Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Odd Shank, Odd Camp

More odd drawings from the Spumco/Games days.
Ren and Stimpy by Don Shank, and Ren solo by Bob Camp.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

I went to the Newark Museum last weekend to view the Masters of American Comics exhibition there. It's a great museum, actually, if you've never been, and if you can get to it.
I knew most of the comic-strips on display there. I'd seen them in print before. Still, to view the original art was a treat.
Particularly the sketches of Lyonel Feininger, one of my favorite of the early 20th century strip artists. I'd never seen his work up close before, (his cartoon work, his fine art paintings are viewable in many museums).
I really must recommend to younger cartoonists to investigate these early geniuses of modern cartooning.
If you love the pushed stylizations of Gabe Swarr, of Lynne Naylor and Chris Reccardi, you may find you really love Feininger's work.
If you're impressed by the simplicity and power of SAMURAI JACK, or Glen Murikami's work, you'd possibly like the work of Roy Crane.
Love Bruce Timm? Then you're probably aware of Alex Toth's influence, and Jack Kirby's influence on his work. But are you aware of Toth and Kirby's influences, Milton Caniff, Noel Sickles and Frank Robbins?
If the creepy screwball charm of Katie Rice's girl drawings interest you, check out Cliff Sterrett's POLLY AND HER PALS.
If the sleak design sense of FOSTER'S HOME FOR IMAGINARY FRIENDS is your cup of tea, perhaps you might like Rea Irvin's comics. Or John Held's....
Our history as cartoonists is rich, and full. As good as what's in front of us can be, I often think it's wise to look behind us to see where we're able to go.
Check if the exhibition is travelling anywhere near your home town. If it is, please see it. If it's not, I can't recommend any better cartoon primer than the Smithsonian Book of Newspaper Comics.
That is my bible.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving tease; Stephen does SpongeBob

Thought I'd share this with you folks. Recently, I finished a two page SpongeBob story for Nick Magazine. Here's a panel's worth, with non-final color by the Sno-Cone studios, art by me, and story by me with Gweelok. Don't know when it'll be coming out, but when I know I'll give a shout. This was fun to do. My first real SpongeBob work. Not the first time I'd drawn the character professionally though. Anyone care to guess what my first official shot at drawing SpongeBob was?

Random thoughts, Warner directors

Recently, I storyboarded a project for Nickelodeon via Frederator called 6 Monsters. The director of my segment is a gentleman named Manny Galan. Manny's the fellow responsible for all of the cool bumpers you see on Nickelodeon.
It was fun to board this cartoon---the designs are pleasing, and the script called for a lot of cartoony acting. Thinking about my work on the job, I realized how much I'd channeled my love of Bob McKimson cartoons into the board. So much of my style when drawing cartoony animation comes from Clampett and McKimson, and Rod Scribner and Emery Hawkins. I only wish my drawings were half as good as theirs. As a child, McKimson was my favorite director. Clampett too, but in a more primitive, "I like his work, but I'm also half creeped out by it" kind of way. You know, the kind of way that implies how influential it is. Clampett's very much gotten his due, particularly in the last ten years, but McKimson continues to be underrated, I think. For me, Chuck Jones is overrated. As a teenager, I was taught to say, "Jones was the best director Warners had", but the truth is, I thoroughly disliked his cartoons as a child. Road Runner cartoons were frustrating and dull, I thought. "What's Opera, Doc?" was weird looking, and just plain unfunny (today, I think it's droll, if not funny; gorgeously art directed, but highly pretentious). Worst of all were my feelings for "One Froggy Evening", a cartoon I thoroughly hated as a child. I'd get the most exasperated feeling watching that short---why that fellow with the mustache never took a rock to that damned frog was always beyond me.
Of course, Jones is a genius, and there are some cartoons of his I truly love. "Wakiki Wabbit" is great. The mad scientist cartoon with the first appearance of the hairy, orange monster (later to be named Gossamer by Jones, pretentiously enough ) is one of the truly great Warners cartoons. The opera cartoon starring Bugs and Giovanni Jones is genius, I think. And, for me, "The Rabbit of Seville" is probably Jones' best work, beautifully timed and funny as hell.
It was refreshing to arrive at Spumco, many years ago, and find people who preferred Clampett's cartoons over Jones'.
Still, I was carefull never to mention how much I liked Friz's cartoons.
Folks at that studio, back then, or at least the folks I spoke to, were likely to take a rock to you, if you said you liked Friz.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

No blogging today

Check back tomorrow. In the meantime, check Phil's Blog. He's got a cool post about Tezuka's Buddha there.
Or check Don Shank's Blog. He's posted awesome paintings of "Hammamie Schmammies".
Andy Suriano's always posting something cool. Hey! Gweelok's even posted some new stuff after a while of inactive blogging,
as has his TOTAL PACKAGE.
Check in with them, or any of my friends that're linked to the side.
Then check back with me tomorrow.
I'll tell you why I'm not a fan of Chuck Jones' cartoons.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Weird Shank Ren and Stimpys

Not only was Don Shank one of the best guys, in my opinion, to work on Ren and Stimpy, I thought he was one of the best guys who drew them weird.

Sgt. Popeye's etc., etc.....

Unused concept for a rock and roll Popeye style guide. Drawn quite a few years ago, probably 15 years.

Five bucks to anyone who names all the characters (it really ain't that hard.)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

In comic stores today....

For the first time in a while, I think, I've got work out in a comic book.
CARTOON NETWORK'S ACTION PACK #7 is out today, and I've got 3 pages of KIDS NEXT DOOR comics in there.
I'm posting a page here, just my inks, before the letters and colors. I kind of like it better this way, but that's just me.
And I do want to thank Uncle Phil Rynda for his help with the page layout.

Maybe there's other fun stuff in there to read, I dunno. I kind of can't look at the usual comic book adaptations of animated shows. I'm not sure where this theory came from, but generally today, artists adapting animation to comics draw, or are instructed to draw the art as if it were for a coloring book. No blacks, no depth, hardly even any variation in line. I suppose to licensing people this keeps the art more in the style of the animated shows, more "On Model", if you will. But it makes it hard for me to look at, honestly.
My favorite animation-to-comics adaptation is Carl Bark's Donald Duck. Barks, knowing he needed to have Donald read on the page immediately, changed the character's blue sailor tunic to black, soon into his run on the feature.
Of course, in the early nineties, when I first started running into Disney licensing artists, we would trade stories about our favorite Disney cartoonists. I mentioned that Barks was, next to Gottfredson, perhaps my favorite and recieved a cool " Oh, yes. He's fine, I suppose, but his Duck is always off model" response.

the Alley Cats

A drawing I did for a bowling shirt, a year or two back.
Kind of a cool drawing, but a little busy for the back of a shirt,
I think.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday plug

So, everyone out there is reading ALIEN BABY in the Weekly World News, yes?
There's a midget criminal in it!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


For anyone who'd like to get a gander at some severely cool comics art, I recommend you go over to Gerry Alanguilan's site,
www.komikero.com. Gerry's an extremely talented artist himself, working in mainstream comics I believe, but he's also acting as historian of the Filipino comics scene. Check out his Comics Museum. His scans of golden age covers to Philippine comics are absolutely sending me. Truly inspiring work.


Here I was furthering my self-education, emulating Kurtzman as best I could. I did better with this piece than with the aforementioned "Scarlet Wedgie" art, but still, from my 13 year vantage point, didn't quite hit the mark. Some not-so-bad stuff in it, though, I think.
The character and story are "Comics Ace" Heidi MacDonald's; I believe I did this as a favor to her, or something. She wanted to hand it out at conventions. Heidi thought farts were hilarious, you couldn't mention the vapors around her without getting a huge guffaw.
This is the inside cover, page 2, the cover (page one) appearing as part of my final post today.
Happy November, everyone!

Battlefart, page 3

Battlefart, pages 4 and 5

Battlefart, page 6

Battlefart, page 7

Battlefart, page 8 and cover