History of EC Comics

You know, I’ve gotten all caught up in sharing sketchbook drawings here, that I neglected to share with you some real work that I did that was published in 2020. Let’s remedy that, shall we?

So, here’s the set-up… my friend, Grant Geissman, wrote a terrific (and quite gigantic) book about the history of EC Comics that was published by Taschen. Not only is it 594 pages long, but the sucker weighs in at 13lbs, and measures a whopping 11.5×16″!! It’s so big, that this coffee table book could actually BE the coffee table!

All kidding aside, it really is a comprehensive look at the comic kingdom first created by M.C. Gaines, later headed up by his son Bill Gaines who, among his accomplishments, published MAD Magazine.

Grant popped over to my place last May to bring me a copy of his beautiful tome, and in return, I gave him this piece I did of William Gaines (who whould have been 100 last month) in all his EC Comics glory capturing the moment he was about to step into MAD. You get the idea.

Bill Gaines, second publisher of EC Comics just as he steps into publishing “MAD Magazine.”
Grant and I in my home where he helped me lift up his heavy book.

Part of my excitement for Grant’s work here is that he invited me to be a part of the imagery in the book. He had two vintage pieces of art that had originally been in color, but color reproductions of them had been lost to the ages. So Grant asked me to colorize the two pieces, one drawn by Irwin Hasen, and the other by Shelly Moldoff.

This great piece by Irwin Hasen was drawn as a gift for his boss, M.C. Gaines long ago. I was thrilled to color this because I had been acquainted with Irwin back when he was still with us, and had grown up reading his syndicated comic strip in newspapers called Dondi. I even have two originals I got from Irwin back when I first got into the cartooning business, and am humbled to be pictured in another book Irwin is also in called The Artist Within Book 2 by Greg Preston.

By Irwin Hasen, color by Chad Frye.

And here’s the second piece I colored that Sheldon Moldoff drew.

By Sheldon Moldoff, color by Chad Frye.

A hearty conGRANTulations go out to Grant for seeing the years of his research and writing come to fruition in such a beautiful tome!

By the way, Grant’s day job is as a musician and composer! He’s played with many great music folks over the years such as Chuck Mangione, Liza Minelli, Steve Tyrell, Josh Groban, etc, and he has written music for television shows such as Two and a Half Men, Mike and Molly, and more recently B Positive.

Sammy’s Angels

In celebration of season 2 of Green Eggs and Ham being released on Netflix today, I created this new piece I call Sammy’s Angels featuring Sam I Am, his superspy mother Pam I Am, and Guy Am I.

The show is traditional (hand drawn) animation, so why not a hand drawn illustration? This was made with watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil.

"Green Eggs and Ham" parody of Charlie's Angels silhouette.
Sammy’s Angels.

Has anyone started to watch the episodes yet? Since everything Guy seems to invent explodes, in the storyboards we made some of the explosions have a blast cloud that looked like Guy’s hat which is why I painted this explosion that way. Hopefully that detail made it into the final show.

Hope you all enjoy our hard work on the show! Soooo many people were involved to bring it to you.


By the way, I realize something funky is going on with my blog. After a normal post I made last week, some of the look of the blog went haywire. In my attempt to fix it, I think I made it worse. So, for now, it looks strange. My profound apologies.

Pretty In Pink

Hoo boy. I’ve been pretty busy of late finishing up a big book project I’ve been on for the past nine months. Happy to say that the final touches were completed yesterday! There’s always a huge sense of accomplishment when you do that final paint stroke on something you’ve put so much time into.

I know you are curious, but I’ll not get into the specifics about the book until the publishers finish their part and start to promote it, which could be as far away as sometime next year.

So, to celebrate TODAY, how about I post a completely unrelated new image of Minnie Mouse created for a friend late last month? It came to life by way of traditional colored pencil and watercolor on paper!

Now to figure out what big project should be my next endeavor!


A smile from Minnie washes all the stress away!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

On this day of Valentines, grab your most cherished loved one and give them a good smooch and a squeeze.


Sam I Am is a true food lover.

John Williams at 90

Today happens to be the 90th birthday of the most influential composer of our time, the great John Williams.
His music has transported us to the depths of space, the mysterious orient, deep dark jungles that hold secret treasures, and into our hidden emotions when he has scored the human experience. Having won the Oscar five times, he holds the record for any composer with 52 nominations, 17 of which were for a few of the 29 movies he has scored for Steven Spielberg. And what other 90 year old do you know who can sell out concert halls and venues with 30,000 seats? To say the least, I am a fan.
On this occasion, I wanted to draw my own interpretation of the maestro, who we all know wields a lightsaber baton. The Force is strong in this one.


He’s John Williams, and you’re not.

Away in a Manger

As we enter the Christmas week of a second strange year in a row, I wanted to share with you my official Christmas card for 2021. The art itself was created with watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil – a little handmade touch in this digital world of ours.

Away in a Manger is one of the most popular Christmas hymns ever written. Strangely enough, its origin is one of dubious distinction, for it is unclear as to who are the authors.

The first publication of the poem was in 1882 by an anonymous author, and only included the first two stanzas. Confusion reined as to authorship, because the lyrics were titled Luther’s Cradle Song, saying that the poem was written by Martin Luther for his children in the 1500s. Perhaps this was just a fanciful claim by “Anonymous” to lend importance to the words, because there has never been found any version written in Luther’s native German predating this American publication. People read it, believed it, and perpetuated the false Luther authorship idea in continued publications for many years. In 1892, the third and final stanza was published with attribution once again falsely going to Luther. Others later laid claim to writing the third stanza, so the authorship continued to be muddy.

Musically, this song has been performed in dozens of settings, however, just two continue to remain popular to this day. The version that starts on a high note and is sung by many in the United States was published in 1887 by James R. Murray who falsely claimed Martin Luther also wrote the tune. By 1914, the melody was attributed to someone named Carl Meuller, a man who is otherwise unknown to history. So, even with this, we really don’t know who the composer is!

The other popular melody we know today that starts on a deeper note was written by William J. Kirkpatrick and first published in 1895. It is his version that carried this Christmas song beyond America’s borders to become beloved around the world.

Kirkpatrick was born in Ireland, and later moved to America where he settled in the Philadelphia area, eventually becoming involved in being a church organist and composer for the Methodist Episcopal denomination. Whether written on his own or with writing partner John R. Sweney, Kirkpatrick published many hymns that richly live on to this day such as ’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus, Blessed Be Thy Name, Will Your Anchor Hold, A Wonderful Savior is Jesus My Lord, Redeemed, O To Be Like Thee, Lead Me to Calvary, We Have an Anchor, and My Faith Has Found a Resting Place.

William J. Kirkpatrick passed away in 1921 while working on a new hymn at his desk. This past August, I visited his grave at the West Laurel Hill Cemetery near Philadelphia.

If only we all could leave behind such a legacy.


Adoration of the vermin.

William Wray

I love the work of William Wray.

When I first met him a number of years ago, he went by Bill Wray, and was working on painting backgrounds for Nickelodeon’s show The Mighty B. His work was well-known in the animation industry having had a tremendous influence on the look of The Ren & Stimpy Show among other films and TV shows, and he contributed to comics over the years, including MAD Magazine.

Besides being a brilliant cartoonist, Bill started doing incredible fine art painting where his subject matter of choice is primarily urban landscapes, and he started going by his more formal name. He seems to get so much emotion with what seems like minimal paint strokes in his work, but as any artist knows, it takes YEARS to hone such skills to know how to lay the paint down, and how much to leave out. In short, whether cartooning or fine art painting, William Wray makes my jaw drop.

Back in 2018, I got my first in-house gig at Warner Bros. TV Animation as part of the story team for the Netflix show Green Eggs & Ham. (Hopefully our Season 2 gets released soon!) I really didn’t know who all I might have known was already at WB, so on my first day I went down to the commissary alone to look over day 1 paperwork while I ate. Who should I bump into but William, who promptly welcomed me to WB and joined me for lunch. Turned out that he was working downstairs from me as the Art Director for the Harley Quinn show.

As I learned over the year that I was at WB, William loved to sketch folks at lunch without them knowing it. It’s a great way to stay sharp by observing people and their behavior, and I do it from time to time, but William was a fiend for it. What a treat one day to find that I had become one of his subjects from across the dining area!


From William Wray’s sketchbook drawn at The Burbank Studios, formerly NBC headquarters.


Earlier this year I heard that great illustrator Jason Seiler was going to be interviewing William as a part of Jason’s podcast series Face the Truth. Jason often invites fans to send in drawings of his interview subjects, so I thought it would be fun to contribute something to his talk with William.


A little colored pencil and white gouache on brown paper help craft an exaggerated interpretation of William Wray.


Well, there you have it. Artists drawing artists. It’s what we do, and sometimes we fall prey to each other. One way or the other, it’s always an adventure.

The Con is On!

Walt Disney – “I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a…”



Today’s the day! After church, all you Disney fans in the San Francisco Bay Area should head on over to Mouse-Con in Concord. You can meet me, my pal and another former Disney artist Rick Law, the voice actors I mentioned in Thursday’s post, lots of other special guests, and lots of dealers with Disney merch!

Rick and I will actually be giving a talk together at 1pm on one of the stages telling stories of our times at the House of Mouse!

Details are at Mouse-Con’s website by clicking on this sentence!