Monday, April 30, 2007

El Barko

An unusual strategy: rather than actually draw an odd adventure comic featuring a rather obvious Snoopy knock-0ff, I present some highlights from said proposed comic. I can't answer any of the questions raised by this, except to say that the third panel appears to show a house with periscopes in the basement for observing the outdoors, which may be somehow extrapolated from the fanciful attributes displayed by Snoopy's doghouse in those days (I suppose that's El Barko waving to someone from the second story window). I don't even have any good theories about the thingies in the corners of the fifth panel. It looks like it would have been pretty entertaining, if I'd only had any sort of follow-through.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Multiple Drafts

Oops! Well, let's try that again, shall we?

Blast it!

#@%$#! *%´£†¥ƒ∆√≈Ω!! #ç∫µ≤∆¥ø≤¡£∞§¶∂©#@!!!!!!!

Okay, that works. Wait...what do you mean, "Inuit"? No, I'm not starting over!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Old-Timey Spacesuit

Referenced from the cover of some '30s pulp machine, possibly by Frank R. Paul. There were a bunch of coffee-table books of pulp art in those days, frequently offered as remainders, so I had quite a few. I believe I improvised the boot-rocket and the tentacle claw thing. And yes, I'm aware how one might interpret said claw, so you don't need to comment on that aspect of this drawing, Beavis.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Cartoon Violence

Two different takes on Tex Avery-style violence. I'm really not sure what my imagined scenario is for the first one was, but I apparently thought it through enough to design a wheeled cart with hydraulic lifters to angle the can for more convenient punching. I recall being frustrated by my inability to render a sufficiently glasslike pattern to to the fracture lines, but I guess it did the job. It's also interesting to me that the first guy's wig and teeth are both knocked loose and shattered. That must be uncomfortable.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ducktor Solar, of all things

In the wake of the mid-'70s success of Howard the Duck (now overshadowed in the popular consciousness by the wretched movie), for a time there was a vogue in comics circles for drawing duck versions of popular characters (for evidence of this, see any fanzine from 1976-79). This is from a few years later, but I was really too young to appreciate Howard during its lifetime (my collection was assembled from quarter boxes at the [Anderson, SC] Jockey Lot from 1981 to '83). So...I decide to draw duck super-heroes. So who do I draw? Super-Duck? No. Bat-Duck? Nope. I do an anthropomorphic version of the at that point ridiculously obscure Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom. Go figure. I also did a batch of drawings in this same period of the X-Ducks (Including an acrylic painting"Ducklops", I guess), but I'm not inclined to expose those to the world. You wouldn't be seeing this if not for the urging of one of my most loyal readers. So, ultimately, this is her fault.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Music Lesson

Let it be known that Professor Devlin's formal knowledge of music theory was probably at its peak at this point. I could not and cannot read music, even though I have a fairly extensive collection of sheet music.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pin the Tail on the Daggit

For a slight change of pace, here's a photo of my father holding aside a balloon to facilitate a game of "Pin the Tail on the Daggit" at my 11th birthday, on or about this day in 1979. He made the game out of white and mustard-yellow poster board (do they even make that color anymore?), and did a bang-up job of it, if I do say so myself. There was also a cake with a Colonial Viper airbrushed on top, and I seem to remember loaning the baker one of the toys as a reference, though it may have just been a comic book or an issue of Starlog. The kid playing the game is old chum David Alexander, who I haven't seen in nearly 25 years. Wherever you are, David, I hope you're well...and thanks for coming to my party!
CLARIFICATION: Upon applying the advanced detective's technique of looking at the back of the photo, I learn that this party occurred on April 22, 1979. A simple investigation determines that it was a Sunday, and my actual birthday fell on Tuesday, both then and now.

Monday, April 23, 2007


The Man of Steel, rendered in the Paper of Construction! I was going to suggest that his head sort of resembled that of Alf, the taller castaway in The Drop-Outs, but a bit of research informs me that I didn't have a very clear mental picture of him after all.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Totem Pole

A totm pole to accompany yesterday's jolly brave. This is from the same notebook, but I believe that it was done later.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Happy Indian

I'd say "Native American", but I can assure you that what I was drawing was an Indian. And one in good spirits, too. He seems unfazed by the bright blue cactus behind him. I find it interesting that I did part of the outline in felt-tip and part in crayon, as I usually didn't mix media in that way. I might do a crayon drawing, or I might do a pen drawing and color it, but rarely would I fall in between those extremes. It's possible that the pen drawing was left unfinished and that I returned to it later. This particular notebook sat around the house for many years at my grandparents' house, so it has work drawn over a 7 or 8-year span in it (one page has an unfinished drawing of Chernobog from Fantasia drawn when I was maybe 5, next to a fairly tight drawing of a starfighter from Buck Rogers from 1980ish, making for an odd juxtaposition).

Friday, April 20, 2007

A Bird with some Other Stuff

A bird, two medals, a man with messy hair, and what appears to be a rubber ducky with a human head. Seems reasonable enough to me.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Under the Sea

A variety of marine life, not drawn to scale. I was clearly paying more attention to detail when it came time to draw the squid. Squid always take precedence over non-squid in my world. I was also really keen on pterodactyls, scorpions, rays, praying mantises, and bromeliads, but I didn't draw the last two so much...mantises were hard and I really didn't have the skills to depict the complex ecosystem hidden among their leaves, so I generally left that to the professionals at National Geographic World.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


This one's not in the greatest of shape, but it's particular historic significance (to me, at least) because it is probably the first time I ever drew superheroes, inspired by the second super-hero comic I ever read, and the first one I actually liked, after this one creeped me out and chased me away from the long-underwear comics for another year. So, as it happens, the story that did appeal to this 5 1/2-year old was one wherin a serial killer using razor-edged boomerangs to slaughter innocents is revealed to be Batman's heretofore-unheard of older brother, who was institutionalized for life after suffering brain damage from a childhood accident. Batman and Superman solve this crime with the assistance of Deadman (who, for the uninitiated, is the ghost of an assassinated circus aerialist, who has been granted the ability to possess the bodies of the living by a made-up far Eastern goddess so that he might track down his killer). At the end of the story, Deadman wanders off in the killer's body (I never actually saw the later follow-up story where this is resolved until years later). In retrospect, I have no idea why this didn't terrify me, but I liked it enough that I was inspired to draw this baby.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Injury Map

I wish I had a clearer memory of what this was all about. It seems to have something to do with some sort of Fantastic Voyage scenario, but it also seems to depict some sort of giant with roads (note the center lines) and buildings inside it (or, alternately, a city in the outline of a human figure). Whichever way you interpret it, it appears that vehicles pass in and out of it through a tunnel in the butt.
Incidentally, this is the front and back of one sheet of paper.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Star Trek Props

Referenced from the photo section in The Making of Star Trek. Or possibly The World of Star Trek. They kind of run together in my memory at this point. On the left we have three views of a communicator. In the middle, a phaser (type II), under a funky egg-shaped gun that I guess was used by aliens at some point. To its right we have what I can only assume is a pickle of the future, above two medical instruments (the left one is an anabolic protoplaser;the middle one is possibly a laser scalpel) and a universal translator. This was, in retrospect, perhaps not the best use of my precious childhood days.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Treasure Under the Sea

This was the format for book reports in Mrs. Robinson's 2nd grade class. There should be a second card with a synopsis, but it's not anywhere I can find. Note that I turned this in late...those who know me personally will be unsurprised. I believe this must be the edition I read, but I don't remember anything about it.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


...but not actually. I think it's just an alien or a guy in a spacesuit. I wouldn't really take an interest in the Ninja until I was 10 or 11, when I got one of the first English-language books on the subject (this one, I'm pretty sure). I found the whole notion pretty interesting, but never took an interest in fictional treatments of it (I have to date never watched a ninja movie--or, in fact, any martial arts film not involving rubber monster suits). I did have a variety of shuriken through the years, though.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Batplane

So why is it captioned "The Superman"? You might well ask. However, I have no explanation to offer for that, or for much else about about this one.Clearly, this is a display of some of his bat-apparatus, but outside of a batarang and a walkie-talkie, there's nothing I can identify. A Bat-lunchbox? A Bat-sand pail, for fighting beach-related crime? Who knows?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Scenes from a Dungeon

Another spectacular tableau of violence. I was probably frustrated by the way I just couldn't get the hanged man to work out, but I expect that I was pretty pleased with the spiderweb and the protruding ribs on the prisoner in chains. To contextualize this all for modern viewers, who might be aghast that an eight-year old would be drawing this stuff, both PLOP! and CRACKED regularly featured torture-chamber gag cartoons (as well as GHOSTLY GHASTLY CARTOONS, which seems to have been issued to every child in America got through the Xerox Book Club in that decade). And, even though I never liked it that much, THE WIZARD OF ID spent a fair amount of its time in the dungeon. Also, some very common toys of the era were a set of jiggly rubber prisoners ("Nutty Dungeon" figures, from the Brabo company) in a goofy cartoony style. Torture was just in the air in those days. Of course, it's also a popular theme now in the Gitmo era, but I suspect the protagonists in today's kid drawings aren't smiling like these guys.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Poor Stormtrooper!

This is the immediate precursor to the popular Walrus Man diptych from one of the first posts here. There's actually another one before this showing a Death Squad Commander fleeing from pursuing blaster fire, but I'm withholding that one for a later discussion of one-point perspective.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Shapes of Things

Here we find me putting a friendly face on the cold, scientific discipline of geometry. Special attention should be paid to the conjoined twins, who are set apart from the group, and seemingly not all that happy about it. This is four or five years before I would first read Very Special People, but the concerns of "freaks" were even then important to me. Also, note another instance in my work of the "two hats" motif. An alternate interpretation: these are single-celled organisms, and the unhappy one is simply reacting to the stress of mitosis. Unlikely, though, because I drew enough amoebas to know that they'd have cilia, not legs

Monday, April 9, 2007


Johnny Hart died Saturday at the age of 76. In his later years, his rededication of his life from booze to the lord made him a lot more intolerant and a lot less funny, but the first 15 or 20 years of B.C. were strong enough that I think I'd rather remember him that way, minus the piety and the flat, flavorless golf jokes. I can't imagine that the afterlife will turn out for him like he envisioned, but I hope he settles in well regardless.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter!

From February 10, 1975, we see here the front and back of a mixed-media piece that makes at least as good of an Easter card as it does a Valentine. Christ is risen... now make with the candy, already! Amen.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Dance, Ballerina, Dance

Possibly the only time in my life that I ever drew a ballerina... like most straight American men, the ballet was never a big part of my life. I did actually attend one performance in my teens, which mostly stands out in my memory because a dancer tripped and fell, and I have a vivid memory of the horrible stillness that hung in the air as the poor girl picked herself up and composed herself. It's been almost 25 years and I still cringe at the thought. This drawing, though, is from much earlier, and produces no such discomfort...only the disquieting concern that her sinister crimson smile is evidence that she's contemplating drinking some unwary art patron's blood. a fan of the Lugosi version, Swan Lake is better known as "Theme from Dracula". Coincidence...or something more? Beware!

Friday, April 6, 2007

A Cyclops and the Flash

This is the page immediately following my "Scythes" piece, offering a further cyclops drawing, along with some experiments in rendering motion, Flash-style. I'm kind of surprised that these two themes are mixed on the same page, since it was my tendency in those days to use a new page for every new idea (leading to endless pages with a single arm or a half-completed x-wing or the like). Here, though, the bits and pieces bump up against each other. I have no conclusion to draw about this.

Thursday, April 5, 2007


I repeat: TORNADO. Not a hurricane. Disregard previous transmission. Roger and out.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007


A portrait of Mr.John Terry Thompson, Jr., who was born sixty years ago today in Anderson, South Carolina, and without whose love, parental skills, and genetic material, this blog would not be possible.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Devil Wears Two Hats

A fairly creepy image, from the inside back cover of my second grade math book:

I assume that this developed by accretion, rather than as a single concept, so the people at the top were probably a late addition, but here's what I believe is supposed to be happening here:
The demon at the center is being attacked by the large, two-hatted demon and the horrible papoose/larva creature, while the fire sprite and evil anthropomorphic hammer creature look on. The papoose thing is attacking with a long, barbed tongue (I'm pretty sure I didn't literally intend to have him attacking the middle guy's crotch, but it does look that way), while the big guy is spitting some kind of darts. Said darts are riccocheting off and flying upwards, where some are deflected by the roof of the cavern. The gentleman at the left is, I believe, in a cave and therefore less protected by the Earth, so the darts are breaking through and injuring his feet. And that is what mathematics means to me. The End.

Monday, April 2, 2007

"Take Me to Your Leader"

Drawing spacemen and taunting classmates...two of the great pleasures of elementary school rolled into one. However, I didn't write the name of the victim (though I seem to have written everything up to that point), and I have no memory of a classmate by that name. I might have done this at summer camp, which would lessen the likelihood of the name having had time to make an impression. Or maybe I'm just getting senile ahead of schedule. Anyway, I apologise to Billy Fowler, wherever he may be. Unless he really is a Martian, if which case this apology is withdrawn.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Frankenstein? (or not)

The earliest piece presented yet, showing that I was such an artistic prodigy that I was actually using costruction lines to draw the human head. Or, more likely, I drew some random shape and then turned it into a face. It also looks almost as if he's wearing a mask, but I think that's just happenstance. One thing that I can deduce with near-certainty is that the oddly-shaped paper is from one of a series of "pop art" notepads shaped like various consumer goods that were sold in those days. I don't recall having one around the house as a toddler, but I have one now in the form of a can of Gerber apple juice that's the exact same shape.