While a lot of schools may have started already, that doesn’t mean summer is over. It’s still pretty hot out there, and that heat can really slow down a superhero. There’s a reason Batman only goes out at night.
About that topic of schools starting in August – bleah! School started in my adopted town of Los Angeles back on August 13!!! When I was a kid, I’d still be splashing around in a pool, lake, or lawn sprinkler at that time of year! For me, school always started after Labor Day. (For you folks in other countries, Labor Day is a holiday we have here in the USA in early September.) I’m not sure what the rationale was for starting later, except maybe because most of our schools where I grew up in New Jersey did NOT have air conditioning. Even in early September, it could be toasty, but it would soon cool down as fall encroached upon our summer.
Of course, now I don’t go to school at all. So there!
When I was a kid, my dad let me read his old comics from the ’50s, and what he collected most was Uncle $crooge comics. Scrooge became my favorite Disney character, so I was influenced at an early age by the work of Carl Barks, creator of the ol’ duck.
This love for Disney comics even led to me writing a Donald Duck story that ended up getting published in Europe and here in the States! (The story was called The Kings of Chaos.)
This inked doodle of ol’ Scrooge McDuck came forth in my sketchbook recently. It’s only surprising that the Disney ducks haven’t shown up there way more often!
My sister reached out to me last week, and told me that her two-year-old wants to be Batman, but he refuses to drink his milk. She told him that Batman could only be big and strong because he drank HIS milk. My nephew didn’t believe her.
Hoping this visual helps him understand that even superheroes need their calcium.
I woke up this morning oblivious to the fact that today is a milestone in the life of cartoonist Sergio Aragonès. Today is his 80th birthday!!! I read about it online. The reason for not realizing that today Sergio is 80 is because he seems like a man twenty years younger creating wonderful whimsical drawings more common for a man fifty years younger!!!!
Sergio is a cartoonists cartoonist. He’s the guy we all would like to be professionally speaking – prolific and hilarious. I also like to think of him as the Hemingway of cartoonists. He is a man who has lived a life of adventure around the world. He has the BEST stories of where he has been, and what has happened in those locales. They are absolutely amazing (and have cropped up in his comics from time to time). “The world’s most interesting man” is an amateur compared to Sergio.
I first met Sergio at a National Cartoonists Society gathering in New York City in 1996. The next year I moved to California where seeing Sergio became a regular thing, and a friendship ensued. I became involved with a Los Angeles based professional cartoonist organization called the Comic Art Professional Society, otherwise known as CAPS. Sergio was one of its co-founders and biggest cheerleader.
Ten years ago, CAPS established The Sergio Award, unbeknownst to Sergio himself. The first recipient at a banquet was Sergio’s fellow MAD Magazine artist Jack Davis. After Jack was given an award, CAPS gave one to Sergio as well. All the artists in the room were aware there would be two awards that night except for Sergio. We all had drawn tribute art to Sergio that was published in a second secret program book that was handed out when the award was being presented. Below is the piece I did for Sergio featuring his popular comic book characters Groo the Wanderer and his dog Rufferto.
The very next year after that banquet, it was the 25th anniversary of the Groo the Wanderer comic book. While drawn by Sergio, it is written by one of CAPS’ other co-founders Mark Evanier. The gang at CAPS each drew their own version of Groo which was put together in a big jam drawing and was published in the pages of San Diego Comic Con’s program book that year. Some of the folks who contributed their own version of Groo included illustrator William Stout, Beetle Bailey cartoonist Mort Walker, Momma comic strip artist Mell Lazarus, current MAD Magazine editor Bill Morrison, Mulan director Tony Bancroft, children’s book illustrator Mark Fearing, Usagi Yojimbo comic book artist Stan Sakai, and comic book legend Dan Spiegle to name a few.
Of course, I contributed one to the above composition. Can you find it in the crowd?
Well, all this was written just to honor the man of the hour by saying a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Sergio!
Spider-man Homecoming is the big new movie this coming weekend, and I am especially excited to hear the music written for the film. Past Spider-man movies have set a very high bar for exciting compositions from some of film music’s best composers such as Danny Elfman, Christopher Young, James Horner, and Hans Zimmer. No doubt this latest iteration of the web slinger will meet that bar and possibly exceed it with music slung by Michael Giacchino!
Giacchino is the perfect choice to bring something fresh and exciting to a character that Disney/Marvel hopes to make cinematically fresh and exciting again. This project comes after a year where the composer has set his own personal bar very high with amazing work for films that include Zootopia, Star Trek Beyond, Doctor Strange, Star Wars: Rogue One, and the upcoming War for the Planet of the Apes.
So, in anticipation of some thrilling musical delights, I present to you my latest inked and watercolored piece called “Giacchino-man!”
By the way, those musical notes are from the opening of the original Spider-man TV show theme song from the 1970s. 😉
Now, I know that title above sounds a bit politically auspicious, especially to those of us who know Bill Morrison, but no, I’m not suggesting anything regarding Washington D.C. Rather, I’d like to call attention to the National Cartoonists Society that is about to invade Portland, Oregon for their annual Reuben Awards Convention over the Memorial Day weekend, and they are being led there by NCS President Bill Morrison!
If you don’t know Bill, he is an amazing illustrator/comic book artist/art director/editor/and probably a few other things that escape my memory right now. You’ve seen his work in the past as cover artist for many Simpsons comic books at Bongo Comics, he has drawn comics for DC and Dark Horse, he art directed the animated Futurama show, and back in the day he illustrated movie posters for films such as House, The Little Mermaid, Bambi, Cinderella, Peter Pan, The Land Before Time, and Mickey Mouse in The Prince & the Pauper to name a few.
Two years ago Bill asked me if I’d do a caricature of him for use in the NCS member magazine, The Cartoon!st. I dragged my feet, wondering what I could do in a clever way. As Bill and I were talking about plans for the Reubens this year, and with his hair style, and the fact that I drive by Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank, CA all the time, it seemed like I should draw “Big Bill” holding a Reuben Award instead of a hamburger.
In case you don’t know what Bill Morrison looks like in real life, here’s a photo of him back when he was President of another comic art organization in Los Angeles called CAPS on the night of a banquet in honor of Stan Lee when he received CAPS’ coveted Sergio Award.
So there you have it. If you live in Portland, get ready because the cartoonists are about to invade your fine city led by Bill Morrison and his wife Kayre who have planned what is sure to be a GREAT convention!
Over the past year, Bongo Comics’ Bill Morrison and I have been working on putting together a fundraiser for the National Cartoonists Society Foundation. This week we launched the auction on Ebay.
We have 85 items featuring the work of over 70 of the nation’s top cartoonists, illustrators, and animators, most of whom donated their own work to our efforts for which we thank them!
All the money raised goes to the NCS Foundation, a fully licensed 501(c)(3) charity, to help them continue their work in assisting cartoonists in need, providing scholarships to students, and further promoting the cartoon arts which has been the hallmark of the National Cartoonists Society since its inception in 1946.
To see the art and to place bids, CLICK HERE to go directly to the NCS Foundation seller page on Ebay!
Today is Columbus Day, which means here in the States that many people have the day off from work. The weather is still nice in much of the country, so I imagine there will be quite a few who will make it out to whack a few balls around the course. I love playing golf, but my play is usually pretty monstrous.
As you can see with today’s monster, it is actually a repeat of my Monster Month logo eyes, but in a way you haven’t seen them before! A couple of years ago, my pal Mike Kunkel (creator of the comic Herobear and the Kid) got a few cartoonist friends together to play a round of golf in a mini tournament that he called The Cartoonist Cup. One of the requirements of play was that we had to get our own golf balls made, which I thought was a terrific idea. It isn’t hard nor too expensive to get your own design onto a golf ball.
We had a GREAT time on the course that day with a foursome that included Mike, myself, Jason Lethcoe and Stephen Silver. The reason you only see three balls in the photo is because Stephen didn’t realize we were supposed to get balls made, so at the end of the game, just the three of us traded balls with each other. They serve as a fun reminder of a good time with friends.
There is talk of getting together sometime to do this again, so perhaps in a future Monster Month I’ll have a new golf ball to share with you!