Friday, December 3, 2010

The Happy Happy Face of Unspeakable Evil

Just showed my wife Katsuhiro Otomo's opening sequence to the movie Robot Carnival and, not necessarily because she is a liberal of the most bleeding heart type, she was of course thoroughly appalled. I tried explaining that it was the tragic irony of the piece that rendered it so hysterically funny. She however remained impervious to my most convincing arguments. This led to a discussion of prettily-named weapons—specifically Fatman and Little Boy—and we smoked cigarettes while I argued the absolute necessity that these weapons, once conceived, had to be used…and by that time we were well away from the subject that began the discussion.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Master Hunter

I've been a several-weeks long tear through Stephen Hunter country, reading and re-reading the novels of this former Baltimore Sun movie critic. Hunter was the only movie critic I ever trusted to steer me toward a good movie (and warn me of the bad ones) and when I came across a book bearing his name on the spine I nabbed it up right quick.

The book was The Master Sniper, a WWII-set thriller centering on an elaborate assassination plot, a high-powered rifle with a unique and powerful night vision scope, and, of course, the titular master sniper. A terrific book and one I aim to re-read as soon as I snag another copy.

I followed this up with The Second Saladin and purchased a copy of Tapestry Of Spies (unread at the time I lost track of the book).

I stumbled across Target in 1985, around the time the movie came out and bought it because I was in love with Hunter's work as a novelist and movie critic and it sounded, based on the back cover blurb, to be a pretty darned good book.

Was it ever! Having recently read The Second Saladin, I was surprised to discover that Hunter had not merely adapted the screenplay into prose but had actually made the story his own, bringing into it characters from his previous novel, like Frenchy Short, Paul Charnas's handler in Saladin and later a player in Earl Swagger's adventures in Havana. Imagine: a movie novelization that doesn't suck. This alone ranks it among the top 5 movie novelizations of all time.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

KINDERTRAUMA!

I read this story for the first time in 1973, when it was reprinted for the umpteenth time in the pages of Weird Wonder Tales #1.  It was may have been my first exposure to the wild, woolly and utterly insane world of Basil Wolverton.

I was instantly traumatized.

This story terrified me in ways I have not begun to understand. I refused to keep it with my other comics, fearful that the giant eyeball—sensing my fear—might somehow escape from the pages of the comic and engulf me with its slimy protoplasmic body, I kept it in a drawer of my father's desk in the dining room. Every now and then I would sneak it out and peruse the piece, only to return it to the drawer, vowing never to look at it again, so help me God! But, as David Mamet observed, "Every fear hides a wish." Does this mean I wanted to be absorbed into the mass of a giant eyeball from the planet Venus? I can't say. I can say that drawings of giant eyeballs decorated the margins of my elementary school notebooks for months after. (Only to be given over to Martian tripods after reading The War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells.)







I have never forgotten this comic story, nor the way in which it warped my psyche at so young and impressionable an age. My horrified fascination with this story could explain why I glommed onto The Residents when Lou Stathis first introduced them to me in his music review column, then published in the pages of Heavy Metal magazine starting in 1980.



The resemblance is striking, no?

Monday, November 22, 2010

LIKE FATHER. LIKE SON.


Just finished watching the Leonard Nimoy-narrated doc "The Fly" Papers, included on Disk 2 of The Fly II Special Edition DVD and am reminded by how wonderful a film is The Fly II. Not as good as the film that spawned it, David Cronenburg's The Fly, but as worthy a successor as it was likely to get. The design of Brundlefly 2 alone is worth the price of admission and, should Todd McFarlane produce an action figure based on this (as he did of the first creature) I would be first in line to buy one.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Showcase No.79: DOLPHIN

In case anyone's curious, the cover to my Showcase #1 is inspired by this, Showcase #79 featuring the debut of J. Scott Pike's Dolphin. I have 40 copies of this comic.

Yeah, don't ask why. I just love the cover.

Oh, Wait A Minute…

I just changed this. Again. I can't stop. Please. Stop me.

Showcase No. 4: THE MIDNIGHT HOUR

And so, here we is, the last few publishable short pieces in my inventory. These belong, as did the contents of Showcase #2, to Jim Chambers and Jason Whitley, who were kind enough to indulge my addiction to obscurity yet again!

Showcase No. 3: FORTY WINKS

I'm on a roll, now. So many people ignored the first 2 issues that a third one was demanded! I'll simply wear them down, I thought, like the creek that polishes rocks to a high luster.

I simply forgot that that process takes centuries to yield the desired results.

Showcase No. 2: THE MIDNIGHT HOUR

So I did a second issue and guess what? I still have piles of them sitting around unsold! Rock 'em sock 'em robots!

Showcase No. 1: PIXIE

This is the first issue of Showcase, created originally to serve as a sample of my lettering. Then I thought: What if I were to keep doing these things, every once in a while put out a new issue and see where it goes? Slap a one dollar cover price and see if anyone'll buy it!

Answer: No one wants it. But, seeing your stuff in print is addictive and leads to pretensions to ambition. In example: Hey, if NO ONE wants to buy the first issue of my little comic, I bet twice as many people will not buy the second!

ASSASSIN PIXIE No.1

Due out soon: the first issue of the retooled Assassin Pixie #1 from me, Mad Genius Associate's Dr. C.A. Rotwang, card-carrying mad genius and heckuva a guy, once you get to know me.

Showcase No.5: JAMES K. POLK

This is exactly the time of night when I start wondering: Is there a God? The proper answer to which is: Does it matter? No, it really doesn't.

Anyhow, here's the cover to the latest issue of Showcase, published under the Mad Genius Associates imprint, which is really just me and my computer and some friends willing to let me have my manly way with their stuff. The latest is John Peters, friend and frequent collaborator. The stuff is his James K. & The Amazing Monochromatic Steamcoat, a piece he put together over 24 hours back in 2005. I slapped a new logo on it and not much else. Enjoy.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Selected Lettering and Production Credits

Listed below are my writing, production, and lettering credits, in chronological order.
  • Forty Winks: Pandora In The Big City #1-4 (1997-1998, Oddjobs, Limited) also co-creator, writer, design, production
  • Books of Lore: The Kaynin Gambit #1-4 (1998-1999, Peregrine Entertainment) also design, production
  • Forty Winks Christmas Special (1998, Peregrine Entertainment) also co-creator, writer, design, production
  • Frank Frazetta Fantasy Illustrated #4 (1998, Quantum Cat Entertainment)
  • Forty Winks TV Party Special (1999, Peregrine Entertainment) also co-creator, writer, design, production
  • Forty Winks: The Fabled Pirate Queen of the South China Seas #1-3 (1999, Peregrine Entertainment) also co-creator, writer, design, production
  • Books of Lore: Shape of Evil #1-2 (1999, Peregrine Entertainment) also design, production
  • Countess Vladimira: Blood Relations #1-3 (1999, Peregrine Entertainment)
  • Independent Voices #2 (1999, Peregrine Entertainment) also design, production
  • Books of Lore: Shattered Lives #1-2 (2000, Peregrine Entertainment) also design, production
  • Books of Lore: Storyteller #1-3 (2000, Peregrine Entertainment) also design, production
  • Forty Winks/Buzzboy Special #1 (2000, Peregrine Entertainment) also co-creator, writer, design, production
  • Forty Winks: Mr. Horrible #1-2 (2000, Peregrine Entertainment) also co-creator, writer, design, production
  • Independent Voices #3 (2001, Peregrine Entertainment) also design, production
  • Buzzboy Volume I: Trouble In Paradise (2002,  Sky Dog Comics) also editor
  • Buzzboy Volume II: Monsters, Dreams, & Milkshakes (2003, Sky Dog Comics)
  • Kolchak: The Night Stalker: Devil In The Details (2003, Moonstone Books)
  • Kolchak: The Night Stalker: Pain Most Human (2003, Moonstone Books)
  • Moonstone Noir: Johnny Dollar (2003, Moonstone Books)
  • Vampire: The Masquerade Volume 2 (2003, Moonstone Books) 
  • More Fund Comics (2003, Sky Dog Comics)
  • SLAMM! The Hardboiled Fiction Of C.J. Henderson (2004, Moonstone Books)
  • Buzzboy: Sidekicks Rule! #1 (2006, Sky Dog Comics)
  • Negative Burn #8 (2007, Image Comics)