Chad In MAD!

Just two weeks ago, I was attending the National Cartoonists Society’s annual Reuben Awards convention held in Memphis, Tennessee this year. Our first day at the convention was spent at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital touring the facility, then drawing for the sick kids. What a special day that was.

As we split into tour groups of 5 people each, I was a part of a very special group because it included the legendary Paul Coker, Jr. I’ve known Paul for about a dozen years or so, but probably haven’t seen him in person in about that time since we live several states away from each other. What a treat to spend a chunk of the day with him and his wife Rosemary.


Yours truly and Paul Coker in front of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN just two weeks ago.
Yours truly and Paul Coker in front of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN just two weeks ago.


For those of you unfamiliar with Paul’s name, he has drawn for MAD Magazine for many decades, and has had a great career illustrating books, posters, comic strips, and even designed for animation. Ever heard of a little TV Christmas special called Frosty the Snowman? Yep, he did the character designs. We were drawing for the kids with Paul sitting one table away from me. While I was drawing for a child, the father of that child looked past me over at Paul and said, “Whoa, now THAT’S a good Frosty!” I then let him know that Paul was THE Frosty guy, and suddenly my Mickey Mouse meant nothing to him.

I don’t blame him, because it is an honor to get a Paul Coker original. It is even a greater honor to BECOME a Paul Coker original!! That day Paul told me that he drew me into his latest MAD assignment!

Well, just this past week, Paul’s latest assignment for MAD hit the newsstand! It is a funny two pager written by Kenny Keil showing what special perks folks get for the latest high priced Disneyland season pass. When it came time to poke fun at Disney animation artists, Paul put me into the hot seat, and I LOVE it!


I was THRILLED to be fired by Paul Coker in this month's MAD!
I was THRILLED to be fired by Paul Coker in this month’s MAD!


If you’d like to see the whole article illustrated by Paul, it is in the issue of MAD in comic shops and newsstands NOW. To wet your whistle, here it is real small.


Art by the great Paul Coker!
Art by the great Paul Coker!

Darwyn Cooke

Very sorry to learn today of the sudden passing of Darwyn Cooke, one of the greatest comic book artists ever. I had little interest in superhero comics until I saw his work, work that is so tremendously inspiring to even fellow cartoonists.

Back in 2012, I attended a charity auction that was raising money, in part, to help the Hairy Cell Leukemia Foundation in the name of Dave Stevens, the creator of the Rocketeer who succumbed to the disease only four years before. Darwyn was working on his own take on “The Rocketeer” at the time, and donated this drawing to the auction of which I was very happily the winning bidder. It is original Darwyn inks over printed pencils by Dave Stevens. It seems especially poignant today since cancer claimed both men.


Darwyn Cooke inks over Dave Stevens pencils.
Darwyn Cooke inks over Dave Stevens pencils.

House of Secrets

So, how was everyone’s weekend? Did you have a good time with Free Comic Book Day on Saturday and then Mother’s Day on Sunday? My weekend was pretty swell, too. Here’s a photo from Saturday…


Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, and myself on the right in Burbank's House of Secrets.
Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, in the background editor Shannon Eric Denton, and myself on the right in Burbank’s House of Secrets.


Now, I don’t usually post celebrity shots here on the ol’ blog, but felt this was related to my profession since it happened in a comic book shop on Free Comic Book Day. I headed down to my local haunt, House of Secrets on Olive Avenue in Burbank, CA. (They are the shop that The Big Bang Theory based their comic shop on.)

House of Secrets had announced that Alan Tudyk was coming in that day to sign copies of his new comic book Spectrum, which just so happened to be one of the freebies that day. I had wanted to meet him because he has just been killing it with voices for Disney films of late. He was King Candy in Wreck It Ralph, the Duke of Weselton in Frozen, a brief cameo in Zootopia as Duke Weaselton, Alistair Krei in Big Hero 6, and he has a part in the upcoming Moana. While I did not work on those films, I sure have been impressed with his vocal performances, each sounding different from one another, and he continues to act in live-action productions such as the Jackie Robinson movie 42 (BRUTAL performance), and a little something coming up I like to call Star Wars: Rogue One.

The surprise to everyone that day, though, was that Alan brought along his pal from his days on a show called Firefly, Nathan Fillion. Nathan currently stars as Richard Castle on, oddly enough, the TV show Castle, and from what I have learned, he has a rabid fan following. This was learned when I nonchalantly posted this picture on Twitter Saturday night and it was immediately retweeted by about 30 people all of whom are dedicated to all things Nathan Fillion. I’m used to people generally ignoring my tweets, such as how all 52 people who liked this photo treated the rest of my tweets.

So, as you can see, it was a pretty swell Free Comic Book Day this year, all thanks to Paul Grimshaw and his House of Secrets staff!


By the way, if you would like to follow me on Twitter where I post little jokes and my art, CLICK HERE!

I am also on Instagram as of this past January where I also post loads of art. CLICK HERE!

And lastly, I have a Chad Frye • Illustration Guy Facebook page for followers (CLICK HERE!)

Red’s Planet

Today I wanted to sing the praises of my friend Eddie Pittman. He has a brand new graphic novel for kids (adults will enjoy it, too!) that comes out TODAY!! It is called Red’s Planet, and features a little girl who has an exciting alien adventure. I’ll let Eddie’s YouTube video fill you in…



Eddie and I both worked for Disney Feature Animation at the same time, but he was in the Florida studio while I was in California. Our paths kept crossing over the years, and he even came out to work for Disney TV Animation for awhile on the show Phineas & Ferb as a story guy. (He even did the voice of Darth Vader in their Star Wars episode!) Then, last year, Eddie and I were fortunate to be on the same team of cartoonists from the National Cartoonists Society to travel to the Middle East with the USO to draw for U.S. troops! (You can see pictures of our adventures by CLICKING HERE!)

So, please check out Eddie’s fun new book safe for the whole family. You can find it in bookstores all over the country, but if you prefer doing your shopping online, Amazon has the hardcover book for a GREAT price! CLICK HERE to go THERE!

Batman vs. Superman

With all the ads out there lately for the next couple of big costumed caper movies, it seems like none of our imaginary heroes are playing nice with each other anymore. Marvel has their Civil War, and this week, DC has Batman v Superman. Can’t we all just get along?

SPOILER ALERT! I am about to show you how the epic battle begins between the Dark Knight (Ben Affleck – Batfleck) and the Man of Steel (Henry Cavill). Not having seen the actual movie myself is really of no consequence. I KNOW this is what happens, and by refusing to remove their capes, you can only guess the troubles to come…


epic battle
Edna Mode knows a thing or two about cape calamities.


I liked how Batfleck turned out, so here's a close-up for you.
I liked how Batfleck turned out, so here’s a close-up for you.


A couple of months ago I was hired to do a corporate illustration in a comic book style for the ServiceMax company. Specifically, I was asked to draw the piece in an old school Marvel/DC Comics style showing a business-suited hero pulling an office building with screaming workers away from the brink of destruction. The art director gave me a rough sketch of what he wanted, and after a little back and forth, the hero emerged.


You'd be screaming too if all your toilets were rupturing from being severed from the plumbing.
You’d be screaming too if all your toilets were rupturing after being severed from the plumbing.


This style is a little out of my wheelhouse, but was fun to draw for the client nonetheless. It is nice when someone hires you to do something they haven’t seen you do before. We artists often like the challenge. It breaks up the monotony of doing the things you get pigeon-holed into doing all the time. Thanks, ServiceMax!

Twenty-One Artist Salute

This coming Saturday, August 16th, I will be participating in one last epic book signing event for The Sakai Project book published by Dark Horse Comics. I and twenty of my colleagues will be meeting at Meltdown Comics on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles from 4-6pm to sign our pages in the Usagi Yojimbo tribute book all to help raise just a little more money for our pal Stan Sakai needed for his wife’s cancer bills.

In addition to the book, they will be selling beautiful 13×19″ limited edition prints of just a few of the pieces in the book such as the one by Sergio Aragonès that was announced on CAPS’ Facebook page today. CLICK HERE to visit the CAPS’ Facebook page where special revelations about the upcoming signing will be posted all week.


Usagi Yojimbo 30


The following is the official press release from CAPS:

Los Angeles, CA – On Saturday, August 16, twenty-one members of the cartooning community will descend upon Meltdown Comics on Sunset Boulevard to sign copies of Dark Horse Comics’ recently released book “The Sakai Project” to help raise money for the medical bills of fellow cartoonist Stan Sakai, creator of Dark Horse’s “Usagi Yojimbo” comic book, now in its thirtieth year.

Fundraising efforts were initially spearheaded by the Comic Art Professional Society (CAPS), an organization of professional comic book artists and writers of which Stan Sakai is a member. Organized by artist Tone Rodriguez, CAPS began collecting original art last December for an online auction to lend a helping hand to Sakai, whose wife Sharon has been suffering from an inoperable brain tumor. As art poured in from the cartooning community, many pieces were custom drawings of Stan’s samurai rabbit creation Usagi Yojimbo.

Bill Morrison, a member of CAPS and an art director at Bongo Comics (publisher of “The Simpsons”), approached Sakai’s publisher, Dark Horse, about collecting these wonderful images into a book to also benefit the Sakais. Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson was enthusiastic about the idea, and offered to pay for the book’s publication so that all sales could go to the Sakais. Bill Morrison proceeded to volunteer his time to edit the book in tandem with Dark Horse editor Randy Stradley which was designed voluntarily by noted book designer Serban Cristescu. The result is a beautiful 160-paged hardcover art book featuring interpretations of Usagi Yojimbo by some of the top cartoonists in comics today.

Between the online auction and the book, the cartooning community came together in a unique way to help one of their own. Now twenty-one artists local to Los Angeles will gather one more time to help their friend with a fundraising book signing event.

Attending the signing event will be “The Sakai Project” contributors Sergio Aragonès (“Groo the Wanderer”, “MAD Magazine”), Mark Evanier (“Groo” writer), Tom Luth (“Groo” and “Usagi” colorist), William Stout (noted illustrator), Ricardo Delgado (“Age of Reptiles”), Jeff Keane (“Family Circus”), Rubèn Procopio (“Batman 66”), Bill Morrison (editor of “The Sakai Project”), Tone Rodriguez (“The Simpsons” comics), Dean Yeagle, Steven E. Gordon, Anson Jew, Benton Jew, Aidan Casserly, Chad Frye, Brad Rader, Patrick Scullin, Robert Stanley, Mark Dos Santos and Mike Kazaleh all joining with Stan Sakai (“Usagi Yojimbo”) himself.

Books will be sold for $45 each, or if fans already have the book, they will be charged a nominal $15 to have their books signed by the artists in attendance.

In addition to “The Sakai Project” book, there will be limited edition prints available exclusively at the event of four images from the book by artists attending the signing: Sergio Aragonès, Stan Sakai, William Stout, and Bill Morrison.

The event will take place on August 16 from 4-6pm at Meltdown Comics & Collectibles, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046. Thanks to Meltdown, all proceeds go to Sharon & Stan Sakai to help with their medical bills.


“The Sakai Project” Book Signing

As a contributor to The Sakai Project book, published last week by Dark Horse Comics, I will be participating in a big book signing this coming Saturday. Even Stan Sakai himself will be in attendance. If you are in the Los Angeles area, come on out and meet SEVENTEEN artists!


Sakai Project