Monday, September 22, 2008


... of Joan Walsh Anglund, of all people! Although I can't seem to find a baseball player image of hers to compare it with, so it's possible that I'm actually attempting to do original work in her style, which is even nuttier. I've been racking my brain trying to figure out the lower image, and I've only just untangled it. I initially saw it as some sort of robot (or perhaps a space heater) on skis or rockers, but I now realize that I was looking at it from the wrong angle:

As goofy as it may seem, I was apparently drawing Darth Vader's TIE fighter with a baseball cap on it! I've flipped the wing and added the front window in blue to the above detail view, to more clearly illustrate my thesis.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mr. Mind Strikes Again!

Those of you who haven't given me up for dead may recall this posting on my birthday back in April, where I drew Captain Marvel's famous arch-enemy, Mr. Mind, following instructions in an old SHAZAM! issue. In looking through a different notebook, I found another, simpler version, presented above. Comparing the two now suggests to me that the other one may have been done a year or so later than I previously believed, though it's possible that I may have just put more effort into the other one.
Actually, further investigation confuses the issue even further. I've just determined (between the two paragraphs) that this drawing is unquestionably from late summer/early fall 1977. So it's definitely the same age or newer, just more hastily drawn. So that's that.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Irish Snowman

As one might surmise from the various clues to be seen, this photograph was taken on St. Patrick's Day, 1971. I am a little over a month shy of my third birthday; my mother is 22. This is probably the first snowman that I had any direct participation in, and certainly the one I have the most vivid memories of (though that can probably be attributed to the existence of the photograph as much as any other factor).The eyes and buttons are radishes (a vegetable I otherwise have no tolerance for), the mouth is obviously carrot-based, and the hat is, I think, from Hallmark.
Other Fun Facts:
  • This is the front yard of 139-A Cochran Road, where we lived from 1970-74.
  • I still have a scar under my arm where I got pinched badly by shifting parts of the swing set in the background.
  • The scarf and hat were particular favorites of my mother in those days; I still have said scarf, currently stored with my own seldom-used winter accoutrements.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Ballad of Davy Crockett

Click here to hear me and my new Realistic-brand Cassette Recorder. I don't yet know how close to hold the mike at this point, so it's even poorer quality than the equipment and tape would have dictated, but it is what it is.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Collage Piece

                                                                Devlin Thompson
Waka! Waka! Waka! Waka!
Adhesive paper, enameled metal door
1979, 1981

                                                                ARTIST'S STATEMENT

      In this piece, I have attempted to make a statement about world hunger through repurposing commercially available "bubble-gum card stickers" portraying popular actors and video game characters to create an imagined scenario in which "Pac-Man", having no access to the "power pellets"  that constitute his/its normal diet, is forced instead to consume "Commander Adama." To subtly reinforce the food theme, I chose as my substrate an actual refrigerator door still in use at the time, so that the viewer would be forced to contemplate the image before every  meal or snack.  Not shown: several subsequent image groupings on the same door, involving "Spider-Man", an  orange cow, "Blinky the Ghost" (famed nemesis of Pac-Man), and magnets displaying pictures of food and the telephone number of a local pizzeria .

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Mr. Tawny

In our previous installment, we took a look at my attempt to follow the instructions for drawing Mr. Mind provided in the above comic. Returning to that same feature, we also find this tutorial on rendering Captain Marvel's feline friend, Mr. Tawny:

...and here is my resulting masterpiece:

The unfinished piece below it is apparently Dr. Sivana, the third subject of the lesson. If I actually did a finished version, it is lost to history.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mr. Mind

Today we present to you  Limited Collector's Edition # C-35, Apr.-May, 1975, in a scan stolen from If you were in possession of said comic, and you were to turn to page 44, you'd find yourself reading a feature by the late great Kurt Schaffenburger entitled "SHAZAM! Presents...How To Draw Cap's Friends and Foes". An excerpt follows:

And here is my attempt to apply this lesson:

Tune in tomorrow for more of the same.

For those who might find it of interest, I'll note that , as I click on the "publish post" button, it will have been forty years and eight minutes since Dr. James Ruff delivered your host into the world. 

Monday, March 3, 2008

Mr. Crucifix

I guess this is how the denizens of Lidsville depict Jesus in their religious art. Note that this was penciled, then inked (with a Flair pen, I believe). For whatever reason, I did this for several pages worth of drawings in this particular notebook, though none of them show any evidence that I was attempting to refine them in the inking process. I suspect that I just came in after the fact and traced what I'd previously done (after a run of 8 or 10 pages, the inking stops abruptly in the middle of a drawing of a giant cannibal policeman). I wish I'd kept notes to explain my thought process, but that's probably asking too much of a seven-year old.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Kentucky and Indiana

I think it's safe to assume that this had something to do with Abraham Lincoln.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Boba Fett

Firstly. let me pause to welcome a valuable new member of the Early Works team, the Canon CanoScan LiDE 20 scanner, who will be filling the position formerly occupied by Mr. AcerScan 620U. It is hoped that a scanner not bearing a sticker exhorting the user to "Get Ready For Win98" may be better equipped to serve this blog's needs.
Now, to the matter at hand: everyone's favorite bounty hunter, Mr. Fett. This drawing was drawn months in advance of his live-action debut (but over a year after his animated debut), and is referenced partly from a plastic cup available at theaters during that year's Star Wars re-release (mine is inaccessible, and I can't find it online, but here's another in the same set), but mostly from the ad on the back of the action figures for the mail-in offer that convinced a generation of the existence of the "missile-firing backpack" Fett figure. For those who haven't got the memo yet---that kid you knew who swore that he had one/ his cousin had one/ some kid at camp had one was lying. He didn't.
The detailed color work on this piece was done with the felt-tip markers discussed here, and the forest background was rendered either with Design Markers (R.I.P) or those Magic Marker-brand pens whose body is actually a stubby glass bottle with the label shrinkwrapped around it. Man, I loved those things! I suppose that it's been long enough that I can confess that the few of them that I ever had were in fact stolen from school. But if I'd ever known where to get them, I'd have gladly purchased them legitimately! Incidentally, I couldn't find any images of the particular model I'm discussing, but here's Sidney Rosenthal's original patent, and here's a really amazingly cool variation on the theme that I covet mightily.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Flying House

I'm a bit confused by the fact that the rockets attached to the house are firing, yet not producing enough lift to prevent the parachute from opening. And since the chute is fully open despite the counteracting thrust, one would assume that the house would be descending fairly rapidly... but the smoke from the chimney is drifting diagonally, rather than vertically as one might expect under the circumstances. But even if it's impossible to gauge the rate of descent, here's obviously a problem, since the occupant has bailed out using the attic-mounted ejector seat.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Unfinished Hawkman

I assume that the sudden realization that I'd left no room for his right arm was the reason I abandoned this one.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Centrifuge Incident

The device pictured is a hand-cranked centrifuge from a Gilbert chemistry set that I had mounted on racks on the wall over my desk. One raises and lowers the handle at the top to cause the test-tube holders to spin, in the manner of a mechanical top. It is the star of today's anecdote.
From the time I was 8 or 9 years old until we moved into town where we could get cable (circa 1987), the only television in the house was the one in my room, a big old color model that was primarily used as a monitor for the Atari and Commodore 64, as our reception was lousy. If something of interst to others came on, they'd come into my room to watch.
One night, when my cousin Susie was visiting us, there was something coming on that she and my parents wanted to watch but I didn't (possibly Saturday Night Live), so I bade them good night, crawled into bed and headed off to Slumberland as they watched their show nearby.
The next morning, when I got up and headed out into the living room to get breakfast, I found everyone staring quizzically at me as I entered, and Susie was having trouble maintaining a straight face. After a moment, they explained.
I had been asleep for something less than an hour when, without warning, my eyes snapped open and I sat up straight, announcing "I have just the thing! I have just the thing!" I then hopped out of bed, ran across the room to my desk, and snatched up the centrifuge. I pumped the handle several times, watching it spin, and, to the startled onlookers, announced "I'm not a weirdo...everyone's doing it!" Then, I quietly went back to bed and went to sleep. I can't recall if I took the centrifuge with me.
While I've done plenty of talking in my sleep this is the only incident of somnambulism on my resume that I'm aware of.

Thursday, February 14, 2008