Thursday, December 20, 2012

Worcester Magazine's Year in Review Comic Edition


For the last couple of years I've taken part in Worcester Magazine's year in review issue. The last couple of years a few of my artist friends have done parodies of famous comics. I thought I'd give that a try this year and do a tribute of sorts to my favorite strip Bloom County. To check out the artists involved in this year's issue you can click here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Special Holiday Auctions!! FREE SHIPPING FOR THREE DAYS ONLY!!


Just in time to get that last minute gift for that certain someone special in your life I'm offering FREE SHIPPING on original artwork at signed copies of my books. Click on the link below to check it out:


Happy Holidays and Happy Bidding!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Some very nice accolades for the Ninnies!!

Paul Magrs's THE NINNIES, a book I had the esteemed privilege to do the artwork for, just made the Irish Times list of Children's Books of the Year. Click on the link below to check it out:


If you are unfamilar with Paul Magrs's books and audios I think it's a shame. Paul has written some of my favorite fiction including several novels and audio plays based on the cult series Doctor Who. His own addition to the world of Doctor Who in the guise of Time Lady and trans-temporal adventuress Iris Wildthyme who has found life in her own series of audio spin-off's. The fun and spooky Brenda and Effie Mysteries which I have nearly read every single book in the series.  And now Paul is in the process of unleashing his most recent creation Vince Cosmos: Glam Rock Detective!!

To check out Paul's latest series, click on the link below for more information about Vince himself as well as how to pre-order the first adventure in the series:


For those who love David Bowie, Marc Bolan and T-Rex, Brian Eno and the glammed up 1970's this series is for you. And even if the 1970's isn't your cup of tea, you'll still love it!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Auctions

I have several art auctions up and running just in time for the Holidays. Including an opportunity to bid on a copy of Memento Mori signed by Syd and I which will include original artwork!!

Click on the link below to check them out. Happy Holidays and Happy Bidding:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Indie Art Market at Beatnik's is TONIGHT!!

 
If you have yet to check out Indie Art Market at Beatnik's in Worcester Massachusetts, I highly recommend you check it out tonight!! Especially with the holidays rapidly approaching, why not get all your shopping done tonight and buy some unique items for family and friends this year.
 
Along with the new book MEMENTO MORI I completed with my wife Syd, I will also be selling some of her fine jewelry at the show tonight.
 
So come on down, grab a Wormtown Ale on tap and a bite to eat and buy some unique art items!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sign up for my December Workshops and Winter/Spring Classes


My December Workshops as well as my Winter and Spring Classes are now available for sign-up at the Worcester Art Museum. Click on the link below to check out and sign up today:

Now accepting commissions for the Holidays!!

 
I am now accepting commissions for the Holidays.
 
Along with my regular style as seen in my books and prints, I am also willing to do requests in both Pop Art and a more cartoon style. Pop Art can vary from comic book art to a painting of your favorite comic strip.
 
As for medium. I work in pen and ink. But I can also do pieces in watercolor, gouche and in digital colors.
 
I don't usually do pieces in Acrylic or Tempera. However, I would be opened to any requests in either. Since they would be created on canvas, they would most likely a lot more factoring in supplies and shipping as well as the size of the piece.
 
I don't work in oils. I'm just not good at it and the smells of the oils and varinishes make me sick. Sorry.
 
Anyone who is looking for a piece digitally colored can rest assured that the original color file will be deleted once I have printed it making it a one-of-a-kind piece. You will also have the original mailed to you at no additional cost.
Any interested parties can e-mail me at herbertzohl@gmail.com for more information about pricing, size and what you have in mind for a particular illustration.

Monday, November 26, 2012

stART at the Station blog: Holiday Art


Every year I try my best to write a blog imparting a little advice to anyone who is new with any of the stART on the Street events. I've been doing the event since 2005. Which I suppose is a drop in the ocean next to the people who have been doing the shows since stART's inception 10 years ago.

I've enjoyed the holiday shows they have held at Worcester's Union Station nearly as much as their Park Avenue shows. Union Station has really been the ideal place for a show of this nature.

But as far as "holiday art" possibly the best advice I could give is think of doing work people wouldn't just hang up in their house on the holidays. But something they would give as a gift that would hang up all year round.

This advice I guess is really more for people who create illustrations and print art.

There is a need for Winter scenes, Christmas trees and stuff of that nature. However, don't just limit yourself to that. I've found that Classic Children's Literature is the ideal subject for holiday art. It's nice to have that image of Peter Pan or Ozma hanging over the bed while you read your child one of their stories.

In the long run, having illustrations like that will make your repertoire all the stronger for potential shoppers.

stART at the Station Artwork

I completed a couple more illustrations for stART at the Station that is taking place this coming Sunday December 2nd!! I plan on having four more completed before the show.



Sunday, November 25, 2012

Wallace "Wally" Wood

Wally Wood was probably one of my favorite MAD artists. Although, he did so much more work than just MAD Magazine. I had first come across his work in a compilation called The Smithsonian Book of Comic-Book Comics. This book was really my first introduction to many other classic comics and classic comic book artists. And Plastic Man.

And the page above from MAD Magazine's Superduperman was one of the stories in that compilation.

There were several things that attracted me to Wally Wood's art... other than the way he drew women since I was going through puberty at the time... one of which was his drawing style and the way he was able to mix the slightly more realistic style of the superhero comics with a very cartoony style. Years before Todd MacFarlane did it in the pages of Spider-Man. The other was the insane and almost obsessive way he would cram so many odd images and jokes into every panel. Even something as simple as constantly changing Superduperman's logo in every single panel.

Another favorite of mine was the work he did on a parody of Walt Kelly's Pogo. Apparently, Walt Kelly himself liked it and even did parodies of his own comic in MAD on occassion. Even in his attempts to make the characters look bizarre and different in this parody, Wood does an amazing job aping Kelly's style.

Wood had also done many penciling and inking jobs for the big boys Marvel and DC, doing work on titles such as Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Challangers of the Unknown, House of Mystery as well as artwork for TOPP's classic Mars Attacks trading cards and helping to create the Earth 2's version of Supergirl called Power Girl.

I have to confess, I never read any of Wood's more adult work like Sally Forth.

Sadly, Wood's later life was not the happiest having suffered bouts of inexplicable headaches and kidney failure due alcoholism. A stroke in 1978 caused him to lose eyesight in his right eye. Faced with declining health and career prospects he committed suicide by gunshot in 1981 at the age of 54.

I was thrilled recently to see that Batman: Brave and the Bold animated his immortal Batman parody Batboy and Rubin. The animation was a terrific homage to Wood's original.

At his height he was definitely up there with the greats. And if you're just getting started out in comics and comic books I definitely recommend you check out Wally Wood's work.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Special Holiday Auction!!

 A couple special auctions to kick off the ole gift-giving season!! Right now you can bid on the original artwork used for the book I did with my wife Syd MEMENTO MORI!! Not only will the winning bidder receive the original cover art PERSONALLY SIGNED to them. But they will also receive a copy of the book signed by myself and Syd!!
Also for sale, is the poster art I did for the Kentucky Repertory Theatre's adaptation of William Gillette's 1899 play SHERLOCK HOLMES. Which I also did the set design for. Mind you, this is not a print or a reproduction. This is ORIGINAL ARTWORK!! The winning bidder will receive the art PERSONALLY signed to them along with a copy of my graphic novel SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE PAINFUL PREDICAMENT OF ALICE FAULKNER.


Also for sale is another opportunity to win a copy of THE CASQUE OF AMONTILLADO with an original pen and ink sketch!!

Click on the link below to start bidding on one of these items. Happy Holidays and Happy Bidding:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Franksgribbles!!

I admit to Thanksgiving being my favorite holiday. I suppose because it hasn't succumb to the depressing commercialism of Christmas or Easter. Not to mention how ridiculous the whole Black Friday thing has become over the past several years.I'm well aware it's been going on for a while. However, I don't remember it being rammed down our throats as much with the amount of commercials shoved at us ever six seconds.

For me, Thanksgiving is a time to relax and enjoy food and drink with family and friends. I suppose if you happen to hate your family, I can understand why Thanksgiving (or holidays in general) can be such a chore.

But there are several things on the horizon to look forward to.


With the month of December approaching, there are a few shows and special holiday auctions to look forward to. I will be setting up a couple of special E-Bay auctions. One will be a copy of Syd and my new book MEMENTO MORI. The winning bidder will receive not only their copy signed by the both of us but they will also receive an original pen and ink sketch as well.

December will also see the release of my collection of Sherlock Holmes artwork from over the past 12 years, A STUDY IN SHERLOCK. I will be setting up a couple of Sherlock Holmes related auctions on E-Bay as well.

But December also means stART at the Station!! This year it will be taking place Sunday December 2nd at Worcester's historic Union Station. I've done the show for the past several years and it's a great opportunity to find some unique handmade gifts by not only local artists and crafters. But artists and crafters from far off.

Yeah!! Taking part in stART's shows has become coveted by artists and crafters.

This year not only will Syd and I be selling our book as well as my artwork and prints. But this show will be the debut of Syd's handmade jewelry. And she's been getting requests for commissions already!! So take this opportunity of buying her work before they're sold out!!

I will also be doing Beatnik's Indie Art Market Tuesday December 4th!! Niki and Josh who run Beatnik's are great people and have given many local artists a chance to showcase their work. If you haven't done an Indie Art Market yet, I highly recommend you contact Beatniks.

I will keep you all posted if more events happen to appear on the horizon. Otherwise, Happy Holidays!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Study in Sherlock cover

I just finished tweaking the file for my next book. A collection of practically all the Sherlock Holmes artwork I have done over the past 12 years. Which will include illustrations, small pen and ink sketches, comic art and set design.
 
I hoping to have a few copies available by the time stART at the Station rolls around. But if things go pear-shaped, it'll be available on Amazon.com and for download on Kindle.
 
Perfect for a last minute stocking stuffer.
 
However Memento Mori, the book I worked on with my wife Syd, WILL be available for purchase at stART. It's already available for purchase and available for download!! You can find a link to it on the right hand side of your computer screen.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Cover art for Memento Mori

 
Now that I am basically in the homestretch, I thought I'd unveil the new book I've been working on with Syd for the past month or so which will be titled Memento Mori. It features a killer (no puns intended) introduction by Worcester's own boneyard historians The Gravestone Girls.
 
I will let you know when it is available for purchase!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My Interview on Earth Station One


And now for something non-political and non-trying-to-tell-you-how-and-who-you-should-vote for. Because I'm sure you're fairly sick of being accosted by all the political ads that have been plaguing us on television in the past year or so. Feels longer.

I did an interview for Earth Station One a couple days before Halloween to promote both the Casque of Amontillado and the book Syd and I are currently working on together. I also chatted about other books I have worked on since last I was on their program such as the Ninnies and Gloomy Presentiments Of Things To Come as well as my set design work for the Kentucky Repertory Theatre's production of Sherlock Holmes.

And I got to be the first victim to sit in their Geek Seat (pictured above is dramatic interpretation of what it may or may not look like) to chat about my fantasy geek job (writing for Doctor Who natch) and what is not my fantasty geek job (being Lindsay Lohan's acting coach) as well as several other geek related questions. You can click on the link below to hear my interview:

If you can't vote my way, vote anway! But Vote!

To be honest, I've never been big into politics or very outgoing with my opinions on that subject. I've always agreed with my Grandparents generation who felt voting was a person thing and didn't talk about the candidates they were voting for in public.

If you enjoy debating politics online or in public, that's fine. It's just not my thing. I don't enjoy cutting people to the quick politically, spiritually or philisophically.

So this is about as political as I'll ever get and I think Walt Kelly's Pogo sums it up beautifully:


Saturday, November 3, 2012

My study in Sherlock. Things to look forward to in my next book...

As I finish up on the book I'm working on with my wife Syd, I have also finished compiling illustrations (like the one above) for a book featuring a great number of Sherlock Holmes artwork I have done since 2000. This will include illustrations, comic art and small works.

While not all the work featured will be a gem. Matter of fact some of it is pretty bad. But it does represent a stage in my development as a professional artists and my development in my understand of the character of Sherlock Holmes.

And eventually aided me in my approach of the character when I decided to adapt William Gillette's play into a graphic novel.

I'm hoping to have both this book and the one I'm completing with Syd out just in time for Holiday shopping.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

And for the million dollar question. Will I be watching Elementary tonight? And the answer is...

No.
 
However, I do plan on watching Justice League: Doom and Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season Three.

Two new books out this coming month

The illustration above is one of the pieces that will be appearing in the book I've been working on with Syd for the past month or so chronicling our various visits to some of the local cemeteries aroun Massachusetts.
 
Another book I am pleased to announce will be a collection of all the Sherlock Holmes related artwork I have done since 2000 like the image of Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell I did for an issue of the Mystery Review I did many moons ago.
 
 
Both books will be available for purchase just in time for stART at the Station in early December!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

You stay. We belong dead.

In the spirit of Halloween (which is a few days away... and no puns intended... really... honest), I thought I'd post this little ditty by Ziggy Stardust/The Thin White Duke himself Mr. David Bowie off of his 1974 album Diamond Dogs.

Although Bowie had originally intended the album to be a rock opera based on George Orwell's novel 1984 (Orwell's widow ultimately did not give him permission) and the title of the song was taken from a line in the book, However for some reason the title reminds me more of Karloff's immortal line at the end of The Bride of Frankenstein: "You stay. We belong dead."

Happy Halloween one and all.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Painful Predicament of Alice Faulkner... on stage!

Roughly 11 or so years ago, I had proposed a production of William Gillette's play Sherlock Holmes with my illustrations used as the set design to one of the local theatres in Worcester. They didn't bite and several years later I ended up adapting the play into a graphic novel.

Roughly a year or so ago, I think right after I got married, my agent contacted me telling me a Ken Hailey from the Kentucky Repertory Theater wanted to stage William Gillette's Sherlock Holmes using my artwork as the basis for the set design.

Ken's a great guy and I've been really excited to see some of the pictures from the press photo's of the set and costume design. And who knows. Maybe if they have a successful run down in Kentucky, maybe the play will see it's way up here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cover Art

Although I have been keeping relatively schtum about the details of the next book I am working on in collaboration with my wife Syd, I thought it was time to unveil the decidedly minimalistic cover I have chosen for it.
 
Title and other information is to follow...

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Doors "Other Voices"... after Jim Morrison

I suppose you can catagorize the Doors with the Grateful Dead. You either love 'em or ya can't stand 'em. While I am not a fan of the Grateful Dead, I do enjoy the Doors. Actually, I was quite obsessed with them in High School. And this was long before that atrocious Oliver Stone movie came out.

A lot of my appreciation for the band came from my Dad. While he was not a hippy, he enjoyed some of the music that came out of the 1960's and 1970's. It was because of him and playing these records when I was very young I really appreciated Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, Leon Russell's Will O' The Wisp and The Doors LA Woman.

To this day Hyacinth House off LA Woman is one of my favorite Doors songs.

LA Woman itself was considered the Doors "comeback album". However, that comeback was short-lived due to the death of singer Jim Morrison.

But the band moved forward recording two albums after Morrison's death. The first of which was Other Voices. Which was released three months after the singer died.

I had bought the album on vinyl my first year down in college in Savannah from an overpriced record store. Although, I was no longer as fanatical about the Doors as I had been in High School. This was an album I had long since wanted to listen to.

The album itself was never officially released on CD due. The surviving members of the Doors disregard the two albums they recorded after Morrison's death.

To be honest, very few bands have been able to soldier on after the loss of their lead singer. Bands like Pink Floyd, Van Halen and AC/DC come to mind as acts that seemed to survive the change. Two of those band I honestly couldn't care less about.

I don't fault the Doors for wanting to carry on and work internally from within the band to split the vocal duties between keyboardist Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robbie Krieger.

I gave the album a listen recently for the first time since... well... I bought it in Savannah Georgia. To be honest, I didn't think it was horrible. Was it good as LA Woman. Of course not. Are the vocals as good. Of course not. Is it a bad album? Absolutely not! It's actually not half bad to listen to.

However, after listening to both sides of the record I was left with the feeling that the band itself would have been better if they just scrapped the idea of trying to replace Jim Morrison as a singer and continued on as an instrumental act.

Honestly, the most interesting bits of the album wasn't the lyrics. It was the musical arrangements.

I always thought Manzarek, Krieger and drummer John Densmore were more than just Jim Morrison's lackey's. They were the right musicians for Jim Morrison's lyrical style. I don't think Morrison would have been half as successful without those three guys style of music.

Maybe they wouldn't have had the same success as the albums they made with Morrison. However, I would have loved to hear other Doors albums if they decided to go instrumental.

Both Other Voices and their final studio album as a band Full Circle are now available as downloads through Amazon.com and iTunes. Definitely worth a listen for those who are fans of the band. Like I said, not as good as their earlier stuff. But not nearly as bad as you might think.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Done!!


I just finished the final illustration, title page and cover art for the latest book I'm working on with my wife Syd.

I should be scanning the artwork and adding some sepias to the cover this week. As well as all the other fiddily work that comes with putting the book together.

Announcements on the details of the project coming soon. But you should be able to buy a copy within the next month or so online. And they WILL be available for purchase at stART at the Station in December.

Also!! I have some pretty exciting news concerning my graphic novel Sherlock Holmes: The Painful Predicament of Alice Faulkner...

...but that's for another day...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Time Life's Enchanted Worlds Series

I had recently check out several copies of Time Life's Enchanted Worlds series from my local library (yes there are STILL people in the world that value their local library) for a future comic book project I'm planning on starting to script once I have finished my current project.

The books themself are no better or no worse than I expected them to be. Naturally, not the thrilling and chilling books we are lead to believe in the infomercials from the 1980's. But how many times in life are the infomercials anything BUT less than we can anticipate.

I had a grandmother who got sucked into buying half that crap you find on television. I think I may have a space pen she got me for my Birthday. I'm not sure if she actually bought that or just stole it from one of the other seniors that happened to croak at the retirement home she lived at.

But as far as rifing through these books for reference material, they do the trick.

I'm finding the volumes Night Creatures, Spells and Bindings, Tales of Terror and Ghosts to be the best out of the series. Especially Night Creatures since that will be the overall theme for my next story.

 
If you happen to pick these up, don't expect anything brilliant. For me, remember the commercials on daytime television as a kid it's interesting to actually see these books up close.
 
And they're making a pretty good resource for upcoming projects.

Spoooooky Storytime at Annie's Book Stop of Worcester

 
I will be reading THE NINNIES by Paul Magrs as part of SPOOOOOKY STORYTIME taking place at Annie's Book Stop of Worcester on Saturday October 27th.
 
The age groups have been broken down into time blocks. Stories appropriate for ages 3 to 7 will be read from noon until 3pm. Stories appropriate for ages 8 to 12 will be read from 3pm to 5pm. Stories for ages 12 and up, including some scary stuff for grown-ups, will be read and performed from 5pm until 9pm.

Other readers which will be included are local poet Susurrus Din who will be reading the famous cautionary tale THE SPIDER AND THE FLY as well as his own work. And Dr. Chris Denmead (of radio fame) who will be reading from his brand new spooky children's book GIVE ME SOMETHING GOOD TO EAT.
 
I will be reading in the 5PM to 9PM block.
 
Costumes are encouraged and embraced, but not mandatory. If you have children who like to hear a good Halloween yarn or you would like to hear one yourself.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Nearly completed the current project



 
I've got about 15 of the 20 illustrations I want to complete finished for the current book I am working on with my wife Syd.
 
Again, I'm not going to get too, too much into the details of the book itself. But the photo above is one of the images you can prepare yourself for in our upcoming book.
 
The book should be done and ready sometime in the next couple of weeks. So stay tunes...

Friday, October 12, 2012

National Talk Like Brian Blessed Day

I figure since someone decided to randomly designate a day to be Talk Like a Pirate Day, I decided I would designate today October 12th to be National Talk Like Brian Blessed Day. It's quite simple. Just watch the video below to see how to talk like Brian Blessed.

Now that you know the drill, go out and talk like Brian Blessed all day. On the street. On the bus. In traffic. In the office. In bed. Or even in the bathroom.


Raise your voice. Proclaim yourself loud and proud.... but mostly loud. Come on everyone. Let's make this a yearly thing!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Upcoming projects

 
I have several books in the works... some I have to keep shtum about... but I can dish about one which will be a collaborative effort between myself and my wife Syd.
 
I don't wish to give away too, too much about the book. However, it will feature many cemeteries from the area which you may or may not be familiar with.
 
We're also hoping to have it out before stART at the Station in December. Just in time for you to get a last minute stocking stuffer for that difficult to please friend or relative.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Time Life's Mysteries of the Unknown

The book above is another find. Some of you are a bit too young to remember Time Life's Mysteries of Unknown Series. A series of books that focused on the Paranormal which you could only buy over the phone.

The two things I remember from it is the catchphrase "Read the book" and a commercial featuring Vincent Price which gave me nightmares until I was 26.


I realize the commercial above is from another Time Life Series. However, for some reason my mind connects the two.

Well, I recently found one of the volumes from this famous (or infamous) series. The one I found was Spirit Summonings. Of course I had to buy it (for a lot less than they were originally offering the series for) and I have to confess it was probably the silliest thing I have ever read.

Not because of the supernatural aspect. Just the execution of the book itself.

Of course I'm not sorry I bought it. But it's most certainly not as creepy as the commercials implied.

Just another reminder of the dangers of ordering from 1-800 numbers.

Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories

My Dad used to read me Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories before bedtime. They were stories that his Father read to him and his Father's Father had read to him. Every family has at least one tradition passed down, and this was ours.

If you're unfamiliar, Just So Stories were Pourquoi story (origin stories) which were  fantastic accounts of how various phenomena came about. In Kipling's tales, they were how certain animals came to have certain attributes.

How the Elephant Got His Trunk was one I remembered in particular.

I had gotten a copy of it from my Grandmother ages ago which go lost over time. But I was very fortunate recently to find a similar print of the book (see cover above) she had gotten me. It was a 1978 publication of it, which would have probably been around the time she had gotten the book.

I had purchased a newer copy of it a few months back in a bookstore in Northampton MA. However, there is something a lot nicer about finding the very copy I remembered when I was young.

Friday, October 5, 2012

No Elementary commentary this week, gentle readers...

I've been fighting a bastard of a cold this past week and I opted for an early bedtime rather than subject myself to catching this weeks installment of CBS's modernized and Americanized Holmes and Watson.

It could have been better this week. It could have been worse. It could have been status quo. But I couldn't tell you as I was knocked out on cold medications.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Series you should be reading: The Brenda and Effie Mysteries by Paul Magrs

If you haven't read Paul Magrs's Brenda and Effie Mysteries, then you're missing out on a really great and fun series!!
 
At the moment it is my favorite series of books. And not just because I did the cover for the final installment of the series. But because Paul incorporates everything I love about classic horror. Both in the literary and the Universal Monster Movies sense.
 
We meet Brenda in the first book Never the Bride. We come to find out she is the Bride of Frankenstein. For those of you who have read the original Mary Shelley novel, you may recall Baron Frankenstein creating a mate for his creature but opting tear her to bits and leave her lying on the floor as he and his first creation battle each other to the ends of the Earth.
 
Well, it turns out Brenda wasn't destroyed. Pulled herself together and had been roaming the earth since then. Until she finally settled down in the English seaside town of Whitby where she opened a little bed and breakfast and made friends with Effie. A rather austere old woman who runs an antiques shop nex door. And also happens to be descended from a long line of witches who have lived in Whitby.
 
And if that's not enough, apparently Whitby is where the gateway to Hell resides within the ruins of the old abbey on the hill. And Hell is filled to capacity which means some of the nasties are getting out into our mortal world.
 
And that's not half of it!!
 
What I've always liked about Paul's writing is his balance of the creepy horror with a touch of humor. You'll get the willies but you'll be laughing the entire time from the funny and clever lines Paul writes in his stories.
 
Here is the list of Paul's stories. You can find them on Amazon.com,  Obverse Books and Snow Books:
  
Never the Bride (Brenda&Effie Mystery #1)

Something Borrowed (Brenda &Effie Mystery #2)

Conjugal Rites (Brenda &Effie Mystery #3)

Hell's Belles! (Brenda&Effie Mystery #4)

The Bride That Time Forgot (Brenda &Effie Mystery #5)

Brenda and Effie Forever (Brenda &Effie Mystery #6)

Friday, September 28, 2012

New Holmes. New Watson. New Series... with nothing NEW to offer...


On the whole, I found it dull, uninteresting and unengaging.

I've stated in the past I like both Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu. But they just didn't grab me as Holmes and Watson. They could have been any other addict (well, former addict) and councellor solving mysteries maybe I'd get into the characters. But not as Holmes and Watson. There was just very little chemistry between them.

And I was just not feeling this whole apologetic/sympathetic Holmes. It's so typical of American Television to try and make the character likable. Holmes would never admit he was making it up, guessing or apologize for his actions. Even at Benedict Cumberbatch's most angsty in the past season, you got the feeling he was only being apologetic because he had another trick up his sleeve.

I'm not going to get too much into their decision on casting a female Watson. I'm sure enough has been said. But I feel as though it's no longer Holmes by making that change. I'm well aware having a female Watson has been done before. First with a George C. Scott movie called They Might Be Giants and later in a made for television movie starring Michael Pennington called The Return of Sherlock Holmes.

However, in the first movie George C. Scott's character was a millionaire under the delusion he WAS Sherlock Holmes and the second movie Michael Pennington's Holmes was cryogenically frozen and the female Watson was the great-granddaughter (or something) of Dr. John Watson.

And I haven't even gotten to the mystery itself. The crime, the characters and the story were so forgettable. It's bad when a show loses your interest in the first three minutes. They tried to make Miller look like a cross between Robert Downey Jr.'s slovenly unshaved Holmes with the way Benedict Cumberbatch wears his scarf. Worse than that, you have Holmes spouting lines like "Sometimes I hate it when I'm right" when they found a body just irritated me. Again, I could never imagine Holmes saying such things.

True. Many of Doyles original stories could be very slow and plodding. However, it was Holmes's snappy dialogue and the way he would solve the crimes (as well as the crime itself) that would make the story intersting.

This episode had NONE of that!!

And the frustrating thing is American Television HAS done successful variations on Holmes with House and Monk. Not to mention not ALL shows over here are bad. Criminal Minds (also produced by CBS) is a great show. Good characters and great storylines. WHY couldn't the production team take a tip from any of those shows?

In all, I go back to my original feeling that this series's is just trying to ride on the coattails of the BBC series's success. So CBS threw this together as quickly as possible.

And the result is a very dumbed down and shallow Holmes and Watson.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall Classes at the Worcester Art Museum


My Fall Classes at the Worcester Art Museum are only a mere month away. And this Fall I am offering a Cartooning Class for 8 to 10 year olds in the morning and 11 to 13 year olds in the afternoon.

And I will be doing all things cartoon in these classes. Cartooning, comic book art, comic strips, tradition animation... you name it and I'll probably be teaching it.

Click on the link below (the course titles are clickable links) to choose the class you wish your child, teen or tween to sign up for today:

ART OF CARTOON: 8-10 YEAR OLDS

Code Begins Ends Meets Fee
12FYDRW404 10/06/2012 12/01/2012 Saturday from 10:00 AM to 12 N, 8 Sessions 190.00

CARTOONING: 11-13 YEAR OLDS

Code Begins Ends Meets Fee
12FYDRW501 10/06/2012 12/01/2012 Saturday from 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM, 8 Sessions 190.00

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall E-Bay Auctions!!

Just one of several new pen and ink pieces I have posted on E-Bay. This is actually the first and only illustration I have done based on Alex Raymond's classic Flash Gordon. I was actually inspired by the 1979 animated series produced by Filmation.
 
Click on the link below to check out my other auctions. Happy Fall and Happy Bidding:
 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Batman (1943)

There is a misconception of the 1943 Batman movie serial starring Robert Lewis that it is terrible and the worst adaptation of Batman ever made.
 
This is actually false. That dubious honor belongs to the 1949 follow up serial Batman and Robin which starred Robert Lowery as the Caped Crusader.
 
Batman creator Bob Kane seems to misremember the films stating that the second serial was the better of the two and Lewis Wilson being out of shape in the role of Batman.
 
As a matter of fact it was Robert Lowery who was completely unsuitable in the role of Batman. Apparently, he was so out of shape that they actually had to give him oxygen between takes.
 
As a matter of fact, the 1943 serial is the only time on film or on television where the actor playing Robin the Boy Wonder is actually relatively close to the age the character was in the comic book. Douglas Croft was 16 when he played Robin.
 
Johnny Duncan was 26, Burt Ward was 19 and Chris O'Donnell was 25 when they played the character in their respective adaptations.
 
It's true the 1943 Batman has the dubious honor of being racist and very politically incorrect by today's standards with the key villain being Japanese stereotype. But you have to keep in mind when this film came out it was at the height of WWII and not too long after Pearl Harbor.

The film is very low budget. So don't expect to see mind-blowing special effects or acting of Shakespearean caliber. Heck! There's not even a Batmobile in the film. Then again, Batman doesn't actually have a "Batmobile" in his first comic book appearance.

But we forget that films weren't created to be realistic. They were created for people to escape reality. There was a great deal of bad stuff going on in the world at that time, so you'd save up your pennies and escape into the world of fantasy that Hollywood created.

It really has only been in the past few decades this push for gritty realism in both the subject matter of the movies as well as the special effects.

At that time the country was both getting out of  the Great Depression and there was a war going on across the pond. Films had to be made quickly. And as cheap as possible.

Movie serials satisfied both needs.
 
That aside, it may not be Christopher Nolan or even Tim Burton. But it's a fun watch. This is less the brooding Dark Knight style Batman but more of the swashbuckling action/adventure style version of the character.
 
Which is actually something I wouldn't mind seeing the character return to. Maybe not as low budget as the serials. But maybe something a little more of a James Bond with a cape and less of the tortured soul.
 
If you're a fan of Batman or a film history buff, I would definitely give this film a try. Despite the low budget and production flaws, you might find it to be a lot of fun to watch.

Happy Birthday Batman!!

 
Yesterday marked the 84th Birthday of Mr. Adam West.
 
Although Adam West is not the first person to don that famous cape and cowl. That honor goes to Lewis Wilson who portrayed Batman in the 1943 for Columbia. It goes without saying that West is the first actor to make a live action version of the character a success.
 
He's pretty much to Batman what Basil Rathbone is to Sherlock Holmes. You cannot think of the character without immediately connecting their names to it.
 
Although his campy Andy Warholesque take has drawn some ridicule from some fans who feel the character should always be dark and not played for laughs. I even heard one over-zealous fan at a convention refer to Adam West's portrayal as a travesty.
 
I do not agree with that outlook.
 
Personally, I enjoy Adam West's take on the Caped Crusader and I think there's a place for his Batman just as much as there's a place for either Michael Keaton or Christian Bale's take on the character.
 
Funny to think an television commercial for Nestle Quik is what won him the part.
 

 
 
Adam West has had many roles before and after Batman. In recent years, he's introduced himself to a new generation of fans as the eccentric Mayor West on the animated series Family Guy.
 
Happy Birthday Adam West!! Still my favorite Batman to date!!