Monday, April 12, 2010

My Beautiful Career Installment 20

I returned to storyboarding, working on “Biker Mice From Mars” and “Gargoyles”. I was waiting for my old friend, Kevin Altieri, to get his career-making project off the ground, now that he was hot from directing on “Batman”.
Storyboard panel from "Biker Mice From Mars", 1994 Storyboard panel from "Gargoyles" episode, "The Gift"

Storyboard panel from "Gargoyles" episode, "The Gift"
Storyboard panel from "Gargoyles" episode, "The Gift"

It finally happened in mid ’95; he was green lit to produce and direct the “Gen 13” feature for Wildstorm. However he decided he was going to storyboard the entire movie himself; my services were not needed.

Kevin Altieri, at 2008 Animation Guild Xmas party; seen with Brad Rader and "Snake Bite".

Storyboard panel from "Gen 13" feature (unproduced)Storyboard panel from "Gen 13" feature (unproduced)

I was crushed. Comics seemed closed off to me; Kevin had gone his own way. I decided to throw my hat into the directorial arena. Most of my storyboard artist peers had gone that route. I had never envied the drama, forced multitasking and being responsible for the work of others. But there seemed to be nowhere else for me to go. I put the word out that I was interested, calling the various producers I had worked with over the years.

(Perhaps I should explain: I've been complaining about Kevin not using me as board artist on "Gen 13"... yet here I am, including 2 panels that I storyboarded for it. That's because he called me up right before my first directing gig (see Installment 21) to get me to help him out with some last minute boarding.)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Drawing of the Day- April 8, 2010


My Beautiful Career Installment 19

I returned to work on “Batman” that fall, storyboarding on “The Mask of the Phantasm” feature. I quit after pre-production wrapped, moving on to illustrate “The Mark” mini-series for Dark Horse Comics. Bob Schreck was the editor, Mike Barr was the writer. I intended to freelance in animation to augment the meager earnings from working in comics, but suffered my third relapse of carpal tunnel syndrome early on. I spent the remainder of the year struggling to recover while continuing on the comic project.
“The Mark” was serialized in 1994 and sank like a stone. No advertising, no publicity, no reviews, no fan mail. To make matters worse, I was unable to get further work in comics. Image Comics was king at the time, and I was old school, passe’. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

My Beautiful Career Installment 18

Working on the “Batman” TV series, and getting “discovered” by Neal Pozner lead to my first comics gig, drawing 3 issues of “The Batman Adventures”. My favorite issue was #6, the Alfred Hichcock pastiche. Hichcock is one of my all time favorite directors, along with Walt Disney, Hiyao Myazaki, Ernst Lubitch, Val Lewton, Howard Hawks and James Cameron among many others.

Drawing(s) of the Day- April 5, 2010

I did these 2 in crayons, the kind kids use. I don't recommend them; their waxiness makes it difficult to build up rich layers of colors. On the Medusa drawing, I cheated by doing the shadows in her hair with a Pentel gray brush marker and rubbing the ink that was beading up on the surface of the waxy crayons into the paper.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Drawing of the Day- April 4, 2010

This drawing is of Bill Fishman. Bill is my Mac support guy, and general assistant. If I need to learn a program, I tell Bill. He learns it and tells me how to do what I need to do. I couldn't have published my graphic novel or erotic comics folios without him. Contact him at 
If he were on Linkedin, I'd recommend him.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My Beautiful Career Installment 17

Batman, Season 1. Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski were the producers, Kevin Altieri was, once again, my director. Working with Kevin had always been a gas, and, this time, I had Timm’s character designs and Radomski and Ted Blackman’s background stylings to work off. It was one of the high points of our careers, truly  magical period. For some reason, the watchdogs at Standards and Practices kept their distance; there was a bizarre lack of creative interference in general. We were pinching ourselves… how long could this go on? The weird thing was, it was so easy. I was barely putting in a 40-hour week and I was helping other artists meet their deadlines, storyboard supervising, pitching in on Character, Bg, Layout and Prop designs. Basically, I was serving as uncredited assistant director to Kevin. I had made a quantum artistic leap. Not only could I draw what was in my head, but frequently what came out was actually better than my conception.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Drawing of the Day- April 2, 2010--Comic Book Punches

The art of the comic book thrown punch: Who are the masters? Gil Kane, Jack Kirby, John Buscema, Neal Adams come to mind. I made my own stab at it recently, then copied a panel by Steve Ditko, from an old Charlton story reprinted in "The Art of Ditko", by Craig Yoe.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Beautiful Career Installment 16

The second show was at “A Different Light”, a gay/lesbian bookstore with branches in Silverlake and San Francisco. This show was called “Free Art”. I did a series of large-scale drawings appropriating corporate owned cartoon characters and putting them in atypical situations. This was in the period when Disney was threatening to sue the Academy Awards for having Rob Lowe dance with Snow White, and the Florida daycare center for having murals with Disney characters on its walls. I worried about following in their footsteps, so I consulted with a lawyer specializing in trademark, copy rite, and intellectual property law. He said the law in this area was amorphous, and tended to skew towards the property owners. So I decided to take my chances and go all the way. Maybe I’d get to go on Phil Donahue or Oprah.
It never became an issue. I discovered, as I’ve re-discovered since, that the problem with doing risk-taking work isn’t getting slapped, it’s getting noticed at all. Publicity has been my bette noir, the main sticking point.
The show went up at at the Silverlake store in January of 1992. (It was one of the last exhibitions held at that branch; it closed soon after). It moved to the San Francisco store that summer, I believe.

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