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.

The Penguin

Oswald Cobblepot, making crime look respectable since December of 1941. That’s right, the Penguin turns 80 years old this month.



Another page from my sketchbook that was colored in Photoshop. With a bit of DNA from the animated Batman show, thought I’d take a stab at my impression of the Penguin.

Batman Day 2021

Hey, hey, hey Superman – it’s not always about you! Today just happens to be Batman Day, so be a pal and step aside.


Perhaps Batman has a little neck envy.


Last year my friend and fellow cartoonist Jeff Knurek reached out to me to see if I could do some character designs for a comic book project he was involved with. Jeff normally writes and draws the Jumble comic strip/puzzle that appears in newspapers and online, and he invents games (anyone ever hear of Slammo/Spikeball?), but he was developing this comic book that was taking on the world of electrical science with an adventure featuring twin teenagers getting involved in something over their heads.

Here’s the first comic drawn by Jeff Knurek published in 2020.

Since it was a tech story, I got to thinking that maybe the villain should take after one of the big tech bosses from the real world. So, I sketched out these three potential villains purely based on (not actual caricatures of) Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Steve Jobs (Apple), and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook). They all seemed like plausible villains, right? Which one do you think Jeff chose to draw in his comic book? If you guessed the one inspired by Jeff Bezos, you would be correct.

Incidentally, back in my early days of working in animation, I was in a meeting with Steve Jobs who was not very villainous in person. But that’s a story for another time.

Tax Day 2020

Since April 15 is usually the day, it seems awfully odd to me to type this today, but 2020’s tax day is finally upon us TODAY. I think ol’ Uncle $crooge here is oblivious to that fact, because no doubt he owes a few sheckels to Uncle Sam.

You know, two cartoonists most influenced me when I was a child. The first was Peanuts creator Charles Schulz. The second was Carl Barks, the man who invented many characters for his Disney comics stories such as Scrooge McDuck, the Beagle Boys, Gyro Gearloose, Magica DeSpell, and the list goes on. He also invented the idea of ol’ Scroogey being able to swim through his three cubic acres of cash as if it was water off a duck’s back.


A little morning swim is good for the pores.


This is my take on a classic pose Barks drew his signature character in many times in many of the 500 stories he did for Disney comics. If you don’t know his work, definitely use some of your tax refund this year to pick up some of the great hardcover reprints that have been published by Fantagraphic Books in the past few years!

Beetle Bailey

Today is my pop’s birthday, the man who most influenced me to be a cartoonist even though he may never have realized it.

When I was a kid, my father loved comics. He’d come home from his job in the business world, and we’d get down on the floor and he would read the newspaper funnies to me every day before I knew how to read. He loved comic strips like Nancy, Peanuts, and Beetle Bailey.


My pop reading the funnies to my little brother and me back in the 1970s.


What my dad liked, I liked. Back in January of this year, I came across this great piece I created in my youth. I love how this image of Sarge, a character created for newspaper comics, is surrounded by a background of newsprint. I also love how it looks like it wasn’t finished, yet it looks kind of cool in this unfinished state.


I believe I was nine years old when I made this.


Due to becoming a cartoonist myself as an adult, I ended up becoming friends with Mort Walker, the creator of Beetle Bailey, and was able to introduce my pop to the legendary cartoonist. Dad enjoyed meeting my cartooning heroes. Maybe, in a way, they were Dad’s heroes, too.

Dad passed away last September, but his influence lives on. I’m still a cartoonist.

Heroes & Villains

Even if you’re Batman, it’s probably wise to follow the CDC’s recommendations for social distancing.


Perhaps in this case, the bigger villain is the Coronavirus.

Batman & Robin

Happy Batman Day!!!

When I was working on the Green Eggs and Ham show at Warner Bros., I was chatting with some colleagues who shared an office with each other. Lorenzo Martinez was joking that he and Sarah Arakaki were Batman and Robin, to which Sarah commented that she was Batman in that equation.

I thought that image seemed funny in my head, especially since Sarah is a bit short, and Lorenzo is overly tall. So, when I had a moment, I decided to turn that into a real image. This was the result.


The Dark Knight and Boy Wonder instilling fear in the hearts of their enemies.


Hopefully you’ll find the image funny on its own merit since you all probably don’t know Lorenzo or Sarah. What you should know about them, though, is that they are brilliant animation layout artists. Those are the people who design the environments – the sets – in animation.

Lorenzo is a veteran going back to films like The Little Mermaid, and more recently was the layout supervisor for the animated sequences of Mary Poppins Returns. Sarah is new to the business with Green Eggs being her first show. She’s got a very bright future ahead of her! Together with Tyler Gentry who I worked with years ago on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, they make up the layout department on Green Eggs & Ham coming soon to a Netflix near you!