctor!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Alice Faulkner is officially SOLD OUT!!

If you're looking to purchase a signed copy of Sherlock Holmes: The Painful Predicament of Alice Faulkner, you're going to have to wait a while. Much like the first print run (which sold within a month of it's release), the second print run has officially SOLD OUT!! I sold my last copy from the second printing of the book along with original art to a customer on E-Bay a couple days back.

You're still able to purchase copies the book on as well as a few other online stores. But Alterna has officially sold out every single copy they have of the book. So once they're gone, they're gone!!

However!! If you happen to live in Worcester MA, there are still three signed copies available from the FIRST PRINT RUN at Borders Books and Music on Boston Turnpike Road in Shrewsbury MA!! I believe those three are the only three copies from the first print run available for purchase. And if you live in Spencer MA, I believe there are a few copies available at Cormier's on Main Street.

Get them while they last!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Wormtown Brewery

Beer is probably my Achilles Heel. Okay!! Beer, Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who, Monty Python and movies starring the Marx Brothers ;-)

But I do like a nice pint either with my meal or out with friends. I think a drink (wine, whisky ect) adds to the ambiance and enhances the conversation.

I enjoy microbrews in particular. For those unfamiliar, microbrews are small local companies not owned by Budweiser or Coors. Most States have their little microbrews. Actually, quite a few restaurants brew their own beers as well. And if a restaurant you go to offers a house ale I highly recommend you try it. I think you might be pleasantly surprised with the quality. And it's probably going to be better than that Michelob Ultra you were going to order.

Well, I had heard about a month or so back about the Wormtown Brewery located right here in Worcester, Massachusetts. I come to find out that the brewery is located right inside of Peppercorns Bar and Grille on Park Avenue. I had thought about going to a release party for a new beer they were unveiling but since I really don't like crowds, I decided to stay away.

I could only imagine a fleet of State Police waiting in the Honey Farms parking lot next to Peppercorns for people to leave.

But I always love trying something new so I went out one Friday night only to find that the place was packed!! And I mean PACKED!! So, that ended the possibility that night.

So, last night when I was out with Sydney I asked if she wanted to stop for a drink at Peppercorns. She was up for it so as we were getting to the stop light I come to see that there is plenty of parking that night. So, in we go.

I ordered their Be Happy IPA. An IPA is short for India Pale Ale. The type of Ale developed by the British to ship down to their troops in India. The way it was brewed would last the trip down.

This happens to be one of my favorite Summer beers.

So, I try it and I really like it!! The Wachusett IPA is still my favorite, but Wormtown has made a might fine one too.

Wormtown has named most of their beers for certain things famous in Worcester.

The Be Happy IPA is of course named for Harvey Ball's famous creation the Smiley Face. Worcester's Bravest Ale named for the Firefighters who gave their lives to put out the warehouse fire back in 1999. Seven Hills Ale is named for Worcester's nickname City of the Seven Hills. And the Turtle Boy Blueberry Ale named for Worcester most famous sculpture depicting a boy's love for a turtle.

I admit that I didn't try them all that night. And I probably won't try the Turtleboy because I don't like Blueberry Ale or beer with a fruity taste. But I was mighty impressed with the IPA I sampled.

If you want to check out the site and see the beers in more detail click on the link below. I also highly recommend going down to Peppercorns and trying them out for yourself:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Strychnine and Spaghetti Strand Slipknot tour wraps up at Borders this Saturday!!

Well, my four month long book tour Strychnine and Spaghetti Strand Slipknots which started May 1st will be wrapping up this coming Saturday when I take part in Local Author's Extravaganza. Which is taking place at Borders Book and Music located on Boston Turnpike Road in Shrewsbury MA.

This all happens to coincide with the Tax Free Weekend, so come on down and get a TAX FREE signed copy of one of my books.

Borders friendly (and in some cases very pretty) Sales Floor Associates will be there to help direct you towards the authors in question.

After that, it's onto stART on the Street as well as a couple more shows in the Fall!!

Restaurant Recommendation: Mia Mia‎ Pizzeria and Chicken Shack

Mia Mia‎ Pizzeria and Chicken Shack (as it says on the sign) located on 916 Southbridge Road, Auburn, MA‎ right across the street from Periwinkles Bar and Grille is a great little place that I finally got a chance to check out. I very rarely go out to Auburn unless to get on the Mass Pike. But I've passed by the place on several occasions. And I believe the building itself has been several different pizza places dating back to when I used to work at the Wal*Mart across the street back in 1995/1996.

My cousin Jared and I discovered it one night after an ill-fated attempt to go to Peppercorns in Worcester and sample one of the Wormtown Beers. Peppercorns was PACKED by 7pm, so we decided that perhaps dining in the Woo was not in the cards, so we headed outside the city. At first we thought Periwinkles but that was pretty packed too. But right across the road we saw Mia Mia's. We saw they served beer and we thought "Let's give it a try".

The guy in the chicken costume standing outside waving at passing traffic amused us enough to want to give it a try too.

And I'm glad we did. It was a pleasant surprise. I thought the owner could have been Marisa Tomei. Or at least a sister of Marisa Tomei ;-)

And I actually liked the set up of the place. Restaurant feel while still maintaining the way you order at a pizza place. You find your seat, read from the menu and then you go back and order your meal.

I liked that. It was something I hadn't done before at a regular restaurant. I understand some people might be put up with the whole concept of having to get up to place your order. But doesn't seem like a big deal to me. You have to stand up and wait at a McDonalds or Burger King. And in this case, you've getting food that's a helluva lot better than either.

I haven't gotten to the food yet. We had a small Potato Skin Pizza with Buffalo Wings. Both were excellent!! The servers weren't lightning fast but at the same time we weren't waiting half the evening for the food either.

And they served beer. Not a huge selection. But perfect for a small place like this. AND they had Sam Adams. So, I was happy :-)

The decor of the place (as pictured above) is very nice too. Very laid back and tasteful with nice music playing in the background to add to the ambiance.

So, I would highly recommend a visit to Mia Mia's if you're looking for a new place to eat!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Gentlemen Detectives and a Lady Sleuth 9x12

A variation on my previous illustration The Mysterious Suspects which featured C. Auguste Dupin, Sherlock Holmes, Miss Jane Marple, Hercule Poirot and A.J. Raffles. This one is based on a suggestion made by one of my Facebook friends. He said I should do a story based in 1900 and have the characters be how old they would be around that time period.

Dupin would be about 90, Holmes about 45, Marple could be about 10 (inspired to a life of solving mysteries by the story), Poirot would be around 25, and Raffles would be about 25/30.

I would love to do a story using these characters in a setting like that. Unfortunately, both Miss Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot are not currently in the public domain. And I would not wish to face the wrath of Alan Moore doing something somewhat similar to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

He is a big scary man and I don't wish to get on his bad side ;-)

However, this piece is currently up for bidding on E-Bay along with a copy of The Adventures of Polly and Handgraves: A Sinister Aura which I will PERSONALLY SIGN to the winning bidder!!

Just click on the E-Bay link to the left to place your bid today.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Painful Predicament of Adaptation

About a year or so back I had done another really fun interview on my friend and mentor Mark Lynch's radio show INQUIRY on WICN which we chatted about my at that point new release Sherlock Holmes: The Painful Predicament of Alice Faulkner. One of the questions he had asked me was I afraid of a backlash from Holmes fans. Which I had not thought about at that point. But it was a good question. Especially with Guy Ritchie's big budget re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr. just out around the time I was doing the interview with him.

I suppose I hadn't thought of anything of that sort because I see myself as a purist when it comes to the character and my ambition when doing the book was to not only remain true to the play William Gillette had written but also remain true to the character that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had created. All his quirks, faults and everything else that has made the character endure for nearly three centuries.

But why the Gillette play? Why THAT Sherlock Holmes? Why choose THAT to adapt into a graphic novel?

Another good question. The play itself has been somewhat controversial with fans over the years. For one thing, Sherlock Holmes falls in love. For purists, Sherlock Holmes is above this. If he allows himself to be clouded with an emotion like love then he would not be the best at what he does. And I think that's asexuality is what makes the character so accessible for fans.

Then why choose the play?

I actually have three reasons why I chose the play over a story like The Hound of the Baskerville, Valley of Fear or another established Sherlock Holmes novel or short story.

1.)The New England connection. William Hooker Gillette was born Hartford Connecticut. As both a New Englander and Sherlockian myself, I felt a kinship with Gillette's appreciation for the character.

2.)Gillette's play is really a brilliant anthology of all the great stories. Originally Conan Doyle had written the initial play and it ended up in the hands of Charles Frohman who then handed the play to Gillette to elaborate on. Which Gillette proceeded to take the best bits from many of the great Sherlock Holmes stories like The Sign of Four, A Scandal in Bohemia and The Final Problem to make one original tale. Which I thought might give readers a broader scope of the character rather than doing one of the established stories. Some of which like The Hound of the Baskerville have been adapted way too much. But with that said, other stories like The Valley of Fear have not been adapted enough.

3.)As much as the Gillette play has been criticized over the years for establishing many of the stereotypes we know Sherlock Holmes for nowadays like the deerstalker hat and the meerschaum pipe, I truly think without the play we would not have had this long and rich history of portrayals of the character from Basil Rathbone, Peter Cushing, Jeremy Brett and most recently Robert Downey Jr. Although, Holmes was like superhero status already in England, I felt like Gillette is due a great deal of respect and thanks for the popularity of the character in the United States thanks to his 1,300 appearances between 1899 to 1935.

The Gillette play has actually been a project I've been working on for the past nine or ten years. I had originally written the play straight out from a couple books which reprinted the script from the play. But a stage version with my artwork for the set and costume design just wasn't in the cards, so that script sat on several of my hard drives.

Enter Alterna Comics.

I had started reworking the script from play into a comic script around 2006/2007. I had also started some pages after a trip to Gillette Castle. The page weren't turning out to my liking and so I shelved the project again before I decided to begin anew in May of 2008.

But the script needed massive rewrites and revisions. There were many problems with the script I needed to iron out before I could really start to add pencil and ink to Bristol Board.

For one thing, the original adaptation I had written topped out at (I think) around 600 pages! And that's 600 pages of talk and being stuck in one setting for at least 50 or so pages!! This is fine for a play because you need to pack so much information into an act. But this would not do for a graphic novel.

If I'm getting bored reading it, then I can imagine my readers might get bored too.

There was just a great deal of dialogue, scenes and characters that just were not necessary and did not really move the story along at all.

What's worse. Sherlock Holmes actually does not appear until halfway through Act One. Most of the action concerns a great deal of dialogue between the Larrabees, Sid Prince, the butler Forman and Terese the Maid.

As much as I want to remain true to the play William Gillette had written, changes had to be made to help the pace of the story. The first decision I made was the cut the maid Terese. I just felt she wasn't really doing much for the story. That and I wasn't sure if she was supposed to be French or German. I think she's supposed to be French. Either way, I think the faux French/German accent would just grate on a modern audience.

Next up on the chopping block, I cut a lot (and I mean A LOT) of the dialogue. There was a great deal of dialogue between the Larrabees and Alice Faulkner in the original play. I wanted to limit her appearance in the beginning to add to the mystery of this character until Sherlock Holmes arrives.

I thought that would add an extra punch when Holmes finally comes face to face with Alice.

At this point, I had whittled down the story enough where readers wouldn't be pulling their hair out waiting for Holmes to arrive. But I still found having all the action taking place at Edelweiss Lodge was still a bit too dull. But reading the script I found that I could lace a lot of the scenes in Moriarty's Lair from Act Two into the action of Act One.

With a play, you don't have the luxury of the cutaway. Like I said, you have to cram a great deal of action into that act. However with a graphic novel, much like a movie, you can do that.

It's bad enough you don't see Sherlock Holmes till halfway through Act One. Professor Moriarty doesn't even appear until ACT TWO!!

But he's mentioned by Sid Prince as someone the Larrabees need to contact to deal with Sherlock Holmes. But for readers unfamiliar with the Gillette play I wanted to keep that a secret. I cut out any mention of Professor Moriarty when Prince talks about him and I even keep Moriarty's face concealed in the shadows until the end of the first act.

Yes, I kept the book in two acts ;-)

Now I'm rolling. I've got the story whittled down to a point where it translates better to a graphic novel format. And I've given it pace.

Now I had decided to make revisions more on a personal level. In my own way I sort of approached adapting the play the way William Gillette did. He added elements from the Sherlock Holmes stories so I decided to add a few of my own.

I decided to include Sherlock's older brother Mycroft in the story as well as Inspector Lestrade and a brief appearance by Mrs. Hudson. These characters would make up for the characters I removed from the story. That and I think fans of Holmes would much rather see a scene with Mycroft or Mrs. Hudson rather than Terese the Maid.

And then came the final decision. Does Sherlock Holmes fall in love?

As I mentioned before, I am a purist when it comes to the character of Sherlock Holmes (see my stated reasons above). But instead of removing it completely, I decided to be a bit more devious and underhanded than that.

I downplayed it.

I had thought about removing it altogether but then I thought about perhaps just adding it in a way that would leave it up to whomever is reading the book. Does Sherlock Holmes fall in love with her? Or is his feelings towards her merely great admiration for her strength and her fighting spirit to be able to go through what she went through and still remain strong.

In all, I wanted this to feel closer to the stories and character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle while still maintaining the spirit of Gillette's play.

The final addition came long after I had started penciling and inking the pages. Jeremy Holstein who I had met through a Sherlock Holmes messageboard had posted this really great radio performance of the Gillette play. I didn't realize Jeremy had posted this video. I had heard the video before I met him on the board.

But there was a line Alice Faulkner says in the radio dramatization that wasn't in the play during her final scene with Sherlock Holmes which when Holmes is stating basically why he is no good for her she says "Mr. Holmes. Don't you like me at all?"

It was simplistic but I loved it!! I could just see Holmes turning away from her in shame as she looks up at him with tears welling in her eyes.

I just thought it would make a great little moment right before Holmes delivers his final big speech at the end.

As for my take on Holmes, I didn't just have one inspiration but several.

The first came from William Gillette himself. I decided in Act One to have Holmes dressed very similar to Gillette's costume in the play. As a matter of fact I based Edelweiss Lodge on Gillette Castle in tribute to William Gillette.

My other four inspirations for Holmes came from Basil Rathbone, Peter Cushing, Robert Stephens and Jeremy Brett. Rathbone and Brett I think are the primary inspirations for the look of my Sherlock Holmes.

However, Peter Cushing and Robert Stephens also inspired my interpretation of Holmes as well. Cushing has this habit in all of his films to suddenly point his finger directly up in the air when he is delivering a poignant line. Robert Stevens is a bit lesser known in the pantheon of Sherlock Holmes films. But I enjoyed him a great deal in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. What stuck with me about his performance was the way he would place his hands on his hips when he was explaining something. The weren't really placed on his hips but closer up on his ribcage. It was a strange stance but I liked it and I added it to my interpretation of Holmes.

Peter Cushing was also the key inspiration for Professor Moriarty in my story. I think he would have made a great Moriarty later in life. Just because his face was so severe. I decided despite being famous for Sherlock Holmes, he would become my Moriarty.

Dramatic finger pointing and all.

And that's the whole story. Adaptation isn't as easy as all that. There's a lot to be considered when taking on beloved characters and stories. You're more than welcome to do both and fresh reinvention of the character. But just be ready for the backlash it might cause.

But just as long as that bold re-imagining stays true to the spirit of the original stories and character, you should be fine. And even in some cases, you could end up creating a great story.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Doctor Who: Question Marks Are Cool 9x12 artwork

I had previously done an illustration based on the Eleventh Doctor's comment proclaiming: "Bow Ties are cool!" featuring the Eleventh, Second and Third Doctor. All of which had worn bow ties.

This particular illustration features the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctor. All of which had either worn question marks on their lapels or in the case of the Seventh Doctor spotted all over his jumper and the handle of his umbrella.

For those unfamiliar with Doctor Who, then (long serving) Executive Producer John Nathan Turner decided to add a little "in joke" about the title character of the program during his time with the program starting with Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor where he would incorporate little question marks on the lapels.

Much like anything in the pantheon of fandom, this has caused a great deal of ire with many fans over the years. They either love the little question marks or they hate them.

I'm of the camp that loved them. I got the joke. Yes, it was campy. But that's what I loved about Doctor Who along with the great stories that came out of it. The program's ability to sometimes laugh at itself.

Which it still does...

...although some of the more hardcore fans really need to do a little of that from time to time. I'm just saying ;-)

Nevertheless, I felt it was a bit of overkill when it came to the Seventh Doctor's jumper. Which apparently Seventh Doctor actor Sylvester McCoy absolutely hated.

I just always felt that they should have kept it as a small in joke than something overly obvious like the Seventh Doctor's jumper and the handle on his umbrella.

But I have warmed up to the old jumper over time.

This illustration along with my Bow Ties Are Cool one are both available on E-Bay. You can start bidding on, one, the other or both by clicking the E-Bay link located on the left hand side of your screen. Happy Bidding :-)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Commissioned Work: The Four Marx Brothers

I was commissioned recently to do a couple small pieces. One of the Four Marx Brothers and then one of Harpo Marx at the harp. I'm actually surprised I haven't done more artwork featuring the Marx Brothers.