Monday, December 19, 2016

Random Objects In My Office

I haven't posted any random objects from my office in ages. Here's one now. This is a poster of the Wolfman that I got from a box of Honeycombs as a kid. I've always loved this image. It glows in the dark, too.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Joel and Ethan Coen

Here's my cut paper portrait of the Coen brothers for the show dedicated to the filmmakers and their films which opens tomorrow night at Gallery 1988 (West).

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Opening Friday...

A multi artist tribute to Joel and Ethan Coen opens this Friday at Gallery 1988. I'll be previewing my piece here tomorrow.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Ask Me Anything #59

This "Ask Me Anything" closes out the year, a time of looking back and a time of pondering what lies ahead. Ask me anything you want.  Anything except what is happening with the Milestone relaunch, because I don't have an answer for you beyond "it's still moving forward."

Questions can be posted in the comments section below, and I'll either answer them there, or in a separate post sometime later in the month.

I've been asked a lot of good, thought provoking questions in the past as well as some really banal ones, all of which I tried to answer. You can see the previous questions by visiting Ask Me Anything  #1#2 ,  #3#4#5#6 , #7 , #8#9,  #10,  #11,  #12 , #13#14,  #15 , #16#17 , #18 , #19,  #20,  #21#22,  #23#24#25#26#27#28#29#30#31#32#33#34#35#36#37#38#39#40#41#42,  #43#44#45,  #46#47,  #48#49,  #50,  #51#52 , #53#54#55#56,  #57, and #58.

Answers not found following the questions can be found in the archives section for each associated month under Ask Me Anything.

Now ask away. 

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Now on Kindle

While it has never been collected in a trade paperback collection, for those of you who may have missed it, the first five issues first series of Midnight, Mass. is now available to read on Kindle. Amazon has many other comics I've written on Kindle as well. See the links below.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Next Month...

This is the next show I'm participating in at Gallery 1988. It opens December 9 and runs through December 23. Check back for a look at the piece I made for this show.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Ask Me Anything #58

It's the first Monday of the month which means it is time for "Ask Me Anything".  This means anything you want; questions about my work, influences, opinions, anything at all. Anything except what is happening with the Milestone relaunch, because I don't have an answer for you beyond "it's still moving forward."

Questions can be posted in the comments section below, and I'll either answer them there, or in a separate post sometime later in the month.

I've been asked a lot of good, thought provoking questions in the past as well as some really banal ones, all of which I tried to answer. You can see the previous questions by visiting Ask Me Anything  #1#2 ,  #3#4#5#6 , #7 , #8#9,  #10,  #11,  #12 , #13#14,  #15 , #16#17 , #18 , #19,  #20,  #21#22,  #23#24#25#26#27#28#29#30#31#32#33#34#35#36#37#38#39#40#41#42,  #43#44#45,  #46#47,  #48#49,  #50,  #51#52 , #53#54#55#56, and #57.

Answers not found following the questions can be found in the archives section for each associated month under Ask Me Anything.

Now ask away. 

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Visit Hoth

The postcards for the Second Annual Postcard Show at Gallery 1988 (East) are now up for viewing/purchase at their website. Included are my "Visit Hoth" postcard which is also available in an Aurebesh variant (scroll down to second previous post for a look). There are also lots of great pieces by some outstanding artists. They are all inexpensive, too.

Friday, November 04, 2016

The Grim Gallery hits 2000

My companion blog, The Grim Gallery, has posted it's 2000th post today. If you love monsters check it out. At one monster image a day since its inception, 2000 is a lot of monsters.


The Second Annual Postcard Show opens tonight at Gallery 1988 (East). It will feature lots of super affordable art by a bunch of incredible artists. 

My piece (shown below), inspired by Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, can be seen below both in it's English and variant Aurebesh form. There's a discount is you by both.  The text (shown at bottom) is the same on both. 

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Opening this weekend at Gallery 1988 (East). I have a postcard in the show which also is available in a variant edition. Check back for a look at both.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Little Shoppe of Horrors #37 - Now Available

I have an illustration in Little Shoppe of Horrors #37, which provides in depth coverage of The Lost Continent and is now available, all behind this fantastic cover by Mark Maddox. You can order your copy here.

Monday, October 31, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 31

Fledgling by Octavia Butler

Seven Stories Press. 2005.

Physically an eleven year old black girl, Shori Matthews wakes up blind, with burns covering most of her body and serious skull fractures in two locations. She is able to quickly heal her physical wounds but her memories prior to her awakening are gone. It's apparent that Shori is not a normal human being and in her search to recover her memories, discover who she is, and what happened to her, she discovers that she's an Ina, what we would call a vampire, and also the target for a group set upon destroying her because she's also something more.

I first read this book upon its initial publication and was just stunned by how well it works. I was already well aware that Butler was a first rate author, but Fledgling succeeds in every aspect: the mystery behind Shori and her amnesia (which also works as a perfect way to bring in exposition as needed); Butler's fascinating biological and anthropological approach to the Ina, making them at once familiar as vampires and new and fascinating in the approach to how they function as both living organisms and as a culture; the rich, well-rounded characters; and the threat of being pursued by the unknown. While it is a completely satisfying self-contained story, it's clear that Butler had planned to explore this world further in subsequent books. Unfortunately Butler died in 2006 at the age of 58.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 30

After the People Lights Have Gone Off  by Stephen Graham Jones

Dark Horse Press. 2014.

Stephen Graham Jones is one of the finest writers of horror fiction living. If you don't believe me, then pick up a copy of this book. The stories here favor a minimal, matter of fact narrative style that serves the stories well. Not only is there an "I'm telling you how it went down" aspect that makes what's happening feel more immediate and more intimate, it disallows easy answers. The reader will have to draw their own conclusions in some cases, but that makes the stories even creepier (and they are creepy) and allows them to end with a real punch in the gut. This book is definitely a high note on this list. Jones has around twenty other books out there and I plan to read all of them.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 29

Something In the Blood by David J. Skal

Liveright Publishing Corporation. 2016

Dracula expert, Skal, concludes his defining explorations of Dracula from novel to play to movie with this massive biography of Dracula's creator, Bram Stoker. Skal's excellent storytelling ability and attention to detail makes this an engrossing read, but Stoker often vanishes into the shadows of his more flamboyant contemporaries such as Oscar Wilde and the theatrical star to whom Stoker devoted his life, Henry Irving, but their story illuminates his own. This is probably the greatest scholarship we'll see on Stoker barring a large discovery of important missing letters which could provide any real revelations still unknown. Like all of Skal's other books, this one is excellent.

Friday, October 28, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 28

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Margaret K. McElderberry Books. 2014.

I've been a fan of Emily Carroll's work for a few years now. Her art is beautiful; deceptively pleasant with a true creepiness lying in wait underneath. Her storytelling is similar in nature. Spare, almost matter of fact but so unnerving and often delivering a real punch to the gut by the end. Casually flipping through the pages you'd probably think there's no way this book could give you the willies, but trust me, it does. This collection of short stories in comic book form is one of the most disturbing books I've shared this month, and one of the creepiest graphic novels I've ever read, and I've read a lot. Best read while alone in a remote house in the country on a dark and stormy night. I'd also suggest by candle, but you'll want more light to see the artwork and what might be in the room with you. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 27

An English Ghost Story by Kim Newman

Titan Books. 2014.

A fracturing family moves into The Hollow, the former estate of a popular children's author, in the country. Strange things begin to happen there, but it's more of the opposite of a haunting which they think of as being charmed. The magic relaxes them and brings them closer together patching over all of the differences that seemed to be driving them apart as they fall into harmony with the Hollow and it's invisible residents. This is a horror novel though, so while everything is indeed magical and idyllic, you can't but wait wondering when the other shoe will drop. When it does it hits with a wallop. The change is almost too abrupt, but by then you are so invested in this family that watching it, and each member begin to unravel as the harmony they once felt with the Hollow becomes cacophonous discord, that you are swept up in their turn towards tragedy and there's nothing you can do to stop them. It's a refreshing approach to the haunted house story and comes with an ending that's unexpected.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 26

Guillermo Del Toro: At Home With Monsters by Britt Salvesen and Jim Shedden with Paul Koudounaris, Keith McDonald, and Roger Clark

Insight Editions. 2016

Tying in to the Guillermo Del Toro - At Home with Monsters exhibit currently showing at LACMA and to later travel to a number of other cities, the book looks at Guillermo Del Toro's collection of highbrow and lowbrow art and books including toys, comic books and model kits, and how he uses that collection to fuel his imagination and his own art as a filmmaker. For anyone who is a process junkie, this book is a treasure. This is a very informative look into the creative process from inspiration to integration and execution. For me, Del Toro's collection has become the new Ackermansion, and just as I closely studied those photos that Forrest J. Ackerman used to share in the pages of Famous Monsters, I've often given close scrutiny to photos and videos of the collections in Del Toro's Bleak House. While there are a number of photos of his collection in the book, I would have liked many more. Perhaps a full book of GDT shelf porn will come along in the future.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 25

The Eyes of the Cat  by Moebius and Alexandro Jodorowsky

Humanoids. 2013.

This 1978 collaboration is a vey slight story about the relationship between a boy and an eagle that's horrifying and packs a real punch at the climax. The art, of course, is beautiful, and Jodorowsky contributes an introduction about how this book came to be that will take longer to read than the story itself. Budget conscious readers may want to pass on this, though it's only $5.95 on Kindle (see below), and can be found in hardcover for under $20.00 from 3rd party sellers.

Monday, October 24, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 24

The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Montillo

William Morrow. 2013

Subtitled; A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley's Masterpiece, The Lady and Her Monsters not only provides biographical information on Mary Shelley and her circle, but investigates scientific advancements and investigations, such as electricity and galvanism, philosophical questions of the time, volcanic eruptions, and the activities of anatomists and body snatchers that were taking place before and during the time of her writing Frankenstein. The book also relates the legendary events that took place Villa Diodati and led to a ghost story contest and the writing of Shelley's famous novel. While the material is covered in depth in other books, it is nice to have all of the disparate elements brought together between two covers. As the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein approaches, and 200 years now separates us from the events of Villa Diodati, it's a perfect way to go behind the scenes of the classic novel.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 23

Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge

Tor Books. 2006.

Every Halloween a small isolated agricultural community stages "the Run." The town's 16-18 year old males, after five days of fasting, he'd out into the night armed with clubs, pitchforks, knives, hammers, and other deadly implements to try and find and kill the October Boy before he kills them and reaches his goal of the town church. The October Boy is a supernatural being, an ambulatory scarecrow topped with a jack o'lantern head and armed with a knife.

It's a simple, and very effective plot, yet Partridge is able to inject a surprising amount of twists and revelations into its compact length. Told in a driving narrative style that never lets you forget you're being told a story, Dark Harvest blasts out of the starting gate and never lets up until the end. This is the perfect Halloween book.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 22

Ghostly edited, illustrated and introduced by Audrey Niffenegger

Scribner. 2015.

This is an anthology of ghost stories selected by author/artist Niffenegger. There is no theme or specified range of stories in the collection. They are simply stories that she liked and wanted to share. Niffenegger has great taste. While some of the stories are familiar and well anthologized in other collections of ghost stories, they still resonate and are in excellent company. Some of the authors include Edgar Allen Poe, Saki, Ray Bradbury, M.R. James, Niffenegger herself, Kelly Link, M.R. James and P.G. Wodehouse. It's a really nice mix. Everyone of these stories is a gem. If they could all be of this quality I'd encourage more anthologies of stories chosen by established authors based simply on what they like without concern about whether the stories have been anthologized before.

Friday, October 21, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 21

Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts by Orrin Grey

Word Horde. 2015.

Orrin Grey should be a familiar name to followers of the Countdown to Halloween since he has been an active participant for several years now. Painted Monsters contains thirteen short stories most of which begin with old horror tropes, particularly cinematic ones. Grey then gives these tropes very new, clever, spins while often dropping nods to their inspirations. Lovecraft, Poe, John Carpenter, Clive Barker, Roger Corman, and others all have their fingerprints laying under the fresh paint. These are not pastiches, however. These are original works with their own dark secrets, and are all worth reading, particularly Persistence of Vision which is ripe with novel ideas and chilling in its scope and suggestion.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 20

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

William Morrow. 2015

When a medical cure cannot be found for 14-year-old Marjorie Barrett's increasingly troubled behavior, her father, John, turns to a spiritual one, and her mother, Sarah, reluctantly goes along with it. Father Wanderly believes that Marjorie is a victim of demonic possession, and secures permission to perform an exorcism, all of which will happen under the watchful cameras of the reality show The Possession. The family dynamic, already in jeopardy quickly unravels as related to us by Marjorie's eight-year-old sister, Merry, now an adult relating the events to the author of a book on the story of the Barretts.

At the center of the book is whether or not Marjorie is actually possessed, or just a troubled teen showing signs of mental illness. This is not spelled out in any obvious way, and no characters sit down and discuss this directly, but it's there, and Tremblay uses familiar possession tropes to reinforce this divide. To Tremblay's credit, the book is more troubling and disturbing if the possession isn't real. There's a real creep factor to this book. Sure, some of that comes from the implied supernatural aspect of the story, but most of it comes from watching this family disintegrate under the detached watch of the cameras, and where Merry seems to be the only family member who isn't falling apart, and who finds herself needing her troubled sister's love and comfort as her parents pull away from each other.

A Head Full of Ghosts is very well done. I'm looking forward to reading more of Tremblay's work.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 19

Poems Bewitched and Haunted selected and edited by John Hollander

Everyman's Library Pocket Books. 2005

This book is exactly what it sounds like, a collection of poems about witchcraft and spirits. The poems are divided into five categories and come in a variety of lengths and styles. Some are excerpts from longer works. Unfortunately, there is no context provided for where these poems were taken and no real additional information about the poems, or poets is provided. There are some real gems here, and some that barely seem to fit the criteria. You won't face any sleepless nights dipping into this collection, but it's perfect for some bedtime reading by candle light on a rainy Fall, or Winter's night.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 18

Edgar Allan Poe's Spirits of the Dead - By Richard Corben
Dark Horse Books. 2014

Richard Corben is no stranger to adapting the works of Edgar Allan Poe to comics, having previously done so for Creepy and Eerie back in the 1970s. Now with a bit more room to breathe he has adapted a number of stories which appear collected here. Like Roger Corman's movie adaptations, Corben's interpretations stem from a mood or theme that Poe established in his poems, and filled out a narrative that built on that mood or theme and has turned them into a successful narrative adaptation. While Corben's almost sculpted, full color artwork may not seem to be what many people would think of as the most suitable style for adapting Poe, it works beautifully, grotesquely, or both simultaneously. This is not even the end of Corben's Poe adaptations, but is is a really nice collection and a welcome addition for fans of Poe, or Corben, to add to their library.

Monday, October 17, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 17

Daughters of the Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt

Mariner Books. 2010.

Of all the books I've posted so far this month, this one is my favorite. Based on true events that took place at the end of the 16th century, Daughters of the Witching Hill tells the story of an impoverished family living in an old tower in the woods. The family is led by Bess Southerns, a Cunning woman, who uses a mixture of herbology, prayer, and perhaps some gifts given to her by her familiar, Tibb, to heal the local sick and livestock. This gift is not present in Bess's daughter, Liza, but seems to be the destiny of her granddaughter, Alizon, who resists her calling. The story, told from the perspective of Bess and, later, Alizon, is an intimate look at their lives at home and in the surrounding community, and is a slow burn leading up to the tragedy that will destroy them that hits hard when it comes. This is an extremely well written book that transports you into the middle of the story. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 16

Greener Pastures by Michael Wehunt

Shock Totem Publications. 2016

This debut collection is a triumph. Eerie and mysterious with questions often left unanswered and the revelations all at an intimate personal level. Full of originality and dread, Wehunt never forgets that stories are about people, no matter how big, or uncaring, the universe is that surrounds them. Many of the stories are about loss and the emotional turmoil felt by those left behind, but each story is a unique gem filled with hidden secrets and treasure and the occasional door that should not be opened. As you can see by the great Michael Bukowski cover, other things lurk as well. This collection contains eleven stories. I can't wait for the next batch to appear.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 15

Perchance to Dream by Charles Beaumont

Penguin Classics. 2015.

Beaumont who died an early death at age 38 is best known for the screenplays he wrote for Roger Corman and the 22 episodes of The Twilight Zone which he wrote, often based on his short stories, some of which appear in this collection. Beaumont was a master of the short story as evidenced in the almost two dozen stories here, not all of which are horror. Beaumont used the fantastic to showcase a deep understanding of the human condition, and his stories still hold up today. If you are a fan of Ray Bradbury (who provides the introduction) or Richard Matheson, then this will be right up your alley.

Friday, October 14, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 14

Paper Tigers by Damien Angelica Walters

Dark House Press. 2016.

Alison, a young woman who has been horribly burned, and become a recluse from the world, collects old photo albums, projecting lives onto the strangers within them. One one of her rare ventures out of her house she comes into possession of a photo album in which she can only access the first page. The other pages are all stuck together, but over time, the album seems willing to reveal them to her one more page at a time revealing empty rooms in a house, a house, that's not only not empty, but one she can enter through the photographs, and which seem to be physically healing her. Alison is aware that the promise being offered to her by the haunted album is probably a trick at best, and a trap at worst, but struggles to find the courage to resist its invitation.

Walters' portrayal of Alison as someone both physically and psychologically devastated rings true and makes for a compelling empathetic character as she longs to be whole again. The world and characters within the haunted album are creepy and enticing. Walters bravely holds back on the story behind Alison's burns until far into the story, and I wish she hadn't decided to include it, because while initially wondering at her back story, I actually felt we knew all we needed to through dropped clues, without actually visiting the scene itself, though I understand the rationale for including it. This is less a criticism than an admiration at Walters' ability to provide just enough exposition at strategic points to provide a picture. Walters also takes the time to build the story making for a more natural pace and fulfilling involvement with Alison and her plight.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 13

The Art of Ploog by Mike Ploog

FPG. 2015.

Mike Ploog is known to many as the artist behind the definitive renditions of Marvel's monster characters such as Werewolf By Night, Ghost Rider, the Monster of Frankenstein, and Man-Thing. He's also a design and storyboard artist for movies including The Dark Crystal, Little Shop of Horrors, Return to Oz, and John Carpenter's The Thing. Begun as a Kickstarter project and now available through the FPG website, this hefty volume is chock full of Ploog's art from his stint in the military, his comic book work, movie design and storyboards, and collectible card game work, among other pieces.

Order the book here.

or through Amazon...

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 12

A Season with the Witch by J.W. Ocker

The Countryman Press. 2016. 

Ocker has a really cool profession which is to travel to lots of strange and incredible places and then write about them. You can find these observations regularly at his site OTIS - Odd Things I've Seen, and in his outstanding books, The New England Grimpendium, The New York Grimpendium, the Edgar Award winning Poe-Land, and his latest, A Season With the Witch

A Season with the Witch is an exploration of Witch City - Salem, Massachusetts over the course of its month long Halloween festivities in 2015. Besides diving into the local culture and attractions whether they be connected to the Salem witch trials of 1692, its maritime history, it's literary history via Nathaniel Hawthorne, or its modern witch and Halloween cultures, Ocker seeks to connect the dots from Salem's infamous place in history via the witch trials and executions to its modern embracing of a more pop culture friendly witch and Halloween atmosphere. He does so remarkably well, interviewing some interesting people along the way from haunted attraction performers, restaurant owners, historians, curators, politicians, the chief of police, and of course, witches. He does so with humor and insight and also makes the reader feel like they are walking the streets of Salem alongside him. I highly recommend this, and his other books. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 11

Guillermo del Toro's The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth - Studies in the Horror Film  edited by Danel Olson

Centipede Press. 2016.

Part of Centipede Press' Studies in the Horror film series, this book is a collection of essays and interviews pertaining to the pair of Guillermo del Toro's outstanding fantasy films set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War. As someone who finds that dry academic analysis of anything tends to tell more about the pomposity of the writer than the subject, I'm happy to report that the analytical essays here are informative and insightful and only one of them crosses the line into going into intellectual grandstanding, but even that essay had its moments. The interviews with various cast and crew members from both films, along with a group with del Toro himself were also insightful both to art of filmmaking and the construction of character and story. Recommended.

Monday, October 10, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 10

Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth - edited by Stephen Jones
Titan Books. 2013.

This is the second of a trilogy of anthologies edited by Jones based around "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" by H.P. Lovecraft. This volume is an improvement over its predecessor, which was filled with stories that were fine tributes on their own, but lacked enough diversity between them to make anything other than monotonous reading when taken one right after the other. The short stories which make up Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth, while all derived from elements of Lovecraft's tale, vary in content enough that they avoid the redundancy that occurred in the first volume, and to be honest, most of the stories here are of a better quality. It's actually nice to see the range of stories that were created out of elements from the same source material and to feel like there is still enough left over for further stories which means I will be picking up the third volume. If you are a fan of Lovecraft, or Weird fiction in general this is worth picking up.


Sunday, October 09, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 9

Memento Mori by Paul Koudounaris
Thames & Hudson. 2015

From ossuaries to Catholic mummies, Bolivian ˜Natitas, to gilded skulls, and fully dressed skeletons, photographer, Paul Koudounaris, a specialist in the culture of death takes us on a world tour of places where the remains of the dead are still part of the day to day culture and customs of the living. The photographs are exquisite, and the text informative. Like his two previous books (The Empire of Death and Heavenly Bodies), Memento Mori is a must have.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 8

Roy Thomas Presents Frankenstein - The Classic Series Written and Drawn by Dick Briefer Volume 3
PS Publishing. 2014.

Cartoonist Dick Briefer had previously crafted a comic book series starring a gruesome and often violent version of the Frankenstein Monster, but this volume (the first actually published in this series of collected reprints) presents a less horrifying, friendly, gentle monster who serves as the occasional protector of the town of Mippyville from an assortment of weird and malicious supernatural foes and criminals. While this is a humor book, there are some pretty dark images and character designs and some gruesome deaths. This is a very entertaining collection of stories.

Friday, October 07, 2016

31 Days of Halloween - Day 7

Witches & Warlocks - Marvin Kaye, editor.
Guild America Books. 1989.

I've already written about a couple other anthologies edited by Marvin Kaye in Halloween Countdown's past. This one, centered around witches and warlocks, obviously, is varied enough in its content that it never becomes monotonous. Like any collection, there are going to be some stories more outstanding than others, and this is no exception, only here there are far more hits, and no outright duds. All of this beneath a gorgeous wrap around cover by Edward Gorey ( a print of which adorns one of the walls in my home).