Tuesday, September 16, 2008


So, I just finished reading KILLRAVEN, all the KILLRAVENS from the 70's. 
And I enjoyed myself, but still don't kind of get it.
I think the basic concept of it is this: if H. G. Wells decided to write a sequel to his WAR OF THE WORLDS, he'd probably put CONAN in it, and have Conan go on these KAMANDI like adventures, all the time having Conan speak as if he were SPARTACUS. 
I think that's the basic premise to KILLRAVEN.
Personally, I think a real opportunity was lost here, that Marvel dropped the ball on an interesting concept---What if Earth were conquered by another planet, and how would mankind have survived and thrived after that? Killraven talks a lot about "freemen" and "freedom", but more often he kills rat-people, and fights lots of things with tentacles.
But I'm glad I read it.
It was one of those Marvel Comics from the 70's that always creeped me out a bit. It seemed a little TOO adult (actually, it's pretty darned juvenile). 
But the art's real pretty, through most of it. I've always liked Craig Russell's artwork, and it's fun to see him grow in the book's pages, from someone trying to draw like Steranko to an artist with pretty much his own style. 
What'll I read next? 
I don't know.
I want to read all of the OMEGA THE UNKNOWNS, but honestly can't get behind Jim Mooney's artwork. It's, I'm sorry, it's just too dull to me. 
Likely I'll take on THE ESSENTIAL POWERMAN next. Sweet Christmas! 
Does anyone have any other recommendations for good, weird 70's Marvel, other than that?
I'm all ears, dudes.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Another commissioned piece I drew recently. 
I'm still available, if anyone's interested.....

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Similar to my recent post about meeting Jack Kirby, I also have a STEVE DITKO Story.

So I'm 16 years old, right, and I'm working for the second summer in a row at DC Comics. This time I'm in the export department, and I'm really fucking up at the job, but no one's bothering me about it, and in fact, I'm getting good, free, old comics left and right, because acting department chief JACK C. HARRIS says I can go through the export stash of comics, and if I find doubles they're mine to have. You can believe I found doubles. Anyway, Jack was a good guy to me, the first dude I ever saw who wore blue jeans together with a buttoned shirt and tie that wasn't Billy Joel, and he was also still doing a little comic book writing on the side in addition to running the export department.
One day it's lunchtime, and Jack's out. This little fellow comes looking for him. I remember him as little, maybe he wasn't. But he looked kind of like this:

A guy with a kind of working class build, sporting a short-sleeve shirt and simple trousers. He seemed quiet. I told him Jack was at lunch, and he said he'd wait in Jack's office, and I'm like "okay". He stays a while, I remember passing him by once or twice, and finally Jack returns from lunch and the two of them are talking. 
Then later the guy leaves, and Jack's all like "You do know who that was, right", and I'm all "no", and he says it was Steve Ditko.
I was young, but I knew that was pretty impressive. Not only did I know Steve Ditko was important, I was also a big fan. I mean, yeah, I liked Greg LaRoque back then, but I also knew the work of a true genius when I saw it. Afterwards, it hit me that even just SEEING Steve Ditko was a bit of a big deal, and I wished I'd taken a better look at him. He just seemed like a guy, a small working class guy.
Steve, to me, is the other half of the Marvel Universe. If Jack is all that's powerful and heroic, the true Wagnerian noise of Marvel, Steve is the dark undercurrent, the dissonant tone. The truly human tone. I should get that new Fantagraphics book about him. I should've gotten a better look at him back then.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I met Jack once.
I was at the San Diego Con years ago, right? And I'm standing near a crowd that goes around the length of the room, they're all there to see Jim Lee. And I don't want to see Mr. Lee, but to each his own. Then over the hall loud speaker, a voice comes on and sez, "Jack Kirby will be signing at such and such a booth in five minutes", and I'm like, OH SHIT~! I wasn't too far from that booth, and so I booked over there. I'm gonna meet the King, or, at least I hope to meet the King, because I figure there'd be an even bigger crowd for him than for Jim Lee.
So, I get to this booth, and there's like five people in line. To meet the King. And there's Jack, this tiny little old man, cute as a button really. But five people? Jesus, this guy's responsible for....everything in this room! 
But really, I felt lucky, because I knew I'd get to meet and speak with him.
So, it's my turn.
And I tell him how much I love his work, and ask him if he really felt uncomfortable rubbing the hump on the kid's back (his only biographical work was about his days as a Lower East Side street tough, and all the kids on the block would go to this humpbacked kid to get a little luck off of him). And Jack sez, "yeah, I didn't want to do it. I guess I was sensitive, y'know?" Cute as a button, this little old dude.
So I said to him, "Look, I just want you to know how much your work has influenced mine", and he realizes I'm a pro, and he looks at my pro badge, glances at it, and says to me, "thanks. I like your work too."
Which struck me as hilarious.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. THE MONARCH

Another VB commission I did recently.
And speaking of the Ventures, I wanted to clarify a bit about my last post. I described Siobhan's photo as showing "the people that make the show so good", when in reality, those are but SOME of the people that make that show so good. To suggest that only five people, as gifted as they may be, are completely responsible for a television show is kind of a nutty idea, really. In fact, the real-world Team Venture is staffed by some of the most talented folks in the New York animation community! I'll try and name all of them here for you, although I'm sure I'll muck up the spelling of their names, and I apologize for that.
On the design staff we have Martin Wittig, Matt Jenkins and Danny Hynes. Actually, on season 3 (remember, Jackson's in production on season 4 at the moment), the third designer was Douglas Lovelace, and then after Douglas was another Danny, "Kano" Kimanyen.
Danny Hynes was also on the crack storyboard revision team for season 3, along with Lauren Mondardo, Jon Roscetti and Rick Lacy, supervised by the always lovely Siobhan Mullen. The revision team was particularly heroic last season, at least in my eyes. Storyboards have only begun on season 4, so revisions won't begin for a month or two.
The color staff is lead by Liz Artinian, and working with her is Dayo, Chris and Lauren's twin sister, Carly Monardo.
Background design is managed by George Fort. George's team is Chris, Ray and Denny, super-talented all!
The timing staff is supervised by Nick Demayo, and features the talents of Jen, Kimson and Ian.
Rachel Simon is the producer, and Patrick "PeeDee" Shindell is the production manager. Adam and Alex were both on the production staff, and somehow managed to keep a straight face (and maneuver looming deadlines) while sitting next to the ever hilarious PeeDee. Originally, the production manager on season 3 was Cathy Kwan, but when she moved on to greener pastures, PeeDee stepped in and did an awesome job.
Lastly (as far as in-house staff is concerned) is show "editor" Tom Bayne, who I'm lucky enough to share an office with, along with Jackson himself. Tom is a great guy, just great, and killer talented (I do believe I referred to him as a "genius" previously on this blog).
If I've forgotten anyone, please give a shout. Really, you can see all of these names and more if you'll sit through the show's end credits. But then you'd have to squint really hard and read really really fast. And, seriously, all of these people deserve a big, big hand. If you're a Venture fan, give it up for these folks when feeling grateful for the show.
Other news:
MONDAY'S STRIP is kind of gone. Sorry. I've just got a bit too much on my plate at the moment. It was fun, and I'm glad everyone enjoyed it while I produced it. Thanks, really.
And about commissions, and the BLOGGIN' BASEMENT---those're not completely gone, but, again, I'm just a bit time-poor lately to pursue either. Still, I've found some pretty choice
stuff to entice you folks inclined to buy art right now. Pretty choice stuff....

Monday, July 14, 2008


Entmann thanks you.
I appreciate all the kind compliments regarding my voice work.
Personally, I've yet to see the episode, as I find listening to my own voice icky.

I meant to post designer Chris George's original sketch of Entmann up, but I forgot it at the office.
Still, I want ya'll to remember, I am making myself available for commissions, and in fact am working on a pretty sweet Monarch/Dr. G sketch right now.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I AM ENTMANN.....coo coo ka joob

Please watch the VENTURE BROTHERS this evening. I donated my meager voice talents to a character prominently featured in tonight's episode. The character's name is "Entmann". If you're a fan of silver age comic books, I think you'll find him pretty funny.

Knowing how crazy you kids are for all things VENTURE, I'm reposting a photo found on shiversmetimbers.blogspot.com, featuring the true TEAM VENTURE. These are the people that make the show so good. Going clockwise and starting at midnight, Storyboard Supervisor SIOBHAN MULLEN, Producer RACHEL SIMON, Co-conspiritor and Chief Medical Officer DOC HAMMER, Art Director & Color Supervisor LIZ ARTINIAN, and Chief Conspiritor JACKSON PUBLICK
In glorious super-black and white.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Written by my very dearest friends,
Anonymous and Carbunkle's Kids.

Lettered by Shivers.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Okay, I've got a gag. I need a little more time is all.

Monday, July 07, 2008


Seems I promised to draw one for today.

Well, I don't have one.
My apologies!
I didn't do one.
I'll do one tomorrow.

Once I think of a gag.

Does anyone out there have a good gag?

Sunday, June 29, 2008


I'm gonna try something a little new.
If it doesn't work out, I'll ditch it, but I'm trying it anyway, and we'll see how it goes.

I've got a lot of stuff, y'know, a lot of original artwork. Like multiple drawers full. 'Mazing Man artwork, and Looney Tunes artwork. Hero Hotline artwork. Not much Popeye artwork, really, because the originals belong to King Features. But, crikey, I've got a lot of stuff.

And I'm going to start selling it.
Now, in the past, I've shied away from selling my stuff. I dunno, I guess it kind of embarrassed me. But screw that noise, I'm going to sell stuff anyway. I'll also take commissions, something I'd NEVER done before, but I had such a good experience with it recently (see the VB piece below), that I've decided to open myself up to it.
So, check out the new extension I've created to this blog, called DESTEFANO'S BLOGGIN BASEMENT (heh....get it? Bloggin'.....BARGAIN.....ha. Hhhhh.) There's a link over there, somewhere, by the other links. And I think I'm selling good stuff.
And I appreciate your time, and interest, and your looking at my work.


This is a copy of a commissioned piece I completed a couple of weeks ago. My apologies, though, to the buyer, as well as to Jackson Publick.
Brock, I now realize, is off model.
His mullet is too long.

Even so, it's appropriate that I post this, as this month marks my return to the dangerous world of the VB's as design and storyboard supervisor for SEASON 4 of THE VENTURE BROTHERS. I should note that, while my credit on season 3 reads "Art Director", it's not completely appropriate, as both Mr. Publick and the astoundingly talented color supervisor LIZ ARTINIAN could easily be credited as "Art Directors" on the show as well. But show producer RACHEL SIMONS asked me what I wanted my credit to be, and I got all ballsy with the opportunity.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Did anyone besides me eat this mid to late 70's kid's cereal?


For me, no one drew a better Ren Hoek than Chris Reccardi.
That bastard.


I'm so happy that everyone's been enjoying MONDAY'S STRIP. 
But--having gone back into production on the VENTURE BROTHERS last week, free time to work on personal projects is scarce and precious. 
I do enjoy producing MONDAY'S STRIP, though, and rather than give it up altogether, I've decided to cut back on its frequency. Look for it to appear the first Monday of every month from now on, appearing next on July 7th!
I'll blog a few odds and ends later this evening, which I think you'll enjoy!
Thanks again,
Stephen de

Monday, June 16, 2008


Thanks to Siobhan for her lettering skills in Photoshop!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


To answer Tony DiStefano's question (despite the fact that we're not related), that IS my drawing on the cover of the latest Warner Home Video DVD set, as hinted at a while ago here on this blog. I'm posting my original sketch, which package designer JEFF SCHULZ felt needed a little spinach infused muscle. I'm extremely excited about my work appearing on this package, as all of the art featured on it will be ALL NEW (and brilliantly showcased by the above mentioned Mr. Schulz). I've been drawing Popeye for maybe 20 years now, but I think I've gotten to draw him in his Navy Whites maybe once. I'm pleased with my drawings, and hope you feel they compliment and do justice to the extraordinary cartoons on the DVD's themselves.
Honestly, I love drawing these characters.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Sincerest apologies for the delay.
Especially for as lame a gag as this.

Monday, June 09, 2008


It's a little too hot for me to get a Monday Strip to you folks this evening (my studio is about 90 degrees at the moment). My apologies, but I will get one up for you all tomorrow. Many thanks for your patience and kindness!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Anyway, you can find the song over on my new radio feature thingy, over on your right.
And, yes, I'm one of those bloggers who'll post photos of their cats. Especially in shots as charming as these, taken (of course) by Shivers.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008


Drawn while listening to the Small Faces.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


...or maybe he's just flirting with Bill Presing's painting....


Yesterday, I received this lovely gift from Pixar Story Artist (and former VENTURE BROTHERS Storyboard Supervisor) BILL PRESING. Pretty cool, eh?

Monday, May 12, 2008


Many thanks to Shivers for her invaluable help with this strip.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Saturday, May 03, 2008

What I'm working on....

Can't show you the whole thing yet.
But I think a lot of you'll like this...

Monday, April 28, 2008



I'm pretty sure DC owes me some money, man....

*(Thanks to chum Karl Heitmuller for pointing out that DC owes me money. Also thanks to Karl for having as cool a name as "Karl Heitmuller", which is almost as cool a name as my doctor has, being named "Doctor Knoepflmacher". Seriously.)

But, really DC. At least give a guy a freaking freebee.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I enjoyed your book when you were talking about LUKE CAGE and stuff, but around page 300
I just got bored.
And you know what? I was kind of enjoying the OMEGA THE UNKNOWN book you were helping out on, but now I'm finding that kind of boring too.
And also, earlier this week, I saw the collected OMEGA THE UNKNOWN, the original Steve (BABY) Gerber series, at the Strand, and I didn't get it, but later realized I wanted it, and when I went back, it wasn't there. Too late! Bought by someone else!

But that one I don't blame on you, Jonathan Lethem.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Portrait of the Artist as a Baldy.

That's Siobhan's hand in the mirror.
Also, dig the groovie panoramic view of my workspace!
I've got Popeye toys!


Just cuz I felt like doing something.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


I've been reading woodcut novels lately (many of which were given to me as birthday gifts by regular blog-reader and dear friend JOHN HERTEL), and if you're a comics fan, I highly recommend you pick up a few as well. The precursor to the modern graphic novel, most of these wordless books were completed between the first and second world wars. While they range from emotionally potent to downright corny, on the whole they show a generous amount of inventiveness.
Lynd Ward's work is probably the most famous of the woodcut novelists, and I've read a few of his books, GOD'S MAN, MADMAN'S DRUM and a couple of others, but while I marvel at his technical facility as a draftsman, I find his stories somewhat overwrought, simplistic and occasionally hard to follow.
Personally, I much prefer the work of Frans Masareel. His novels like THE CITY, PASSIONATE JOURNEY and THE SUN read much more like poetry, or even a visualization of music, rather than as prose. I love reading his work--I've never read anything like it before.
His work, along with Ward's, is reprinted in GRAPHIC WITNESS, a compilation of some of the best woodcut novels. Also reprinted in the book are novels by Giacomo Patri (the exceptional WHITE COLLAR) and Laurence Hyde (SOUTHERN CROSS). 
SOUTHERN CROSS has also been reprinted in the past year by Drawn and Quarterly in quite a beautiful edition, and it's well worth getting. Like Ward, Hyde attempts to tell a complex and structured story, and while it's operatic in its tone, it actually succeeds in being emotionally potent.  I've found his work, and particularly the work of Masareel to be quite inspiring.


After finishing Season 1 of the VENTURES, I stayed on at the producing studio (Noodle Soup, now known as World Leaders Entertainment) to storyboard and co-design FRESH SPINS. This was a direct to video retelling of RUMPLESTILTSKIN. The designs you see here were variations on drawings done by Pixar's BILL PRESING, who was the original board artist on the production.
I've never seen the completed cartoon, but I am fond of these pitch drawings I came up with.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

DRAW! SKETCH! (a sketch for the cover of DRAW!)

This was my final sketch for the issue of Mike Manley's DRAW! Magazine that I was featured in, several years ago. While the drawing has its problems, most of which were beautifully fixed once BILL WRAY had painted it for publication, I still get a kick out of what I did here. Actually, there's a lot of good stuff going on, from the concept itself, on down to the drybrush technique I managed to pull off using a lousy, worn out Sharpie.
I don't always suck! Yay!


Whose birthday party I couldn't get to last night.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


You may have seen this image posted by our friend JERRY BECK on cartoonbrew.com. It's the cover to the upcoming Warner Video DVD release of Hanna-Barbera's POPEYE  cartoons from the 70's. 

Yatetta yatetta.

I'm posting it here because I think it looks kind of swell. I drew it, yes, but it was designed by JEFFREY SCHULZ, of Command Z Design. Jeffrey's also the guy who made my drawings on the Fleischer-Popeye DVD's look so darned slick. 
Thanks to Jerry for the plug, to Jeff for the opportunity to do good work with him, and to pal FRANK CARUSO at King Features for continuing to set me up with sweet Popeye gigs.


My goodness, children! Even though I know I drew this illustration (for religious publisher Guideposts), I did it so long ago--back in the 80's, in fact-- I've no idea HOW MANY MATCHES they requested I put into the final art.
(blecch. look what a crummy job I did of eyeballing the ellipse on the bicycle's front wheel.)


Back in the late 90's, when Universal decided to revive Woody Woodpecker for television, show-runner and fellow Popeye maniac BOB JACQUES asked me to draw the series' model pack. It was an immense amount of fun. Bob supplied me with old Lantz cartoons (Bob has a famously encyclopedic brain for--as well as an excellent collection of--classic cartoons) , and I got to still-frame through some very beautiful Freddie Moore and Emery Hawkins animation, copying their poses to cobble together the exact right Woody we wanted. In the end, I'm not sure the final product reflected those efforts, but I do look back on that job with fond memories.
One of the more fun aspects of creating the series look was re-imagining lesser tier Woody-villains like "Ms. Meany" and "Dooley". 


Two of my favorite Jackson Publick Post-It doodles.


I was wondering where this was---finally found my second Harvey Kurtzman LITTLE ANNIE FANNY sketch. Again, the organic composition on this drawing floors me. 

Monday, March 03, 2008


Occasionally, I get offers from friends and fellow comics professionals to do layouts for them. Jobs like these are always fun for me.
The first layout here is actually of an unused page for a JINGLE BELLE story SHANE GLINES had drawn for PAUL DINI. It was a short story, printed years ago, and Shane followed most of my layouts very closely, but opted to go much more simply on this page in the final art.
The next two pages were for a DEXTER'S LAB job by friends BILL WRAY (penciller and inker) and fellow INSTANT PIANIST and scripter, ROBBIE BUSCH.