Friday, August 31, 2012

Special End-Of The-Summer Auction: Win a signed copy of Amontillado

The winning bidder will not only have their copy PERSONALLY SIGNED to them but they will also received AN ORIGINAL PEN AND INK SKETCH!! Click on the link below and happy bidding:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cover art for Brenda and Effie Forever!

 
Well, I can let the cat out of the bag now.
 
Here's the cover I did for one of my favorite writers Paul Magrs's latest book Brenda and Effie Forever.
 
Sadly, this book will be the final chapter in the Brenda and Effie series. But I was very pleased when Paul sent me a message asking if I wanted to do the cover for the book. Naturally I said "Yes!!" and here it is.
 
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Paul's series, I highly recommend you check it out!! It stars Brenda, the Bride of Frankenstein, who is trying desperately to live a quiet life in the seaside town of Whitby running a little bed and breakfast. But those dreams never turn out as planned as she is continually pulled into strange and otherworldly escapades with her spinster friend Effie.
 
I'll let you all know when the latest of the Brenda and Effie saga is available for purchase.
 
I should also mention there is a delightful radio adaptation of Paul's Brenda and Effie series under the title Never the Bride (the first novel in the series) on BBC Radio 4. Check it out online. It's a fun listen for those of you like me who still love old time radio:
 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

My copies of Amontillado have arrived!!


I just got copies of the book in the mail yesterday and I should be dropping them off at a few of the local places like That's Entertainment, Annie's Book Stop of Worcester, Bedrock Comics and Friendly Neighborhood Comics in a few days.

However, if you don't live in the Worcester area, you can also either order a printed copy or digital copy for your favorite e-reader device at Amazon.com. Click on the link below to order yours:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Filmation


I am not as venomous as I once was when I talk about Filmation. When I was in my teens taking animation class, I would place the animation produced by the likes of Filmation and Hanna-Barbera in the same catagory as Adoph Hitler and the Black Plague.

And there was plenty to criticize Filmation on. Their version of Tom and Jerry and Mighty Mouse were terrible. Then again, I hated Mighty Mouse until John Kricfalusi and company's zany reinvention of the character in the late 1980s. Their attempts to adapt the Looney Tunes characters alongside the Groovie Goolies was laughable. But not laughable in an enjoyable way. You can also agrue that Filmation cheapened and dumbed down animation. However, not nearly as bad as some of the later Hanna-Barbera cartoons of the 1970's and 1980's.

And their insistance in adding an annoying little character for comedy relief is always embarrasing to watch. And of course the Archie series. But then again, I hate Archie to begin with, so my opinion the animated version is a bit on the jaded side.


But as I said. My opinion of Filmation is not nearly as scathing as it once was. Some of that may be do to childhood nostalgia. But rewatching many of the cartoons they did, in particular their superhero and adventure output, given the limitation of television animation during that period of time, many of them were very well done.

And even that you can look at as their attempt to keep animation jobs in this country for as long as they can by creating a process where they would reuse actions. You can look at this as cheating. But remember. Unlike theatrical animation, there is more of a supply and demand for television animation. Computer and flash animation would not become dominant until many, many, many years later. They were still using Cel Animation in the 1970s and I think well into the 1980's. Filmation, much like many of the companies that produced weekday and Saturday morning cartoons at the time, was in the business of making money. And the only way to keep up with the demand while still trying to keep people working is to take shortcuts.

They were the first studio to do an animated adaptation of Batman predating the Superfriends by several years. As a matter of fact, they were the first animation studio to animated adaptations of many of the DC Superhero roster. With the exception of Superman who had his own series of animated shorts produced by Max and Dave Fleischer in the 1930's.

But Batman was still virgin territory as far as a full-blown animated series was concerned. And by 1968 with the success of the Batman television series, a Batman cartoon was in demand. Olan Soule and Casey Kasem would pretty much become the Adam West and Burt Ward of the animated Batman world for most of the 1970's and into the early part of the 1980's

And after rival Hanna-Barbera would snatch them up for the Superfriends, Filmation made an even bigger score by getting the genuine article with Adam West and Burt Ward for their 1977 Batman series.

Not to mention they were also the first company to animate Star Trek. WITH most, if not all, of the original cast.
Looking a bit like the cast from Sealab 2021

We won't discuss their version of Gilligan's Island or Gilligan's Planet.

But we can't forget Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.



Again, much like Superman, it wasn't the first time a character that started out as part of Bill Cosby's stand-up about his childhood was animated.

However, the Filmation version is the one we all remember when we think about Fat Albert and the gang.

Of course I'd be remiss if I left out their live action and animated version of one of my favorite superheroes. The Big Red Cheese himself Captain Marvel.

Not the first time the Cap has had the live action treatment. The Captain Marvel serials of the 1940's were far superior to the live-action series of the 1970's.



But it was good to see the Captain getting some much deserved attention during that time period.

I remember as a kid enjoying their version of Flash Gordon, Zorro, Tarzan and the Lone Ranger. If anything else, it made me enjoy and interested in characters I may not have been interested in otherwise. I also remember enjoying a show called Blackstar. Which seemed like a precursor to the He-Man cartoons.

All this rediscovering Filmation came about watching the Retro Channel on Saturday morning over breakfast.
I also noticed that a great many of the more adventure and fantasy characters really reminded me of the work of Carmine Infantino. The eyebrows in particular reminds me of his work.

Does anyone out there know if he ever work as a consultant or in any artistic capacity with the company?

The ones I haven't caught on television I've seen on Youtube. Although, I kind of wish they would start showing them on the Retro Channel. But I kind of wonder if they can't either due to availability or copyright issues. I may have to write them and inquire if I can obtain an e-mail.

But like I said, maybe I'm just becoming a bit nostaligic as I enter my late 30's. I wouldn't say the time period I was watching cartoons was by any means a "Golden Age of Animation". Far from it. Many of the cartoons on Cartoon Network now are far superior.

But I'm finding as bad as some of them probably were, I did enjoy watching them with a bowl of cereal in front of a small black and white television screen.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Upcoming show: Blackstone Canalfest September 8th 2012

 
I will be doing my very first (but the fifth annual) Blackstone Canalfest will take place Saturday, September 8, on Harding Street in Worcester, directly above the buried canal. The show itself will be taking place from 11AM till 5PM.

If you happen to be in the area, please stop by. I should have copies of The Casque of Amontillado available just in time for the show.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Casque of Amontillado back up on Amazon.com!!

You might have noticed TEMPORARILY OUT OF STOCK in big nasty red letters if you happened to go on Amazon.com recently. That's because I had to tweak the file a little bit and reload it onto the site.

But that's all been squared away and the book is once again up and running and available for purchase.

Copies will be available for my upcoming shows. However, if you cannot wait that long, you may now order your copy today by click on the link below:


You may also order the book for your Kindle, ipad or other electronic reading type device:

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Was there life before my VisTablet Penpad... artistically speaking?

Computer art up to four or five years ago was the bane of my existence. I just wasn't very good at it. However, if you're ever going to be successful in commercial art... comics in particular... you need to embrace this technology.

Computer letter and computer coloring has made producing a comic book or a graphic novel all the easier.

I finally learned to color on the computer the same way I learned to drive a standard. Over a weekend. I knew I was doing it wrong since college (my own shortcomings and not those of my computer coloring professor) and the only way I would ever be successful is to stop relying on others and start learning it on my own. So I found a website and taught myself.

I learned to letter on the computer so being able to color properly on the computer was the next logical step for me.

It was like something popped in my brain and it all made sense. All I could think was "Why hadn't I sat down and learned this sooner"?

Possibly my best investment (other than the Deleter Ink I bought online recently) was the VisTablet Pen Pad. I'm well aware how fantastic the Wamcom Bamboo Tablet is from friends who are nothing short of brilliant in the business. And at some point I probably will upgrade to one.

However, for my needs and my price range at the present. I am very pleased with my VisTablet.

Drawing with it is still a work in progress. For me, it's not as simple as drawing with a pencil or pen. It just comes down to teaching your brain to think you're doing the same thing.

But it has made coloring such a breeze!! Coloring with a mouse is just a pain in the ass. The mouse works for many things. Coloring is NOT one of those. It might have been one of the reasons computer coloring has been such a pain for me is working on the mouse.

But since I bought my pen pad a couple months ago I've been doing all of my coloring projects on it. As a matter of fact, ALL of the graytones on The Casque of Amontillado was done on my pen pad.

I'm still a work in progress, but if you have been holding off on getting a Bamboo or VisTablet, I highly recommend you quit holding off and go buy one. You will not be sorry.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Have a talented kiddo? Sign them up for a Cartooning Class at WAM!!

Well after a Summer away from the Worcester Art Museum (possibly my only Summer away ever) I will be back teaching classes at the Fall!! Both Cartooning on Saturdays!!

On Saturday morning I will be teaching Art of Cartooning for 8 to 10 year olds from 10AM till 12Noon. And in the afternoon I will be teaching Cartooning for 11 to 13 year olds from 12:30PM till 2:30PM. And the classes will not just focus on simply cartooning, comic strips or comic art. Oh no! I am going to try and fit every facet of cartoon art I can within the confines of 8 weeks.

What does that mean, you ask?

That  means your child, teen or tween will get the opportunity to do comic strips one week, character design another, comic book art another and drawn animation another. With a little bit of Pop Art Painting thrown in there just for kicks.

All and everything cartoons will be covered in my classes.

Classes tend to fill up quick, so if you don't want your talented artist to miss out, click on the link below to sign up:

Casque of Amontillado is now up and available on Amazon.com!!

It's here!! And you can purchase your copy at Amazon.com today!! Click on the link below to order:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Amontillado for the Kindle


The printed version of The Casque of Amontillado should be up and running on Amazon.com in a couple of days. HOWEVER!! You can now download my latest graphic novel based on the short story by Edgar Allan Poe to your Kindle, ipad or other ereader device today. Click on the link below to order your copy:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Order your copy of The Casque of Amontillado


Copies should be available on Amazon.com in a couple of days and I'm finalizing the Kindle version as we speak. However, you can order copies off of Createspace right now. Click on the link below:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012