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Archive for October 2010

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Happy Halloween: That's My Boy

Back in 1986, I was but 22 years old, and with my high school pal Scott Beaderstadt had just launched our own comic book, Trollords under our TRU Studios publishing banner. We were early to catch a wave of black-and-white comics, and did better than anticipated. We also met other self publishers, one being Ken Holewcynski of B-Movie Comics in Indiana. Ken invited our Trollords editor, Brian Augustyn and myself to contribute to a story to their horror anthology, and Brian came up with this sweet little tearjerker called That's My Boy. You can read it in its entirety in our Toons section of the site - just scroll down a bit. The panel above is my favorite, as it came out pretty much exactly as I'd envisioned, which doesn't usually happen. This story was a change of pace for me, as Trollords was mostly lighter in tone. But like Trollords, this was to be printed in black-and-white, so I wanted to utilize a variety of crosshatching, sweeping and squiggly lines to set the mood and add a creepy, curdling texture to the proceedings. In some cases, I find it still to be successful, tho if I were to draw the same story today, I'd approach it in an entirely different manner. If it were to be printed again, I'd probably fix a few things having to do with shadows, the cock of a gun (all wrong!) and the splash panel of the house on page 1, and there's one bit of continuity I'd want to make more clear, something pointed out in a review of the book by Don Thompson in The Comics Buyer's Guide (not that I'm holding onto anything...). Who knows, maybe Brian and I will have that chance sometime soon... In the meantime, please give this ol' horror comic a read, and...Happy Halloween!

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A Pumpkin and His Zombie

Halloween's awful fun when one's kids are little and they're really into it, but it's a blast when they get older, too, cuz they can do all the planning and work themselves! So much easier for the parents, and a blast to see what these creative kids come up with!

The best of pals

Oh, and I borrowed the title of this post from Harlan Ellison's A Boy and His Dog.

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Shhhhhhark.

Clever, funny cartoon by daughter, Emily.

She used a brush to ink, with some feathering learned from watching pal Cory Corani at work.

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It's a Mummy, Baby!

Another in a series of mummy sketches. I slapped a little color on this one. Boy, I like that Photoshop chalk brush.

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Baby Mummy

Not Billy Mumy, but the mummy of a Chachapoyan who didn't make it far in life. What's cuter than a creepy mummy baby?

Another mummy sketch tomorrow...

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TothPix: Witching Hour - "...Toil and Trouble!"

To wrap up Toth Halloween month, I've cleaned and collected a series of panels & pages from batches of Witching hour issues. These are in no particular order, chosen randomly, which either set the tone for the stories to come, or are great shots of the Three Witches, crone Morded, mother Mildred, maiden Cynthia.

Have a Happy Halloween, everyone!

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I Love Laura's Mummy

I really do! After 21+ years of marriage, I love my wife more than ever - she's a peach! But I also love this mummy my daughter, Laura drew last night. Thoughts of costumes, decorations and Halloween creepies are in the air, on the mind.

Sure, she swiped the brush I use for work from my drawing table (that's supposed to be off limits), but when she produces a cool, crazy mummy like this, who can get too mad?

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Night of the Bedbugs on iPad, iPhone & iTouch

Although we all like the feel of a book in hands, and there's nothing like a nice hardcover book for kids, digital books and comics are not only probably the way of the future, they're already here. And my Night of the Bedbugs childrens book is catching that wave, thanks to Image Comics and the fine folks at Comixology.

Available as of today for the iPad, iPhone and iTouch for only two bucks.

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TothPix: Grave Undertaking - Details

I posted the full story last week, but I'll focus in this post on some of my favorite panels from the Grave Undertaking story. It's chock full of clever shots, 3/4 bird's-eye perspective, varied characters, patented Toth silhouettes and so much of this horror story is bathed in swaths of shadow. Top notch!

What an opening splash establishing shot! Not simply a through-the-window panel, but an overhead, inside-looking-out, which shows us the client who sets the story into action, outside waiting at the door on a dark, rainy night.

Then, as he leaves, he's inadvertently planted a demon seed in the mind of Mr. Thwackum. I love the door jam askew, framing the cropped face, throwing a shadow across his face and top hat.

As the men set to their grisly task, they get extra greedy. The light source is from the lantern at the lower middle of the frame, highlighting the jewels in hand, basking Mr. Peach in shadow, as well as the creepy profile of Mr. Thwackum in the foreground. Wonderful composition, blocking, lighting and storytelling.

Here's a nice shot from well above, past the huge bell in the foreground, through the tower's window to the creaky horse-drawn carriage below. This helps set the tone and heighten the suspense, the window and gravestones bathed in moonlight.

And when their new business is going well, but bodies aren't coming their way fast enough, they travel to a nearby village for more. Just look at this panel! Toth sets the scene as he establishes the old village, varying textures adding uneven lines, though establishing correct perspective. And the greatest touch - the tilt of the carriage, not only adding visual interest, but also a commentary on the bent nature of the two principals.

At the new graveyard, they're interrupted by a man who meets a nasty fate. All in silhouette save the grey background and the white lantern light and WOK sound effect. So much action, power and detail, conveyed so simply.

Poor guy, he happened upon the wrong twosome! Thwackum gave him a good thwack to the head. This is a brilliant panel, as we look past the murder weapon, the shovel handle cock-eyed in the foreground, to the twisted, lifeless body on the ground, shadows encompassing him, cropping across his face for us to focus on the dead eyes.

This one's a real winner! Breathtaking! Who else would show us the carriage entering the shed from inside overhead, most of the figures and carriage in shadow? All elements are beautifully framed by the doorway, including the client just outside, who's opened the door for them. Striking! I scanned this panel (and the shot of the village) from the Toth: Black & White book (1999 - Auad Publishing).

Next week, the last entry for Toth Halloween month...

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Minnesota FallCon 2010

I had a blast at the one-day FallCon Saturday, doing sketches, selling Bedbugs books & stuff, and hanging with my daughter, Emily, who sold out of her famous Funky Munky Kookies (over 180 cookies)! The hall was jam-packed and hopping from 10-4!

As usual, we caught up a bit with ol' pals both from the Twin Cities and out of town, sitting next to and chatting up Zander Cannon, Cedric Hohnstadt, Cory Carani, ol' Trollords collaborator Scott Beaderstadt and Keith Anderson (owner of Chicagoland Keith's Comics).

It was a pleasure to meet and talk with long-time animator, Joel Seibel, who's worked on Spider-Man, Smurfs, Angry Beavers, Pinky & the Brain, Scooby Doo and way too many cartoons to mention. Later in the day, Joel gave a bunch of young artists a cartooning lesson.

We met a lot of fine and fun folks, among them kids in costumes:

Supergirl Anna

Robin & his sidekick, Batman

View more pics at my Facebook page and even more at the official MCBA page. And start making plans to attend the 2-day show in May, 2011 to be held again in the MN Fairgrounds Grandstand. The best, good ol' fashioned comics shows on the planet!

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