Archive for the ‘Comic Books’ Category

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."

“Answers Magazine”: White Blood Cell Art

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

This past summer I was contacted by Daniel Stelzer, Art Director for Answers Magazine, to possibly work on an illustration assignment for them. I had not seen Answers Magazine before, and learned that it is a magazine that deals with scientific issues and other worldview topics all from a biblical perspective. It is the periodical produced by the Answers in Genesis organization, the folks that are behind the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.

Dan had sought me out having seen some of my previous work created for a series of Bible lessons for kids. He said he wanted me to create five pages of graphic novel-style illustrations all about the details of how a white blood cell works. The graphic novel thing I understood because I’m a cartoonist, but also because I’m a cartoonist, I couldn’t figure out why he wanted me to do serious science art. After a pause on my part, I said,

“You’ve seen the work on my website, right?”

“Yes.”

“And you don’t want me to put funny faces on the cells?”

“No.”

“It’s just straight up micro-biology illustrations?”

“Yes.”

So, the challenge presented in this assignment was intriguing. The white blood cell process had to be turned into a panel-by-panel “story” so that it would be more readily understood by the layman picking up this magazine. I decided to accept this mission, knowing full well that the magazine might disavow any knowledge of me should I screw it up.

They provided rough thumbnail concept sketches of what they wanted, and since I don’t happen to have a microscope of my own, they also sent some great reference material to help me along. We were dealing with real science and nothing of fantasy, so it had to be right. This meant we had MANY discussions back and forth discussing each step in my creative process which included rough drawings, tight pencil drawings, a rough color pass, and then final color. Changes were made along the way to make sure some things were more accurate while others were more understandable.

Stylistically, the Art Director liked my previous work with watercolor, but also liked the sophisticated computer coloring found in many graphic novels today. So, I had to come up with a hybrid of methods to pull off a look that was both slick and organic. The art ended up having an inked line as you would see in comic books, with a coloring job that combined traditional watercolor paint and additional Photoshop work. I thought the combination of methods turned out pretty good….

White Blood Cells

The splash page of my five-pages of illustrations detailing how white blood cells work. "Answers Magazine" laid it out with the type. (CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO SEE A LARGER VIEW.)

If you’d like to see a little more of my work on this project, including some preliminary stages of the art, you should check out Answers Magazine on Facebook where they posted some extra steps in the process of this article.

Or, if  you’d like to order your own copy of the magazine with all five pages of the published art in it, it is available now in the Oct-Dec 2010 issue. Just go to Answers Magazine‘s website and contact them about ordering this special issue!

Free Comic Book Day 2010

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

free_comics

Well, it’s almost that time once again – the first Saturday in May is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!!!  Comic shops around the country will be promoting this cultural phenomenon in publishing by GIVING AWAY comic books printed just for this occasion! I’m a big one for stuff for the kiddies. I grew up reading Disney Comics, and my tastes have not changed. I still read Disney Comics, and more recently, some great Muppet comic books all published by Boom Comics.

Speaking of Boom, they have a special Toy Story comic book that you may be able to find out there in your local comic shop on May 1st:

BOOM_Toy_Story_Large

For the grown-ups who like the history and behind-the-scenes of the comic arts, my friends Tom Heintjes and David Folkman who publish Hogan’s Alley Magazine will once again be giving away a free copy of their great publication to anyone who e-mails them ON MAY 1st!  Hogan’s Alley is always chock-full of wonderful insightful articles about the creators of some of your favorites in the world of cartooning.  Here is the offer in their words:

Why so glum, chum? We’re here to deliver a glimmer of cheer! Mark your calendars for this Saturday, May 1: Free Comic Book Day. Send us an e-mail ON THAT DATE with your mailing address, and we’ll send you a FREE issue of Hogan’s Alley! No obligations, no strings attached; the only thing it will cost you is several hours as you enjoy the issue. (This offer is valid for all U.S. residents, whether you’re a current subscriber or not.) Remember the one condition—we must receive your e-mail request (sent to hoganmag@gmail.com) on Free Comic Book Day (May 1), not the day before or the day after. (Before and after that date, any requests for freebies will receive only scorn and derision.)

So, if you’d like to see what Free Comic Book Day is all about, and whether there are special events and creator signings at a store near you, visit FreeComicBookDay.com!

…From the Flat File: 2004 – Oshikuru Comics

Friday, March 19th, 2010

A few years back I was asked to draw a fake comic book cover to be used on CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men. In television, deadlines are tight, so I pretty much turned around that first image in a couple of days which is no small fete considering I wasn’t up on my Manga techniques. They liked it so much they asked for two more. It was a busy few days to be sure.

At any rate, the episode turned out to be memorable for fans of the show. It involved a subplot with Charlie Sheen’s character needing to write a theme song for an animated TV show based on these Oshikuru comic books. I’m including some clips down at the bottom of the Oshikuru moments where you can see my comics in the shots, and a couple of stills.

As you may know if you have read recent blog posts, I have been involved with raising money to Help the Hodges via online eBay auctions. You can read all about the family in need by CLICKING HERE. But I mention it again here because I have donated some really nice large prints of two of my Oshikuru covers that have been autographed by the 2 1/2 men of Two and a Half MenCharlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, and Angus Jones. These items are on eBay RIGHT NOW, and will end this Sunday, March 21.

So, if you’d like a chance at an unusual item from my flat files, and autographed by a few TV stars, here’s your window of opportunity. I posted links to eBay below each signed print below!

Charlie Sheen signed it at the top, Jon Cryer in the lower left, and Angus Jones on the right.

Charlie Sheen signed it at the top, Jon Cryer in the lower right, and Angus Jones on the left.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ABOVE ART ON EBAY.


I always liked this one. There was no reason for the action other than I wanted them to battle charging robots.

I always liked this one. There was no reason for the action other than I wanted them to battle charging robots.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ABOVE ART ON EBAY.


Angus T. Jones looking at an Oshikuru comic on the set of "Two and a Half Men".

Angus T. Jones looking at an "Oshikuru" comic on the set of "Two and a Half Men".

Jake and Uncle Charlie high fiving each other while working on the "Oshikuru" theme song. Some comics sit on top of the piano.

Jake and Uncle Charlie high fiving each other while working on the "Oshikuru" theme song. Some comics sit on top of the piano.

San Diego Comic Con 2009

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

This year the San Diego Comic Con hit its 40th anniversary. This is the comic book fan convention that started them all, and continues to set the standard – well, if the standard you are looking for is an all-media convention. This con’s focus is primarily on movies and television for which the filmmakers and performers come out in droves to promote their upcoming projects. Comic Con also celebrates toys, card games, animation, video games, illustration, fantasy, science fiction, books and – oh yeah, comics.

This shot featuring a lifesize Transformer helps show a little of the crowded experience that defines Comic Con.
This shot featuring a lifesize Transformer helps show a little of the crowded experience that defines Comic Con.

While I don’t attend every year, when I do go, it is purely to seek out and revel in the creative accomplishments of cartooning. If you can squeeze your way through the throngs of 125,000 fans (many of which come dressed as their favorite pop culture figures), you just might stumble across a great artist or two tucked between a few mega corporate booths. Many of these artists are creating spectacular work that really MUST be seen, but usually is not heralded by companies with big distribution channels. The independent spirit is alive and well at Comic Con.

The Great Silver Age comic book artist Gene Colan with his wife Adrienne and Chad Frye.

The Great Silver Age comic book artist Gene Colan with his wife Adrienne and Chad Frye.

But most of all, Comic Con is a spectacle. Every time you turn your head it’s another astonishing display. You might see giant robots, movie actors such as John Heder and Richard Dreyfuss, moms with strollers carrying lightsabers, movie directors, the cast of NBC’s Chuck or CBS’ Ghost Whisperer, someone speaking in Klingon, a girl who made a dress out of Warner Bros. big cloth giveaway bags, Matt Groening, Sergio Aragonès, twelve Wonder Women, a girl dressed as David Shannon’s book A Bad Case of Stripes,  film score composers like Christopher Young and Bear McCreary, security throwing out people without badges, a family dressed like The Incredibles, etc. etc. Comic Con is a veritable wonderland.

So, for those of you who missed the menagerie, I have a few photos to help you experience Comic Con. Maybe next year you’ll grab your deerslayer and lightsaber like this fella and come as your own Jedi detective, too!

Sherlock Holmes envisioned as a Jedi.

Sherlock Holmes envisioned as a Jedi - he even has Argyle socks!

A blue-haired fan chatting with great cover artist Adam Hughes.

A blue-haired fan chatting with great cover artist Adam Hughes.

Chad Frye with wonderful illustrator Steve Chorney standing in front of some of Steve's originals.

Chad Frye with wonderful illustrator Steve Chorney standing in front of some of Steve's originals.

The amazing comedian and voice actor Stan Freberg with his wife Hunter at their very first Comic Con appearance! Stan was the beaver in "Lady & the Tramp", and did a host of voices for Warner Bros. such as Pete Puma, Jr. Bear, one half of the Goofy Gophers, among others.

The amazing comedian and voice actor Stan Freberg with his wife Hunter at their very first Comic Con appearance! Stan was the beaver in "Lady & the Tramp", and did a host of voices for Warner Bros. such as Pete Puma, Jr. Bear, and one half of the Goofy Gophers among others.

A terrific Captain America who spontaneously got into a fight with this other costumed character who was on stilts! Some of these fans go all out when they make their costumes!

A terrific Captain America who spontaneously got into a fight with this other costumed character who was on stilts! Some of these fans go all out when they make their costumes!

I hung out at the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) booth quite a bit. Here are Richard Thompson (cartoonist of "Cul-de-sac") is chatting with John Kovaleski (who was selling collections of his "Bonanas" comic).

I hung out at the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) booth quite a bit. Here Richard Thompson (cartoonist of "Cul-de-sac") is chatting with John Kovaleski (who was selling collections of his "Bonanas" comic).

This is a set piece used in the upcoming "Where the Wild Things Are" movie.

This is a set piece used in the upcoming "Where the Wild Things Are" movie.

One of my favorite things about Comic Con is hanging with cartoonists. Here at one party I'm hangin' with Andrew Pepoy ("Fables" inker), Dave Dotson, me, Denis LeBrun (formerly of "Blondie" comic strip), and my writer friend Steve D'arcangelo.

One of my favorite things about Comic Con is hanging with cartoonists. Here at one party I'm hangin' with Andrew Pepoy ("Fables" inker), Dave Dotson ("Outzkirts" comic strip), me, Denis LeBrun (formerly of the "Blondie" comic strip), and my writer friend Steve D'arcangelo.

Some folks came in teams of costumes. Never saw these people buy anything.

Some folks came in teams of costumes. Never saw these people buy anything.

Sometimes you'd see the real deal on the show floor. Leonard Nimoy was there for several days cleaning up signing autographs at $60 a pop.

Sometimes you'd see the real deal on the show floor. Leonard Nimoy was there for several days cleaning up signing autographs at $60 a pop.

Chad Frye with terrific artist Jim Lee.

Chad Frye with terrific artist Jim Lee.

Former Seinfeld writer/producer Tom Gammill who now draws the comic strip "The Doozies" with ___ and David Cohen (co-creator of Futurama) and Chad Frye.

Former Seinfeld writer/producer Tom Gammill who now creates the comic strip "The Doozies" with David X. Cohen (co-creator of Futurama), his wife and Chad Frye.

A great trio of Disney Villains.

A great trio of Disney villains.

Some booths just have huge neat geeky exhibits and photo ops.

Some booths just have huge neat geeky exhibits and photo ops.

A homemade Han Solo in carbonite costume. I was happy to just put on my store bought clothes.

A homemade Han Solo in carbonite costume. I was happy to just put on my store bought clothes.

Each year at Comic Con, the Eisner Awards are given to the best and brightest talents in comics. Hosted by Bongo Comics’ Bill Morrison and assisted by his lovely wife Kayre, the Eisners have become a fun event of professional schmoozing and back slapping. It’s a true blend of the new young talent all the way through those who helped set the standard. If you attended, you would have rubbed shoulders with Neil Gaiman, Paul Levitz, Jane Wiedlin, Murphy Anderson, Stan Freberg, Bernie Wrightson, Bill Sienkiewicz, Gary Gianni, Scott Shaw!, Kazu Kibuishi, and many others.

The Eisner Awards (named after Will Eisner) honor the best in the comic book business. Here Mark Evanier and the legendary Jerry Robinson (creator of the Joker) are presenting the Bill Finger Award for lifetime achievement in comics writing.

The Eisner Awards (named after Will Eisner) honor the best in the comic book business. Here Mark Evanier and the legendary Jerry Robinson (creator of the Joker) are presenting the Bill Finger Award for lifetime achievement in comics writing.

Comedian and voice of Ratatouille Patton Oswalt at the Eisners. The Eisners were hosted by my friend Bill Morrison who strangely is not in any of my photos, but his lovely wife Kayre is here in the background as she tended the trophies.

Comedian and voice of Ratatouille Patton Oswalt at the Eisners. The Eisners were hosted by my friend Bill Morrison who strangely is not in any of my photos, but his lovely wife Kayre is here in the background as she tended the trophies.

Eisner presenters and the writers of the Night at the Museum movies Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant on either side of Chad Frye.

Eisner presenters and the writers of the Night at the Museum movies Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant on either side of Chad Frye.

The best part of the Eisners was when my friend Russ Heath was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Here he is accepting his trophy from Sergio Aragones.

The best part of the Eisners was when my friend Russ Heath was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Here he is accepting his trophy from Sergio Aragones.

Here's a closer shot of Russ with his Hall of Fame Eisner trophy. As the only living recipient this year, Russ said, "I'm just glad to be alive to accept this thing. Thanks!" That was it! He got thunderous applause.

Here's a closer shot of Russ with his Hall of Fame Eisner trophy. As the only living recipient this year, Russ said, "I'm just glad to be alive to accept this thing. Thanks!" That was it! He got thunderous applause.

There's no better way to complete my Comic Con photos than with a shot of my favorite costume from the 4-day affair. Nothing says "The End" like a whoopie cushion.

There's no better way to complete my Comic Con photos than with a shot of my favorite costume from the 4-day affair. Nothing says "The End" like a whoopie cushion.

25 Years of Usagi Yojimbo

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

My friend, Stan Sakai, has been drawing his terrific comic book Usagi Yojimbo for the past twenty five years. Two weeks ago, the San Diego Comic Con paid tribute to Stan and his creation with a panel and by featuring it in this year’s program book.

I belong to an LA based professional comics writer and cartoonist organization known as CAPS (Comic Art Professional Society), even having served as it’s president for four years or so. Stan Sakai is one of the founding members of the 30+ year old organization. Somehow, without Stan knowing, we all got together and did drawings of his famous character for a special tribute page in the Comic Con program  book.

This is my interpretation of Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo.

This is my interpretation of Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo created for the CAPS tribute.

Compiled by fellow member Jim MacQuarrie, many of the guys participated with their version of Usagi. In case you can’t read their signatures in the image below, beginning with the top row, here are the names of the contributing artists: Mell Lazarus, Stan Lee, Jim Wheelock, Chad Frye, Dan Spiegle, Dean Yeagle; 2nd row: Gary Goldstein, Nat Gertler, Bob Foster, Scott Shaw!, Mike Gray, Jim MacQuarrie, Tim Burgard; 3rd row: Andy Mitchell, Steve Greenberg, Randy Reynaldo, Benton Jew, Michael Aushenker, Rubèn Procopio, Sergio Aragonès; 4th row: Kazu Kibuishi, Bill Morrison, Doug Gray, Anson Jew, Mike Kazaleh, and Floyd Norman.

This is the tribute page by members of CAPS as seen in the 2009 San Diego Comic Con program book.

This is the tribute page by members of CAPS as seen in the 2009 San Diego Comic Con program book.

If you are a professional in the cartooning biz, and are interested in learning more about CAPS, please visit their website at CAPScentral.org.