Archive for the ‘Cartoons’ Category

Rib Lickin’ Good!

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

A few weeks ago some friends had me over for a dinner of ribs with good cartoonist company. I’m not sure exactly why this strange image came to mind, because there were actually no cows there eating themselves, and as far as I know, I was not inadvertently eating my own ribs. It just tickled my funny bone (and no, we didn’t eat any of those, either).

 

Baby Back Ribs

Personally, the ONLY time I'd want a rib taken from me is if it meant that when I woke up, a beautiful woman was made from it just for me.

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.

Happy Presidents’ Day – 2014

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Hope you are having a fun time celebrating Presidents’ Day. Have you gotten those presidential decorations up? Have you chopped down a cherry tree to put in your living room? Are you having a Weapons of Mass Destruction hunt in the backyard with the kids? What a FUN holiday!

Bet you didn’t expect a greeting “card” for THIS holiday, but why not? All the popular holidays get a card like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Where is the love for Presidents’ Day, or Labor Day, or Flag Day? (Of course, sending a paper card on Arbor Day kind of defeats the purpose for that one.)

So, whether you are celebrating by fearing fear itself, playing with wooden teeth (watch out for splinters!), or telling your next door neighbor to tear down his wall, stay safe and rest in the knowledge that all of our Presidents deserve to be celebrated for every little thing they have ever done.

Oh, and take it from me, stay far, far away from all balconies.

 

Civil War photo bomb

This is one of very few pictures of President Lincoln and the missus NOT snapped by famed Civil War era photographer Matthew Brady.

Happy Birthday Jack Davis!

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

One of my artistic heroes is the inimitable Jack Davis. Oh, many have tried to copy him artistically, but no one can come close to the master both artistically AND personally. While Jack’s art style is an island unto itself, his easy-going Southern gentleman personality sparkles as a rarity amongst cartoonists. When you first meet him you just want to be his friend instantly. That moment for me came in 1997 when I first met Jack at a Reuben Awards hosted by the National Cartoonists Society at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC.

Many years have past since then, and I am privileged that our first handshake turned into an actual friendship. Back in 2006 when I was president of the Comic Art Professional Society (CAPS), we created an award called The Sergio (designed and named after Sergio Aragonès) to be given annually to a cartoonist whose body of work the cartooning community feels is invaluable and inspiring. Our very first recipient had to be no one other than Jack.

Today happens to be Jack Davis’ 89th birthday, yet somehow his work remains as youthful as the day he started. He is STILL showing us how it is done.

The art I share with you today was my tribute to Jack that appeared in the program book from that Sergio Award banquet. Many cartoonists created little pieces for Jack who not only took home a nice statue, but also a nice portfolio of all the original tribute art.

 

Jack Davis art

As a die hard Southerner, it has always been nice that Jack has overlooked the fact that I am a Yankee...unless he actually never realized that.

 

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Jack Davis! And if you don’t know the work of this great man from MAD Magazine, movie poster illustration, TIME Magazine covers, TV Guide covers, books, advertising art, Wacky Packages, U.S. postage stamps, and just about anything else you can think of, please do yourself a favor and Google his name!

 

2013 Monster Month: Day 10 – It’s a Noisy Day In the Neighborhood

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Neighbors. We all have them: big neighbors, little neighbors, happy neighbors, gardening neighbors, elderly neighbors – even crazy cat lady neighbors. The one type of neighbor that many people could say was perhaps the most annoying, the most insanity inducing, the most unbelievably invasive, and the most downright selfish is the NOISY NEIGHBOR!

Noisy neighbors can look just like you and me. They actually seem normal when observed in public. They are livin’ the dream in their SUV like 99.7% of America, they take their kids to school, then to soccer practice, and enjoy time together at restaurants and shopping malls. In fact, they might look just like MY neighbors.

 

Meet my neighbors who could look just like YOUR neighbors.

 

However, underneath those quintessential gee whiz exteriors lie the hearts of beasts so inhumane and insensitive to their surroundings, that they look down with pleasure from their worldly perch to derisively sneer at the little people below them. I speak as one of those little people literally from below who has grown weary of the derision over the past year.

The creatures who live above me have far and away been the noisiest neighbors ever to occupy that apartment in the sixteen years this has been my home. From the first day they moved in, it has been an incessant stream of late night hammering, cabinet crashing, chairs scraping, toilet seat smashing, foot stomping, running, jumping, music playing so loud that lyrics can be heard, somersaulting, bass thumping, doors slamming, and I’m pretty sure buffalo herding. I’ve thought about giving them a “Noisiest Neighbor” trophy, but the above descriptive inscription would cost too much to engrave since the trophy shop charges per letter.

 

Noisy Neighbors

I'm convinced that my neighbors' front door is a mystical portal that, when entered, returns their public personas into these more natural forms.

 

You can always tell when the husband gets home because you can trace exactly where he walks by the sure-footed thuds of what must be steel-toed military boots that are weighted down further with bags of coins tied around his ankles. Their young daughter of possibly seven years old has apparently not yet learned to walk because one can only hear her run wherever she goes in that confined 800 square foot space. (I think she may be training for the summer olympics gymnastics team.) Even when they go out, their cat tears around the joint as if forever teased by a never ceasing laser pointer. The only one who is usually quiet is the wife, unless they are either fighting or making up.

I know what you are thinking. “Boy this guy is super sensitive to noise.” No. I’ve had my share of interesting neighbors. I’ve lived through the screaming Koreans, the drug dealer, the weekend partiers, the smelly pot smokers, a family of four with two little kids who were VERY well behaved and considerate, and even a sweet couple whose lives were forever altered when the husband passed away from cancer in the bedroom above mine, but NEVER before have I had neighbors that awaken me DAILY at any hour of the night with just a foot-stomping and toilet-seat-slamming trip to the bathroom.

Despite the one year plus of frustration that rains from above, something positive has come from the ordeal – three new Monster Month monsters! “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…” (James 1:17), right? But perhaps I’ve just taken that out of context a smidge.

 

Girly Monster

Sure it's funny now, but only when you ignore the fact that the noise is real.

Come back again to see what will be freaky on Friday!

Meeska Mooska Mickey Mouse!

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Back in 2005 I was thrilled to be asked to come on board a new show for Disney called Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I had doodled and painted the mouse just for fun for many years, even subtly sneaking him into the background of boring still life paintings that were required in college. To finally have an opportunity to work on the mouse and his pals every day as a part of my career was a privilege indeed. I put my all into the first two of Mickey‘s five seasons before moving on to other projects.

 

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Cake

When I first walked into the party, I thought this was one of the Clubhouse toys, but it was actually a CAKE!

 

Well, now it’s time to say goodbye to all our company. While the last of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse‘s new episodes are being finished up, production on Clubhouse is ending. Last Wednesday the Disney Channel threw a nice party for those of us that were a part of re-introducing Mickey to a new generation.

However, Mickey is NOT going away! Mickey Mouse Clubhouse will continue to air for some time, as well as new Mickey Mouse short cartoons that are being made in a retro style for the Disney Channel, and I hear rumblings that Disney Feature Animation may be making a big screen Mickey short, too.

For now though, I thought I’d share some pictures with you of the people who were responsible for bringing all that joy to your kids. Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog!


Nancy Kanter

Disney Channel executive Nancy Kanter thanking the troops for a job well done in bringing Mickey back into the consciousness as an entertainer and paving the way for pre-school shows at Disney.

Kelly Ward and Bradley Bowlen

Here I am with Kelly Ward (Putzie from "Grease" who directed the voices for our show and wrote a few episodes) and the great line producer Bradley Bowlen.

Even Mickey and Minnie dropped by for the festivities. (Minnie gave me a smooch when Mickey wasn't looking. I have that affect on large rodents.)

flipbook fun

Series music composer Mike Himelstein and director Sherie Pollack have a discussion in the foreground while Disney Channel's Emily Hart, story editor and producer Mark Seidenberg and executive producer Rob LaDuca get ready to be filmed for a little flipbook.

 

There were two really neat gifts that they gave us at the party, the first were those baseball caps. Stitched onto the back of them in small lettering was “Meeska, Mooska, Mickey Mouse!” which is always said on the show to make the Clubhouse appear. The second cool thing was the custom flipbooks! You stood in front of the white screen seen in the picture above, and they film you for seven seconds. They then instantly printed out little flipbooks of you with a special Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cover on them. It was a really great idea for an animation party!

 

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse fun

Writer Tom Hart, story editor and producer Mark Seidenberg, composer Mike Himelstein, and writer Brian Swenlin all looking at Mark's newly minted personal flip book.

Sy Thomas

Me with Sy Thomas who was really the art director of the series, and one swell guy. Our cubicles were next to each other when I was on the show.

 

Did I mention it was a bowling party? The Disney Channel rented out an old 8-lane alley in Montrose, CA naturally called Montrose Bowl. The alley looks like it is still in the 1950s, and is a GREAT place for parties of a moderate size! This is where we had our first crew wrap party at the end of season 1!

 

Bradley Bowlen

Bradley Bowlen bowlin'.

Bill Farmer

Bill Farmer, the voice of Pluto and Goofy, as he gets ready to throw down during a game with me. Bill must have had five or six strikes during our game.

David Beall

The very talented layout artist (designer of backgrounds) and amazing photographer David Beall who now works on "Family Guy".

Carmen Cano

The lovely Carmen Cano, one of the coordinators on "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse."

Jedi artist

Here with editor Reid Kramer, and executive producer Rob LaDuca who I just found out was an effects artist on "Return of the Jedi" when I recently revisited the film!

Bill Farmer

Parting shot with the affable and extremely talented voice artist Bill Farmer.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse song

"It's the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse! Come inside, it's fun inside!" Let me just say that the song don't lie.

 

So there you have it, a few shots of some of the crew that brought Mickey Mouse Clubhouse to your television sets. It was a joy to work on, and I hope I have another chance to work with not only members of this crew again, but also with the Mouse himself.

 

M-I-C-K-E-Y

See ya real soon!

Political Zombies

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Who is ready for tonight’s final presidential debate? I’ve listened to all the debates thus far and came away with one major observation – both sides have spent much of that airtime attempting to tear down each other without saying much of anything solid about what they can do in the next four years. It has been downright monstrous!

So, in the spirit of the Halloween season, I drew Barak Obama and Mitt Romney as they will likely appear tonight – as raging zombies.

 

Presidential Zombies

Must....have....American......braaaaaaaains!!!

 

And for those of you Monster Month fans of the past keeping track at home, this counts as the second monster drawing of the month! Hopefully next year I can return to the “one a day” principle.

The Great Stan Freberg

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

I wanted to say a few words about the great Stan Freberg today. Do you know who he is? He has been a gold record selling comedian, cartoon voice actor, movie and television actor, radio show host, a puppeteer, an author and a pioneer of using humor in advertising. He even came up with the name “Grammy” for the recording industry’s highest award. And if you are in the Los Angeles area this weekend (August 4-5, 2012), you have a chance to shake his hand and get an autograph. (DETAILS HERE!)

 

Stan Freberg

Stan Freberg as he looked in the 1950s during his Capitol Records comedy days.

 

Stan Freberg got his start in the entertainment business as a teenager. He literally got off the bus in Hollywood and immediately landed a job doing voices for the classic Warner Bros. cartoons. That’s right, despite all the title cards saying Mel Blanc did all the voices, Stan was right there doing many voices as well along with folks like June Foray, Arthur Q. Bryan and others.

Perhaps Stan’s most iconic Warner Bros. character was Pete Puma, the mountain lion who Bugs Bunny tricked into getting many lumps pounded into his head in several cartoons. Stan also did the hilarious Junyer Bear who was far too big for his diaper. He was also one half (the other half being Mel Blanc) of the mice Hubie & Bertie and half of the Goofy Gophers. The list of other characters is quite long including being the voice of a cat in the first Speedy Gonzales cartoon.

 

Warner Bros. Pete Puma

Pete Puma after asking Bugs Bunny for "A lotta lumps".

 

Warner Bros.' Junyer Bear

Junyer Bear who always loves his paw.

 

The one time Stan got screen credit was when he was the ONLY voice in an entire Warner Bros. cartoon. Friz Freleng directed Stan in The Three Little Bops that was a zoot suited version of the story of the Three Little Pigs. Stan sang the song and voiced every character.

 

Three Little Bops

The Three Little Bops

 

 

Stan did cartoon vocal work for other studios, too. Disney was one. He sang a song about the Jabberwocky for Alice In Wonderland that Walt ultimately cut from the movie, but he also memorably did the voice of the beaver in Lady and the Tramp. As you recall, the beaver helps get the muzzle off of Lady when she and Tramp come to see him at the zoo. Walt Disney himself directed Stan in that performance.

 

Lady and the Tramp art

This beautiful pencil drawing of Stan Freberg's character of the beaver from Disney's "Lady and the Tramp" is on an 8x10 that Stan has available at public appearances.

 

Out of a pure indulgence of mine, I also want to mention Stan’s role as the Yawning Man in the 1958 movie Tom Thumb. Tom Thumb was a wonderful fantasy movie directed by the great George Pal who loved incorporating stop-motion animation into his movies. He did it the hard way, too. The characters faces would all be sculpted in wood. George had Stan play a small but memorable role of a toy that helps put Tom Thumb (played by Russ Tamblyn from West Side Story) to sleep. Here’s the scene for you to see. I dare you to not yawn during this wonderful vocal performance by Freberg:

 

 

I first learned of Stan’s name when I was in high school. I was working at a summer camp on an island in the Delaware River sharing a cabin with several other staff guys. My friend Kevin Wertz had a copy of Freberg’s The United States of America album on a cassette tape that we listened to over and over after our long day’s work. That just might be the funniest album by any comedian I have ever heard, and am thrilled to have my own signed copy on LP framed on the wall in my studio. Later I discovered that Stan had made MANY records, most of which were song parodies of the day. His cover of Harry Bellefonte’s Banana Boat Song put me in stitches. It is no surprise that “Weird” Al Yankovic counts Stan as one of his inspirations.

 

Stan Freberg USA

This is perhaps the best of Stan's hilarious records with Capitol Records.

 

Another guy inspired by Stan was the late Jim Henson. Stan, along with Daws Butler, were the guys who brought Bob Clampett’s creations of Beany & Cecil to life as a live television puppet show called Time For Beany. Stan was the original Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent as well as Dishonest John. Stan once told me how he showed a young Jim Henson how to make Kermit the Frog seem as though he was smiling.

 

Stan Freberg

Stan Freberg with puppets of Dishonest John and Cecil from "Time For Beany."

 

Freberg’s later career as an advertising man broke new ground for that industry. He broke away from the fake testimonial ads common in the day, and from the ads that made all kinds of promises to make ads that made people laugh. He was wildly successful and we have had funny ads ever since. One of the big accounts Stan had was doing all the TV and radio ads for the movie It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World in which he also had a silent cameo (he’s the sheriff’s deputy sitting in the background of Andy Divine’s scenes), but he also did funny ads for Sunsweet Prunes, Geno’s Pizza and many others.

As you can tell, I love the guy. I could go on and on about his career, but you would be better served if you could find a copy of his out-of-print autobiography titled It Only Hurts When I Laugh so that you can read his funny tales about all of the above and more in his own words. If you come see Stan this weekend at The Hollywood Show in Burbank, you might be lucky enough to score one of the few copies he has left.

That’s right, so if you would like to come see Stan, shake his hand, and get an autograph he is appearing at the Burbank Marriott by the airport along with many other Hollywood celebrities. To see more details about The Hollywood Show and who will be there, CLICK HERE! Stan will have photos of Pete Puma, the beaver and other shots of himself for sale. He has a couple of books, and some record albums and CDs from his own collection that he will be selling, along with a few copies of Warner Bros. Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 2 that has cartoons of Junyer Bear, Pete Puma and The Three Little Bops on it (Stan even provides voice commentary on that set)!

Oh, and if you drop by, be sure to wish Stan a Happy Birthday! He will be 86 years old on August 7!

 

Frank Sinatra

This is a great casual shot of Capitol Records stars all together. You might recognize Frank Sinatra, Danny Kaye, Nat "King" Cole, Dean Martin and Stan Freberg.