Monday, December 29, 2008

Ancient Art-ifacts

In an attempt to make up for a year-long lack of "If They Move...Blog 'Em!" posts before the year is up, I bring you, gentle boppers, some ancient art-ifacts. Get it? ART-ifacts? Yeah, I know.

Up first is a real blast from the past and a particular favorite of mine. Decades ago, my good friend Ken Holewcyznski created a wonderful but short-lived comic book called "Futurama." That's right, you read that right. No offense to Matt Groening, but Ken's "Futurama" was a well-written, uniquely-drawn masterpiece in the vein of Thea von Harbou's "Metropolis." Ken was selling his original artwork for the series for something like twenty bucks and I didn't hesitate at buying my favorite page, posted below.

I even bought a "Futurama" t-shirt, but have since outgrown it and have no idea where it ended up.

About ten years ago, I started working on a book about three guys in their mid-twenties who barely got along and were thrown into the shadow world of magic and monsters. Each one "found" a powerful magic item with which they used to battle evil under the watchful guidance of reclusive horror novelist/sorcerer Desmond Craft. Although I'd outlined the first story arch and nearly finished issue one, the story just lost steam for me.

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I say "found" because it turned out the magic items were actually looking for them.

In the next few years, you'll probably see some incarnation of Goldenhawk (below) in the pages of "The Serial Squad!" This was the original concept I had for him.

I had a bunch of costume pieces in my head left over from drawing all kinds of warrior chicks and threw them together for this piece, which I called "Mistress of Steel."

Morgoth (below) is a character a buddy of mine played a number of years back in my Kirby-esque world of Skataris. As it turned out, in a time-traveling adventure, one of Morgoth's companions, an orc raised by peaceful Martial Arts monks was accidentally responsible for Skataris's near destruction that turned it into the string of planetoids it was.

Lastly, a little slice of cheesecake.

Keep it here, boppers.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Few Images I Really Like!

Up first is the cover to Mike Indovina's The Chimera Strikes! #2, art by yours truly. I really like this picture simply because, upon seeing it, Mike emailed me saying it was, "The coolest thing I've ever seen." That's the kind of reaction I like. Mike's a helluva storyteller and artist, so that kind of praise goes a long way.

The cover is a long way (literally) from the image below. My mother unearthed this drawing recently, drawn by yours truly some twenty-seven years ago, when I was first introduced (I think) to The Ghost Who Walks.

I'm not exactly sure why I gave him a high tech hunk of handgun, possibly because I was also pretty into Dethlok at the time. If I remember right, I had a dart gun that looked similar to the gun in the picture.

Tom Scioli has long been one of my favorite artists since I stumbled upon his series The Myth of 6-Opus at my first Mid-Ohio convention a few years back. Tom is, I believe, the reincarnation of Jack Kirby, obviously and his work for Image Comics on Godland, penned by Joe Casey, is a great book, but I keep asking Tom every time I see him when the next issue of 8-Opus is coming out. I get the same answer, essentially: "When I can find the time."

Below is a picture of Captain America I asked Tom to draw at S.P.A.C.E., back in '07, when I found out he was only charging twenty bucks a sketch! I finally found the time and nerve to ink it.

Somewhere I have a sketch of Black Bolt he did for me last year. I wonder if Tom needs a new inker. Wishful thinking, I suppose.

Oh, well, keep it here, Boppers, for more posts.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Terror at the Bottom of the World! Update 12-17-08

If you were lucky enough to pick up a copy of The Serial Squad! Terror at the Bottom of the World! ashcan at this year's Mid-Ohio Con, then you've already gotten a sneak peak of things to come. I say lucky because I haven't even seen the ashcan yet, though I'm told it looks great. For those of you who haven't seen it yet, below are the first five pages of TSS!TatBotW! as well as the front cover, which I hope doesn't drive our colorist mad.

The story takes off not long after the first book (still available at Bad Place Productions, finer comic shops abroad and various upcoming conventions), where the events that unfolded during the burgeoning team of adventurers' first mission still resonate in the back of their minds, shaping their immediate futures.

I'm a quarter of the way through the book as I write this and hope to have it done well before S.P.A.C.E. in April of next year, where as it turns out, The Serial Squad! Thrill-O-Rama! has been nominated for the S.P.A.C.E. Prize!. Until then, enjoy these sneak peeks and check back often.

Remember, keep 'em flyin', boppers!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Game Night Update for 12-16-08...

Well, to say that the debut of Black Samson & Iron Gauntlet was a smashing success would be adding just a wee bit too much hyperbole. We managed to uncover the culprits behind a string of explosive bank robberies but almost completely by accident. We spent the majority of the adventure eating in nearly every restaurant in the neighborhood where the banks were being robbed, antagonizing a couple of non-super wannabes and unwittingly allying ourselves with the actual criminals behind the robberies. But, when it was all said and done and the smoke had cleared, we came up smelling like a rose, in spite of the fact that Iron Gauntlet took a major beatdown and Black Samson inadvertently caused a spectacular traffic accident that resulted in the capture of the real bad guys. Our initial instincts, however, proved valid as Hammer & Anvil, the two guys everyone thought were behind the robberies, proved to be innocent. All's well that ends well, I say.

For information regarding Heroes Unlimited, the RPG system this adventure took place in, you can visit the Palladium Books website.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Project Update, 12-16-08!

A lot has been going on since The Serial Squad!, Thrill-O-Rama debuted earlier this year at SPACE. The reception for the book has way exceeded my expectations, thanks in no small part to John's rock-n-roll promotional style. Thanks to everyone who has picked up a copy and if you haven't picked up a copy yet, it's available at the Bad Place Productions website as well as any of the conventions we'll be attending in the fast-approaching new year.

In an attempt to at least post here on a semi-regular basis, along with my usual bits of tomfoolery, I'll be posting various images and news concerning project updates, etc. Up first are the first five pages of The Chimera Strikes! #2, which, aside from the front cover, I recently completed penciling and inking for Mike Indovina. Issue one is still available through Mike's website as well as the conventions he too will be attending. Mike don't talk much. He don't have to. His books speak volumes. Check 'em out!

As you read this, I'm diligently toiling over the pages for The Serial Squad! #1, Terror at the Bottom of the World! Keep it here, boppers, for all the updates fit to print, including pages from that very book.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Game Night 12-01-08!

Due to crummy weather, a cold I can't seem to shake and an impending, self-imposed deadline to finish The Chimera Strikes! #2, Game Night was canceled. I've only got a few more pages left to finish for Mike Indovina, which I'm hoping to have done before the dreaded Christmas Break, two weeks of utter chaos as my kids run rampant through the house hopped up on Holiday Cheer.

Since resuming Game Night a few weeks back, I've been trying to figure out what type of RPG campaign I wanted to run. Don't get me wrong, playing Black Samson is a blast, but I also enjoy running a game, the trouble is, I've been burned out for the past few years from decades of being Designated DM. This DM Block as it were has caused me to reflect upon just exactly what it is that has me in a creative bind where creating adventures is concerned. It's certainly not the lack of time I have to dedicate to such an endeavor. LORD knows I've got plenty of that, what with the various comic book projects I've got on my drawing board...literally.

Every time I sit down with a note book to jot down ideas for a game, I hit a brick wall. The spark just isn't there. What was it about those early teen years that made D&D marathons full of limitless possibilities come so natural? After all, I'm a wiser, more creative person these days than I ever was back then. Surely ideas should flow a freely as Mt. Dew on Game Night. Then, last night it hit me.

Boobs. It was while watching "Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell" on DVD that the epiphany struck. The imagery and inspiration for adventures fueled by the bad fantasy movies of the day that rode the wave of "Conan the Barbarian," stacks of wax by Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden & Judas Priest, Saturday Mornings watching "Thundarr the Barbarian" as well as yearly calendars by masters such as Frazzetta & Boris all seemed to boil down to one thing. Boobs. Technically, that's two things, but you get the idea and maybe it wasn't boobs exactly, but they seemed to be everywhere you looked back then. Looking back, it was the cheesy naivete of the fantasy genre that was so great. And back then, D&D was a boxed set of rules (which usually concealed an issue of Easy Rider or Playboy), a handful of dice and a few guys who couldn't get girlfriends. Good times...

It's that same feeling of fantasticaly cheese-laden naivete that I'm hoping to recapture in my upcoming campaign of Wizards & Winchesters. What? Never heard of WW? Adding an "&" between the "Ws" is too much of a tongue-twister, but I digress. Originally, I was just gonna blow the dust off of my old D&D boxed set, set the doubtlessly-collectible copy of Easy Rider aside and have at it. Then, I found the one and only dot matrix copy of an RPG I created back in the 90s called Mercs, which we all had fun playing but just kinda fizzled after a few adventures. It's a basic enough set of rules that could really be applied to any genre of gaming. Thus, WW hit me.

The setting is this (keeping in mind I'm attempting to not over think it)...

In 1981 (the year I started gaming) Earth suffers a full-scale attack from alien invaders whose primary arsenal was a terrible Terra-forming bomb and an army of lizard men. Humanity is all but wiped out, blasted back to nearly the Stone Age, rounded up by the lizard men and enslaved by the invaders. Meanwhile, Earth teemed with new lifeforms. Lesser beings evolved in generations rather than millions of years. Revered and feared as sorcerers, the invaders' reign is short-lived. With the rediscovery of firearms, mankind won a successful revolt against their tyrannical masters, forcing them to flee to distant lands and deep underground.

Now, a thousand years later, amidst forests teeming with terrible new creatures, evil sorcerers and hordes of nomadic lizard men, mankind has built walled cities in attempt to reclaim his place in the world.

So, there you have it, the basic premise for my upcoming campaign. I'll keep you posted as to how things go.

Oh, and for the record, "Nyphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell," a 1991 Troma Team production was so bad I had to watch it twice to truly appreciate it. Sadly, it didn't exactly deliver in the Boob Department. Lots of bad acting, stop-motion animation and an over-baring soundtrack, though. I highly recommend it.

Keep it here, boppers...