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)