Sunday, June 30, 2013

Thing sketchbook, part 12

It's been a long time since I've had a new entry into the Thing sketchbook.  This takes us to the end of my current sketches...but don't worry, Thing fans, I'm always on the lookout for a lonely comic book artist to accost into adding more to the collection.  Let's dive right in to this batch!

Benn Robbins - Comic-Con International 2012

Benn is a New England Comics employee and the artist on the Mangalicious Tick miniseries.  I met him at Comic-Con and he was kind enough to  listen to my ramblings about the Tick (I've got more than a few).  He adds this great lumpy Thing to the mix!

Magnolia Porter - Comic-Con International 2012

Even though having a booth at Comic-Con means you spend about 50 hours in the convention hall over a five day period, it's difficult to see everything, including things in your immediate vicinity.  On Sunday, though, I took a quick jaunt around the small press section and found a booth maned by Magnolia Porter and Mary Cagle.  I picked up books by both and continue to be incredible impressed by the work they do.  I managed to harass them into adding sketches to the book.  Here's Magnolia's addition, which is just fantastic.  The "Shield" shirt and the cat are great additions.

Mary Cagle - Comic-Con International 2012

I picked up Mary Cagle's book, "Kiwi Blitz" at Comic-Con and I enjoyed every page.  She's a talented creator with a fun art style.  This Thing is more cartoony than probably any other in the book, and I live the uniqueness.  Lookit those stubby legs!  I'm really happy with how this turned out.

Gabe Crate - Comic-Con International 2012

Gabe Crate wrote and drew several Tick one-shots during the early part of the 2000s.  A Bostonian like many Tick creators, Gabe had lots of great stories to tell, most of which I feel comfortable repeating.  This laid back Thing is pretty super, as is the color added.  And hey!  That shirt is canonical, sir.

Ian Nichols - New England Comics FCBD 2013

I had the good fortune of having a signing at New England Comics in Quincy, Massachusetts for the 2013 Free Comic Book Day event.  I sat at a table with a bunch of comics and artist Ian Nichols, who was sketching and raising funds for the "Boston One" cause.  Ian was sketching for the entire time that I was there, but I managed to twist his arm and walk away with this great Thing sketch.

At several points during the process, Tom, the manager of the store, came over to yell at us, which made the event all the more memorable.

That's it for now, but one of my goals of Comic-Con 2013 is to get a few more sketches!  Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

You can't escape it: my students draw even more terrible renditions of the Incredible Hulk

We're aware of how this works by now, right?  It's simple: I give my college freshman class their final at the end of the semester and let them know that I may actually give them bonus points if they draw the Hulk on the cover of their green books.  I don't actually give them extra credit.  It's more of a social experiment.  Anyway, the results are usually terrible, and this past semester, over last month, is no exception.  Check out some of these attempts, with sporadic commentary by me, because if there's anything that demands commentary, it's hastily drawn images of the Incredible Hulk by college students.  Whatever.  Here we go!

Quite the neck on this one.

Bah, Boston?  Come on.  By the way: the Pirates have the second-best record in all of baseball.

Hulk have no feet!

This was probably the best of the bunch.  Nice job, guy.

This entry and the previous one have this in common: they are ADORABLE.

The Hulk looks like he's getting electrocuted, but it's still a pretty good image.

This reminds me of the Mad Libs character.  Weird.

What the heck.

Hulk eats a beehive.

FINALLY!  The catchphrase.

I enjoy these semester after semester.  Great job, kids.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Teddy and the Yeti featured on the Cornered Blog!

The Cornered Blog is a website that's dedicated to those little character profiles that show up in the left-hand corner of some comics.  These mini-marvels might be a Silver Age relic at this point, but there's something to be said for nostalgia, and the comics industry is full of that.  Much of the corner art featured on the blog is redrawn from original images as loving homages to covers of old.  Just recently, the corner art on an upcoming issue of Teddy and the Yeti was featured on the website!

This cover clip has some art by Pietro, one of my favorite artists going.  This cover, though you can't see the full image, obviously, does harken back to one of my favorite covers of the Silver Age.

Many thank to Jon from the Cornered Blog for the post and the good press.  You should check out the full site here - - but be prepared to spend a lot of time digging through all of the images.

Not surprisingly, the Thing is one of the most popular characters on the site, with homages to the Fantastic Four, Marvel Two-in-One and the Thing solo series aplenty.  Here are a few!

The Thing and Man-Thing!  From Marvel Two-in-One #43, by Flynn Nichols.

"Calamity" Jon Morris, owner of the site, must be a big fan of the Two-in-One series, because he's got a number of entries similar to this one above, from issues 52, 53 and 55 ("The Pegasus Project"!) of the series featuring Moon Knight, Quasar and Giant Man/Black Goliath...and the Thing!

Here's one of my's a classic Kirby homage from Michael Lynch!  Very cool.

Check out the Cornered Blog and enjoy the nostalgia!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Journal of Venture Studies

If you're like me, you've been eagerly awaiting the return of the Venture Bros. animated series, which has been off the air for WAY, way too long.  There were the Shallow Gravy and Halloween specials to tide us over in the last few years, but I've been longing for my Venture fix for quite some time.  Luckily, that wait is over as new episodes of the show began airing last Sunday with an extra long helping.  I'm already looking forward to next week's offering!

In anticipation of the new season, Adult Swim sponsored a publication of the Journal of Venture Studies, a semi-academic and semi-self aware electronic journal all about the inner workings of the Venture Bros.  With hours left to spare, I submitted to the journal and had one of only five articles to be accepted!  A few weeks ago, the journal went live and the network promoted it, including on their official Facebook page:

I...have no idea who that "Dan McClelland" is who commented on the post.  Anyway.

My entry to the journal is titled "'Brock...GOOD!': the Edlund Contributions to the Venture-Verse", and it's about how Edlund and the Tick influenced the Venture Bros. program.  It may seem like a cop-out, writing about the Tick when I could have delved into other areas of analysis, but hey, I guess you write what you know.

Accompanying me on this article is FUBAR co-conspirator Jeff McComsey, who added a few spot illustrations to the article and broke up some of those long blocks of text.  Jeff did a great job at capturing the animation style of the show.  The "Venturestein" head study that you see above is a thing of beauty.

By virtue of having my article accepted, I received this incredible, original animated production art cel, which is pretty much cooler than anything I could have expected.  Venture Bros. art is not an easy thing to come by, and to just have this fall into my lap was quite the serendipitous occurrence.  This particular piece features Captain Sunshine (voiced by Batman's Kevin Conroy) and Hank Venture as the erstwhile (in a few ways) sidekick Wonder Boy.  "WONDER BOOOYYY!"  How neat!  This is definitely a keeper.

If you'd like to read my article, or download the full volume, you just have to click on the following link:

This was a great project to be a part of.  Hey, for the heck of it, let's see a picture of myself and Larry as Jet Boy and Jet Girl from last year's Comic-Con:

All right!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Tobacco is Whacko (if you're a teen); NYCC 2013; Franks and Beans and more RANDOM NOTES!

We're back with another installment of "Random Notes!", the regular blog feature that cleans off my desktop of pictures and ideas that I feel like sharing with the Internets.  This is a long-running feature, dating all the way back to 1995, when this blog was hosted by GeoCities.  Fun fact: in 1995, it took seven days to upload a picture, and I passed the time in between typing in the cheat code to the original Sim City!  We've come a long way.

- Our first feature, coincidentally, comes from the '90s as well.  It's one of those comic book ads that I'll always remember...and hate.  At first glance, it seems like a perfectly reasonable and well-meaning advertisement, an anti-tobacco message that pushes back against the significant deleterious influence of big corporations.  The slogan rhymes, so why not, right?  But for some reason, the company that produced this ad decided to add the caveat "if you're a teen".  As if to say, "the minute you turn 20, bam!  Off you go to get your smokes."  So, smoking is okay if you're an adult?

That seems like such a cop-out.  Why would an anti-smoking ad qualify its message in this way?  The fine print reveals that it's produced by Lorillard, a TOBACCO COMPANY.  #$&^&*#%@!!!  A little more research reveals that the Lorillard tobacco company is based out of...McMURRAY, PA!  #&@^$&#%@&!!!!

Ridiculous.  These were terrible comic book advertisements that now seem like backhanded ads for the very thing it was supposedly warning against.  This must be like discovering that the Matrix is real.

- In less infuriating news, I recently got approved for a professional badge to the 2013 New York Comic Con!  That's exciting stuff.  It'll be the first time I've been to the show since 2010, when I went in a different capacity.  I believe that the FUBAR booth will be making an appearance on the floor, so look for me to spend a lot of time there.

- The "Man of Steel" movie is just around the corner, and the promotional push is in full swing.  Wal-Mart seems to be a big sponsor (I wonder if Ma Kent will be shown eating Great Value cereal?) as there's Superman-related merchandise littered throughout the stores.  Among the strangest tie-ins I've seen: Superman pizza!  I guess it's not exactly called "Superman Pizza", but what else would you say when asked to describe this item?  The pepperoni should be dyed red, blue and yellow.

- I've never been drawn to digital comics; I have nothing against them, I just prefer the archaic paper comics that I've always read.  But Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin's "The Private Eye" pulled me in.  I'm a big fan of both creators and this digital comic does not fail to deliver.  It's a fantastic futuristic thriller and I couldn't recommend it more.  If you haven't read this yet, do yourself a favor at go to  I can't wait for the third issue to be released.

- A little while ago, I showed pictures of the Sideshow Tick statue that I bought.  I stumbled upon this image fairly at random recently, and it's obvious that it's a design for the statue.  Really cool!

- Last night, "Weird Al" Yankovic came to Washington, PA, on the newest leg of the Alpocalypse tour. It was a great show!  And it allowed me the chance to debut the newest shirt in the line, as modeled by Larry:

How nice!  The art on this shirt is by Pietro, and I got them printed up at Commonwealth Press in Pittsburgh.  We got a number of compliments on the shirt at the show.  I'm planning on doing a little website renovation over the next few weeks, and part of that will be, I think, opening up an Etsy shop for items that don't necessarily belong in the Teddy and the Yeti camp.

- Speaking of Larry, he's doing a lot of great things with his hobby/obsession, the Dukes of Hazzard.  Last week, I drove out with him past Columbus, Ohio to pick up a door to a '69 Charger General Lee!  If you haven't looked at his blog lately, make sure you check it out before he becomes all famous and people just think you're a bandwagon fan:

- I'm a fan of Beast Wars: Transformers.  And if you've ever seen the show, then you are, too.  Here's a great image!  From Twitter!  From Beast Wars Megatron!  You should follow this on Twitter:

- Lastly, here's the newest episode of Franks and Beans, in which I grow a beard and Larry and I talk about stuff.  It's episode 60: the Joke!

That's it for this installment of "Random Notes", sure to live on into the 22nd century, passed on from generation to generation like a precious family heirloom.