Archive - July 2008
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July 26th, 2008
Considering my paltry showing here of late, some of you have written in, speculating that the tick bite I told you about two weeks back--Fred's brush with the dreaded Lyme disease--had managed to lay me low.

Happily, no. Fact is, within 48 hours of receiving medication (i.e., pills), I've been feeling just swell, energy level as good as ever! So, outside of having to stay out of the sun these past two weeks (and the one upcoming) because of a side effect of the antibiotic that makes one overly susceptible to burning, I've been just fine. Guess we caught it early enough to duck any major damage, huh? Lucky me.

No, I've been away from the blog mainly cuz I've been trying to catch up on my work (including a bunch of commissions that got shunted aside in June when all the high school graduation hoopla was taking up a lot of my time), as well as trying to spend time with the family during daughter Julie's last summer with us before she goes off to college at the end of August. Plus, I've been reading old Giant-Man stories, the third volume of the ADAM STRANGE ARCHIVES, collections of Little Orphan Annie and Mary Perkins, and have become obsessed with re-watching my tapes of "Car 54 Where Are You?", so as you can see, I've had my plate full...

The next few weeks, as Julie prepares to move upstate (as will, several weeks earlier, her boyfriend Alec)--not to mention Lynn's mom finally moving from the rental she secured after selling her house two years back into a new house of her own in the coming days--are gonna be one heckuva whirlwind! Enough to make a grown man exclaim "Oo! Oo!" on a regular basis, lemme tell ya...

But check on back--I hope to share with you some of the commissioned illos I've done recently. Sure, maybe I should just save 'em for the second volume of THE OMNIBUS, but hey, I wouldn't want to have to make you wait THAT long, dig?

(Oh, and--ahem-- speaking of which, we still have plenty of copies on hand for sale--click the icon up top for all the details. And fear not, book sales--with or without illos--get top priority, and are in the mails within a week, promise. Wouldn't wanna deprive the literature lovers amongst you, after all...)

And big thanks to our friends over at The Comic Treadmill for a very...interesting review of said tome. Everything H says about me is pretty much true--who knew I was so transparent! Gracias to Nik Dirga (of Spatula Forum) for his kind words as well--they're very much appreciated!

Well, that's all for now--hopefully I'll be back with some art to show you in a few days. See you then!!
July 24th, 2008
I recently finished the second (and final) volume of the Marvel Masterworks devoted to Giant-Man, rereading more than a dozen of those early Pym escapades for the first time in decades. Even at their best, the adventures of the Avengers size-changing hero generally ranked fairly low on the Mighty Marvel Totem pole, so I had forgotten pretty much most of the specifics of these largely undistinguished tales. Still, there was mucho fun to be had, and no more so than in the 1964 entries, coincidentally my all-time favorite year for funny books (hey, I was eleven at the time, dig?...).

WHAT made 1964 so special, you young 'uns may well ask?

Well, how about this little interlude found on the third page of an otherwise totally unmemorable opus entitled "The Coming of Colossus" from TALES TO ASTONISH # 58 (August 1964)? For no apparent reason whatsoever, Captain America comes bursting in, unannounced, through the gymnasium window, setting in motion his fellow Assembler's next mission--after a little harmless flirting with The Wasp, natch...
I hadn't thought about this sequence in years, but as soon as I saw it, it all came rushing back to me, and it still brought a big ol' smile to my face! Hey, you gotta understand--at the time, Cap had no other home other than in the pages of THE AVENGERS (his co-starring slot in TALES OF SUSPENSE was still a few months off), and as one reader who was dazzled by his return in AVENGERS #4 a few short months earlier, I was eager for any glimpse of the guy in whichever comic Marvel managed to sneak him into! Believe me, even by Giant-Man standards, this particular story is lower echelon, but somehow, this quick little Cap cameo makes it all worthwhile! And this was the sorta stuff that was happening all across the Marvel line in that halcyon year of '64! (Unlike, say, 1966, when The Fantastic Four turned their backs on the likes of The Avengers, The X-Men, The Hulk, and Peter Parker--all 1964 guest-stars--instead devoting endless pages month after month to The Inhumans and their seemingly unending quest to get Black Bolt to finally mouth off and bust 'em out of their self-made prison--but folks, that's a whole "NOTHER rant!...).

Well, anyway, Cap's head appears as a vignette on the top of page 4, and then again once more at the bottom of the page, as, having recounted the tale of the Colossus to Giant-Man, he takes his leave. Gotta love that guy!

But listen, here's the thing--Cap came to enlist Giant-Man's aid in dealing with this 30 foot dude living in the Bora-Buru region (their spelling). Seems he (direct quote) "lives atop a towering peak--a peak so steep he is unable to descend into the valley." Okay, so he's got the natives all spooked, living in fear of him, making like a god. I can buy that. The problem, Cap tells his fellow Avenger, is that (another quote) "Colossus is now demanding a human sacrifice and the natives don't know where to turn for help".

Wait. Let me see if I understand this.

This big ol' meanie is stuck up on a peak that's so steep he can't possibly climb down it. right? Still, he's demanding a human sacrifice, and the locals are fretting in their booties...WHY? If he can't come down to instigate this new fangled blood thirsty policy of his, HOW then does he expect to get 'em to go along with the whole sacrificing bit?

As a wise man once said (I believe it was Jim Salicrup, who spoke these words upon my description of some rather glaring plot flaws I noticed whilst recently rereading The Inhumans saga in the second FANTASTIC FOUR OMNIBUS), "It was called "The Marvel Age of Comics" after all, NOT "The Marvel Age of Logic" !"

How right you were Jim--just ask the giant up on the peak who was somehow successfully threatening everyone in the immediate vicinity despite the fact that they were all well aware there was no way he could climb down and actually DO anything to 'em!!

Hey, it was 1964--all I really needed was Captain America swinging in the window, uninvited but enthusiastically welcome, to make ME happy! And y'know, having "Meet The Beatles" playing endlessly in the background sure didn't hurt much either...
July 13th, 2008
A couple of things today...

Firstly, I'm ticked off.

Or, more specifically, I was bitten by a tick, and so I've been feeling a bit off.

It's likely the unwanted visitor hopped aboard on one of the frequent occasions my all too affectionate cat, Mario, took up residence in my lap. You'd think that'd be a nice quality to have in a pet--and generally it is--but I swear, there are times after coming in from outside that that needy feline literally stalks me around the house, just waiting for me to sit down and provide him with a place to take a quick (or not so quick) cat nap. and apparently, one day he brought in an unwanted hitchhiker from the wilds of our back yard...

I thought it was just a mosquito bite at first, and simply scratched it when it itched, but eventually, while in the shower, I was a bit unnerved to look down at my upper left thigh and see a big ol' black thing right smack dab in the middle of the already reddened bitten area! Sure enough, it was a tick. Lynn expertly removed it with a tweezer, and we both hoped that would be the end of it, and for several days, we believed it was, as it remained itchy the way a waning mosquito bite does, but caused no other concerns.

Then the other day, I couldn't help but look down and notice that the thing had gotten red, hot, and hard (please, no jokes...). Still, I felt just dandy, and went ahead with a long-planned outing on Thursday, holding off visiting the doc until Friday. When I finally did make it in to the doctor's office, just by eyeballing the welt, they knew immediately what needed to be done without any preliminary blood tests. I left soon after and picked up three weeks worth of antibiotics, which I began taking that very evening. Funny thing--I really hadn't felt any of the typical symptoms up to that point (headaches, fatigue, and the like), but as soon as they were verbally enumerated to me, they hit! Coincidence, or am I really THAT suggestible? Who's to say--all I know is that Friday evening and most of Saturday I felt totally wiped out. The good news? Today I'm feeling pretty sprightly, so maybe the medicine is doing its job, and--as the physician's assistant lady assured me--we caught this all early enough so that they'll be no long-lasting repercussions. (Short term repercussion--this particular antibiotic makes one highly susceptible to sunburn, so for the next two and half weeks, during the hottest part of July, with our family pool languishing out back, I've gotta stay off in the shadows, shaded at all times! Ah well, guess that's why they invented midnight swims, huh?...).

Don't worry Mario, I still love you--though I'm not entirely happy with the sort of hangers-ons you associate with, dig?

Secondly, several months back, while attending that big comics show in NYC, I told you how I met, among lotsa other folks, pioneering underground comics legend Jay Lynch. Well, several months later, though a series of circumstances I won't bore you with, I find myself in semi-regular email correspondence with the guy--whoda thot? Not me, that's for sure. But I bring all this up cuz he just pointed me towards his contribution to the latest Hero Initiative fund-raising effort, the one where various artists draw the big green guy on a blank ULTIMATE HULK 100 cover (yeah, I did one too, but mine isn't up for auction yet). Jay's IS, though, and you've just gotta see it!

Go here, scroll down, and make sure you enlarge it so that you can read the full-color strip included on the back cover!

Jay comes at the Hulk from a whole 'nother direction, one that treats our gamma irradiated guy with just the proper modicum of respect, saving most of his deepest digs for Marvel the corporation! Hey, it sure struck ME as hilarious, in a grumpy way--go take a look if you're interested in seeing something WAY out of the ordinary, Banner boosters! (And as a bonus link, check out Joel Thingvall's Wonder Woman Gallery, where--amongst plenty other goodies--you'll see Mr. L's take on the Amazon! Hey Jay--howsabout a Superman sometime soon?...)

Whew--typing all that sure wore me out. See you soon, though--promise!!
July 8th, 2008
Time for yet another Omnibus round-up--forgive me, friends...

Over at Comicon's The Pulse, Jen Contino interviews me about the book, and I do my best to think of some snappy answers to her queries--go here if you're curious to see if I succeeded!

The Onion's AV Club reviewed the book recently--they liked it, with the last line of their short critique being maybe my favorite description of the project thus far. The most accurate, anyway...

Lastly, my good buddy Roger Green antes up his two cents. Go for the review, stay for the embedded Soupy Sales YouTube video! Thanks Rog!

And thanks to you all, for your indulgence!
July 1st, 2008
First off, curse me for a novice!

I went to all that trouble of reproducing the many unvarying stances of Black Bolt here yesterday, and it never even occurred to me to make an oh-so-obvious quip about Larry "wide stance" Craig!! Man, I just hate it when I let the easy ones get away!

(Which, if I'm not mistaken, is pretty much the same thing Mr. Craig has been known to say upon occasion...).

You might also recall me very recently pointing you towards the first of four commissions I did for James Henry that he posted on his Mid-Ohio Con blog. Well, no sooner had I alerted you folks about the first one than he put ANOTHER of the quartet up on his site! This time, you'll find over two dozen X-Men and related characters suffering my quirky artistic idiosyncrasies, so go take a look--and remember to click on the art so as to enlarge it for even better viewing of all the demented details!

Lastly, it's been my tradition to offer a recap of each year's in-season Subway Series between New York's Mets and Yankees. Truth is, I'm feeling pretty low on the enthusiasm scale for the 2008 match-up, but tradition IS tradition, so here goes (I'll make it quick and painless, promise...)

Dues to an earlier rainout, the weekend began with a two stadium doubleheader on Friday, with the Mets blowing out the Bronx Bombers in Yankee Stadium 15-6 in the afternoon contest. Later, in the cozy surroundings of their home park, Shea, the Mets' bats seemingly went to sleep, and they lost 9-0.

Saturday was tight game at Shea--Yanks 3, Mets 2.

Sunday afternoon, in the finale, the perpetually enigmatic Oliver Perez--who can be either as good OR as bad as any pitcher in baseball on any given day that he takes the mound--pitched one of his best--if not THE best--game of the year, beating the Yanks, 3-1.

A weekend split, two games each, and overall, the Mets won 4 of 6.


Well, hey, I TOLD you my enthusiasm wasn't what it could be...

Enjoy the Newsday covers, and I'll see you again soon...

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