Archive for October, 2005

All Hallow’s Eve


It’s the last day of October… and the day when so many children (and adults, in growing numbers….) dress up in colorful and/or frightful costumes and– for CHILDREN, spend the night scouring the countryside for candy… and for ADULTS who participate, spend the night partying and getting wasted. I used to love Halloween… back when I was a child, it was still OK to accept home made treats from folks. This was right as the advent of the ‘razor blade in the candy apple’ was starting to happen. I remember my last Halloween in Germany when we were living there while my father was in the Army– it was the first time I had heard of the rumors of people doing such things to harm children. I STILL don’t know if those stories were true…. but it was the first time in the three years we were there that my parents wouldn’t allow me to eat the candy apples, smores and other home made treats I had collected that last Halloween night in Deutchland.

Now, I live in a neighborhood where there aren’t really that many kids of ‘candy collecting’ age — and I usually leave the lights off in the house except the downstairs where I’m usually working during the evening/night time hours. So I don’t get costumed visitors anyway. But that’s fine– I guess I’d rather not have the distraction of having to answer the door every few minutes when I’m trying to meet deadlines. I guess that’s just another example of me becoming an old man….


Anyhoo– I thought I’d present a couple of cards that I did for UPPER DECK a month or so ago…. for their upcoming X-MEN set. It was a lot of fun to do ALL the work on a project for once… penciling, inking AND coloring. I would dearly love to do more of this. It’s my dream to one day work on a project where I do complete artwork, whether it’s a short story or a graphic novel. Maybe one day.

This is Entry 156.


Just a couple of sketches


There’s an article over on NEWSARAMA about Dan Slott’s new THING series debuting next month. Besides the fact that Dan Slott is a great writer and THE THING is one of my favorite characters, the most interesting thing to me about the article are the jpegs they have from one of the issues coming out. It’s got Ben Grimm teaming up with GOLIATH (formerly known as BLACK GOLIATH). And he’s wearing the costume I designed. Since the preview pages are out there, I thought it would be OK to show the design I did here. GOLIATH is also going to be in the second issue of FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN, which is why I asked to redesign his look. I just didn’t like his previous design– and Marvel was generous enough to allow me to update his look.


And just for funzies, I thought I’d toss out this sketch I did as a warm up the other day. I used to be a HUGE X-MEN fan when I was younger. I first started buying UNCANNY X-MEN with issue #104 way back in ‘the day’….. but in subsequent years, the realm of the ‘mutant misfits’ just got way too complicated and crowded and convoluted, and so I lost interest. But I still love the really old stuff as well– and used to seek out reprints back when I was a kid– and now there’s the ESSENTIALS to make me a very happy man. So… here ya go.

OK… that’s it for now.

This is Entry 155.




There’s a show on the NICKELODEON channel called AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER. I don’t know if the cartoon is produced in Japan– but it certain has an anime feel to it, that’s for sure. It’s a very interesting fantasy cartoon about a world divided into four nations/factions: Air, Earth, Fire and Water. Each nation has special people with powers called BENDERS, who are able to manipulate the element of their particular group. The FIRE nation has begun a war to dominate the entire planet, and is close to achieving their goal– but the AVATAR, the last of his kind, is rescued from 100 years of being frozen (along with his giant white flying Bison) in an iceberg by a couple of young Water Benders. And now these three unlikely heroes are the only ones to try to stand in the way and thwart the Fire Nation’s goal of world domination. I’ve only seen a few episodes, but they’re really well done and a lot of fun to watch. I’m not sure how well the series is doing because I don’t really hear much about it anywhere… but I hope it catches on. Whether it does or not, though– I hope that NICK releases however many seasons get made on DVD so that I can catch up on what I’ve missed. I’m never really sure when it’s on.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to do a sketch of the main character… the AVATAR. So this is what I came up with a while back. I was watching an episode a couple of months ago and drew this while it was on. Then I did a little research online and found some info on the show for the color schemes (since I couldn’t get the piece colored while the half-hour show was running… natch).

OK… that’s it for now.

This is Entry 154.


3 years in the making


Back in 2002, I attended a show in Texas called the LONE STAR COMICON. It was a great show– and it was at this show that I met Scott Kurtz of PVP fame, who would become a good friend of mine. I also met the immensely talented and uber-friendly Scott Morse, creator of such wonderful comics as SOULWIND, LITTLE GREY MAN and MAGIC PICKLE– along with Michael Jantze, creator of THE NORM at this show. It was a terrific show all around and I had a wonderful weekend there. It was ALSO at this show that I met John Higashi. John is what I could only call a STAR WARS fanatic (as well as being an amazingly patient and super nice person). He’s become pretty famous among the comic book artist community as someone you are more likely than not to see at any show in the country, commissioning the artists there to create something STAR WARS related. It was at this show in Texas that John asked me to draw the main characters from Todd’s and my comic TELLOS with elements from the first (retro-fit as the FOURTH) STAR WARS film added in for each corresponding character. And so Serra would have Princess Lea’s hair buns, Hawke would have Han Solo’s gun… etc. I thought it was a fun idea, and agreed to do it. I sketched the entire cast out lightly in blue pencil, and managed to pencil and ink the Serra/Lea figure out over the weekend. That was as far as I got. And over the next several years, I would occasionally get an email from John or see him at a show, and he’d ask about the progress on the piece. I never got much further (OK…. I didn’t get ANY further…) over that time. John was always gracious and patient, saying something like “OK… I’ll check in again later/next show”. I would come across the piece in my ‘art drawer’ as I would put pages of whatever comic I was working on at the time– always reminding me that it was unfinished business. But I just never got the time…. or inspiration… to complete it. FINALLY– after such a long time– I got an email from John saying that he’d be at a local show in Greensboro (only about an hour away from where I live here in Durham) I was going to attend. And so, I brought the piece with me, and with the determination to finish it there, it was finally COMPLETED. John drove up– and so was able to bring with him several portfolio’s full of some of the myriad commissions he’s had done over the years…. and it was an amazing smorgasbord of artwork. I was absolutely amazed at the breadth and variety of artists and pieces that he had. It was worth the drive to Greensboro alone to see this stuff…! I have to publicly thank John for his patience with me over this time. And thanks, as well, John, for the scan of the piece so I could post it here. There’s another guy out there, Doug Resnick, who is dealing with the same problem with me over ANOTHER commission long promised him. He’s being patient as well… and don’t think I don’t appreciate it, Doug..! But don’t worry… I’ll get it done. Eventually.

Marvel has released the solicitations and cover art for comics being shipped in January– and so in case you haven’t seen it already– I’m posting the cover to FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #4 here for you to see.

OK… that’s it for today.

This is Entry 153.




I don’t usually try to bring up anything that might be seen as ‘controversial’ or ‘activist’ related here in this blog. I generally keep to rather benign subject matters that don’t make people squeamish or make them uneasy. I’m certainly no activist– I’m more of a follower than anything. I don’t like to rock the boat much or try to shove my views and opinions down other peoples’ throats. But I was made aware of something recently that simply froze my blood. About a week or so ago, I was flipping through the cable channels and stopped at a show called THE BIG IDEA WITH DONNY DEUTCH. It’s an interview show, and he often talks with people that are pretty interesting to me, so if I catch it on, I’ll stop and watch a few minutes to see if he’s talking with someone or about something I might want to see. This particular night, he was talking with Heather Mills McCartney, the wife of the former BEATLE Paul McCartney. The woman in and of herself didn’t interest me much– but what she was saying caught my attention IMMEDIATELY — and absolutely horrified me. McCartney was talking about trying to contact Jennifer Lopez about her use of fur in her clothing line. Lopez has a fashion line called SWEETFACE– and apparently she’s one of the biggest users of fur from animals such as fox, rabbit and mink in her clothing designs. The thing that utterly shocked and disgusted me was when McCartney started talking about how many of these poor animals are SKINNED ALIVE for their fur. I had heard of the practice of shoving electric rods up the rectums of these poor animals who are RAISED SPECIFICALLY FOR THEIR FUR– and shocked to death before being skinned…. but I’d never heard of them being skinned while still alive. I’ve since seen videos of it, having searched the web about it…. so I know it to be true. I’m stunned that there are people who are supposed to be modern, enlightened people still find it cool and fashionable to wear the fur of dead animals. With the many natural and synthetic fibers that we now have at our disposal, it seems like we’ve moved beyond being cavemen who need to wear fur to stay warm in the winter. And the idea of wearing fur as a ‘status symbol’ has always puzzled me…. it just doesn’t make sense.

But the problem goes beyond just individual clothing designers. It’s a systemic endeavor. McCartney also spoke of the way big fashion magazines such as VOGUE will contact hot, young, up-and-coming clothing designers and tell them how much they love their designs and how much they’d love to do a big spread in their magazine(s) about them…… if only they’d work some fur into some of the designs. And so it’s the fashion industry ITSELF at it’s highest levels of promotion that are encouraging the continued use of fur with these ‘promotional bribes’. It’s these heights of ‘fashion power’ that are responsible for the continued cruel, horrifyingly painful death of so MANY small animals– simply for their fur. I visited the VOGUE offices as part a senior class trip when I was in college (I majored in fashion illustration in college)– and let me tell you, these folks, from what I saw, are smug, superior, and consider themselves better than most other people. And yet, they encourage the bludgeoning and skinning alive of small animals so that one can wear their fur to look ‘cool’. It boggles my mind.

I know that there are many people who consider PETA as an organization made up of ‘kooks and nuts’– and there very well may be some of those people in that group…. but they do good work, if you ask me. If you’ve got the stomach and the nerve for it and want to enlighten yourself about this horrible practice, you can find out information and see videos of the horror by going HERE. It’s a portion of their sight devoted to this subject matter. But be warned, it’s gruesome and heartbreaking. So if you don’t think you can handle it, don’t watch.

I know I’ll never forget it now that I’ve seen it.

This is Entry 152.