Saturday, February 28, 2009

War and (200) Piece (Set)! Silver Age Comic Book Ads!?

I doctored some ancient comic book ads for plastic army toys back in the late 80s. I thought they were sorta funny then, but you be the judge.

Bask in (Frank) Robbins! Bronze Age Artistic Great! Captain America!

Sorry for that opening title pun...Ouch.

Frank Robbins (1917-1994) was a famed comic strip and comic book artist who worked providing artwork well into the 1980s.

Robbins was inspired by the all-pervasive Milt Caniff school of comic art, using heavy shadows, exaggerated body language, and dramatic close-ups in his work.

I didn't know what to think of his work when he appeared at Marvel Comics in the mid-70s. It seemed ugly and frantic. Now, I adore his artwork. It's easy to see he was a master of storytelling, drama, and manipulating the figure for any purpose, be it action, or just emoting...

Take a look at these gloriously oddball panels to the right, from his 1975 issues of CAPTAIN AMERICA. Cap has, in the wake of Watergate, taken on the identity of Nomad,man without a country (get it?).
Here we see him escaping from some well-meaning cops, and into a super-villain siege. Is he bouncing on his butt/lower back? Ouch!

Dig how he also twist his body into that rounded pose atop the utility pole! Ouch again!

Outside of Jack Kirby, only Robbins could twist and turn a body in motion or flight for the most exciting effects.

Take a look especially at the panels at the start of this section, and think of today's economic crisis. The more things change..

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mr. Kotter!

In late 1975, inspired by both the new show WELCOME BACK, KOTTER, and a TV Guide cover illo, here is my attempt to draw comedian Gabe Kaplan.

I don't think I had ever tried caricature before, despite being exposed to it in MAD magazine and such, but I was very taken by that particular Guide cover, and tried to copy it. I was most interested in HOW the artist capture the things that "said" Horshack, Kotter, etc...All those facial traits and body language....

I seem to have paid a great deal of attention to the eyes, hairline, eyebrows....curls for the hair texture....

You can see my failed attempts to capture the likeness of Arnold Horshack to the left of the drawing...Looks oddly like an aged Fonzie...

A few years back, I read a wonderfully funny book by Kaplan, KOTTER'S BACK, which details his oddball prank letters to firms and establishments that take hi absolutely seriously. Great fun.

"Get Us Out From Under..."

"Wonder Woman!"

Yes, done the day after the 1975 TV premiere of "The New, Original Wonder Woman," this was my attempt to capture the events of that TV epic. One of the few masterpieces of my youth that HAD to be colored, it was so darned special.

Yep, any 10-year old  reared on superhero comics starts out drawing females as guys with chest bumps, and I was no exception. Wondy looks like a linebacker! Dig that poor face-down dude to the left! Ouch! Looks like WW invaded a torture S/M den and trashed it! 

If you look closely, you can also see the famous "invisible jet" in the window..

I also added the graphic "popping stars" motif, from the comics-like graphics of the film...complete with logo..Maybe I thought this could be a "movie poster" type of illustration?

But, what great legs, huh?

Chinese "Froth Gun!"

I love toys and goods where the Chinese-toEnglish translation goes awry. I found this little gem in a candy shop/toy store/tourist trap in sweet little Waxhaw, NC.

Here we have a bubble maker toy, strangely called a "froth gun," (because kids love froth!) complete with an odd photo of a little girl who appears to be giving us the finger.

But, take a gander at the blurb to the side. "The best like toys for the children."


Are they trying to say the best PEOPLE like toys for the children? Or that they make the best-LOVED toys for the children?

Odd stuff...

And, remember, this is the "new edition" of the beloved "froth gun!" And it's "flashing enter!"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tom and Jerry Babies!

Somebody sent this to me with no note, except to say the artist is an adult, confined to her home, and loves trying to draw these famous cartoon characters whenever possible.

What do you think?

Everyone's Got Something To Hide.....

'cept for me and my Monkee!

Some pics of me with Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz, David Jones, and (sorta) Michael Nesmith at various 90s events...

Michael's pic is one I took at his live concert in Atlanta. I later sent him a print to sign, at his Pacific Arts location. Much to my surprise, he signed it for me!

The Monkeemobile was stationed at a Barris car museum in Gatlinburg, Tennessee at the time....