Archive for the ‘Comic Books’ Category

Twenty-One Artist Salute

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

This coming Saturday, August 16th, I will be participating in one last epic book signing event for The Sakai Project book published by Dark Horse Comics. I and twenty of my colleagues will be meeting at Meltdown Comics on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles from 4-6pm to sign our pages in the Usagi Yojimbo tribute book all to help raise just a little more money for our pal Stan Sakai needed for his wife’s cancer bills.

In addition to the book, they will be selling beautiful 13×19″ limited edition prints of just a few of the pieces in the book such as the one by Sergio Aragonès that was announced on CAPS’ Facebook page today. CLICK HERE to visit the CAPS’ Facebook page where special revelations about the upcoming signing will be posted all week.

 

Usagi Yojimbo 30

 

The following is the official press release from CAPS:

Los Angeles, CA – On Saturday, August 16, twenty-one members of the cartooning community will descend upon Meltdown Comics on Sunset Boulevard to sign copies of Dark Horse Comics’ recently released book “The Sakai Project” to help raise money for the medical bills of fellow cartoonist Stan Sakai, creator of Dark Horse’s “Usagi Yojimbo” comic book, now in its thirtieth year.

Fundraising efforts were initially spearheaded by the Comic Art Professional Society (CAPS), an organization of professional comic book artists and writers of which Stan Sakai is a member. Organized by artist Tone Rodriguez, CAPS began collecting original art last December for an online auction to lend a helping hand to Sakai, whose wife Sharon has been suffering from an inoperable brain tumor. As art poured in from the cartooning community, many pieces were custom drawings of Stan’s samurai rabbit creation Usagi Yojimbo.

Bill Morrison, a member of CAPS and an art director at Bongo Comics (publisher of “The Simpsons”), approached Sakai’s publisher, Dark Horse, about collecting these wonderful images into a book to also benefit the Sakais. Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson was enthusiastic about the idea, and offered to pay for the book’s publication so that all sales could go to the Sakais. Bill Morrison proceeded to volunteer his time to edit the book in tandem with Dark Horse editor Randy Stradley which was designed voluntarily by noted book designer Serban Cristescu. The result is a beautiful 160-paged hardcover art book featuring interpretations of Usagi Yojimbo by some of the top cartoonists in comics today.

Between the online auction and the book, the cartooning community came together in a unique way to help one of their own. Now twenty-one artists local to Los Angeles will gather one more time to help their friend with a fundraising book signing event.

Attending the signing event will be “The Sakai Project” contributors Sergio Aragonès (“Groo the Wanderer”, “MAD Magazine”), Mark Evanier (“Groo” writer), Tom Luth (“Groo” and “Usagi” colorist), William Stout (noted illustrator), Ricardo Delgado (“Age of Reptiles”), Jeff Keane (“Family Circus”), Rubèn Procopio (“Batman 66”), Bill Morrison (editor of “The Sakai Project”), Tone Rodriguez (“The Simpsons” comics), Dean Yeagle, Steven E. Gordon, Anson Jew, Benton Jew, Aidan Casserly, Chad Frye, Brad Rader, Patrick Scullin, Robert Stanley, Mark Dos Santos and Mike Kazaleh all joining with Stan Sakai (“Usagi Yojimbo”) himself.

Books will be sold for $45 each, or if fans already have the book, they will be charged a nominal $15 to have their books signed by the artists in attendance.

In addition to “The Sakai Project” book, there will be limited edition prints available exclusively at the event of four images from the book by artists attending the signing: Sergio Aragonès, Stan Sakai, William Stout, and Bill Morrison.

The event will take place on August 16 from 4-6pm at Meltdown Comics & Collectibles, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046. Thanks to Meltdown, all proceeds go to Sharon & Stan Sakai to help with their medical bills.

 

“The Sakai Project” Book Signing

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

As a contributor to The Sakai Project book, published last week by Dark Horse Comics, I will be participating in a big book signing this coming Saturday. Even Stan Sakai himself will be in attendance. If you are in the Los Angeles area, come on out and meet SEVENTEEN artists!

 

Sakai Project

Batman Day

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

According to every third post on Facebook this week, apparently we had a Batman Day. (The other two thirds of the posts were about Comic Con and cats.) I was not aware we had a holiday to celebrate Batman, so I seem to have missed it.

I like Batman, so I want in on the celebration. I took a little time to reimagine the Dark Knight as someone who enjoyed the luxuries of his fame a little too much. By the time Bruce Wayne reached middle age, he probably was a little soft around the middle, needed glasses, and got to the point where he just didn’t care about shaving. The fact that this version slightly resembles me is in no way my fantasy of hurling myself through the night to rescue citizens in distress with cool gadgets while wearing an unwieldy cape. If I were to do that, I would go without the cowl and take all the credit as Chadman.

 

Chadman

See, this is why I DO NOT cosplay. The costume wouldn't look right, and I'd probably be going around trying to save London instead of Gotham.

 

Well, enjoy (or enjoyed) Batman Day. I have to run. Some spotlight in the sky just got my attention…

The Sakai Project

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Well, today is the BIG day! Dark Horse Comics, in collaboration with the Comic Art Professional Society (CAPS), has released The Sakai Project, a beautiful 9×12″, 160 page hardcover book of artists’ interpretations of Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo comic book character that he has been writing and drawing for the past thirty years. Its big splash debut is at the San Diego Comic Con where it is likely to be THE book to take around to artists to get autographed.

 

Stan Sakai

The front cover features an illustration by Stan Sakai, the only spot where Stan's actual artwork appears in the book.

 

The book came about because CAPS (of which I am a member) started a fundraiser auction to help Stan Sakai with bills that exceeded his health insurance coverage in the care of his wife, Sharon, who has brain cancer. So many artists started sending in original creations of Usagi Yojimbo, that auction organizer Tone Rodriguez thought there ought to be a book! Mike Richardson, head honcho of Dark Horse Comics, generously offered to pay for the publication of the book with all sales going directly to Stan & Sharon.

 

The Sakai Project

This is a photo from CAPS' Facebook page. Click on it to see their album of art, both Usagi and non-Usagi, that they sold in their fundraiser for the Sakais.

 

Back in April I shared with you my piece, but I’ll share it again here. It appears on page 30 in the book, right next to my friend Michael Jantze who draws The Norm comic strip. Page 30 in a 30th anniversary book is not too shabby. The painting has found a good home somewhere when it was sold on eBay back in May to help the Sakais.

 

Usagi Yojimbo

Here is the full watercolor and colored pencil piece that occupies a corner of page 30 in "The Sakai Project."

Usagi Yojimbo

…and since it was reproduced small in the book, here is a close-up so you can see some of the detail.

 

So, go to your local comic book shop today and pick up this GREAT tome. You will get to see some amazing art by folks like Mike Mignola, William Stout, Sergio Aragonès, J. Scott Campbell, Bill Sienkiewicz, Tone Rodriguez, Geof Darrow, Tim Sale, Kazu Kibuishi, Adam Hughes, Art Adams, Neal Adams, Frank Cho, Jack Davis, Matt Wagner, and the list goes on and on!

You will also be helping out one of the sweetest couples I know, Sharon & Stan Sakai.

Usagi Yojimbo Tribute Illustration

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Yeah, yeah, I know. You are probably thinking “Easter was last weekend. Why did he save the bunny for this weekend?” Well, I’ll tell you…

 

Usagi Yojimbo tribute

This is my Usagi Yojimbo illustration that will appear in Dark Horse Comics' "The Sakai Project: Artists Celebrate Thirty Years of Usagi Yojimbo" being released in July, 2014.

 

My good friends Stan & Sharon Sakai have been going through a tough time over the past couple of years. Sharon has had an inoperable brain tumor for many years that slowly started altering her quality of life. While she was able to function normally for several years, in the past two years it really took hold and has made it so that she is completely dependent on 24/7 medical care with random emergency visits to the hospital (where she happened to go once again this week with pneumonia).

 

Taken in 2004 during healthier days, Stan & Sharon Sakai visiting the ancient aqueducts of Segovia, Spain.

 

Stan happens to be a fellow cartoonist having created the comic book Usagi Yojimbo (published by Dark Horse Comics) that is celebrating it’s 30th birthday this year. As a freelance artist, Stan has indeed had medical coverage for his family, but Sharon’s around-the-clock care has required more than what his insurance will cover.

The members of CAPS (the Comic Art Professional Society based in Burbank, CA), of which I am a member and a former president, got together and decided to put together a fundraiser for Stan & Sharon. Many fans and colleagues started sending in thousands of dollars for this dear couple, and original art also began pouring in.

Many artists were sending in original creations of Stan’s ronin rabbit, Usagi Yojimbo. It became evident that there was more that could be done than just sell the art. Why not a book? Dark Horse quickly gravitated to the idea and offered to pay for the publication and promotion of a book with all the proceeds from the sales going to the Sakais. The book was put together as CAPS’ first major publication under the guidance of CAPS member and professional editor Bill Morrison.

So, the bunny above is my contribution to the book The Sakai Project: Artists Celebrate Thirty Years of Usagi Yojimbo. Created with watercolor, gouache, and colored pencils, it is a large illustration (15.5 x 20.5″) of Stan’s character in a forest of bamboo lethally dealing with mysterious attackers.

The book will be released in July just in time for the San Diego Comic Con, and can be pre-ordered from your local comic book shop right now! It will include art by Jack Davis, Mike Mignola, Adam Hughes, Tim Sale, Frank Cho, Bill Morrison, Sergio Aragonès, Stephen Silver, Dean Yeagle, Kazu Kibuishi, Oscar Martin, Dan Brereton, Art Adams, Joyce Chin, Jeff Smith, Tom Richmond, Al Jaffee, Tom Richmond, Craig Thompson, Eric Powell, and hundreds more. Stan himself did the cover art which CAPS will be selling on eBay in the coming weeks.

 

Sakai Project book CAPS

Stan Sakai himself created the cover illustration of the forthcoming "The Sakai Project" book from CAPS and Dark Horse. Stan's piece will be sold on eBay in the coming weeks.

 

In fact, all the original art that was donated by the artists is being sold by CAPS on eBay right now! Since March 6, CAPS has been listing 35-40 items each Thursday evening with auctions ending ten days later on Sunday evening. While it would be swell of you to be bidding on lots of great items as I have been, it would be even sweller if you bid on MY piece. It just went live on eBay last night!

 

Usagi Yojimbo up close

Sure, bunnies can be cute, but you would be ill advised to taunt one that is holding a sword.

 

I very rarely part with my original art, especially fully painted illustrations like this one. If I did, I would be asking $1,500.00 for this one. CAPS started this piece at $9.99 and there is NO minimum. This is a chance to acquire one of my published pieces for a potentially VERY good deal. More than that, you would be helping a very sweet couple in need.

So, for the next 9 days, go nuts! (Click on this or any of the images above to go to the auctions!) Thanks in advance for your support!

 

Stan Sakai Benefit Auction

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Together with a terrific committee of fellow cartoonists and writers at CAPS (the Comic Art Professional Society) in Burbank, CA, I have been busy helping put together a benefit auction and book (to be published in July by Dark Horse Comics) all to help our cartoonist brother Stan Sakai (creator of Usagi Yojimbo) with medical bills surrounding the care of his sweet wife, Sharon. Today, after months of planning & organizing, we released the official press release explaining the details of what promises to be an AMAZING sale! I even created a special painting just for this that I’ll post here closer to when it will be sold.

Read on and share in our excitement!

 

Stan Sakai

Taken in 2004 during healthier days, Stan & Sharon Sakai visiting the ancient aqueducts of Segovia, Spain. photo credit: © 2004 Stan Sakai

 

CAPS TO LAUNCH ART AUCTION FEATURING ORIGINAL WORKS BY MATT GROENING, JACK DAVIS, MIKE MIGNOLA, J. SCOTT CAMPBELL, ADAM HUGHES AND HUNDREDS MORE TO BENEFIT FELLOW CARTOONIST STAN SAKAI AND FAMILY

 

On Thursday, March 6, 2014, Southern California’s CAPS, the Comic Art Professional Society, will launch an ongoing series of eBay auctions of original comic art. Its goal is to raise funds for medical care for Sharon Sakai, the wife of respected cartoonist and longtime CAPS member Stan Sakai, creator of the samurai rabbit USAGI YOJIMBO. Sharon has been battling a debilitating brain tumor for some time; after an extended hospital stay and convalescence, she is currently at home, but her condition requires 24-hour care and medicine that costs more than the Sakai’s insurance covers. 100% of the proceeds of these auctions will go directly to Stan and Sharon Sakai to help pay their ongoing medical expenses.

The CAPS auctions will be conducted through eBay.com beginning on Thursday, March 6, with a new set of auctions every following Thursday. Each auction, sold under the seller name of “CAPSauction“, will be ten days in length with twenty to forty items in each set of auctions. The donations of original artwork and collectibles (including newly created art unique to this event, vintage comic book pages, comic strips, illustrations, animation art, limited edition statues, and IDW Artist’s editions books) number over three hundred with new items arriving every day.

 

 

Contributors include:  Adam Hughes, Alex Maleev, Arthur Adams, Batton Lash, Eric Powell, Jan Duursema, Jerry Ordway, Jordi Bernet, Matt Groening, Michael Allred, Mike Mignola, Paul Gulacy, Sanjuliàn, Scott Shaw!, Jim Steranko, Tim Sale, William Stout, Bill Sienkiewicz, Cameron Stewart,  Dan Brereton, Daniel Parsons, Dave Gibbons, Dean Yeagle, Doug Sneyd, Dustin Nguyen, Bill Morrison, Tone Rodriguez, Sergio Aragonés, Fabio Moon, Francisco Francavilla, Gene Ha, Geof Darrow, Gilbert Hernandez, Jack Davis, James O’Barr, Kevin Eastman, Jeff Lemire, Jeff Smith, Kazu Kibuishi, Liam Sharp, Tom Richmond, Michael Jantze, Olivia, Oscar Martin, Paul Chadwick, Richard Corben, Tom Mandrake, Walter Simonson, Charles Vess, Dan Spiegle, J. Scott Campbell, Chad Frye and many more.

 

Jeff Smith's Bone

My friend Jeff Smith created this great piece of his character Bone with Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo.

 

Many of the pieces featuring Usagi Yojimbo will appear in a new oversized hardcover book from Dark Horse, THE SAKAI PROJECT: ARTISTS CELEBRATE THIRTY YEARS OF USAGI YOJIMBO, which will be released on July 23, 2014. All proceeds from this book will go to Stan and Sharon Sakai. Much of the custom Usagi Yojimbo art created for this book will also be sold as a part of CAPS’ online auctions.

 

J. Scott Campbell

Known for his exquisite work with female characters, J. Scott Campbell created this wonderful ink drawing to benefit Sharon & Stan Sakai in the CAPS auction.

 

These fund-raising auctions will be promoted through ComicArtFans.com, and the CAPS – COMIC ART PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY Facebook page where you will be able to see updated information such as when certain pieces will be auctioned.

…From the Flat File: 2004 – CAPS Cover Art

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Since about 1997, I have belonged to a professional cartoonist organization called CAPS. It was founded back in the 70s by MAD Magazine stalwart Sergio Aragonès, writer Mark Evanier, and cartoonist Don Rico. I have really loved being a part of this group that meets monthly in Burbank, CA. We get together, have special speakers, and talk shop.

At one point, I started getting involved in the group, even serving as its president for a spell. One duty that I took on was as co-editor of the monthly newsletter. The other editor was Disney Legend Floyd Norman (check out a new book about Floyd HERE). Floyd and I would take turns every other month as it was quite a job putting together what often was a 32 page beast. If you couldn’t get members to write articles, the editor wrote them. If the members couldn’t spell, the editor had to spell. If there were no pictures submitted, the editor had to find some. If no one came through in drawing the cover, yep, the editor did it.

This piece is one of those times I had to come up with a cover idea, likely at the last minute. It was a fun challenge when the need arose, because deadlines would be so tight that it sometimes ended up being like cartoonist improv – whatever came to mind at that moment is what blorted out of your brush.

 

Comic Art

Boy, in THIS economy, some of those publications are probably funnier than the comic book!

 

I think this image came to mind because I was always seeing grown men be so business minded to where there was no sight of the kid inside. While the titans of industry would be reading The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek, they probably started off reading comic books. Even cartoonists sometimes get caught up in the work of being a cartoonist that they can forget what that feeling of pure joy and escapism a few minutes with a comic book would bring when we were kids. Comic books are likely what got us interested in being cartoonists in the first place!

I came from a world where both business AND comics were an influence, and both came from my own father. Dad was a mortgage banker, but he grew up on comic books. When I was too young to read, he would sit there and read me tales of adventure from his old childhood comic books. His favorite character was Disney’s Uncle Scrooge of course. Scrooge, in stories by the great Carl Barks, became my favorite, too. But Dad didn’t stop there. Every day we would spread out the comics from the newspaper and he would read those to me as well. Peanuts, Nancy, Dennis the Menace, The Family Circus, and Beetle Bailey were all favorites.

I’m positive that my love for cartooning came from those reading sessions with Dad, and he taught me a lot about business, too. I’m glad, because the two go together. A cartoonist often finds himself working as a freelancer.

So, as life moves you forward, never forget the joy of the comics that you enjoyed as a kid. They’ll keep you young.

 

And to those of you who are cartoonists in the Los Angeles area, CLICK HERE to see what CAPS is all about. April’s monthly meeting just happens to be tonight where they will have a terrific panel (including Sergio Aragonès) talking about Will Eisner – the godfather of the graphic novel.

…From the Flat File: 2009 – Donald Duck

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

I was going through some of my old art the other day, and came across this small Donald Duck watercolor/colored pencil piece I did just for fun a few years back. It was painted around the time I was finishing up my time working on two seasons of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I LOVED drawing those classic Disney characters for the time I was given, and still will often doodle Mickey and the gang on scratch paper while talking on the phone.

Did you know that long before I worked on Donald for animation, I wrote a six-page Donald Duck story for Disney comics, too? I talk about that a little bit on my website. You can check that out by CLICKING HERE!

At any rate, enjoy this Donald Duck piece from the bygone year of 2009.

 

Original Donald Duck art

Donald's stripes and lack of buttons on his sailor suit are depicted as he appeared on "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse."