Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Genie of the Lamp

There was a lot more of this than this (but, of course none of this) inspiring this piece.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Here, transcribed for you by my mother, is a rundown of my arsenal of words at the age of 14 months. Only two verbs, but I already can already request two types of beverage. "Tusie" was my beloved cousin Susie (who recently became a mommy for a second time, and will be needing to write this sort of thing down herself), and "Ga-Ga" was as close to "Grandfather" as I could manage. I'm surprised that "kitty" apparently wasn't on the list,as we had cats pretty much my whole life. I'm not surprised that I already knew what books were, though. If there's one thing that my family has always been about, it's printed matter, and plenty of it!
It appears that I failed to notice that yesterday was the 100th entry in this log. Happy birthday to me. It would have happened even sooner if I hadn't forgotten to post on Sunday.
Tomorrow: more deranged scribbles.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Running the Gamut of Emotions

Those of you who are under thirty won't remember it, but in the pre-internet days, when having conversations, we had to express emotion by means of hand-drawn "emoticons such as the above. At appropriate times, one would hold up the piece of paper and point to the face that best represented one's emotional state. A few years later, a new approach came into vogue, whereby conversations would take place near mainframe computer terminals, and, when emotional disambiguation seemed necessary, people would hand over to the technicians previously-composed stacks of IBM punchcards, which when fed into the card reader in the proper sequence would eventually produce a crude image of the chosen cartoon face rendered in numbers, letters, and asterisks on large sheets of tractor-feed paper. This was a slow and cumbersome process, so most folks just kept to themselves. One reason that Star Trek's "Mr. Spock" was such a popular role model among college students in those days was that emulating his cold, emotionless speech patterns eliminated the need for these prehistoric "emoticons".

Monday, May 28, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Grand Theft Auto

Quick, the Mitchells! Dennis has finally gone too far! While there is a face drawn on his belly in such a fashion as to suggest that it was originally the driver's head, that cowlick leaves no doubt in my mind that this is intended to be a Dennis the Menace cartoon. Unless it's a girl with a ponytail. Or a clown wearing a hat with a big musical note attached. Nonetheless, I say it's Dennis. So there!

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Purple Monster Strikes!

No relation to the villain of this serial. Perhaps I should just say that a purple monster strikes. This was done as classwork in Mrs. Jamie Corrigan's art class (I'm pleased to see that she's still teaching, but a bit distressed to discover that they closed my old school six years ago). At some point around this time, I made a pretty decent Godzilla paper-bag hand puppet that I'm still trying to locate. Watch this space for details! For the (likely nonexistent) curious, the "5-G" next to the signature refers to my being a member of Mrs. Garrison's 5th grade homeroom.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


No, not Birdman! Just a bird-man. Drawn with felt-tips on July 30, 1977, and signed twice with a dying pen, just to make certain that its provenance was unquestionable. In case it's not clear on the scan, his crappy bent spear is tipped with some sort of large gemstone, and, while he's shirtless, he is wearing a stylish white belt.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Where's My Pulitzer?

For whatever reason, I drew an editorial cartoon about the November 1978 invasion of Cambodia. What possessed me to do so, I really can't say. School assignment? Copying out of a newspaper? I don't recall having a strong interest in Southeast Asian affairs that year. Apparently, though, I felt strongly enough to draw this somewhat offensive political statement, which is (I believe) my only work in that field. I've drawn plenty of Nixons, but that's just because he's a funny-looking cartoon character.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Evel Knievel, Part 2

Today we present a sequel to the entry of March 14th, from a deeper stratum within the same jumbled box. These are probably from the same week, if not the same day.

Here we see another view of Evel's Snake River Canyon jump on 9/8/74. Again, it's not particularly accurate in depicting the Sky Cycle, but I did correctly portray his failure to make it across.

I don't know what he's jumping over here, but I think that it's a shark tank (does that look like a fishtail coming out of the water to you?). He did attempt (and fail) to jump over a shark tank in the winter of '76, but I don't think these drawings are from that late.

Monday, May 21, 2007

In an Old Western Saloon

Yes, they're whooping it up in the old tavern tonight! Zeke and Clem are playing a friendly game of pinochle, a rowdy is throwing a bottle at nothing particular, and the piano player picks out a melody to accompany the lovely girl singer. Suddenly, into this lively scene, a stranger bursts through the swinging doors! Will those guns (slung backwards in their holsters, for some reason) soon be spitting hot lead at someone?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Ben and Me

Like our subject of April 15th, this was part of a book report, this time of a more well-known book (also a Disney short), though one that I remember nothing about that one couldn't deduce from looking at the video box. It's interesting that I selected a scene that doesn't include the mouse narrator---I wonder if I perhaps didn't actually read the book, but just drew Franklin's experiment, which I already knew about?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Optically-Illusory Frog

This seems to have been referenced from a book I had exhibiting this classic optical illusion as a drawing of three frogs, each of whose mouths was one of the designs, except that I apparently just thought it looked cool and drew one of the frogs, embellishing it a bit.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Who's the Leader of the Club?

When the syndicated version of the Mickey Mouse Club was re-released in 1975, I was glued to the TV every weekday after school (Match Game '75, Mickey Mouse Club, and Batman, all in a could going outside to play possibly compete with that?). I already had a couple of Little Golden Books and some View-Master reels featuring the Mouseketeers, but this was the real deal!
Thusly, I was inspired to create this piece on some sort of paper that I can't identify-- the texture is somewhere between a thin paper towel and crepe paper. I don't know if I transcribed the entire "Mickey Mouse Club March" on the missing part of the sheet, or whether it just petered out. Note that in the drawing, "me" takes top billing over "you". It's actually a pretty fair self-portrait, given my rendering skills at the time. I don't think the girl is any particular Mouseketeer, though it might be Karen. Of course, Annette was the one I thought was the cutest (which has caused me to watch some truly dismal movies in my life), but Karen was my age (well, at least at the time they filmed the show...she's a year older than my father), so I felt a certain kinship with her and Cubby.
I was thoroughly displeased when the reruns were withdrawn in favor of the wretched New Mickey Mouse Club, and was gratified to see it crash and burn, though not before it give us the always-annoying Lisa Whelchel. And as for the '90s incarnation, I never knew that it happened until it had already laid its eggs of evil in our culture.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hembeck Style

Fred Hembeck was (and still is) one of the most prominent star artists in comics fanzines, though he has done a fair amount of work for the major publishers through the years. I would first encounter his work in the form of short gag strips in the backs of various DC comics in the late '70s (archived here). I've always enjoyed his work, but 1980-85 was the height of my interest. I still remember riding back from a Charlotte Mini-Con in the back of my friend Jerry's mother's car, while we performed a radio play-style performance of the Fantastic Four Roast. Looking back, I can say that Fred was probably the single biggest outside influence on my taste in comics in those days. If not for him, I might not have known how much I needed Brother Power, the Geek or Mysterious Suspense. Thanks, Fred!
These drawings are an approximation of his earlier, clunkier style (he's since streamlined the lumpy elbows and knees, while retaining the trademark knee squiggles). One can criticize that early work for its overuse of a basic stylized design that is customized to suit one's needs, like a Zwinky or a Qee, but the upside of it is that a 13-year old can apply the design rules and produce a reasonably presentable imitation of it. Of course, that's not at all the same as being able to make actual comics of note, which Mr. H was doing all along, and continues to this day.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Justice League

...or at least a subgroup thereof. Not drawn to scale, obviously. Don't know where Superman left his cape.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I think that this may be in some way related to these drawings, in that it seems to be a design for a toy, and the lettering is not my own. On the other hand, it's executed in different media, and it's a different sort of figure, so maybe not.Our friend here is very much in the mold of the Micronaut Aliens, particularly Kronos, but I gave him magnetic joints, like these guys. I actually think this would make an okay toy.

Monday, May 14, 2007


I've got an appointment in an hour with my dentist, Dr. Jack G. Newman (whose services I strongly endorse), so I thought this might be a nice tribute to his profession. The dentist portrayed has an unusual method of acquiring patients, though clearly one that is effective if one's preferred clientele are roller-skating lumberjacks. At first, one assumes that the snake is just there to make the pitfall even scarier, but a closer examination reveals that the snake is in fact a patient, himself. I really can't account for the syringe protruding from the snake's side. Another possible interpretation is that the snake is in fact the dentist's confederate, but while lying in wait, the dentist , out of boredom, decided to do some work on the snake just to pass the time.
I'm fairly certain that none of Dr. Newman's dental techs and hygeinists are in fact reptiles, so I feel pretty good about today's visit. But I'm still keeping my eyes open for suspicious rectangular seams in the office carpet. He may just be biding his time before he swoops in for the kill. You know...a "Sweeney Todd" kind of thing. We'll see.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Goofy-Looking Fellow

This didn't sca very well, but he's a happy-looking fellow, isn't he?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Space Guy Swinging on Rope

Well, this guy's kind of an odd mix-and-match of source material...the "swinging on a rope firing a ray gun" bit is coming from the STAR WARS scene where Luke and Leia swing across the chasm, but the pose here is more akin to Spider-Man, particularly as depicted on the Bakshi cartoon. His mask is kind of a fruity Mardi Gras version of the helmets worn by the Spectrans on BATTLE OF THE PLANETS, crossed with Zoltar's mask from the same show. That part I definitely remember. Unlike the aforementioned characters, I conceived this guy as a hero, but I don't recall naming him. I do recall being very pleased with this drawing at the time.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Bruto remember this from last week? Well, it turns out that at least one of the scenes depicted in it was part of an actual story. I don't think there are any more pages to this...but I didn't remember this one, either, so who knows? I advise clicking to enlarge this (which is an option anytime with these, if I haven't made that clear in the past). "El Barko" has become "Bruto", but he's obviously still Snoopy.If you still can't make out the dialogue, it's as follows:

Panel One

BRUTO: I feel mean

Panel Two



Panel Four

BRUTO: I'm getting out

I haven't really staged this well---there's no sense of place,Bruto's crime occurs off-panel, and the mechanics of his recapture are entirely glossed over. Additionally, most alarm systems produce more than a single "DING". Still, it's a complete narrative. I'm pitching it to a New York publishing house as a graphic novel as soon as I figure out how I can tie it into some sort of obvious talk-show-friendly topical issue. Maybe Barko has cancer, or the unseen victim is a refugee from a war-torn country, or the broken leash is gay, or the pound is a ham-fisted metaphor for something. I'll figure it all out as soon as the contracts are signed.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Get Well

I don't know who in the family was sick, but a note on the back of the page tells me that they were sick on February 10th, 1975, and the internet tells me that it was a Monday. Also note that this "germ" is apparently actually an arachnid, judging by a quick count of his limbs.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


I was reading before my third birthday, so I had a real head start on the whole spelling thing (though penmanship was an issue up through junior high school, basically until I abandoned cursive script), and you don't find many misspellings in my work. This, however, is evidence that I had my occasional lapse. I don't recall the details of "Devlin's Desining Studio and carpentry shop", but I commandeered this ancient enameled metal clipboard (backed with felt, even) as an integral part of the studio's equipment. I can't figure out what sort of pen I labeled it with that would stick to painted metal, but it's survived admirably for over three decades. I juiced up the color a bit in Photoshop, but this is a pretty accurate representation of wat 's sitting next to my desk on the scanner It's actually going to get pressed into service in my current carpentry shop...I've got a pegboard hook set up for it already. My "Desining Studio" is upstairs in the living room, though.

Snowman and Three-Legged Thing

A couple of earlier pieces today. Firstly, a snowman. I can state this with certainty, as my mother thoughtfully noted my intent. This is on the back of a legal pad that has several pieces dated "Jan. 1972". I believe that this may be inspired by the snowman we built on St. Patrick's day that year, who wore a cardboard Leprechaun's hat, with facial features made from gummed paper shamrock labels, though this drawing lacks the detail necessary to confirm it.
From a few months earlier, we find a ...a thing with three legs and one eye. Because bilateral symmetry is for sissies.
I think maybe it was going to be a bird originally, but that's pretty much just baseless conjecture on my part.

Monday, May 7, 2007

The Happy Man and the Blasé Mouse

Sounds like a plausible enough title for a children's book, wouldn't you say? It's not that likely, but it's within the realm of possibility that this is an attempt to draw Rat Fink. My grandmother had a stack of 1963-65 Boy's Life magazines in a drawer that I liked to look at, and I have a couple drawings from later on that are definitely based on a cover of one of those. They were chock-full of Roth and Weird-Ohs ads. The only hitch being that at that age, I was scared of them, so I don't know how likely it is that I'd have been drawing from them. The man next to him looks sort of like late-'80s era Michael Jackson, but that's obviously coincidental...Michael was still recognizably human at this point.

Sunday, May 6, 2007


One can only assume that negotiations broke down at an early stage.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Quick, Robin...the Bat-Net!

I'm uncertain whether he's trying to catch the bat, or if the bat is helping him hold the net.

This drawing from the back of the sheet almost looks like a cauldron of some sort, but I suppose that it's just an unfinished net. I can't imagine Batman cooking a bat...that's practically cannibalism!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Hip-Hop Zombie

Okay, so the title is a bit of a stretch...but his outfit does look like a track suit with a hoody (I assume that I started out drawing him in a hooded robe, then switched to pants along the way), and the knobby joints on his left hand do resemble big chunky "bling-bling" I stand by my words.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


This one pretty much speaks for itself.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Dragon with Hat

I'm not sure whether that's fire or garlic breath emanating from his gaping maw, but either way, this is a formidable fellow indeed. Plus, he's wearing the classical cartoon animal outfit of hat and bowtie (though that's a pretty sloppily-tied knot. I don't know what's going on with his right hand...maybe a game of one-handed cat's cradle?