Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wrong in so many ways

Offered without comment, other than to say it's fun.

Bugs Bunny in "Glen or Glenda"

Original Art Sundays, No. 9: Surrealist Cowgirls, p. 8

After midnight on a busy (and mostly successful) day, so technically it's Sunday.
This was a very late-night page, got a burst of energy on this one. I rather like the layout, with the shape of the cave echoing the top of Sparth's head.
Popped some heavy blacks and messed around with fonts more than I should. It works, but you really have to click the thumbnail to see it properly.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

This just in

Brill Building songwriter Ellie Greenwich has died at 68.
Her songwriting contributions to the world informed our lives. It's sad to think there will be no more.
Here's a Beach Boys version of a song she composed with Phil Spector and her then-husband Jeff Barry.

Another co-composition. This one expresses her raw emotional range. It's both easy and wrong to dismiss this work as a product of a bygone era- there's an eternal aspect to this, with the harmonies and pure voice.

Finally, here she is singing her own material.

I've avoided some of the obvious ones like River Deep Mountain High, in favor of some of the more vulnerable material.

Tull meets Shankar!

Okay, this happened a while ago, but it is still noteworthy.
Done as a series of benefit concerts for Mumbai, these shows present a singular opportunity for the marrying of musical ideas.
My first real prog concert was seeing Curved Air open for Tull in the early 70s. I was hooked instantly.
I've watched Tull and/or Anderson evolve musically over the decades. Anderson's solo work, in particular, reinforces my notion that although there are singular aspects to every culture, many of the musical forms have more commonalities than they do differences. I don't hold with the old saw of music being "the universal language", but I suspect we can learn about each other by noting the similarities between, for example, Celtic and Indian forms, despite their use of different scales (Eurpoean notation vs. pentatonic).
Case in point: the tour of Tull with Anoushka Shankar sitting in.
This from Ian Anderson's end of year letter to the fans:
New studio works will commence in the next weeks. Some music recorded in 2007 has to be finished and it would be nice if, after writing and performing new tunes for and with Anoushka, we could get together for long enough to record them. But, as AS is a busy gal, and currently busy with Dad playing Pandit Ravi’s new concerto for Sitar and Orchestra it might take a while for our diaries to coincide again.
Okay, back to me.
I wish this were better than a mediocre audience video. There should be a decent commercial release of this material; it's so good!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Original Art Sundays, No. 8: Surrealist Cowgirls, p. 7

Well, it says p. 8, but it's really p. 7.
Some of the gags area bit on the nose, like the foothills.
Lord Sparth's conflict with Babcock harks back to a story I began ages ago as a solo Babcock story. Its intended destination was a webcomic contest put on by Dark Horse, who I would dearly love to work with on something. I've sent out feelers on editing jobs with them, called a couple times, and despite getting postive feedback on my ideas from the editor at San Diego, had no response to the communication.
Well, these things take time, I suppose.
Anyway, been thinking about the Cowgirls a lot lately, and the fun I could have expanding their world.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ah, yes, the superhero Western

I'm usually not much on the whole mash-ups thing ( do we even still say that?), but this was too much fun.
Mind, there have been some decent superhero Western comics.
There's Denny O'Neill and Jim Aparo's mini-epic for Charlton, Wander (okay, more of an SF story than a superhero, but still elements).
The original Ghost Rider comes to mind. A Western supernatural superhero (say that three times fast!).
The Western Batman, Zorro, is a perennial favorite. His current incarnation from Dynamite is quite strong, with subtler characterizations than might be expected.
The most appealing to me remains The Lone Ranger.
There's DC's Vigilante and El Diablo, Marvel's flawed by ambitious Red Wolf, the SF superheroine Dawnstar in the Legion of Super-Heroes, and arguably, the Man With No Name revisioned by Vertigo as Preacher.
I feel like I should have something quite profound to say about all this, but it's late. Let's just tickle the idea for tonight!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Original Art Sundays, No. 7a: Surrealist Cowgirls, p. 6

Extra post to get back on schedule with the Cowgirls!
This is still part of the 24 hour comics challenge.
Okay, this is the point in the night where I begin to get a bit punchy. Note that the page numbering skips a page.
In naming this post, I'm reminded of the beginning of the Monkees' Daydream Believer, in which Davy asks for a room number and "7A!" is shouted at him.
Just 'cause I'm short, I know.
Needless to say, I found my pen drive at work. The world is safe for more of the Cowgirls- for now.
Once again, blacks honed in Photoshop, some gradients and textures added just for increased weight of the page.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Original Art Sundays #7: Gnidrolog: Gnosis

Slight change of pace today.
For the life of me, I can't find the pen drive that has the Surrealist Cowgirls pages on it. I think I left it at work, so I guess I'll know tomorrow.
Let this be a lesson to us all: back up your work!
Meanwhile, just to stay on schedule, here's a piece I did about 10 years ago. I am loath to post work this old, but here we are. This was proposed cover art for the album Gnosis by Gnidrolog.
The band loved it but declined to use it. I was nonplussed by this till their keyboard player, Nessa Glen, let me in on the skinny. The twin brothers Goldring (the ones in the gray hats and tunics) regarded it as THEIR band at this point, and did not really want pictures of anyone else on the cover of this particular album.
I had done a poster for them previously, which sold fairly well at a couple festivals.
They finally decided to use a cover made of typographic effects and gradients, which was OK, but I like mine better.
So today's humbling lessons, Zen masters and mistresses:
1. Back up your files.
2. Keep track of your hardware.
3. Know what your client REALLY wants!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

da bode' strikes again!

I grabbed this great photo from Golden Age Comic Book Stories, one of the intriguing blogs I follow. You can find the link in my list as well.
This time around, they're posting the stunning Purple Pictography run, which concluded with episodes written by Vaughn and drawn by the so powerful Bernie Wrightson.
I believe the Purple Pictography stuff has been reprinted a couple times. It's in Wrightson's book A Look Back, at least the Wrightson/Bode' collorations, it's in one of the Fantagraphics trades (I think- my Bode' stuff is upstairs), and Fantagraphics did a stand-alone color comic of it in the 90s. But it's still a treat to see it here. Besides, I think these are scans from original printed pages in Swank.
However, the remark at the end of the Golden Age post comments can be inferred as Bernie being unhappy with his work with da bode'.
Well, I chatted Wrightson up on this very issue last year at San Diego, and he had nothing but kind words for Vaughn. Said it was a delight to work with him.
But then, Bernie seemed to have kind words for most folks!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Original Art Sundays #6: Surrealist Cowgirls, p. 5

The story takes shape, as much as a silly story can.
Again, some added Photoshop values just to give the page a bit of weight. Also, I'm leaning more and more to digital lettering. It's somewhat austere compared to hand work, but legibility is the watchword.
Maybe I'll take a page from the book of Waller (and many others) and create a digital font based on my own best characters.
Notice I did not replace the hand lettered caption of Maggie's mule. I like the convention of perpetual joy and innocence in the mule/whale. He has several functions in these stories.
1. he always smiles.
2. he sums up the situation in one word, always a thought. He never speaks. Much like some of the animals in Oz, we don't know if he can or not, but we know he doesn't.
3. when necessary, he saves the day!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Original Art Sundays #5: Surrealist Cowgirls, p. 4

Here we go with another Cowgirls page!
At the time I was doing this one, I'd done three pages in two hours and was starting to feel a bit rushed. No excuses for the work, just reporting in.
The story is a mish-mash of a couple stories I'd been kicking around for years. I really wanted to avoid the "Scooby-Doo panic moment" but there was no way around it. Besides, even though it's a cornball, it's kind of fun.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Encyclopedic Efforts

I'm hard at work on my last entry for the forthcoming Greenwood Press Encyclopedia of Comic Books.
My entries are on:
Craig Russell
Curt Swan
Ghost Rider
Summer of Love
Dave McKean
Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary
The Homeless Channel
Satire in Comics
I'm also editing/advising on nine entries by other comic scholars.
I'm honored to be part of this work. As Jim Morrison says, proud to be part of this number!