Thursday, December 31, 2009


Now that we’ve come to the end of another year, I guess it’s time to reflect a little on some of the things of note in pop culture. This years movies were a real mixed bag. Can’t say that it’s as clear cut as last years’ batch of films as to which ten were the best, but I made an effort to round up what I could...

10) DISTRICT 9 --Shot documentary style, this portrayal of an unintentional alien invasion picture reflects what would probably be the closest thing to reality of the SF films such as Alien Nation or the V tv series. Tragic and with touches of great humor.

9) OBSERVE AND REPORT --As outrageous a black comedy as you’ll see. Still hard to believe some of the things they got away with in this one. You’ll laugh, you’ll be baffled, you’ll watch a sick man totally lose his mind and totally understand his madness.

8) THE WRESTLER --Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei are both great in this character drama about a down and out wrestler and a stripper who is nearing the age where she will have to stop relying on her looks to get by. The two are on oddly similar paths, but only one of them can turn off.

7) THE HANGOVER --A comedy/mystery? Yeah, that’s the story of a group of friends so hung over that they can’t remember what happened the night before--or where their best friend has gone missing. A nifty ensemble of talent enhancing the craftily thought out plot.

6) THE HURT LOCKER --Easily the best of the Iraq war movies and the most realistic. It really gets the viewer into the impossible position the common soldier is in while occupying a country that is such a contrast within itself.

5) STAR TREK --How do you bring back a franchise from the dead? Push on forward with the natural progression of the characters as they have lived so far? Nope. Go back into the history of their reality and show how the events of the past have built up to the present ala Star Wars? Nope. Take the entire history, resign it to being an alternate reality and steer the franchise (with the characters from that great history) forward into a bold new future of unexplored possibilities so that the ideas seem fresh while retaining that tinge for nostalgia? I guess so. Worked for me this time.

4) 500 DAYS OF SUMMER --Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who has proven his ability in indie films like “The Lookout” and “Brick”, and Zooey Deschanel, whose quirky presence is always a breath of fresh air, play a couple of singles who fall for one another. The problem being one falls much harder for the other than the other does. Poor guy. So it’s an episodic look at their relationship throughout it’s 500 days of Summer. An interesting romantic comedy for a change.

3) AWAY WE GO --And here’s one that is at once romantic and comedic and also as introspective as 500 Days was. An even more indie film, but with superb performances from Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski--they lift this material to higher ground. There is no doubt about their relationship or their journey to discover where and how they will raise their soon-to-be-born child. Hey, wait a minute, I didn't see this one in the theatre! Oh well...

2) ZOMBIELAND --Zombies. Woody Harrelson as a wacky expert zombie killer. Neurotic young narrator and two lovely young ladies. Throw in what has to be one of the best cameos in movie history and you’ve got a thoughtful look at people living life during a zombie apocalypse without getting too worked up about it. You’d have to have those kinds of skills to survive and these are some of the last survivors. Hope they sequel this one.

1) THE ROAD --And now to the sadly realistic and depressing apocalypse. It’s the end of the world and the few remaining people are walking through a burning landscape of smoke and no sunshine, of starvation and completely unclean living. Viggo Mortensen is trying to raise a child by himself in this forsaken hell of bitter cold, earthquakes, toppling cinders of trees and a life full of bug eating. Harrowing, to say the least, this is still a movie about hope in the face of starvation, depravation and extinction.

And your obligatory list of movies that didn’t quite make the cut...

UP, which while brilliant in the first half, suffered toward the end.

DRAG ME TO HELL, fun, scary and well made--just decide which you want to be: funny or scary.

EXTRACT was darn funny and well acted. More humorous than laugh-out-loud funny.

ADVENTURELAND wanted to be a comedy in it’s ads and turned out to be melodrama instead.

I LOVE YOU MAN was out and out funny and very enjoyable--just short of the top ten.

CORALINE was beautiful to watch and imaginative, it just felt about 15 minutes too long.

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS was another film that didn’t quite match it’s advertisement. However it delivered, my viewing was ruined by a malfunction of the projector during the last 10 minutes of the film.

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE wasn’t nearly as exciting on the island as I expected. Solid film, great beginning and ending though.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY did all it could with it's bare-bones budget and that says a lot. Taking the haunted house theme in a whole new direction, the chills come despite little on-screen evidence to show for it. It draws from both The Haunting and The Exorcist and puts on a good showing. The little horror that could.

THE INVENTION OF LYING didn’t quite live up to the promise of the premise, although he took the idea of the worlds’ first liar into places I would never have suspected.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Legion of Super-Heroes

It was probably around the early to mid-90's when a pal of mine (you know who you are, David) casually asked me one day to draw for him the entire membership of the Legion. Clearly he was joking. And then I thought of what kind of challenge it would be for my fledgeling ability to try and draw an assembled group of that many people. So I ended up doing it and it didn't turn out great, but it was the kind of exercise that would allow me to build from. It helped me to think through some of the problems that you have to solve to put that kind of image on paper. And here is the dang thing...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Five Years of Deviant Art

I've had an account over at Deviant Art for over five years, but I'd never posted any of my art there until now. No real reason than some general apathy toward my own art for a while. Anyway, there is some really great and inspirational art is posted there from photographers, painters, professional comic book illustrators and even sculptors. One can spend hours looking around at all the pretty sights (like I just did tonight).

They are worth a look if you have the time:

Or at least check out my page there for a look into my sketchbook and faves:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Black Canary and the John Byrne Art Challenge

Every great once in a while, John Byrne will propose a challenge to those of us who frequent his forum and I try to participate. This time out we had the challenge of coming up with a situation for a character drawing he did as a commission. We were to put in at least two other characters and a background based on the pose he had chosen for the Black Canary. So, while this is a drawing by me, the Black Canary part is pretty much me "tracing" Byrne's Canary with my eye. The rest is all me, poor perspective and all...

Black Canary copyright DC Comics, of course.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Weathered Vigilante

The Batman is the quintessential self-made vigilante. Granted, it doesn't hurt that he's a billionaire, but the years of training in all of the skills he has mastered and the relentlessness he has shown in his fight for justice speak volumes about the character's will. For him, this is just another day... a snow day, even.

Drew this one for my own pleasure, but will be posting it on eBay shortly. Stay tuned.

Monday, December 7, 2009


The Hulk is like popcorn, a little of him is great, a lot of him is freaking wonderful! He and the Thing are just so fun to draw because they are just off the charts when it comes to physique and personality. They make you want to draw them all the time. I did this one on a piece of scrap paper at work, probably and scanned and quickly colored it just to see how it would come out.

Friday, December 4, 2009


They'd "killed off" Odin for the umpteenth time and I figured he could make it back from the clutches of Hela if anybody could, so this blue pencil drawing later we have a walking dead god:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Long before "Blackest Night" but after the "Death of Superman" I was bored at the comic shop one day when I came up with the idea of an undead Superman and this image popped out of my head:

Monday, November 30, 2009


Tip of the hat, really, to Pierre Fournier proprietor of for doing running the Boris Karloff Blogathon. He made it effortless for those of us who participated and made it look effortless to run one of these things (and I know it was effortful).

It was a ball to look into the life and times of Boris and his career and impact on our pop culture. I'm sure I speak for a lot of us participating when I say I wish I'd had time to post more this week than I did. But there's always next time. And there are still plenty of participating sites that I have yet to visit. I watched three Karloff films during the course of this week and discovered more about the man than I'd known before.

So thanks, Pierre, for focusing our attention on the life of a legend.


Saturday, November 28, 2009



The really neat thing, looking back on them now is the painted covers, a fairly common practice at Gold Key in these days and Dell before it. These images just dare the potential reader to open it up. I mean, what the heck is going on on these covers is just too interesting to ignore!

Images from, a great site for some nifty cover art:

Monday, November 23, 2009


I guess I can blame Boris Karloff.

I say this as I stare at the cover to BORIS KARLOFF TALES OF MYSTERY #33 from Gold Key Comics, which features a huge monster with glowing yellow hypnotic eyes lumbering toward the diminutive humans below who are fleeing in horror. And, as ever, looking on in a little photo at the top near the 15 cents price is a close-up of a distinguished gentleman who seems as calm as ever. As if he’s saying to the reader “I’m not afraid to read this comic book, child, why should you be?”.

I blame him because I recently learned from my older brother that it is the first comic book he ever purchased (or persuaded our mom to buy for him). You see, he wasn’t that interested in superheroes back then, it was more the scary stuff that he liked. But you see, it was his gateway drug into the world of comics. He would grow to love all kinds of comics and since most comics being made in the late 60’s through the mid 70’s were superhero based, he began collecting.

Me being his little brother, I kind of inherited the love of comics. Kind of is an understatement. You see, I’m an addict. I love sequential art. I’ve been buying regularly since I could beg some change from my mom’s purse--a little over thirty years. It’s led to a love of drawing and just plain old popular culture stuff that seems boundless. Hell, it even led to my carreer as a comic book seller.

And now I know that I can blame it all on that one issue of BORIS KARLOFF TALES OF MYSTERY. Which, in turn, means that I can blame it all on Boris’ show THRILLER which was what this comic book series was originally titled and based on.

In a very real way, Karloff shaped my life. Just that one little comic is all it took. I guess it’s too late to thank him for it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


This year I decided to do some seasonal sketches leading up to Halloween and, well, better late than never: