Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Comparative Religion 101

From the ancient world, we have this temple of the Great and, I don't know. I can think of gods with cat heads, and wings, and fur, and tails...but the snake arms are throwing me. It may well be something I read a description of, or I may have just been making it up. I do think that he's got the best whiskers of any Heathen Idol ever.

From the vague picture of "Africa" that I received from the media, here's a Witch Doctor. Possibly the one David Seville sang about...though when I think about it, this might be inspired by King Kong. Those do seem to be broken palm trees in the background, and the rectangular shape might be the gate in the great wall on Skull Island.

Lastly, one that doesn't need much interpretation, reproduced as best I could from a mug made for my maternal grandmother and step-grandfather. There is a corresponding mug for my paternal set, but I can't find it at present. I find it interesting that I gave the angel butterfly wings.
I was never really a believer, but I always loved Nativity sets, since they were essentially toys. In fact, there is a large set at my grandmother's house that for many years has included the 12"-scale Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker,R2-D2, and Cylon among the friends and well-wishers (which might have made for a better Holiday Special than the one we got).

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Like many kids in 1978, I filled my notebooks with Star Wars drawings, many of which will appear here eventually. Unlike most such kids, I also threw in some real curve balls, like this rendering of a battle between a Martian war ship and one of the Air Lords of Han's airships from Buck Rogers, ca. 1930. It would have been referenced from The Collected Adventures of Buck Rogers, which was frequently found on remainder tables in those days. I also tracked down the original novella that introduced Buck, Armageddon 2419 A.D. As a result, I would soon be perhaps the only pre-teen in America to be offended by the TV show's lack of fidelity to its source material. And don't get me started on the Flash Gordon movie!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Panorama of Hell

Okay, so maybe it's not all that panoramic, but it's certainly hellish enough. I thought the title was good enough to steal. Clearly, 1977 was another era, when the world was able to understand that a 9-year old drawing such a tableau was not a monster to be feared (and probably pumped full of happy pills, expelled, or both), but just a kid who liked monsters. And scythes:

I'm pretty sure that that's Plastic Man, and the pointy-eared gentleman is Ridal, from Tomland's Star Raiders figure line. Can't say why the dragon looks so bored, though.And yes, Ridal does appear to be manipulating his scythe by means of lightning from his nose. What's your point?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

the Scourge of the Seven Seas

From the same pad as "Haunted Castle". Note the flying fish and the hanging light bulb, which I assume is actually not hanging over the side, but below deck.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Startled Robot

Apparently, when a robot does a Tex Avery take, the proper exclamation is "APP".
While they're hard to read, his eyes say "TILT". There were also a couple of false starts for more contemporary (i.e. STAR WARS/Micronautish) robots on the same page, but they were comparatively boring.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Haunted Castle

From a typing paper pad filled mostly with stuff that's either too abstract or unfinished for me to decipher my original intent. This one's pretty clear, though. OWOW! Even at the age of four, I'd been reading Casper for long enough that I'm surprised that I didn't feature "BOO" instead.

This, on the other hand, I don't quite understand. The only Angela I can think of that I'd be drawing with was the little sister of a friend of my parents, but she was in her teens at that point, so I'm fairly sure this isn't her art. It's possible that she's writing the names of characters in a story that I made up, but the kooky spellings seem unlikely. It's also possible that it's a collaborative piece, and she just drew the pumpkin and ghost. I don't know. Anyway, these two are clearly related.

notebooks and noses

I went to the trouble to do this painstaking eraser lettering, but I didn't manage to space it correctly. To my credit, though, I did follow through and finish it as best I could. "5-G" indicates my home room number. Where are you today, Mrs. Garrison?

I don't believe that the lamp-nosed gentleman's ray is the cause of the blobby fellow's condition. But he certainly looks happier with his lot in life, doesn't he ? Note the upside-down ear. I'm pretty sure that that was a conscious attempt to explore the horror potential of variations in basic features, rather than just the undeveloped motor skills of a 9-year old. I can't think of any design strategy that would have pointed me towards adding prehensile, raygun-toting tentacles to his nose, though.

These may have been done at an earlier time than the other stuff in this book, but they may also just be sloppier (if Thurberesque) doodling. Like Mark Newgarden, I've always valued big noses as one of the fundamental building blocks of comedy.

unfinished letter

Letter from camp? Some sort of manifesto? Who can know?

Batman logo treatment--1974

If Dan Nadel ever becomes art director at DC, I'm definitely submitting this one!

From the back of the sheet: the Batboat and a couple addresses. One of them is a school chum whose father would be my Cub Scout den leader in a couple of years. The other, I can't recall.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Poor Walrus Man!

These are actually preceded in the notebook by a Death Squad Commander fleeing blaster fire (in shaky one-point perspective) and a Stormtrooper being hit similarly to the right hand image, but why I thought poor Walrus Man (whom modern-day nerds know as
Ponda Baba
) deserved to get killed twice is no longer clear to me. I'm also not quite certain why he's getting killed on a trapeze, but I assume that I drew the pose and then tried to justify it. I feel confident in saying that this was drawn in winter or early spring of 1979; Walrus Man would have been the latest hot celebrity on the toy shelf in my room, hanging out in his cardboard cantina with Hammerhead, Greedo, and Blue Snaggletooth. Many years later, one of the guys in the Cardigans came to my house and tried to buy Snaggletooth from me (I declined), but he didn't even ask about poor Walrus Man.

Bug-Eyed Monster (1977)

Possibly inspired by Kanjar Ro, foe of the Justice League. Things I'm not sure about any more:

(a) Are the lights in its mouth designed to lure prey, like a deep-sea fish? (quite possible...I definitely was interested in them)

(b) Is the thing between his antennae an image he's projecting or an actual alien being suspended by some sort of telekinesis? (NO clue)

and (c) Is the appendage with claw a tentacle or a tail?

What is all this?

You might well ask. I was born in 1968, and by 1970 I had passed through my fecal-mural phase and done my first recognizable drawing (a rabbit head inside a balloon--possibly inspired by the Mickey Mouse balloons seen at fairs and parades, but that's just speculation). Over the next 11 or 12 years, until my work turned to crap as I hit my teens, I amassed a vast body of work. Unlike most folks, I still have almost all of it, thanks to the efforts of my late mother. Now, through the miracle of modern technology, I'm going to share it with you intermittently, until it becomes apparent that nobody cares, or I get bored, whichever comes first. To get things started, here's a stern portrait of Batman from 1977.