Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My Take On Captain America #2 (for Robert Goodin's COVERED Blog)

In January 2009, talented cartoonist, (and TYPHON contributor) Robert Goodin invited me via email to take part in his Covered project. As he put it, "I've just launched a blog called Covered that will feature artists redrawing comic covers in their own style. Participating artists will come from the fields of comics, animation, graphic design, and galleries from all over the world. Some will be well known, and some not so well known."

Needless to say, many months have passed since that invite went out, and the Covered Blog is now loaded with fun stuff. Comics fans owe it to themselves to check it out.

The Summer of 2009 brought the usual Summertime lull in illo assignments. I took advantage of the downtime by tackling a pile of fun freebie projects, including this one. It's my take on a classic wartime Captain America comic book cover, which shows the star-spangled super soldier busting in on Onkel Dolf, seconds before the fiend takes a dagger to Cap's trusty sidekick Bucky.

Here's what my Covered contribution looks like. Click on this link if you want to compare it to Joe Simon's original 1941 version.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Here's a fun cover illo I just drew for the San Francisco Bay Guardian, (one that's not too far off from the Hartford Advocate cover I posted last week).

It seems that scenic San Francisco is the latest stop for bedbugs on their nationwide comeback tour. SFBG art director Ben Hopfer wanted to give this cover feature illo the full horror movie treatment, and I was more than happy to oblige.

My first sketch shows a pair of oversized, overstuffed crawlies creeping towards a wide-eyed, screaming gal:

After seeing the first sketch, Ben asked that we see our victim asleep, since the bloodsuckers typically strike while we're snoozing. I think it's a good call, since it makes the illo even creepier. Ben also asked to see more bedbugs, so I generously piled on one additional critter, for a whopping total of three. By now, the editors had supplied their headline, so I broke out one of my trusty horror poster books for lettering reference.

Ben approved the second sketch with one last request, (more blood!), and it was time to go to final art:

Dear readers, will the next stop on the bedbugs' nationwide tour be our very own bedrooms? Let's hope not! As a bonus, here's a G-rated bedbug illo I drew for Michael Gentile at Habitat back in November of 2006:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Weasels Ripped My Flesh: Cover Art for Hartford Advocate

Hartford Advocate managing editor John Adamian emailed me in early August with a fun cover assignment. They were doing a feature on Fishers, (a kind of large weasel that's native to Connecticut). Apparently, some folks are concerned about these Fishers, and John thought a take-off on Neon Park's classic cover art for "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" would be appropriate.

As many of you already know, the title for The Mothers of Invention's 1970 album "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" is lifted from the September 1956 issue of Man's Life. Supposedly, Frank Zappa handed the issue of Man's Life to artist Neon Park and asked him, "what can you do that's worse than this?" (Isn't that a great quote? I'm considering having it chiseled on my headstone).

So, here's my take on Neon Park's classic "Weasels" album art, with blood-crazed Fishers standing in for the electric shaving weasel:

And here's a JPEG juxtaposing the Neon Park cover with the Man's Life cover. As great as the Neon Park cover is, I feel chastened to stand in the presence of Will Hulsey, the illustrator who painted the Man's Life cover, (what phenomenal chops those guys had).

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Maxim: How Grapes Become Wine

MAXIM art director Billy Sorrentino emailed me on August 3rd with an interesting job: they needed six spots illustrating the winemaking process, and they wanted them drawn in the style of the Schoolhouse Rocks educational cartoon shorts. This assignment came my way thanks to cartoondom's preeminent style mimic, the singularly gifted R. Sikoryak, (who was too busy to take the assignment himself, and was kind enough to recommend me).

After accepting the job, I poked around on the web a little bit for some Schoolhouse Rock pix and background info. As a child of the Seventies who'd spent way too much time planted in front of the tube, I was entirely familiar with the cartoons, yet I had no clue who'd made them. I was fascinated to learn that veteran cartoon talents like Arnold Roth and Rowland Wilson did design work on Schoolhouse Rock, while the series' core style was established by the phenomenally talented advertising artist Tom Yohe, Sr., (his son, Tom Yohe Jr. would lend his talents to some of the later cartoons). Yohe, Sr. originated the long-running series in 1973 with fellow ad guys George Newell & David McCall, (along with an assist from Michael Eisner, in his capacity as VP of Childrens' Programming at ABC).

I'm sure I speak for many Americans in my demographic when I confess that whatever meager math skills I have owe directly to those delightful cartoons, (whose catchy jingles are still bouncing around inside of my skull thirty years later). I'm presently showing Schoolhouse Rocks to our three year old daughter who, in spite of being a bit young for multiplication and American history, is enjoying the cartoons thoroughly.

I've never been much good as a style mimic, so any resemblance between these illos and the source material is largely luck. I shudder to think how much closer to Tom Yohe, Sr.'s style these illos would be if R. Sikoryak had taken the assignment, but I'm sure that my shuddering will cease a few seconds after I deposit MAXIM's check.

(Masterpiece Comics, the long-overdue collection of R. Sikoryak's spectacular cartoon revisions of literary classics, is now available at Amazon ).