Since this is Halloween weekend, I thought I’d post a few recent illos that I’m sure you’ll agree are appropriate to the season.
First, here’s a cover illo for New York Press that ran in September of 2004; art direction by Mike McKeogh, (this was at the point when the New York Press was chewing up art directors and spitting them out faster than I could change Rolodex cards). The feature was about an historic cemetery out in Brooklyn somewhere that had fallen into disrepair in recent decades, falling prey to dope fiends, partying teens, and the like.
Readers of New York Press in its heyday may spot my sneaky in-joke: the names on the headstones are all former New York Press staffers. For reasons unknown to me, the then editors of the paper, (Jeff Koyen and Alexander Zaitchik) did not find my gag print-worthy; the art ran on the paper’s cover with the names zapped out via Photoshop. Had the paper commissioned this illo a month or two later, I might’ve added Koyen & Zaitchik’s own names to the headstones, but that’s a spooky tale for another day.
Next, it’s a cover illo for the Boston Phoenix from October of 2005, with art direction by Kristen Goodfriend. The point here was that, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the White House press corps had finally decided to remove the kid gloves and ask the President some tough questions.
The main thing I remember about this illo, (besides the thrill I felt at being asked to draw a wounded Dubya pursued by ravenous zombies), was that at some point during the process, one of Kristen’s editors asked that I put a zombified Diane Sawyer and Keith Olbermann into the mob of ghoulish reporters. I tried to point out that likenesses are extremely tough to pull off when the characters are also supposed to look like walking corpses, but the editors, God bless them, they get these kooky ideas in their heads, and they ARE in charge, so, well….I suppose that zombie in the middle kinda looks like he might be vaguely related to Keith Olbermann…sort of.
Lastly: the moment I’d heard that longtime friend of SCREW magazine “Grandpa” Al Lewis had died, (in February of 2006), I pounced for my phone and pitched a memorial cover to Mr. Kevin Hein, SCREW’s longtime art director, and my good friend. Behold the result:
A day or two after the issue went to press, I was crestfallen to discover that the birth date I’d put on the drawing was INCORRECT, thanks to the beloved Munster’s unfortunate habit of LYING about his own history. While I’m sure all of us fib about ourselves occasionally, apparently Grandpa Al told some real whoppers, including a claim that he’d been on the legal team that defended Sacco & Venzetti, (no mean feat for a four year old boy).