A few years back I was asked to draw a fake comic book cover to be used on CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men. In television, deadlines are tight, so I pretty much turned around that first image in a couple of days which is no small fete considering I wasn’t up on my Manga techniques. They liked it so much they asked for two more. It was a busy few days to be sure.
At any rate, the episode turned out to be memorable for fans of the show. It involved a subplot with Charlie Sheen’s character needing to write a theme song for an animated TV show based on these Oshikuru comic books. I’m including some clips down at the bottom of the Oshikuru moments where you can see my comics in the shots, and a couple of stills.
As you may know if you have read recent blog posts, I have been involved with raising money to Help the Hodges via online eBay auctions. You can read all about the family in need by CLICKING HERE. But I mention it again here because I have donated some really nice large prints of two of my Oshikuru covers that have been autographed by the 2 1/2 men of Two and a Half Men – Charlie Sheen, Jon Cryer, and Angus Jones. These items are on eBay RIGHT NOW, and will end this Sunday, March 21.
So, if you’d like a chance at an unusual item from my flat files, and autographed by a few TV stars, here’s your window of opportunity. I posted links to eBay below each signed print below!
This year the San Diego Comic Con hit its 40th anniversary. This is the comic book fan convention that started them all, and continues to set the standard – well, if the standard you are looking for is an all-media convention. This con’s focus is primarily on movies and television for which the filmmakers and performers come out in droves to promote their upcoming projects. Comic Con also celebrates toys, card games, animation, video games, illustration, fantasy, science fiction, books and – oh yeah, comics.
This shot featuring a lifesize Transformer helps show a little of the crowded experience that defines Comic Con.
While I don’t attend every year, when I do go, it is purely to seek out and revel in the creative accomplishments of cartooning. If you can squeeze your way through the throngs of 125,000 fans (many of which come dressed as their favorite pop culture figures), you just might stumble across a great artist or two tucked between a few mega corporate booths. Many of these artists are creating spectacular work that really MUST be seen, but usually is not heralded by companies with big distribution channels. The independent spirit is alive and well at Comic Con.
But most of all, Comic Con is a spectacle. Every time you turn your head it’s another astonishing display. You might see giant robots, movie actors such as John Heder and Richard Dreyfuss, moms with strollers carrying lightsabers, movie directors, the cast of NBC’s Chuck or CBS’ Ghost Whisperer, someone speaking in Klingon, a girl who made a dress out of Warner Bros. big cloth giveaway bags, Matt Groening, Sergio Aragonès, twelve Wonder Women, a girl dressed as David Shannon’s book A Bad Case of Stripes, film score composers like Christopher Young and Bear McCreary, security throwing out people without badges, a family dressed like The Incredibles, etc. etc. Comic Con is a veritable wonderland.
So, for those of you who missed the menagerie, I have a few photos to help you experience Comic Con. Maybe next year you’ll grab your deerslayer and lightsaber like this fella and come as your own Jedi detective, too!
Each year at Comic Con, the Eisner Awards are given to the best and brightest talents in comics. Hosted by Bongo Comics’ Bill Morrison and assisted by his lovely wife Kayre, the Eisners have become a fun event of professional schmoozing and back slapping. It’s a true blend of the new young talent all the way through those who helped set the standard. If you attended, you would have rubbed shoulders with Neil Gaiman, Paul Levitz, Jane Wiedlin, Murphy Anderson, Stan Freberg, Bernie Wrightson, Bill Sienkiewicz, Gary Gianni, Scott Shaw!, Kazu Kibuishi, and many others.
My friend, Stan Sakai, has been drawing his terrific comic book Usagi Yojimbo for the past twenty five years. Two weeks ago, the San Diego Comic Con paid tribute to Stan and his creation with a panel and by featuring it in this year’s program book.
I belong to an LA based professional comics writer and cartoonist organization known as CAPS (Comic Art Professional Society), even having served as it’s president for four years or so. Stan Sakai is one of the founding members of the 30+ year old organization. Somehow, without Stan knowing, we all got together and did drawings of his famous character for a special tribute page in the Comic Con program book.
Compiled by fellow member Jim MacQuarrie, many of the guys participated with their version of Usagi. In case you can’t read their signatures in the image below, beginning with the top row, here are the names of the contributing artists: Mell Lazarus, Stan Lee, Jim Wheelock, Chad Frye, Dan Spiegle, Dean Yeagle; 2nd row: Gary Goldstein, Nat Gertler, Bob Foster, Scott Shaw!, Mike Gray, Jim MacQuarrie, Tim Burgard; 3rd row: Andy Mitchell, Steve Greenberg, Randy Reynaldo, Benton Jew, Michael Aushenker, Rubèn Procopio, Sergio Aragonès; 4th row: Kazu Kibuishi, Bill Morrison, Doug Gray, Anson Jew, Mike Kazaleh, and Floyd Norman.
If you are a professional in the cartooning biz, and are interested in learning more about CAPS, please visit their website at CAPScentral.org.
Today, May 2, in comic shops all across the United States it is Free Comic Book Day! Huzzah! Hooray!
“What does this mean?” you ask? It means that any comic shop worth it’s salt is giving away select comics just today. All you have to do is walk in to your local shop and see what they are offering! Different shops may have different comics, too! Judging by my work that you’ve seen me post here on the blog, you can probably tell I’m into the more cartoony stuff, and lately there have been more comics for kids coming out, especially from D.C. One of my new favorites is the Shazam series written and drawn by my friend Mike Kunkel. Even if your local shop doesn’t give this one away today, you should buy all four issues NOW!
But wait! There’s more……
Can’t get to your local comic shop you say? Have no fear! You can get something completely for FREE just for sending an e-mail from the comfort of your own home! My friends Tom Heintjes and David Folkman put together a really terrific magazine all about comics, animation and cartoonists called Hogan’s Alley. The latest issue (pictured here) even has an article on Al Hartley (he did Christian Archie comics), the cartoonist who gave me my start in the business. For today only, they are offering to mail you a copy of their great magazine for the effort you put forth in sending them an e-mail!
Here’s the official offer from Hogan’s Alley:
Even in the depths of the Great Recession, the best things in life are free! Mark your calendars for this Saturday, May 2: Free Comic Book Day. Send us an e-mail ON THAT DATE with your mailing address, and we’ll send you a FREE issue of Hogan’s Alley! No obligations, no strings attached; the only thing it will cost you is several hours as you enjoy the issue. (This offer is valid for all U.S. residents, whether you’re a current subscriber or not.) Remember the one condition — we must receive your e-mail request on Free Comic Book Day (May 2), not the day before or the day after. (Before and after that date, any requests for freebies will receive only scorn and derision.) Feel free to pass this offer along to anyone you know who might enjoy Hogan’s Alley!
So, here’s the official e-mail address to request your free issue of Hogan’s Alley: firstname.lastname@example.org
Well, here’s a comic combo no one ever thought they’d see – a Captain America splash page penciled by the late great Jack Kirby, inked by Chad Frye.
My friend Steve Wyatt organizes a comic book convention each year in San Jose, CA called Super-Con. This year the event takes place on May 16 and 17 at the San Jose Convention Center. One of the events during the weekend is an auction of original art with some of the money going to The Cartoon Art Museum of San Francisco, and some to the Hero Initiative (a non-profit that helps out cartoonists that have fallen on hard times).
Steve had four drawings for us to choose from to ink. They were all printed in blue line on bristol so we could just pick up and go. Besides the Kirby drawing, three other drawings were penciled for the event by my pal Bill Morrison of Bongo Comics, Alex Ross, and Mark Schultz. I chose the classic Kirby one to ink.
Steve has an impressive line-up of artists who are inking pages for this event. Along with mine, others in the auction were inked by Alex Niño, Ernie Chan, Adam Hughes, Frank Cho, Jason Palmer, Howard Chaykin, Micheal Golden, Talent Caldwell, Craig Hamilton, Buzz, Bill Morrison, Mick Gray, David Williams, Steve Mannion, Stuart Sayger, Mike Bair, Tony DeZuniga, Danny Bulanadi, Tim Vigil, Wade Furlong, Steve Leialoha, Bill Pressing, Pablo Marcos, Dan Brereton, and even more as the event draws closer.
So, if you are in the San Jose area that weekend, perhaps you’ll have a crack at this and the other pieces in the auction at the Con.
Living in the big sprawling city of Los Angeles, there always seems to be something cool happening. Seeing that this is a town of entertainment talent, that something cool often is related to my profession which I really dig! I love being around creative people. This past Thursday night, March 5, happened to be one of those cool nights.
My writer friend, Steve D’Arcangelo, and I drove to The Skirball Cultural Center right off the 405 freeway not far from the famous Getty Center museum. I’ve driven past the Skirball hundreds of times yet never made it my destination. It is known as a museum and fine arts center celebrating the Jewish contribution to the arts and American life. By reputation, I have heard of their wonderful exhibits over the years, but right now they have an exhibit that appealed directly to me – COMICS!
The exhibit ZAP! POW! BAM! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938-1950 is currently on display there until August 9 (together with a sister exhibit of comic book characters in the movies). This comics exhibit showcases the artwork of the many Jewish artists responsible for the creation of Batman, Superman, Captain America, and many more. Work by Joe Simon, Will Eisner, Jack Kirby, Bob Kane, Siegel and Shuster, and the great Jerry Robinson are among those featured.
Jerry Robinson, now in his late 80s, was the curator of this special exhibit, and flew out from New York to give a talk to a very full auditorium that night. For those of you unfamiliar with his work, his legacy is forever sealed as the creator of the Joker when he worked for Bob Kane as a youth, and after comic books went on to draw political cartoons for over 35 years in syndicated strips such as Life With Robinson and Still Life. Perhaps one of his most heroic real life moments was when he negotiated a financial settlement for Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster back in the late 1970s decades after they had been forced to sell their creation for a paltry sum back in the early days of comic books.
I first met Jerry about thirteen years ago through the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) and have been friendly ever since. When I was President of the Comic Art Professional Society (CAPS), back in January of 2007 we held a banquet in Jerry’s honor for his lifetime of inspiration. He may have created one of comicdom’s greatest villains, but Jerry is one of the good guys.
What made the evening even more special were the fact that many colleagues were in attendance that night. Folks like Bill Morrison (Bongo Comics), David Folkman (Hogan’s Alley magazine), Mell Lazarus (Momma comic strip), Keith Robinson (Making It comic strip), Marv Wolfman (comics writer), Mark Waid (comics writer), Tom Luth (comics colorist), Benton & Anson Jew (storyboard artists), Michael Aushenker (comics writer and artist), Bradley Rader (comics artist), and even Dan “Homer Simpson” Castellaneta.
Jerry Robinson, a true gentleman, a wonderful talent, and a tireless advocate for the work of cartoonists!