Friday, December 31, 2010

Research, sketching, daydreaming, writing...

Things are coming together for all you Loyal Legionnaires. This past week I have been pounding the pavement, or rather the great research tool - the internet, getting together images for reference, costumes, vehicles, buildings and all things needed for the first issue of Captain Spectre.
As prep work, as you all know, I need to get comfortable with all the characters in the book. No matter how little they have to do with the story. Mainly because visually I want this book to be the best thing I have ever done. So I went back to the 'Mary' the waitress character to do a bit better design work than before. Also found a better truck that I needed. This two and half ton ford cab-over from 1939 is a better fit for what I wanted. So as I mentioned the process begins. How do I draw these vehicles, what kind of inking do I want on them. What style or degree of contrast in the inking. So I did a rough with a new pen brush I bought. Served two purposes, tested the brush, and gave me some vehicle inking practice for the book.
It seems more and more I try to make things, drawings, sketches, and the like to do double duty - as time is always a factor.

So my plans for New Years are to continue with this process, as this morning the ice is coming down already. The sidewalk is slick.....the dog was even sliding around as he went out for his morning bathroom adventure, I have food in the icebox, the power hasn't gone off, and I have no plans.....other than working on the book today. It is going to be a very good day I think.

So Happy New Year to all you Loyal Legionnaires! Stay safe, don't drink and drive, try not to drink too much......and get rid of this year and let's make this new year a much better one!!

And again thanks for tuning in...... oh and also, I finally have my main villain for issue one. I am trying to figure out if I should post it, or keep it a deep dark science secret.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas Legionnaires!!!

I hope everyone is having a very merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Well...Somebody had to do it!!

Merry Christmas Loyal Legionnaires, and readers of Action Science Adventures Magazine!

This very well could have hit the local news stand in December of 1939!

Who's to say it couldn't have been done. Ha. I was thinking about doing something for Christmas again this year, and just couldn't come up with anything. I sure am not feeling the Christmas spirit...I usually don't.... the holiday is totally wasted on me. The only thing I like it for is the time off, and I won't even get much of that this year. I have a deadline at work and it is taking me more time on the project than I guessed. Just one of those things that happens way too often.
Then this thing sprang full blown into my mind late last night. I hadn't actually inked anything in a bit...the job I am doing for work is being inked 'digitally'. And I am not a fan of working that way, but the job calls for it. Anyway, I wanted to kill two birds with one I did a Christmas thing and inked it....then threw some digital coloring at it, and here you go Loyal Legionnaires! I would assume that Captain Spectre would give up his feature story once a year for a new Kringle: the Avenger - Super Science story. I can only imagine aliens landing at the north pole to steal all the toys. This of course would result in a world wide disaster that only Kringle: the Avenger could deal with....maybe with a bit of help from Captain Spectre! ha.

Enjoy Loyal Legionnaires......Merry Christmas and happy holidays!!!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I apologize for the lack of updates lately.....sorry.

Sorry for the lack of updates. Things are just nuts right now. With so many things going on. Then the holiday season is always a trying time for me. How to spread what little money I have between my two sons and their families. It is more of a depression with me. Hell, my two sons are way better heads of families than I ever was. They are more successful with it all. I am very proud of them. Of course I consider myself the prime example of what NOT to be or do.

Also with the cold weather the arthritis is worse. I am going to move up the food chain of doctors, mine is sending me off to a specialist.....oh boy is that probably going to turn out bad. Well I guess my doctor is right, I shouldn't rely on just pain meds for it all. I just don't think they understand tho.....I will not let them cut on my hand....hell, took 57 years just to draw as bad as I do.....I don't want to relearn it all over again.

Anyway enough of my depression......above is the cover for the HIV comic I am working on. This thing has a tight deadline and is keeping my very busy. I am finding a bit of time to continue work on the KiGor short story. And of course time to work on the story for the Captain Spectre first issue.

I really want the first issue of Captain Spectre to make a hit. So I am working extra hard on the story. I hope everyone will be happy with it.

Again sorry for the lack of updates, I will try harder to keep everyone in the loop. Thanks for tuning in all you Loyal Legionnaires!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Turkey Day.....

Well, ok I know I am behind on this story. And if you are keeping track, I actually am doing the pages out of sequence since I am relying on my thumbnails for the story telling. Also I was never happy with this page layout from the first time I did it. So I reworked it a couple of times, now I am fairly happy with it as far as moving the story forward and not messing around too much. So I polished it off today, at least the pencils for it. Now I can move on a bit. Which I am sure you are as happy as I am about it. I want to finish this up as soon as I can. Well let me clear that up. I want to get it done, but I still want it to be one of the best things I have done. So it will take some time. I have to settle for some below grade work on some projects but this one I am not doing that way. I want this to be a piece I can showcase some storytelling and jungle story stuff.
Also on the Captain Spectre front. Or rather the scripting of the first issue. I have canned the idea I had for the first issue and reworked it ....yet again. I promise it is a better story this way, and one that will showcase Captain Spectre and his world. I am proud of the way it is going, so I sure hope it is worth the wait. Being excited about it, makes me want to turn out a better product for you guys. So patience Legionnaires, I think it will be worth it all.
And have a safe and happy Thanksgiving....from me, chopper, and Captain Spectre.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day....

Odd thing, when I started this piece for the auction at the Iowa Comic con that I was planning on attending, I didn't really think about Veteran's Day. If you know me, as a kid all I ever wanted out of life was to grow up and draw the Captain America strip. Well I know that will never happen. And to be frank with all the changes in the strip and character I don't know if I would want too. Unless they would let me do an old school WW2 adventure.
Anyway I am not going to get to make it to the Iowa con. But I did finish inking this piece for them. I will mail it over there when I get the chance.
I hope everyone has a great time. I was really wanting to go. Just can't. Deadlines and other factors.
Anyway, Good Veteran's day to all the vets, service men and women serving, and the past vets - we are all brothers in arms.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I just couldn't resist this. I know it is way early and this is a very long way from being done. But, hey a guy can dream can't he. I needed something to get my blood pumping. And working on this is all that seems to be keeping me going lately.
In this process of working on this first issue, I am working really hard on trying to write a good issue/story. I also was the art on this to be top notch, or at least the best I can do at the time.
The story is refining itself....that may sound weird to people who are real writers, but I tend to write with alot of visuals. So I tend to wander around in the story. I have learned to chop things that really don't belong. Sometimes I will come up with a scene and think it is really good for along time. Then I wake up one morning and think - what the hell was I thinking, that scene doesn't move the story or help the characters any. So it gets cut.
I am still learning, and teaching myself in all aspects of storytelling. So please bare with me on all this. It is a very long process when something like this is creator owned. Or a better term for it is 'it's my baby'. ha. If I screw this up, I screw up everything. I have that feeling. I really want this issue to do alot.
So, I just want to see if I can get people interested in the story by making some good teaser pieces for it.
I know I am pumped to work on if time will allow me too.
Also I guess I was proud of myself since I finally came up with a title for the story I could live with............ Solo Flight.

what da ya think????

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

educational comics....

Well I am deep into working on an educational comic at work. I have worked on a couple of these for this project over the last couple of years. This new one is kind of a sci fi take on a virus story. Actually with tinges of an old EC comics story thrown in for good measure. Of course it is only ten pages long, but since I am doing it all - except the writing, it is going to take awhile. The story was originally written by Martin Powell, but then savaged by political correctness and scientists that have no imagination. So we are lucky it even has a bit of story left tucked in behind the science.
I am just posting this too keep you loyal Legionnaires up on what is happening. Of course this is the day job. So not to worry things are still progressing on the first issue of Captain Spectre, and working toward pages on the KiGor story too. I know this is taking ages, but I am slow and old - so bare with me in my old age, please. I will post some prelims of things to the Captain Spectre book in a day or two.
So stay tuned Legionnaires. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Going toe to toe with the blues.....

Thanks to everyone writing to me about curing the blues, beating the slump, or whatever you want to call it. Again it happens all too often anymore....but I am duking it out with the muse.
So sometimes you just have to go back to the beginning and start from scratch. So I thought I would work on some concept sketches. All characters start with the concept. So here are a few I have going at the moment. As it stands right now most of these characters will be in Issue one. Not all will make the cut as I tend to rewrite a few hundred times it seems. Just thought I would keep all you very loyal Legionnaires up to date, in the battle with the blues. Also think I finally am happy with the 'Jack' character. She has been kind of nebulous to me for awhile. But now she is pretty much set in stone. The pic of her is from a full sheet of face studies. Since one of the problems with creating characters, especially in a strip where not everyone has a costume on all the time, is trying to make them look the same from all angles and each time you redraw them. But I am happy with her appearance now.
I will keep all informed on the on going battle. And once again thanks to all who write and post on the site.....I do appreciate it. It keeps me going. Thanks.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The word is SLUMP....

We all get them, whether you call them the Blues, a Slump, Creative Void, The give a shits, whatever you want to call them we all get them.
Well I guess the reason I have been a bit lazy in my posting is I have dealing with a case of it all right now. I know this may seem like a broken record to regular readers, but it happens more often than people like to admit. The piece above I had had pencilled awhile back, just never got around to inking it. Well it seems I can even ink fairly well when in a depression or slump. Since it is more of a mechanical process for me. I guess what I need to do is have a backlog of pencilled pieces around for these times. Which by the way, I have even noticed are coming more often, or time is flying by faster in my later years. I think it is some of both of those reasons. Also so many other factors are in play right now too, the same old stuff really, the day job, the shorter daylight hours (ever since I totaled my truck hitting that deer last november, I have been a bit gun-shy about driving at night.), my arthritis, a few personal things, and as always that no money in the bank thing. Nothing out of the ordinary as most people have problems and deal with them. Just sometimes it all piles up and seems to heap onto you all at once.
Again not whining or making excuses, just letting you all know what is happening. It will pass. Just takes a big jolt. An idea would help to get my mind excited again about anything. Oh, sure I want to get beyond the half way mark of the KiGor story, finish the second half of the Captain Spectre script, and do a hundred other things laying around. I just have to find the fire again.

On the other hand, I think that piece above of Cap rocketing off the rooftop will probably be the cover drawing to the first issue of Captain Spectre. So I guess some work gets done even in the throws of the slump.

Hang with me, it will be over soon....I promise.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

chipping away at it all....

Again, just a typical weekend. I am chipping away at all projects on all fronts it seems. Here is page 5 of the KiGor story. Man, this one took awhile. It was a real challenge for sure. I especially had fun designing and inking the 'batman' shaman. I had been watching a lot of jungle adventure movies lately, or should I say as always, since I like jungle stories. And thought about the scarification stuff alot. So why wouldn't a shaman or witchdoctor use it like this, to add things to his body to make him seem more like a totem animal or something. Just a thought. Anyway it also gives the audience a view of what is to come in KiGors Africa. The 'dino' again is like the great old movie dinos of the 50's and 60's which were just big lizards with plates and stuff glued onto them. I loved those faux-dinos alot.

I also got interviewed by the All Pulp site. So here is a link to that if you care to read any of my rantings and ravings on the questions they posed for me. So click to read.

Also if you need a print of the Captain Spectre Serial Lobby card from the previous post just click to download it and print it out. It is 11 x 17 so you can print it full size if you like, or if you can't just tell your printer to size it down some. If you need me to size it down, just ask and I can do that and post it at a later time. Just say the word Legionnaires.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Progress on all fronts.....

Well, not gonna let you see the whole KiGor page yet, as it isn't quite done. But just thought I would show this page....after all I do want people to buy the book it is going to be in. ha. Anyway just wanted to mention once again....all brush work on this story so far. And this panel is only four and half inches by seven and a half. I am not much good at drawing small anymore....hence the photoshop comps I have shown here. But I still need to ink the figures no matter how small they come out in the comps. It was a tough one with my slowly failing eyesight...ha.

Also like a dog with a bone. I couldn't resist putting in a couple of hours finishing off the Captain Spectre serial Lobby card. Some things just have to be done, as all creative people understand. I kept thinking about this piece and that was bothering me. So to free up my mind I just had to finish up a version of it. Not by all means a final, but I kind of liked it, so will keep this as a version anyway. Also I included some names for the stars. Thought about the casting of the characters and came up with this selection. Let me know what you think.
I hope everyone had a good weekend. I think my was good. Of course always too short, but I did get some much needed work done on KiGor. And the serial card is going to be used in issue one, so actually that was work on the first issue, a bit. I will try in the next week or so to post the serial card as a .pdf on the site so people can download and print one if they like. OK.
Well back to the old salt mines tomorrow.....or maybe it should be the radium mines as in Flash Gordon......I like that better.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Looking forward to a productive and enjoyable weekend....

Well, as most of you Loyal Legionnaires, and Jungle Pals know....I always have several things going at one time....probably one of my more self-annoying habits. I seem to always have big plans and projects eating away at the back of my brain. Some of those projects have included collecting sound effects for a internet radio show of Captain Spectre to post on the site, another is what would the Captain Spectre serial look like, and yet another would be a Fleisher like studio cartoon adventure series of Captain Spectre.
Some nights when I get home after a long day at the job there just isn't enough time to get my mind focused on writing or doing something really detailed and small - like panels on a comic I always have something big and mindless to work on so I can say I did something.
Anything to move things forward.
Friday night was one of those nights. Good Hammer vampire movies on TCM, and the dog was acting up after being alone all day, also some domestic chores to check up I inked a few lines between all that and finished this drawing that has been around for months.
Captain Spectre ala Republic pictures serial.
Ha, it could be a fun serial for enjoy all you Legionnaires and enjoy your weekend. I plan to get some work done. Since the yard doesn't need a weekly mowing because of the cooling temps.
Now I need to make a lobby card out of this image.....see more stuff to do. sigh.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Moving the speed of a snail....

Sorry for the lack of posts lately.... I have been trying to reclaim my mind. Lately I have had trouble with focus and just plain old fatigue of the body and brain. So during my working vacation I have been trying to get back into the groove. Of course this medical thing seems to flair up from time to time more frequently, and that sure doesn't help. But as you can see the working vacation wasn't a totally unproductive one.
Among the many things I have tried to accomplish, is working on the script to the first issue of Captain Spectre. To help my mind get into the character again and try and come up with a good story I worked on one of the cover concepts I have kicking around for the first issue. The title is just a place holder for now. I don't want to give anything away just yet. Also working on KiGor was a priority, so another page of layouts, and a large battle page to tempt everyone into buying the story when we get it done.
I also have to content with going back to the day job. Which I have been really hating lately. But I do have to wrap my mind around going back with the focus of getting some work done there. I have a couple of large projects on the desk and they do need my attention. I just have to get back into keeping the day job and the night job separate. It has always been tough for me to do. But I really have to do it this time. And not get emotionally involved in the day job. Just do the work, and don't worry about it. I know that sounds kind of like I am giving up, and in a sense I am. First you must understand the job. Everything is done by committee now. I, as a designer, don't really design anything. Oh, maybe the first time around I do, but with all the changes and opinions that get thrown at a project...they never end up looking like I think they ought too. So anymore I just push the pixels around til someone in charge likes it. This used to really bother me. For years, I tried fighting for what I thought and believed in. Well no more. I am tired of giving up good ideas, and they never get used. Good designs that get totally changed. With a planned early retirement four or five years away, I just can't see worrying about it all anymore. I know with that statement my parents are probably spinning in their graves. But, the fight is all gone. I will gladly do what I am told, no matter how stupid I think it is. They are the bosses, and I just the pixel monkey.
So I hope letting go of all that helps me produce more work at night and on the weekends. All I can do is forge ahead.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Various things in the production line....

Well, I felt I needed to post a few things that are in the production pipeline.
The Helene sketch is just a hair-do concept. I realized as I started drawing her, I didn't have a good handle on how her hair was to look. You know the basic forms of the hair, as I draw it I block in the major building blocks, and as I started the strip her hair was all over the place. Ha. So I had to figure it out. Seems kind of odd to do something like that, but I am trying to really nail this strip and wanted her to have the same hair from panel to panel.
The other piece is revision of one of the panels on an upcoming page. Just trying different layouts and storytelling forms, and can always use the practice drawing odd angles like the slightly down angle of two guys.
Then a Captain Spectre cover concept done a while back, but just got around to scanning it the other day. See I am working toward the day when a Captain Spectre comic is a real thing.
Also I had mentioned the doctor visits lately, well one of my slight fears has come true. Seems I having these pains in my hand and arm when I drew too long or worked too hard. Well seems I have rheumatoid arthritis. I am working with the doctor to take some of the pain away so I can sleep and draw more. I am taking a few things, that they are trying on me. So we shall see. The steroids he is giving me in burst form seem to be helping knock the pains down a bit. So when I mention the hand being tired or sore you Loyal Legionnaires and Jungle pals will know what I am talking about. So forgive me if sometimes my production slows down a bit. thanks.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Joining the Influence Map club....everyone seems to be doing it.

Well it seems everyone around is doing these things. I started on this one the other day, actually a week or so ago, but finished it the other night ....and on a lunch time break, I thought I would go ahead and post it.
I could of filled up many more of these things. But I tried to stick to the raw beginnings of all my influences. I could have put more illustrators in there like Greg Manchess and all, but knowledge of those guys came later. I focused on the stuff of kids and my youth a bit. Also many of these have double or triple meanings. Like the Sgt. Fury #13 is for Captain America, Jack Kirby, and all the great Marvel comics of the silver age, it also represents the odd DC stories I loved like Challengers of the Unknown and just comics in general.
The same way with Milton Caniff. I admired the man, and his works. So look, or think about double meanings for alot of these images.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New Ki-Gor page inked.....

Well, with a day and a half of hard work, here is the page I posted yesterday morning - inked and ready to roll. I hope it still works in this stage. I took extra pains to ink this. I might add that except for the straight lines breaking the panels....It is all brush! No quill was used.
As I posted at the end of the last comments I do appreciate your posting and feedback. I sure hope I am not spoiling the excitement of the story by posting pages. After all it is what I do, is I just hope it isn't spoiling a purchase. The KiGor back up story will need all the help it can get to keep going. As before Jungle stories are a hard sell to people. I love them, but most people other than pulp fans, don't even care for them. But they are really fun to draw with all the animals and the organic nature of the jungle and backgrounds.
Anyway I just wanted to post this, it has been a long day for sure. I had a doctor's appointment this afternoon, so took a sick day to fix myself mentally by inking the page. But more on the doctor thing later.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Laboring on Labor always

Hello Loyal Legionnaires and Jungle pals....well it is Labor Day, and I am laboring. I am working on one of the strangest layouts I have ever tried to do. I hope it shows a bit, but I have put in alot of time on this one. It is so complex in the layout that I had to do it several times and even redraw some of the panels and lightbox them so I could get it all in. Ha, and I just realized as I posted it that KiGor is in every panel. Anyway I will tell you this might be a bit of a spoiler, but mainly I wanted to post it to talk about the art.

I needed to show the passage of time, that it takes KiGor to track Helene, and I also wanted to show that his sense are so perfected that he can almost see the people he tracks - like a vision or something. Along with the passage of time, is the distance traveled and how KiGor travels in the jungle. The reason the pencils look alot cleaner than my normal pencils is because I had to lightbox so much of it. Also the figures are rather small in each panel and the paper I use doesn't take much punishment, so if I want to use a quill to do the details I have to be careful using my eraser. I tend to pencil pretty heavy so I tend to cut into the paper a bit much, which makes my quill line bleed into the fibers.
Also I talked Martin Powell, the writer of the story to work like the old Marvel way. So the layouts and choices are all mine. If it doesn't work in the final story, blame me. Don't blame Martin since I talked him into it. Martin is the best writer I know and his story really rockets along, so I was on task to get this page with as much visual info as I could get into it.
I hope it works, now the rest of the day is touching up the pencils, spotting my blacks, and doing some really fine line inking as I can do. I hope it works out in the end.
Because I have to put my best foot forward here, KiGor is a unknown character to most of the comic public. Pulp fans know of his exploits and that will bring in a few people. Jungle stories are a hard sell, I love them but most people just let them go by. But I think if I can do a good enough job on the art, and people read Martin's story, I think we can make people look at jungle stories with the adventure of a little kid again. I hope.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Happy Birthday Mr. Burroughs....

Edgar Rice Burroughs was born in Chicago on Sept. 1, 1875....he died March 19, 1950. I only meet the man through his many novels and stories. He died before I was born but he lives on by giving us his mighty heroes and wonderful worlds. Happy Birthday Mr. Burroughs and I owe you alot. I owe part of my imagination to you, I owe you for helping me when my father died as I usedyour heroes for a guide to the ways of right and wrong. And now I owe you for one of the greatest nights of my life.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

New Ki-Gor promo art....and other stuff

Well new KiGor art as in I haven't shown them yet to anyone, so as always Jungle pals you are the first - along with the Loyal Legionnaires who I hope are hanging in there.....waiting.
I should be working on new KiGor pages, well I did work on some layouts this weekend.
Ok here is the real any of you who know me know that I have had pain developing in my right hand for years now. Well I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow to see if there is some other pain meds they can give me. Nothing over the counter works on it anymore. Thursday night was the worst in years I can remember. It felt like someone had shoved a two foot needle inbetween my fingers and up into my forearm between the bones. And honestly it is still sore to the touch, much less trying to draw or have a brain cell that works without feeling it. I just hope this doctor believes me as years ago I had one look at it and he said there was nothing wrong. Anyway I apologize for not turning out the work fast enough lately, believe me I am the most disappointed in my production rate. But things just can't be helped.
Sorry for whining, just thought you loyal Legionnaires and Jungle pals should know.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Chicago Dum Dum of the greatest nights of my life....

What an awesome week it has been for me.....not only did I get invited to be the artist guest of honor at the Chicago Dum Dum, I won one of the two Golden Lion awards awarded this year. I might add it was the first time two Golden Lion awards were presented. I am still in a state of shock! I never dreamed anything like this could happen to me. But, as you can see, there it is. Awesome looking isn't it. I just can't figure out where to hang it, as I don't ever want it to leave my sight. It was one of the greatest moments of my entire life! I will never forget it, ever.
Also I have finally been to enough of these Dum Dum's, which to all who don't know is the council of the ape tribe in the Tarzan novels, that it has become like a family reunion. What a great bunch of people. Also as promised here is the speech I stammered thru.

I want to thank Joan for all the great work she has done on the book, and her taxi service. Thanks to all the Muckers for the event, and the Burroughs Bibliophiles. Also thanks to the members of the Burroughs family, and Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc. And thanks to all here.

I do question the sanity of the group that wants me to make a speech. Which reminds me a of a saying from Groucho Marx, and I take liberties with it, ‘ I should be suspect of any group that would have me as a member.’

My reason for thinking of that was mainly the question in my mind of what could I possibly have to speak about to Burroughs collectors, scholars, and even members of the Burroughs family. Since I consider myself a fan - a rookie collector- probably never with as great a collection as some I know of and now seen, like Jerry’s. But, I am just mostly an artist who’s early imagination springs in a large part from the words and works of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

So I sat down once again in front of the dreaded blank white page. It is a common problem with artists. We tend to face it often but, rarely with the intent of making a speech.

So I approached the problem like a drawing. With a drawing I try to let all my visual influences and visual memories guide me. But, this time it was for a speech.

My mind raced back to my childhood, and to my discovery of the works of ERB. And what a joy that was. Then I realized that the one thing we all have in common is our discovery of the stories that Edgar Rice Burroughs gave to each of us.

No matter if you prefer the the mist shrouded jungles of Africa, the ancient cities of Mars, the tall trees of Venus, the strangeness of the Earth’s Core, or worlds beyond the farthest stars - we have all discover these tales in our own way - and they have stuck in our imaginations.

This is our common ground, the thing that makes this a personal journey, and it is the thing that makes us a community.

So I thought about the Burroughs events I have attended. It seemed as though each time I saw two Burroughs fans meet, somewhere in the conversation, one or the other always referred to their own discovery of the stories, and characters of ERB. Even though each experience of discovery is slightly different, each one is very personal. Each story seems to have the same elements sort of like a good formula for pulp novel.

But I believe this is what makes us a community with a common ground. And this excitement of discovery is what we carry with us through the years.

For myself, I felt like many of Burroughs’s heroes - split between two worlds.

My parents lived in a small rural town in Nebraska, so small there was no hospital and only one doctor. This resulted in my birth in the closest town with a hospital - Beatrice Nebraska. I later discover that this was also the birthplace of Barney and Victoria Custer, which seemed to give me an even more personal connection to one of ERB’s heroes.

And yes to all the Burroughs scholars out there it is pronounced Be-at-ris to the citizens.

My father’s job carried us to another location in Nebraska before moving us to the wilds of west Texas. With each move we also found ourselves farther from the nearest town - while we continued to live in company houses at the compressor stations. While rural Nebraska was farmland and wooded areas, West Texas proved to be another world. I had expected cowboys and indians, and landscapes like in the movies. What I found was something more like the surface of Mars. Red sand, a straight line horizon in every direction and the night sky filled with millions of visible stars. Then of course the relentless sun, which seemed even larger.

About this time I discover the Weissmuller Tarzan movies that were shown on one of the two tv stations we could tune in. Going to town to see a movie was a logistical nightmare, as we lived 35 miles from the closest town.

So books became my main source of entertainment. The school library had a few Tarzan books but I wanted more.

Throughout the years we retained our connection to Nebraska. Each year when school was out my brother and I were transported back to Nebraska to my grandparents from the summer. Luckily once each summer we journeyed into Beatrice, where I had found a bookstore. This bookstore became my ultimate goal each year. The owner must of been a Burroughs reader or a fan and kept a full line of the Ace pocket books. Either that or I was the only Burroughs reader to enter his shop each year. I would save what little money I could scrape together with doing summer jobs and saving my money all year long to make that journey once a year. As my parents thought it was a waste of time and money I had to sort of sneak around and pretend I only had a few Burroughs books and I was just reading the same ones over and over.

A few years after our move to texas my father passed on. I was still very young so books and the heroes found in them became even more important. Also with my father’s passing, we were ousted from the life of living in company houses in the middle of nowhere. We moved into town and I now had access to more books and the movies.

The stories of ERB also gave me a wanderlust that has taken me around the world several times. I have landed on the shores of Africa, walked in the Cambodian jungles, set foot on the steppes of Russia, and fought the cold of Arctic winds.

The heroes and worlds of the tales of ERB fired my imagination, took me to lost worlds, and other worlds, and taught me honor and duty…..but most of all made my world liveable.

Thank you…….

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Off to the Chicago

That's right Jungle Pals, and Loyal Legionnaires....I am off to Chi-town tomorrow at the butt crack of dawn, to attend the annual meeting of the apes....better known as the DumDum. This year it is being held by the Muckers....a rebel offshoot of the Burroughs Society. I have the posters of the Mucker cover signed, along with the Tarzan posters that I previously previewed here on the blog. I am sure I will have some of each left on my return, so if you would like one I will post the price and all when I return. I would like the Burroughs folks that invited me the first shot at them, of course.
I am looking forward to the trip and meeting up with all the great people at the Burroughs event. Not looking forward to the speech I have to make though. But I will post it here when I get back next week.
Also I would like to make it over to wizard world chicago con, which is being held this weekend also. But money and time will tell that story when I get to it. Not a big fan of finding my way alone in Chicago traffic, but I guess if I was to go Sunday would be the day. Of course I also have to think about getting back home to all the work that is piling up on the drawing table.
So if you are around Hillside Ill. this weekend, drop by and see what's up in the Burroughs fan world. It is always a fun time.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

New KiGor page....

As promised....a peek into all things around here. Here is the second page of the KiGor short. This will serve as the only splash in the strip, since space is very limited in a short story like this even the splash gets two panels. But I do like the short form story telling. I am so tired of those 'big two' giant events that go on and on. I prefer the short formats. At this time mainly since I just don't have time to do long stories. And also the fact that some I have seen and even read some of, just go on with talking head pages and movie dialog in which nothing happens.
Anyway here is the page, finished just moments ago and it is a bit after ten on Sunday. It has been along day for sure. And a hot one ... outside anyway.
Also some of you may know. I am also getting ready to journey to Chicago for the Burroughs Society as a guest of honor....and what an honor it is. I have to prepare a speech, of which I have an idea for. Just have to flesh it out, then trim it down ....cause who the hell wants to hear me drone on about something. ha. But more on that a bit later in the week.
Stay tuned Legionnaires, and Jungle pals....more to come soon.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Time Marches On.....Production continues....

Well Jungle Pals, and of course you Loyal Legionnaires....I am posting a sneak peek at the first page of the KiGor short story for Moonstone...written by the great pulp/wordsmith Martin Powell. And of course art by yours truly. I know production on my end is always so slow, but I think I turned this page around in a goodly amount of time. I wish I could make a living at this so I could really produce pages on a timely basis. But Monday, and going back to the day job, comes tomorrow. And I am sure there are some piled up things to take care of on my desk at work.
Along with work things starting up again. I have to work on my speech for the Burroughs Society dinner. I actually thought I would work on it while driving to Texas, along with details of the first issue of Captain Spectre. Well, it seems the older I get the less I can do two things at one time. When I drive it seems anymore, all I can do is drive. Bad roads and Bad Drivers tend to worry me a bit more than they used too. I had a couple close calls on the trip, probably because of cell phone use on the part of others. Hell, I took books on disc with me, and didn't listen to a one of them. ha. I am getting old it seems.
So my list of things grows.
Speech for Burroughs Society dinner.
Getting files for Tarzan and Mucker prints to the printer. And covering the cost.
Working on KiGor sequential pages.
Finishing touches on all the KiGor widevision pieces.
Finish writing the Captain Spectre first issue.
So stay tuned this is a strange time of year for me. I used to get into a funk this time of year, then someone pointed out to me that it was the 3rd of August in the year 1971 that I found myself at Fort Polk Louisiana at 3:30 in the morning standing in my underwear as a Sargent searched thru my personal item for things like knives, drugs, and things. Then about 5 a.m. I found myself guarding a wooden bridge, that went nowhere I could find. The start of an short stint in the US Army. Funny how it still effects me to this day. It always reminds me of those great lines in the movie 'the Best years of our Lives' when Virginia Mayo tells Dana Andrews, 'well just get over it, the war is over.' I wish it was so very simple.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The return of the dead.....or back from my trip.

At the 40th Andrews High School reunion, with me on the left, Danny Smith (owner of D group design and advertising firm out of Dallas Texas) and Eugene Solomon. Some friendships never change, and I am glad for that. Also I took these photos from a friends facebook page...since I didn't have my camera. So photo credit to Dorothy Coon Blanks.
Me, in profile...and again with Danny Smith, also at the table best friends Cheryl and Don McDonald. Again the great friendships never change. I hadn't seen Don and his wife for probably close to thirty years....and it seemed like we fit back together like a puzzle. Good times. We partied til 5:30 one morning. We just might be a bit old for that!!!! yikes. We knew we were in trouble when we went outside for a smoke and a gin pole truck driver staying at the same hotel exited his room and in good old West Texas fashion grunted 'morning' as he passed us. Don looked at his watch and said it was 5:30....ha. Amazing.
Also not all play. Worked some on the KiGor sequential story for Moonstone. Does the tune 'Running thru the Jungle' come to mind. ha.
Also a sketch for a new Lightning Legionnaire. He wrote me while I was out of touch. So as my mother's guilt always lives with me. He will receive this sketch when I mail his package out today.

When I was a kid, my dad would drive the Andrews Tx to Wymore Ne. trip in a day. My youngest son has done it a couple of times. Well my return trip I did it. Whew, it took me sixteen hours. I don't see well at night anymore so after the sun set I had to slow down. Plus I still don't like driving at night since I hit that deer last year. Shell-shocked I guess.
Well after driving all that time and way, I pulled around the house and in my headlights was of the horses. All of them were out and enjoying the grass in the yard. They had pushed thru the corral and gotten out. I think they were out most of the day, but I don't know for sure. Anyway, with my landlords help we got them back in the corral after a couple of hours since they went across the road onto other property and we had to find them in the dark.
So yesterday was a day of rest and recoop. Today I am moving around a bit faster and getting a few things done.
So like a zombie movie, I am recovering from driving over 2000 miles, sleeping in terrible hotels, getting plastered at the reunion, taking the grandkids to the Confederate Air Force museum, sorry I just can't call it the Commemorative Air Force, and visiting with my eldest son and his family.....I am beat.
But I had a fantastic time. Still don't look at it as a vacation. Seemed I was always on the go and no time for much of anything like thinking or writing or drawing.
It was great to see the old town and school....and all my friends from then. They even have my name carved in stone on a war memorial of all who served from the town. Even my older brother showed up. I thought about ' this is where my imagination comes from'. And that gave me alot to think about. Especially on the road back.
If you have never experienced west Texas, it is a strange place. I mean that in a landscape kind of thing. The horizon is as flat as a drawing board and there is an amazing amount of sky overhead. Especially the part of west texas that are on what is know as the Caprock. This is a prehistoric plateau which was a huge coral reef like during the devonian age. As a kid once I found this out it gave the place a magic quality. And being a plateau, altho not very high, I always felt with just a thought away I was on a place like Challenger's Lost World. To me it was a place filled with monsters and demons. The surface rock was pure white, the soil nothing but bright red sand like the sands of Burrough's Mars. Outside the reach of town's lights we lived and at night the millions of stars were a sight to see. It was amazing.
It may take me awhile to process all that again. But it fuels my imagination as no other place on earth. There are rifts as strange as Angor Wat, sands as red as Mars, and a night sky that would set any science fiction writers description of the galaxy to shame.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Final KiGor, and a journey into adventure...

Well Legionnaires, and Jungle pals, here is the last of the KiGor widevision pieces. I was a bit rushed on this one but felt I had to get it done before my journey begins tomorrow. I am headed to the great state of Texas for a visit with my eldest son and his family, and to attend my 40th high school reunion. It will be an adventure for sure. Tinged with the questions of 'will my truck make it', 'who will be around the reunion', and many other questions.
But I am confident that all will be well and fun no matter what. After all they do call it a vacation! Altho today has been filled with laundry, working on KiGor, doing a bit of cleaning, trying to pack, and all the fun things that make you ask yourself - 'this is vacation?'
So I will be out of pocket, as they say, for a bit over a week.
See ya soon, Legionnaires and Jungle pals.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Trying to get it in the bag.....

Well Loyal Legionnaires and Jungle fans....another late night at the drawing table. I need to get this piece in the bag....finished this week as I am leaving for a week next monday. A visit to some of the texas side of my kids and grandkids, and a weekend of high school reunion stuff. The 40th so this will be the last big one probably.
Anyway wanted to scan this layout and get it out to you for a peek, before I add the background and finishes to it. This one will seal the finish to the widevision story, then on to the pages for 11 pager.
Hopefully traveling to texas will give me some time to think, and rethink the first issue of Captain Spectre so I can finish up the writing of that soon too. Then I can get started on the pencils and pages.
Thanks again for all who visit here, I do appreciate you stopping by. Tune in for a bit more on this piece later in the week. Thanks...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

It's been a long day...

Well, Loyal Legionnaires, it was such a long day that my dog was even feeling neglected. That is until I bought him a new rawhide bone at the market. My day started this morning at three thirty....a clap of thunder signaled the oncoming storm. And with my last lightning strike costing me a bit of money and trouble, I didn't want that to happen this time. So I got up and ran around unplugging electronic stuff. And since one of those things is satellite tv, I put in a good stormy weather dvd.....the one and only King Kong. I watched about half and then decided it was time to get to work..... finished the Phantom for the second time, finally late in the day. And also did some prelim work for another KiGor piece. Then I remembered I needed to grayscale this piece for the KiGor story. So just another busy, and productive day at Lightning Legion Secret HQ.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dancing is hard to do....

....but drawing it is even harder.
I know this isn't right, but it is a start. I don't think I have ever drawn two people slow dancing before. It is tough for sure. But with resizing pages and lettering for the second issue of the Phantom today....and six hours of mowing and yardwork, the day has been a tough one. So I settled in for a little bit of sketch time before more page sizing. And officially I guess this could be classified as a sneak peek to the first issue. Captain Spectre out on the town with some lucky lady.....or is she really lucky? We shall see.
I also feel compelled to update here more often with whatever I have, since the strip isn't being updated. I feel guilty about all of that. Just too many irons in the back to work for me.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Time is the enemy.....

Sorry for the rant, but isn't that what blogs are for sometimes? It sure seems that way. Anyway, as reported earlier the Phantom Mini series was done being lettered. Well that isn't the case. And that brings me to a larger issue in my life. An issue I am sure all freelancers are used to. But is isn't always freelancers. And again please excuse my rant here.
I just wish sometimes I had the time back from going down the wrong road with projects. Spending time coming up with a design or an image only to find out it isn't what the client had in mind. Goddamn I wish I could get all that wasted time back. It seems so useless to travel down the wrong road all the time, just because the client doesn't have any kind of idea what they want, or my pet peeve, can't visualize something. Most clients have very limited imaginations, that tend to rely on what they have seen...."oh, I want it like that, or this thing, because it is supposed to be cool" kind of mentality. It is so frustrating.
I just wish I could have that lost time back. Wasted time because of ignorant people. This rant isn't directed at anyone specific ....just at all clients in general. I am sure we would all like to have that creative time back. That special time that we spend on art for hire. Also we bid on jobs and then find out they entail many more hours than we have bid on. It is amazing to think that no one wants to pay for a skill like art, or trust the skill of years of producing art.... they would pay a plumber any amount to stop a messed up crapper, but they don't want to pay an artist anything to do what it took many many years to learn. Knowledge is nothing, but shit backing up in your pipes is worth any amount to stop.
I will be glad when I take early retirement and try to just do my own comics as a extra income. It is truly amazing what artists go thru for just the feeling of producing art. Amazing. So don't wish art on is a curse not a savior!!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Progress report....

Well, Loyal promised I will keep you appraised of the work and situations around the Secret Headquarters. Issue 2 of the Phantom Unmasked mini series is lettered and delivered. You will want to pick up both issues, it is a short but quality Phantom story. Written by my good friend Martin Powell, these might be the last Phantom issues from Moonstone (I don't know that for sure but the Phantom goes to the Ross factory next) but what a great ending.
So with that job done I am back on the widevision KiGor story, also written by Martin Powell....Hey what can I say the guy can write the kind of stories I like to be involved with. So as before I got the word the widevision books of Moonstone are greyscaled. So I am going back and shading the pieces I thought were done. Then two more to create and I will post progress and finals on those here too.
Then on to the KiGor ten page story to be published in one of Moonstones' pulp books coming up. If you haven't heard Moonstone is doing a line of pulp influenced books and calling them the 'Originals'. I think it is great, especially since the Spider is one of the books and looks to be a real winner with the team that is in charge. Finally Spider comics, altho Martin and I did a Spider Christmas story a couple of years back.
I am almost finished writing the first draft of the first stand alone Capt. Spectre comic. As voted on here at the blog, it will be a pulp action slobberknocker.
So stay tuned Legionnaires, for updates, concept art, and sneak peeks ..... thanks.... after all it is all for you.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Birthday America....

Happy Birthday America! I hope all my Loyal Legionnaires have a safe and happy fourth of July. To me it brings back memories of summer, baseball games in the local ballpark, fireworks displays after the ballgames, hotdogs and potato salad.
I remember coming back to Nebraska as a kid, we lived in Texas then, and spending the fourth watching a legion (not Lightning Legion) ballgame and then the fireworks display...which was then one of the best in the area. What great memories those are.
I won't go into any kind of politics, because if you know me you know my politics...but bottom line I am a veteran, a patriot, and a old fashioned American that still believes in the American dream.
But this isn't the time for politics, it is a time for celebration of our freedoms, and remembering the people that fought for it and paid the ultimate sacrifice. At least it is to me. I paid a price for freedom, and saw alot of guys that paid the high price. I see their faces everyday and night, I hear their voices as the fireworks go off as I watch from my backyard...I hear the concussion of the mortar and rocket fire inside the beautiful flowering fireworks...I hear the ache of young boys paying a high price for freedom, individual freedom, to live a life they dreamed save the things they believed in...
...and then it is over and we go back to our daily lives enjoying freedom but not thinking of the price that freedom costs. It is a high price, for a high ideal...enjoy it because there are people that will fight for it no matter what the price. I am one of those people. I did it, and I would do it again.
Not for the politics, but for the American may not be the same dream as others, but the dream I have for America. The spirit of America.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

in the works....

Well Loyal Legionnaires, here are a couple of things I am working on....Prints for the Burroughs Dum-Dum in Chicago this year. As I am sure you know if you tune in often, I will be one of the guests this year. One problem with that is, as most of you know, I did the cover to the Mucker digitally. So hence, no painting to sell to make any money. Not that I am trying to make a killing with my art. It isn't about that as you well know, if you know me. So the object is to produce something that will get some of my art out there in the public a bit more. Which sometimes is the object of this game of art.
So I thought I would produce some posters/prints of two of my Burroughs pieces. One the Mucker cover I produced for the Dum-Dum (in the tarzan books the council of the apes), and the other a Tarzan piece I produced in black and white, colored for the print. I originally produced the Tarzan piece, thinking it was going into an all Burroughs sketchbook to sell at the con. I may still do that too, but at this point probably all I will have time to get printed is the prints.
In July I am going to texas to see my eldest son's family, and attend my 40 th high school reunion. I don't want to think about all those years. ha. So that will take some production time away from me.
One thing with the designed white space on these I can do sketches to make them feel special since they are printed.
But, Loyal Legionnaires don't despair, I am also currently working on the script to issue on of the pulp action Captain Spectre comic. I also already have an outline for the third issue - the sword and planet story, but believe me when I say that story will be the pinnacle of my storytelling. It is the story I was born to tell. I feel that strongly about it.
I just can't wait to get to that third one, so that helps with producing the first two stories. As per the poll from the site here, the first one will be a slam bang action piece, the second a world war 2 story, which is in the works also....and the third one, a sword and planet piece that will establish Captain Spectre as the Phantom Soldier from the Skies!!! I am so proud of it I will sneak the working title to you, my Loyal Legionnaires. It is called "the Men Who Lost Yesterday". So stay tuned Legionnaires, it may be awhile to produce these, but by hook or crook I will do it. I live for this.
Oh, and also if anyone is interested in these prints, I will have some extras to sell thru the site, just let me know. Then I can add the numbers to my print run. thanks.....