My buying habits on eBay tend to follow a pattern of either feast of famine. I usually control myself fairly well (though I suppose I probably don't have enough distance to make that claim with any impartiality), but there are a few times when I just end up buying things that are weird. Case in point, I recently bought two Fantastic Four-related role-playing game books, each about 20 years old. The first stars the Thing, and the cover of the book has the Thing punching another Thing, so OF COURSE I had to get it. Here's the cover:
Aside from the unfortunate scratch around the "M" in "Marvel", the book looks like it just came from the printer. It's a good thing it looks so nice, because the inside is just a big pile of crap. I'm not trying to dump on role-playing games or anything - I don't know enough about them to judge, I guess - but this particular game doesn't seem like anything I could ever get into. For one thing, the book doesn't come with the necessary six-sided die (what a gyp!), which leads you on a journey in which the Thing fights the Kingpin and his goons in Thing suits. For another, here's a sample of the text: "You turn to Kingpin and shout, 'You might be able to beat one of us - maybe - but two Things can lick anybody.'" Wow.
The other book stars the entire Fantastic Four and is titled "Stygian Knight", which actually doesn't sound that bad, until you realize the main villain is named "Stygorr". Oh well. Let's see a picture of that one!
I imagine that the theme is similar to the Thing game, but this one is open to four players. What struck me about these two different books, coming from two separate auctions, is that the cover art is by the same guy on both, and I had no idea of this before I got them in the mail.
The artist on both books is Jeff Butler, and through the magic of the Google I just found out that he has his own webpage and a rather hefty Wikipedia entry...and wouldn't you know it, some of his work is pretty good.
This is quite the coincidence, but upon further inspection, it looks like both books were published by the company TSR, so I'm assuming that 'ol Jeff was a staff artist for them for a while. Even so, it's funny how things like this come together sometimes.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Hack/Slash recently made a high-profile switch from Devil's Due to Image Comics, and following the just-concluded My First Monster miniseries, the action/horror book relaunches with a new #1 in the next few month. Co-creator Tim Seeley took some time to answer some of my questions about Hack/Slash, some of his other comic work, and the Masters of the Universe, of which Seeley is a big fan.
JM: You might be best known for your creator-owned work with Hack/Slash, but you also manage to do a bit of the work-for-hire as well. How do you compare the two? Can they both peacefully co-exist?
TS: Because I write and draw, it's tough to get hired to do both. So, I originally created H/S for me to write, and then I whore myself out to get art jobs for the bigger companies. Doing both evens out to a better paycheck for me. I live in Chicago...it's expensive here!
JM: You often work with other artists when creating Hack/Slash. As an artist yourself, do you find it difficult turning over your creation to someone who might have another, different vision? How much input do you have in the design or "look" of a book when you're not also the one drawing it?
TS: Well, because I draw, I know how much I hate some overbearing writer type crawling up my butt. So, I pick artists whom I trust, and let 'em do their own thing. I'm rarely disappointed, so it must be doing it right.
JM: Conversely, what are some of the challenges of drawing from someone else's script, as with a book like Exiles?
TS: In general, I find working from other writers' scripts to be totally educational. With Exiles, I was looking at a Chris Claremont script, and obviously that's a guy with some solid credentials. The learning makes it more fun, I think.
I'll post the second half of the interview in the next few days. Watch for it soon!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
...or seahorses, for that matter. Actually, if you combine the two names, you come up with seamonkeys, and they are perhaps the only animals that are okay to order from a comic book. But monkeys? As in, actual monkeys like the squirrel monkey seen in this ad from the 1960s? The one in the...adorable sweater...who is so tiny he fits in your hand...okay, it's not that I don't see the appeal, it's just...whose idea was this?
A few days ago I managed to snag a few issues of the Fantastic Four - #s 56 and 61! - from Wilmington's Fanboy Comics at a great price. One of these issues has the ad you see above in it, which really makes me wonder what people were thinking 45 years ago. I mean, here we are, taking great strides as a species, from the fight for racial equality to a moon landing, and someone's great idea is "hey! Let's sell monkeys to 11-year-old kids! We can puts ads in the back of comic books!"
At this point, someone undoubtedly said "But where will we get the monkeys?", to which the original person must have replied, "I don't know, just take them from the jungle, I guess."
I do honestly wonder how many poor squirrel monkeys were sold and then died because this ad said to feed them basically anything (they even like lollipops!), or how many monkeys just showed up dead in the mail. It's sad to think that people were stupid enough to consider this to be even a remotely good idea - and even though we as a race do some really dumb things today (where do I even begin??), it's nice to think that you can't just order a monkey in the mail anymore.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
The Most Boring Card Ever Made, Jeff Laffery's art blog, Sticky Comics, and other notes of great importance
Look, here's proof that I am actually working on the main website redesign! From this screenshot you can see just how drastic the changes will be - that's right, the menu bar will be listed VERTICALLY! Holy crap, what unbelievable updates will I come up with next?!
In the meantime, though, here are a few websites that I've recently come upon that should hold your interest until teddyandtheyeti.com gets back up and running (you can still read them afterwards, too...it's not a contest):
"The Most Boring Card Ever Made" came up, and boy, is it a doozy.
I collected baseball cards right alongside comics until about 1995, when the bottoms dropped out of both industries (and, probably not coincidentally, the Pirates were in the beginnings of their tailspin from relevance). Getting to see these cards again in this format is both nostalgic and engaging, and the writing on this site really draws me in - it takes a humorous look at another industry (along with comics) that probably takes itself too seriously.
If you check out one thing on the site, make sure it's the "Casey at the Bat" Poster Project, where Ernest Thayer's classic poem is recreated through the creative use of baseball cards (including Billy Ripken's infamous Fleer card). (http://baseballcardblog.blogspot.com/)
You'll find lots of art on Jeff's site, mostly in the form of sketch cards, but what I find most impressive is the webcomic he's starting to put together, adapting Robert E. Howard's famous story, "Conan and the Frost Giant's Daughter", a favorite Conan tale of mine. (http://jefflaffertyillustration.blogspot.com/)
- I spent the weekend of the New York Comic Con in a booth next to Christiann MacAuley, creator of the website Sicky Comics (http://www.stickycomics.com), and since the show has ended, I've become a fan. While much of the site is an overload of cute, there's an R-rated undercurrent that makes a lot of the jokes subversively funny. Below is quite probably my favorite of the bunch:
- Lastly, your friend and mine, Larry, is selling some Dukes of Hazzard 1/144 scale cars on eBay. It's the entire set of ten cars, apparently! Help him out and place a bid so he can take the money and use it to buy more Dukes of Hazzard memorabilia. Seriously, he's almost got it all, and he might as well get to the finish line. And while you're at it, check out Larry and my Franks and Beans website, which is newly updated with 48 (FORTY EIGHT!) episodes and a new layout...though I still have to figure out how to get the logo back up.
- Oh, and I recently applied for a table to the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con International. The end.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Let's make one thing clear: I don't like to obsess. I don't! But I suppose that's the nature of obsession - it's uncontrollable. Take, for example, my recent compulsive need to check the viewership statistics of this very blog. Along with being obsessive, I am apparently also oblivious as I was just recently made aware that the dashboard page of this blog includes a link that lets me track general statistics on how many views certain postings of mine get, and what countries those views are from. This may seem like a minor tool in the grand scheme of the Teddy and the Yeti blog, but it's something I find extremely fascinating to the point that I CAN'T STOP CHECKING IT.
In spite of its collaborative nature, making comics is a lonely venture at many points, and so, perhaps, is comic blogging. Commenting on most of my posts is a rare thing indeed, and I can only assume that stems from the fact that my posts are so chock full of information as to make any questions redundant. This does at times, though, make me think that absolutely no one is reading what I have to say (blasphemy!), but thanks to the "stats" function on this site, I'm happy to say that I have proof that the keywords I have used in titles and tags have tricked dozens and dozens of people from all over the globe into checking out the Teddy and the Yeti blog.
For example, check out these telltale numbers (click on the pictures to get a better view). It's obvious that most of this site's page views would come from the United States, because that's where I'm located, and where most of my friends and family are located. That the UK is second is also understandable, as that's the home of Teddy and the Yeti artist Duane Redhead (though it's a distant second. Pick up the slack, Duane!). What really comes as a surprise is that every so often, someone from Luxembourg wanders over to the site and checks it out. Luxembourg? Really? Why not, say, Latvia or Liechtenstein? Not that I don't appreciate the attention, Luxembourg - I do, and greatly. I'm just a little surprised. Based on its size, the people of Luxembourg have more Teddy and the Yeti fans per capita than anywhere else in the world.
Similarly surprising are the individual posts that have had the most recent success in getting seen. Pop! Culture Connection, the vintage toy store in Greensburg, PA (a fantastic place to visit, by the way) does not, I believe, have a dedicated website of its own. So when people search for the store, they apparently find my blurb about it from April. I wonder if people are disappointed when they click on the link - I mean, if I remember what I wrote, it does have all of the necessary information with which to find the store, and the write up ain't bad, either.
Other lessons learned: putting the words/phrases "crochet", "FUBAR", "Joe Sinnot" and "Garmin" (that one was a surprise...I suppose people are trying to figure out what commercial that yeti holding a teddy was from) in the subject line is a surefire way to get consistent page views months after the initial posts, and at least 27 people have wondered, just as I have, just what the heck those "beats for reading comic books to" ads were all about.
Next, many thanks go out to Xavier at his Paper Heroes site for posting a link to this blog, as I've benefited from it in recent weeks. And also thanks to...uh...Google...for apparently directing nearly 400 people here recently. In fact, Google (in one iteration or another) is on the "referring sites" list three separate times.
Lastly, we have the "search keywords" list, which apparently tallies up the search terms people are entering that lead them to this blog. Thankfully, "Teddy and the Yeti" heads that list, followed by..."blogger"? People are just typing in "blogger" and finding their way here? Well, I'll take it.
From looking at the list of popular posts, I expected to see searches for Pop! Culture Connection, FUBAR and even the Garmin commercial on this list, and the few Brownsville Telegraph searches weren't shockers, either. To the three people who searched for 2099: Manifest Destiny, though: I'm sorry that all I wrote about in my post regarding that book was how difficult it was for me to find. That probably didn't help you at all.
I'm telling you what - I eat this stuff up. It's like everything I never knew I wanted and needed to know about this web page was now available to me...like magic or some form of Divine intervention. Now, if I got some comments from people in Luxembourg as a result of this entry, I think my week might be complete.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Myrtle Beach's X-Con World has been over for a few weeks now, so hey! Why not show a picture or two from the show? WHY NOT INDEED?!
Here's my obligatory disheveled picture. I actually took three this time, and all are wonderful. But this one might be the best.
Look at this guy. I mean, LOOK at him! He's such a dead ringer for the Christopher Reeves Superman. He came the day before dressed as Clark Kent and pulled that off, too, all the way down to the way he pushed up his glasses. And what a costume! Kudos to this guy for embracing his celebrity lookalike status.
I wanted to take a picture where it looked like Superman was using his super-breath to blow me over, but this is what he was willing to do. Still, it worked.
Hey, look! It's C. Martin Croker from Space Ghost: Coast to Coast and Aqua Teen Hunger Force! I guess maroon works for both of us.
Later, I threw on some Steelers gear and met a human Wii remote. It's like I'm pressing "2" and the elevator door in the background is opening up.
A great time had by all! I assume.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
It is well documented (at least it should be) that I love Frankenberry cereal. Love it. I like Boo Berry to an extent as well (I'm no fan of Count Chocula or any chocolate cereal, in case you were wondering), but Frankenberry is my one true cereal love. Unfortunately it's become increasingly difficult to find, so when Halloween rolls around, I make sure and buy five or six boxes to stock up for a couple months.
Cereals have changed over the last few decades in that you won't find many - if any - cereals that offer a toy inside the box. Instead, most cereals have some game or cutout printed on the back, as if that makes up for their newfound stinginess. In any case, this year's boxes of monster cereal feature a comic with art that I think is really well done. I can't help but wonder who drew it - if it's a comic industry professional or just someone General Mills has in its art department. It looks a lot like the art of Sean "Cheeks" Galloway or even my buddy Ruben Cordero (though I think I would have heard if it was Ruben's work). There's no signature or other credit given, not that I expected there to be on the back of a cereal box, but still, I wonder just who drew up this intriguing piece.
As I write this, I'm getting hungry.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
I was a little late to the game with this, but I finally caught the first episode of the new Walking Dead series on AMC last night. Like most people, I was really taken back by the quality of this new show. I'm not much of a fan of horror movies or shows in general, because very few of them understand that suspense isn't about showing people getting their faces torn off and gore for the sake of gore. The people who put The Walking Dead together DO seem to get it - and the result is a show that's actually frightening.
I was surprised at how closely the first episode followed the comic, and I'm excited to see what comes next. The special effects - makeup, computer imaging, whatever - was incredible. I've seen movies with budgets that had to dwarf that of this cable-based show, and I've never seen a zombie like what they had on the first episode. Incredible stuff.
I do have a few concerns. First, I wonder how they'll manage the actor who plays Carl. He'll be growing up throughout the filming of the series faster than the timeline for the show, and that's always tricky for shows to work around (Waaaaaallllt!).
Second, I wonder how the slow pacing of the book will translate to the show. The first episode moved pretty slowly, I thought (which wasn't a bad thing), and I'm not sure how people tuning in to see zombies get their heads beat in will react to that.
Lastly, I wonder what will happen if the show ends before the book does. Let's say that the show has a nice five- or six-season run (at which point Carl will be what, 17?) and everyone involved decides that it's time to wrap it up, but the book is still going strong. Does Robert Kirkman come up with a meaningful ending for the show? Does it stay the same for the book? Do the two stories diverge at that point? It's something obviously not worth worrying over right now. But I'll be interested to see what happens if it gets this far.
Seeing as how this series has already been renewed for a second season, I'd say that I'm hopeful for many more great episodes of this truly chilling show. And when the second season starts to film, Larry and I are totally going to try to be extras on it. It beats all of the other extra work I've done in the past, and I think I could handle sitting in the makeup chair for hours if I got to be a zombie for a day or two.
Oh, and did anyone else notice Carl wearing a Science Dog t-shirt in the episode (he's wearing one in the picture above, too)? That's quite the in-reference. I loved it.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I got a page of artwork in recently from Leonardo Pietro (he of Yalta! fame) and I'm really excited about it. Paul Little colored it and I have to say, it looks really fantastic. But I can't say what it is just yet...so I'll just post an obscure clip from the page. EVEN A CLIP OF NOTHING FROM THIS PAGE LOOKS GREAT!
I'm hoping that I will be able to say what this artwork is for eventually, but one never knows. I am getting close to (finally) being able to announce what this artwork from Alan Gallo is for. So I thank the Lord for progress.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
The Teddy and the Yeti 2010 tour (check out that alliteration!) makes one final stop before exploding and perhaps maiming all involved. I'll be appearing at the Pittsburgh Comic & Collectibles Show one week from today (November 14th) at the Century III mall New Dimension Comics store. Also attending are "guys you might have actually heard of" like Jim Shooter and Ron Frenz, Teddy and the Yeti cover artists Tom Scioli and Pat Olliffe (come get a copy of issue #3 signed!), and a bunch of other
I'm not entirely sure of the hours for the show. This is something that I should know. I'll find that out soon. In any case, I'm sure it'll be over early enough to get home and watch the Steeler game at 8:20. So...stop by. Here's the website! http://www.ndcomics.com/1110show.html
And here's the same bio that I've used the entire year! Perhaps I should change it up for the next show...supposedly in 2011.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
teddyandtheyeti.com is going through some updates, so this will serve as the homepage for the time being - most of what happens, happens here in any case, so it shouldn't be a big issue. If you were directed here from the main page and are visiting for the first time, welcome! If not...well, you can stay here, too, I guess.
A few days after the New York Comic Con, in which I handed out dozens if not hundreds of cards, flyers and books advertising the T&Y website, Google let me know that the site may be distributing malware. The timing of this announcement was of course teeth-gnashingly frustrating, but things are taken care of for now. While the placeholder (along with the "coming in 2011" story with Alan Gallo) redirects you to this lovely Blogger page, I'm busy streamlining the site before it goes back to full capacity operation. I'm going to remove a few items, like the "links" section (they're all listed more efficiently on this page) and the message boards (again, they were redundant). I'll also be adding a few things, like more comic previews and a section detailing the interviews I've done for the book and otherwise.
In all, it won't be a drastic revamp, but I think after I'm done, everything will look just a little bit better. Naturally, I'll post a note up here once the website is up and running again.
Speaking of tiny updates, I've made a few to this site. I've posted a link to the Teddy and the Yeti paper heroes patterns - the direct link takes you to the pdf files that you can save and print off on your own. I also managed to get Teddy and the Yeti (including the new "Teddy and the Yeti's Back!" issue) into a comic shop in Longs, SC, and the link is to the right. And because I love it, I've added a link to weekly NFL television maps - now you can find out if the Steelers are the national feed in YOUR area, every single week! They probably are, because they are awesome.