Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Buying Comics Back in the Day

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was in the small town of Pocahontas, Arkansas. It’s a town I visited a lot as a kid because my parents grew up there and also I spent a week with my cousin there each summer. It’s a classic small southern town like Mayberry from the Andy Griffith Show. It had a town square with an old courthouse in the middle, a laid back pace with friendly people and it also had a “five and dime” variety store, namely Peter’s Variety Store, also known as “Joe Pete’s” because Joe Peters ran it.

Whenever I would find myself in Pocahontas, no matter the reason, the one goal I had in my head was a visit to the greatness that was Joe Pete’s. Why you ask? Because, in addition to the tools, candy, combs, shoe polish, umbrellas and other odds and ends, Joe Pete’s had a WALL of comic books. Not only did they the newest issue of Justice League, they had last month’s and the month’s before. This proved invaluable to me, as I myself lived in a small town and got my comics at places like the JR Food Mart, Safeway and Leaks Quick Mart. I wasn’t afforded the luxury of a comic book store back in the day, so I’d often miss issues of my favorite books.

Joe Pete’s was a gold mine for me. There was nothing better than getting a stack of comics (with the price written in grease pencil so you could know how much they were with tax, see image to the left) and catching up on any adventures I might have missed. The place seemed like it was in a time warp. I would visit in the late 70s and early 80s but it felt like it was a store from the 50s and 60s.

Unfortunately Joe Pete’s closed years ago, so every time I go by the empty store front I feel a bit sad, but the memories of the place also make me smile. My wife Heather snapped the picture above of me outside the old shop. When I showed it to my mom (who had to endured my many requests to stop by there growing up), she said it looked like I was waiting for the store to open. Maybe she was right.

Meeting an Inspiration

Have you ever gotten to meet someone that inspired you as a kid? Obviously not a family member, but a musician, writer, politician or someone like that? Well, I recently had the pleasure of doing just that. I met a comic book artist who I was a huge fan of growing up, Mike Grell. He was the first artist whose work I recognized from book to book. I own every issue he drew of Superboy and the Legion of Super Heroes, Warlord and Starslayer. I used to copy his style (and even signature). Back in 1980, I actually wrote to "Ask the Answer Man" in DC Comics and naively asked, "How can I learn to draw like Mike Grell?" Unfortunately, they printed my question wrong... "Could I learn to draw like Mike Grell". Either way, I'm sure I would've gotten the same answer. (See image below, note my amazing crossword abilities too).

I was a guest at the Dallas Comic Con a while back and so was he. I was so psyched to get to meet him. He was very kind and gracious, a really nice guy. I commissioned a Warlord sketch from him, which is amazing (see image above). I actually showed him the issue of World's Finest with my question in it, he got a big laugh out of that. He was shocked at the date and asked how old of was when I wrote that. I told him that I was much older than I looked. When he heard my age he joked that I need to loose some hair and get fat, which I took as a compliment. I was a real treat to meet someone that influenced me so much. It occured to me that comic book artist often have a better chance of meeting their idols than a lot of other professions out there with conventions and all. Anyway, just thought I'd share.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Patch Geeks: A Confession

Considering that I draw comic books, I don’t consider myself super-geeky. And my wife, although exposed to my world, is not geeky at all. But with that being said, together we are Patch Geeks. We love the outdoors. State parks, hiking, caves, animals, etc. And when we go to certain destinations, we always try to find a patch to commemorate the experience. The photo above is our collection so far. I’m only posting this so I can look back in a few years and see how much the collection has grown and to admit, in public, that we indeed have a problem.

Birthday Goodness

Another year has passed and not only have I’ve been lucky enough to see it come and go, I got a lot of cool stuff. I think I’ve got my reading materials set for the next couple of months. I scored U2 by U2 (very cool book), The Art of Cars (awesome looking), Blankets (I know, I know, everyone else read it three years ago), Batman: Hush Volume 1 and 2 (some artist don’t like Jim Lee but it looks fun), Welcome to Jasorassic Park (an older Fox Trot book that I was missing). And The Complete Peanuts 1955-1956 (always greatness). I also got the new live acoustic Foo Fighters cd, the new Audioslave cd, Cars dvd and a Bluetooth adapter for my Mac.

I’m very thankful for all these cool presents, but despite their awesomeness, you could throw all of them in the garbage and in exchange for another year with my friends and family around me, happy and healthy. And that’s the truth Ruth.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Low Cut Jeans, an Illustrator Time Trial

I wanted to see how fast I could take a sketch and turn it into a finished Illustrator piece. Not a super-detailed one, but a simple stylized image. I've had this sketch laying around for a while, so I thought I'd try it. This ia a 50 minute one. It was kinda fun to see how fast I could do it and it still be happy with the outcome. As you can see, the background wasn't part of the original sketch, I just threw it in. Not the best image I've ever done, but I like it. Hope you do too.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Grab Bag of Images

A commission for a woman in England, a magazine drawing for work and a high school basketball program illustration, also for work.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Fall 2006 image.. a bit late

I'm a little late with this but I've still managed to meet my goal of changing my homepage image out at least every season. I've had a lot stuff going on and I finally found the time to do it, so here it is. Hope you like it.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Photos from the Live Art Show (Wizard World Texas)

I had great time at the Live Art Show on Saturday night. Met a lot of cool people, got to do some drawings for charity and got to see amazing work by follow artists. I got to work with Brock Rizy and Benjamin Hall, both of which I've hung out with before but for only a sort amount of time. So it was cool to spend some time with them. Tom Kurzanski was there, I met him for the first time. Very funny dude, great artist. Also Kristian Donaldson, who is an amazing artist, I wish could've talked with him more.

We had a lot of artists show up asking if they could contribute, so we let them jump in, including Kody Chamberlain and Cheeks, it was nice to talk with him, great guy. A lot of nice pieces were created and a lot money was raised for Heroes 4 Heroes, a new charity that gives comics and other media to troops over seas. Here are a bunch of photos from the show...

A solo piece by me...

My other solo piece...

A piece by Ben, Brock and me...

A piece by Tom, Brock and me...

Tom, Brock, Ben and Me with a group piece. My portion of it stunk...

Cheeks working on one...

Ben at the boards...

Tom starting one...

A three shots of the crowd...

Drawings from the Dallas Comicon

I'm a little late in posted these, but here are some commissions I did at the Dallas show. Sorry for the crappy photos with the flash bouncing off them.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Live Art Show - Wizard World

I'll be participating in another live art show after Wizard World Saturday night. Come on out!