Sunday, December 7, 2008


My take on obnoxious favorite Woody Woodpecker.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Tale of Two Batmen!

Let me get this straight up front. I love Neal Adams' work. Always have, since I was a kid in the early 70s. He's an incredibly talented draftsman.

As an adult, I just don't see the merits, tho, of approaching superheroes in such a super-rendered style. It seems silly and over-worked and overdone. Maybe because I'm sick of the last 2 decades of comics, with this as a major trend.

This new attitude may have emerged during my tenure as one of the merchandise artists for the BATMAN-THE ANIMATED SERIES products and merchandise. Made me tale another look at the seemingly easier (it's not-try it) visual approach to figures and design that's all about what you can leave OUT (a sign of a true master, said the late Alex Toth), and not what you put in.

A few months back, I took the grossly over-boiled Neal Adams cover to a recent BATMAN hardcover book, and re-worked it in the "Animated" style (roughly). Squint at both drawings. One stands out as a bold figure in action, and the other? A mess of thin lines, jittery hatching, and syrupy colors. Too much.

This style also allows the artist to get to what makes a character like Batman visually appealing. Think of how you thought of the character at age 7 or so. The dark masses of black. The ears. The glove fins. The chest insignia. The action poses. Speak to those cool iconic points in the drawing, and you get to the heart of the character.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

New Look for Robin!

Don't want you to think I'm picking on poor old Robin these days, but here is a 1975 drawing I did for DC Comics!

Well, sorta.

Anybody recall DC's mid-70s "New Look for Robin" reader contests back then? They'd run fan's drawings of new costume ideas for the former Boy Wonder in the pages of their late, great, content-stuffed  BATMAN SUPER SPECTACULAR issues. I think future pros like Norm Breyfogle even got his drawing published then.

Anyway, this was my entry. Don't think I ever sent it in. 

That might be a good thing.

Although I loved the classic Robin get-up, and agreed the short pants wouldn't go in the real world, I saw this as a chance to get my name and work in print.

Dig that angular left shoulder. I was doing the "Bruce Timm" thing 20 years early!

I also love the repeating "Rs" on Robin's gloves. Years before the "love"and "hate" hand tattoos...Do they leave the insignia embedded on his foe's chins?

I'm sure I saw the "Earth 2 Robin" outfit by then. This seems to be very much based on that costume in many ways.

But, red and blue together?


Sunday, July 20, 2008


Lets' get back to the character that started it all for me--Batman!

A pal once looked at some of these early drawings of mine and commented on how violent they were. Batman and Robin were always depicted hitting, punching, slugging, crushing, gouging, kneeing, clubbing, tripping, or kicking their foes.  And why not? That's what they did, right? Both in the comics and on reruns of their 1966 live-action show, the DYNAMIC duo kept in constant motion! If you draw Tarzan, you depict him swinging on a jungle vine, no?

But, yes, these do seem awful extreme to be a child's drawings.

I was learning to use such comics art conventions as impact bursts, jiggle lines, speed lines, etc. Still pushing that extreme depth, with overlapping, foreshortening, and size relationships really accented.

I figure this illo comes from 1975 or so, from a Silver Age Carmine Infantino-drawn Batman reprint in the back pages of the dearly departed mag BATMAN FAMILY. Always dug the villain Cluemaster, Riddler rip-off or not.

Have NO idea what that black mass is I put behind Robin., Shadow? The inside of his cape?

Notice, too, how one of the foes Robin is manhandling and generally abusing is the Joker.

Speaking of details-I recall HAVING to put those exact TWO stripes n Robin's sleeves back then. Every time. My slavish attention to costume detail.

I also seemed to be influenced by the Mego Robin head sculpt then. That blockhead look, cowlick hair, large black mask...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

More Early Spidey!

Here is a 1974 drawing where I attempted to re-create that days' Spidey adventure on PBS TV's THE ELECTRIC COMPANY! If you recall, the producers of that fun show made up their own custom SPIDEY comic covers for the intro to the  Spider-man live-action segments. Here Spidey tackles the "Spoiler!" I knew the producers used the cover to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN # 134, so I did the same in creating this work of art!

I had a thing for trying to fully re-create comic covers, as if I wanted a dry run for when I'd be doing the real thing. My "covers' HAD to have the logos, indicia, and all marks as the originals had! Very odd.

I also was very much into the little details of hero costumes. I had to show the viewer I knew how the back of Spidey's costume looked, how the web pattern was laid out, always careful to also draw the little web-shooter openings at the palms of the gloves! Maybe that's a boy thing?

Notice how I got bored and added odd little sketches to the left of the drawing, as well as under the Spidey figure.

Still struggling with the "big head/tiny body" thing....

Looks like I also chickened out of fully coloring the whole image.

Early Spidey!

Good ol' Spidey! He was the second superhero I went crazy over, after getting hip to Batman and his wacky world of fun...Thanks to the release of the 1972 ROCKOMIC LP (advertised on local TV by the afternoon kiddie host flanked by an actor in a terrific Spidey costume), and the reruns of the 1967 SPIDER-MAN cartoon, I got into the Webhead with great interest! Once I glommed onto the current comics-wow! John Romita Sr.! Gil Kane! Ross Andru! Jim Mooney! All those great artists on the comics of the time! 

As you can see in this masterpiece from 1972 or so, I was trying to capture the famous contorted Spidey poses, with a nod toward Romita's style. I went through a (thankfully) brief period of drawing my characters with very dwarf-like statures. Looks like a child in a Spidey suit!

But, I WAS trying to add a sense of depth (note the window frame) and excitement to the drawings right from the start! I recall doodling very few images of the characters with just straight-on static poses. I somehow knew right off the bat that you HAD to draw these guys jumping, flying, leaping and backflipping through the air, hence my feeble early attempt at foreshortening here.

Also, note that my signature is almost as big as Spider-Man's whole head! Even at age 8, I was observing how the pro artists signed their work, digging the way John Romita Sr. would sorta bury his name in the drawing somewhere...

Welcome post!

Alright...I'm new at this blogging thing, so bear with me, ok?

Although I've long resisted, I thought maybe now would be the right time to start bloggin' about every darned thing that interests me (and, hopefully, you, too), so sit tight.

Since 1990, I've worked as a professional artist and cartoonist (they're both the same, really), drawing such famous characters as Batman, X-Men, Spider-Man, Archie, Sonic, Power Rangers, Hulk, Disney characters, and so many more. My work has been used in comics, storyboards, apparel, kid's books, online efforts, posters, packaging, and many other highly disposable items.

You'll soon notice that the main purpose of this blog is to take a long look back at my first childhood artistic efforts, be it to critique, ridicule, or praise such silly scrawlings. Maybe we can all learn some valuable life lessons along the way.

I'll also be interrupting such important fare to bust in to pontificate on any old subject on my mind. Knowing me, such planet-shaking blurts will be about them dang-blamed comic books or related subjects, so if you don't care about who drew MARVEL TEAM-UP # 27, this may not be the blog for you.

Yes, that's me in the above photo, age 9, in 1974. I'm drawing the cover to a SPIDEY SUPER STORIES tale (love that John Romita Sr art...then and now!), and seem quite proud of such an effort.

Behind me, on the bulletin board in our kitchen(!) you can barely see the Cracker Jacks sticker that reads "Quiet! Genius at Work!"


But you gotta dig that flowered-pattern chair. And the fake wood-veneer table. And my cool front-zipper-with-medallion-sized-catch shirt.