crazy colored glasses

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Reason 10,000,001 that I Love My Baby

The fact that I can chat with my lady about the upcoming NBA Draft and say "They need a skilled multi faceted big man and thats what McRoberts is. He's not the best scorer with his back to the basket, but he rebounds, passes and defends well... as well as being tremendously athletic. He'll be a better pro than he was a college player" and not only does she understand that, she totally gets it. She's a superstar.


Captain America

Anyone who knows me knows that my oldest brother (the cop) is a huge part of my life. He's always meant so much to me. In trying to think of something to give him for officiating my upcoming nuptials, I decided on giving him a piece of original art (a little cheap of me, but I'm trying to save money and I know he'll be appreciative, and it truly is from the heart).

So I started to think about what piece I could possibly do that would mean something to him (and me both). I thought back to the recent past and one of the moments I was most proud of my brother. It was 9/11. Just having my brother be there to me was incredibly heroic, but also calming, as if for some crazy reason, I knew we'd be okay because he was there. It's crazy to say, but for me one of the things that helped with the dealing process was John Cassaday's run on Captain America. This new series started out right after the fallout of 9/11 and dealt with a real world Cap fighting terrorists. That story arc laid the groundwork for everything else that has since been written or drawn. Cassaday changed the way people drew Cap forever.

Captain America has always been a favorite character of mine. I remember watching as a kid (with my brother) the made for TV Cap movie where he rode this souped up motorcycle. I thought it was so cool. Basically I was done. I was gonna be a big fan. Over the years the title has been both brilliant but most times has fallen flat. The same can be said of the art. In my eyes Cassaday's Cap is the best Cap ever drawn. Jack Kirby, Steve McNiven, John Byrne, Ron Garney, Michael Turner and now Steve Epting have all drawn great versions of Cap. I think it's sad that it took Cap dying (allegedly) to become important again. I'm sure he'll be back again shortly (if they can bring back Bucky they can bring back Cap).

Getting back to this piece. This was a cover that John Cassaday did on his run of the regular series. It was a little different for me to draw than the style I've been using lately. A little more realistic and less stylistically cartoony. Cap in motion from right to left with the American flag is such an iconic image. The pencils took a little more than an hour (that damn chainmail took forever). The inking took a little over 2 hours. The chainmail was very intricate as well as adding the heavy black shadows. After I was done with the inking I went back in with the pencils and added some extra shading for more texture. I think its a piece that turned out very well, and I think my brother will really appreciate it.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It's All About The Game

It's no secret that I'm both a huge wrestling, but more than that, a huge Triple H fan. He's my favorite wrestler of the last decade. In my eyes the natural succesor to Randy Savage (my favorite wrestler from the '80s). What I mean by that is that he is the man who is the consumate professional. The guy who puts on a great show every single match. Not the most popular, not always the champion, but the one who puts on the great show.

In the '80s Macho Man ranked below both Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior, but the matches I always looked the most forward to were Macho Mans. He always put on the best show. The same is true with Hunter. He hasn't been the champion in over a year now (true he's been injured since January), but he still is the only draw for me in the WWE. Cena is an awful champion. His fights are as scripted as Hogans in the '80s. With Hunter you never get that. In fact you never know what your gonna get from him besides a great show. To me he's been the top star of the past decade. Bigger than the Rock and Stone Cold, because he's the only one of them still actively in the ring. He really is as he likes to say "The King of Kings".

I have a ton of Triple H figures, and I'm sure we'll see a lot more of them on this blog. This is one of my favorites. I always feel like the figures with cloth clothes as opposed to clothes that are painted on don't usually look so great. This is one of the rare exceptions. Although I still think the jacket looks really big on him, the rest of the figure is spot on. The smirk on his face, the beard, the ponytail, the hands taped up and the logo on his tights are all right on. This is one of the better figures Jakks has produced.



In selecting figures I've loved over the last few years I wanted to pull a couple of obscure ones that people wouldn't expect from me. Hence the selection of the Jokerz Gang Leader from the Batman Beyond line.

The colors on the figure are so vibrant, and the inclusion of the Hover Cycle is a nice extra. The sculpt is very clean and evokes Bruce Timm's great design work. All in all this was a great piece. The rest of the line didnt really conatin anything noteworthy or groundbreaking. In fact there might have only been another two standout pieces from this line that I actually bought. The Gotham Knight Batman which was the actual costume from the show (much better than the Future Knight Batman which was the first released) and the Power Armor Batman which conatined an unmasked Terry McGuiness (i'm a sucker for unmasked figures).

For those not familiar with Batman Beyond it was great animated series on the WB set in the year 2039. It originally aired 52 episode and had a great opening title sequence done by Darwyn Cooke. The show follwed the exploits of Terry McGuiness a 17 year old high school student who stumbles upon the secrets of Wayne Manor and Bruce takes him under his wing and allows him to assume the mantle of Batman. It was cool and refreshing to see a kid in the guise of Batman (as opposed to Robin). I always dug this cartoon and thought it was a nice evolution of the brand. My favorite episode was when Bruce dons an exo-skeleton (very reminiscent of Batman's Kingdom Come armor) to help Terry fight the very cool villain Ink.

The best part of the series happened many years later in a Justice League Unlimited episode where we learn that Terry is actually Bruce's biological son. It was a convuluted but not a entirely unplausable story (by comic standards) that I really enjoyed, and explained why this kid was able to do what he did.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Two For Tuesday

I put these two pieces together last week with the hope that I'd be able to post them last week after missing a week of art posts. I selected a Superboy piece (from the great Sam Loeb issue) as well a Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman piece from Justice League of America #0.

I started this Superboy (Kon-El, Connor Kent) piece and breezed through the pencils. It took about 40 minutes to do the pencils(hence the fact that someone as slow as me was able to bang out two pieces in one night). After storming through the pencils I decided to do a piece that contained more than one member and was at a interesting angle. So I put together this piece.

The pencils took me a little over an hour. It was actually a lot quicker to draw than I expected. I really love the angle of the piece. I havent gone back in and added in the grays like I have been doing because I'm not sure I'm done with that piece. I havent decided if I I'm blacking in the background or not. I'd like to, but I'm not sure it would help the piece. I finished off the piece by adding some blacks to Superman's head. This is also the strongest Batman I've drawn in a while. Wonder Woman continues to be a strong character for me to draw. I'm really having fun drawing her lately.

After adding the blacks to the Trinity piece I decided I had to go back in and add the blacks to Superboy. I thought the piece looked flat and is now so much better once I blacked in the shirt and added highlights to it, as well as adding grays to the face and musculature and the jeans. This piece turned out really well. I'm very pleased with it.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

G.I. Joextravaganza... Part 4: Duke

No list of favorite G.I.Joes would be complete without Duke (Conrad S. Hauser). While most people would gravitate to one of the first two versions of Duke (which were basically the same except for the Tiger Force deco on the pants of the second), my favorite was always the 3rd version from 1992.

The sculpt of the figure was larger and more fitting of the Master Sergeant of the Joe team. The originals were slimmer and more slight. Those thinner sculpts were closer to the Duke that everyone loved from the cartoon. I just always felt the field leader of the team should look stronger. This figure achieved that. The tan and red color scheme was strong as well. This figure also came with great accesories (I always loved Joes with removeable helmets).

These later addition Joes came with different file cards. They included a tagged picture which listed all the weapons that came with the character. It was good to ID the weapons, but a geek boy like myself loved the back story on the original cards.

I also enjoyed the 11th version (from 2002) of Duke which used the completely new body sculpt when the line was reintroduced. I'll be posting images of those little gems. I think those sculpts included some great new versions of key figures, but are not generally highly regarded by Joe traditionalists.


Let's Not Forget Magic

I've recently blogged about how I think Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward in the history of the NBA. That I would never argue with. While reading this week's SI the very first letter in the letters page stated that the 2nd best basketball player in the last 30 years is Tim Duncan... after only Michael Jordan. That had me screaming at the breakfast table. Rarely do I ever react at these letters, but I had to complain.

The shortsightedness of current NBA fans. The way they forget what is modern history. Bill Simmons had a great blog recently about Jonh Havlicek and where he stood among the alltime greats. How John was his idol and one of the greatest players of all time, yet when they have the best of lists no one ever mentions him. Thats the way I feel about Magic. He's been retired for almost 15 years now (besides 1 failed comeback) and how quickly these kids forget.

Magic was the consumate winner and teammate. He made every player he played with better. In my eyes he is the greatest basketball player of alltime. If I was picking an alltime basketball team, I would pick Magic over Jordan. Magic could play every position on the floor. He could take over a game at the point distributing the ball, and the next game he could jump ball and start the game and dominate it at center (as he did in the finals as a rookie). Magic won a national championship in college and 5 titles in the NBA (and 1 Olympic Gold medal).

Magic (with Larry Bird) is also widely regarded as saving the NBA. It was a sport that was fading. No live telecasts, everything on tape delay. Then Bird and Magic came into the NBA on oppostie coasts and reinvigorated a flailing sport. Without Bird and Magic, Jordan would never have been the media machine he turned out to be. They paved the way and set the stage for him.

Magic is my favorite basketball player of all time. I must say I was truly blessed to be able watch him both on TV and live at MSG. With all that said, I must caveat this all by saying that I am a lifelong Lakers fan, so me saying that I think Magic is the greatest alltime is no big revelation.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Action Comics #850

In my neverending quest to catch up on my comic reading I read a ton over the weekend. I read the first 4 issues of Countdown, and most of the stuff on my top shelf pull list. Anything Superman is generally at the sop of my list. I generally love all Superman stuff. Lately I've been pissed by the timing and late issues as well as the announced absent creative teams. So it was with great amusement that I read and loved Action Comics #850.

The issue was written by Kurt Busiek and Geoff Johns (my two favorite Superman writers of the last few years). The art was by the brilliant and underrated Renato Guedes (who I'm so excited will be taking over Supergirl). The issue is basically Supergirl in the 31st Century with the Legion of Superheroes trying to find a way back from the future. Braniac approaches her and introduces her to a crude time machine that he has built which can't go into the past but can give you a glimpse to the past. Braniac wants to use it on Kara (Supergirl), but for anyone who has read her series knows, she has a very shady past. So Kara decides to use it to view the past on Superman. Which takes us on a wonderful journey where we get a view into the psyche of Clark.

This is the type of story that probably would have bored me when I was 10-15 years younger. I think the older me, with more life experience, has grown to love these types of stories. There is a nice blend of action, humor, drama, but most of all emotion. This is a great comic for people who don't think these types of characters can have emotionally deep stories. This story gives you a great peek at Superman, what makes him tick, how alone he has always felt, and why he is so protective of Kara. This was easily one of my favorite Super stories of 2007.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Sustained Excellence

I heard Stephen A. Smith say this last night, and thought it was the perfect description of the NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs. A team that has won 4 titles in the last 9 years can officially now be proclaimed a dynasty, as well as being mentioned amonst the best teams (and organizations) of all time.

We all know of the singular brilliance that is Tim Duncan. Who I consider the greatest power forward of all time. Who I was happy to see has seemed to become more fiery and vocal as the elder statesman of the team. What most people don't do is give Greg Popovich and the Spurs front office enough credit. I mean, who is the second best player on the team. Ginobili or Parker, both foreign born players, who were not highly touted but were well scouted to fit into the Spurs system. Neither one of them would be involved in arguments about the best players at their positions, but they fit the system perfectly. If you look up and down that bench you see a number of foreign born players who perfectly fit that system... Oberto, Elson, Udrih as well as the already mentioned Parker and Ginobili. That really is a testament to the front office as well the new template to succeed in the NBA. This run by the Spurs has to rank right up there with the Lakers and Celtics in the 80's and the Bulls of the 90's. To be this good for so long is a rare and special treat.

The other thing that stood out for me in this series is how structured the Spurs are offensively. Which led me to wondering when the last team won that didnt have a structured offense, and I couldnt think of one. I'm a huge fan of back to the basket, and pick and roll plays. Both teams in the finals demonstrated the ability to run just such an offense. While the Suns and Mavs look like they are having fun, and get all the sexy headlines. Their motion based offenses don't yield results (as in titles, they each have been great in the regular season). A structured offense has proven results.

The other scary thing abou this series was how flawed a team the Cavs were. I say this because the rest of the NBA should be worried that Lebron was able to carry such a flawed team on his back to the NBA finals. What happens when he finally has a decent supporting cast. The results could and should be scary.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

American League... Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Now that the starting pitching has finally come together the Yankees are on a roll. They’ve won 7 in a row, and 10 out of their last 12. The starting roation this season that included Pavano, Karstens, Desalvo, Wright and Pettite now includes Pettite, Wang, Mussina, Clemens and Clippard (who has been a pleasant surpirse so far). The starting pitching has been strong, which in turn means less work for the bullpen, so you have strong rested bullpen.

The offense has been reinvigorated by the increased play of Arod and Abreu. Arod is hitting homers at an April pace again and Abreu is finally the player the Yankees traded for last year. That as well as the steady play of Jeter and Posada means the offense is clicking. Defensively, Melky has been an upgrade over Johny Damon. His range and his arm are spectacular.

The yanks have trimmed Boston’s lead by 4 games in the last week and a half. They still have a long way to go, but be afraid... the yanks are comin.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sensational Spider-Man Annual #1

While most everything thats been going on in the Marvel comics spider world I've thought has been rushed to coincide with the new god-awful movie, I discovered this annual. I dont remember the last time a real Marvel comics universe Spider-Man book has been this emotional and good. Usually the emotional aspect comes out in Bendis' Ultimate Spider-Man. Which leaves the Marvel U Spidey with schlock like JMS's "The Other" storyline (might be the worst big storyarc of all time).

This annual written by Matt Fraction (who is brilliant, get this guy on a Spidey monthly ASAP) was very tenderly written. I always disagree with people who say you can't tell an emotional, real story with mainstream superheroes. Books like this prove them wrong. I know people who also hate MJ's marriage to Peter. Theyve felt it weighs him down too much. I think it opens up new world of stories to explore. How many other heroes who have had their identities revealed and are on the run from the law have a wife to worry about as well. Let me think... oh, thats right, none. Stories like this should be the norm as opposed to the exception with Peter.

Anyway, this story is a hidden masterpiece. The contrasting stories told from both of their perspectives, all while MJ is stalling for her hero to come to her rescue is nothing short of magical. I loved every page of this annual. Salvador Larocca's art fit this book perfectly as well. It used digital inking and coloring which gave the pages a softer almost water-color like effect (except for the Romita-esque flashback pages which were also beautifully rendered). This was one of the best Marvel comics I've read in 2007.


Monday, June 11, 2007

G.I. Joextravaganza... Part 3: Recondo

Daniel M. LeClaire. He was the G.I. Joe version of Crocodile Dundee. He hated the cold and was the resident Joe jungle expert. This was another specialist that I was a fan. As i've stated before, I was not a fan of the generic camo soldiers. I always liked the specialists.

There were two versions of this Recondo, one version has green stripes the other has brown striped pants. His hat which unfortunately is not removeable is killer. One of my favorite features on the figure. In the later series of Joe's, Gnawgahyde had a similar hat which was removeable. I dug that. Recondo was featured recently in the Joe comics where it seems that he had died, which I'm happy to report was false. He's still alive and just laying low while he plots a crazy comeback against Cobra. I don't really remember if Recondo was featured in the cartoon or not. All I do know is that he was one of my best (and first) Joe figures I ever had.


Friday, June 08, 2007

The Greatest Tag Team in WWE(F) History

I remember going with my oldest brother to the very first Summer Slam at Madison Square Garden. We had decent seats, and under my arm I carried two signs I had made. One for the Mega Powers (Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage) who were fighting Andre the Giant and Ted DiBiase, and one for my favorite Tag Team of all-time Demolition.

Ax and Smash (and later on Crush) made up Demolition. They were managed by Mister Fuji, and were fighting another great tag team the Hart Foundation. I was a huge fan of their raucous theme song, face paint, and black leather spiked entrance gear (as well as the black studded hockey style mags they wore). In my mind they symbolized badass. I didnt care that most people thought of them as nothing more than a Road Warriors rip off. In my mind they were the best tag team on the planet. At the time of Summer Slam they were on a streak of having held the tag team titles for over a year (still a record). Near the end of their run in the WWE an unhealthy Ax was replaced with Crush. With Crush things just werent the same. Even though Crush was bigger, stronger and more athletic, the team lost a lot of steam and went their separate ways in 91.

When Jakks Pacific started making classic wrestling figures I kept hoping for 3 figures: Macho Man, Ax and Smash. I waited and waited (still waiting on Macho Man) when finally after 12 series they decided to create Demolition figures. I was the happiest person on the planet when these figures finally came out. Then of course I had the most imposible time finding them in store. I would go to Toys R Us almost daily in pursuit of these figures. All of course to no avail. I finally gave in and ordered (overpayed) them online. They arrived around my birthday in December, so it was like my own little gift to myself. I think Ax and Smash are amongst the best Jakks wrestling figures ever made. The face sculpts are excellent. The paint applications are spot on, and I'm even very impressed by the attention to detail of giving Smash a big bald spot and an elbow pad only on his left arm.

The below picture is pretty funny. It's the current Ax and Smash next to their Hasbro counterparts from the late 80's. The little guys almost look like midget versions of the big guys.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

DC's Excellent Annuals

I've been furiosly reading comics lately as I try and catch up. My guess is that I'm roughly 6 weeks behind. This week I finally read the Nightwing and Outsiders Annuals. Both tried to bridge the gap in the One Year Later story gaps. Both were phenomenal.

Judd Winick (who is the regular writer on the Outsiders) wrote the Outsiders Annual which was drawn by Scott McDaniel. They told a great story about how the team rescued Black Lightning from prison with the help of a then still villain Captain Boomerang, how the Captain (and Metamorpho) ended up on the team, and how and why they faked their death. It also set the stage for how much Roy Harper has grown and how he ended up in the Justice League. While I've never been in love with McDaniels art, I though his art was serviceable.

Nightwings Annual written by Marc Andreyko with pencils by Joe Bennett was also brilliant. It told the story of the relationship between Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson. Everything from the very beginning. It is such an important part of the history of the DC Universe. A must read for any fan of the Batman family. It was very emotional and tender as well as doing a great job of setting up A) Dick going away with Bruce for a year and B) how he ended up in New York in his own title.

With how strong these two annuals were it made me wonder "why didnt DC do this with all the titles that were affected in One Year Later". Instead of burdening the regular series with explaining what happend, why not have a single oversized issue that explained everything. It made too much sense to me. I'm not complaining about DC. I think they've been putting out a far superior product to their crosstown rivals over the last few years, I just think they messed up in this instance. I think it would have made far more sense to tie up the missing year stories in annuals for all the titles.


Super Stuff

One of the very first things my baby shot in the art room was my collection of Superman collectibles that sits in the display case in the living room. This isn't everything, I have a ton more Superman collectibles (mostly action figures) as well as 1,000's of comics. For the most part though this is the cream of the crop.

From left to right:
Golden Age Superman statue. This is a classic Clark to Superman statue I received as a birthday gift. The sculpt is very clean. It reminds me of the work of Curt Swan who drew a very clean barrel-chested Superman. I love everything about this statue. The colors of the piece are brilliant and vibrant.

JLA Superman Maquette. This statue was given to me by the old CSD of EG as a Christmas gift. He and I would often talk about comics, animation and everything pop culture. This piece is spot on perfect. Colors, pose and sculpt. There is nothing about this statue I would change. Even the size and weight of it are substantial. This statue perfectly captures the Bruce Timm animated style.

Red Son Superman action figure: Red Son Superman was one of the most inventive comics of the past 15 years. Wonderfully written by Mark Millar and beautifully draw by Dave Johnson. The pose, sculpt, and color of this figure capture Dave's artwork perfectly. The Soviet Union flag is a nice touch as well.

Randy Bowen Superman mini-statue: This Bowen statue is a recreation of the Superman statue that was on the shelf in Jerry Sienfelds apartment in his television series. My younger sister got it for me as a Christmas gift. I remember my oldest brother being slightly jealous. It's one of my favorite Superman pieces. Bowen is a great sculptor and it reminds me of John Brynes Superman mid 80's artwork. The color seems a little faded, but it is still such a strong piece. Love it.

Subway Kids Meal Superman: I rarely if ever venture into Subway, but when they Superman The Animated Series Kids Meal I ran to get my sub and toy. It has a little lever on the back, which when pressed it shoots up his arms in a flying motion. The colors are a little dark which didnt mesh well with the animated series style, but it was just a giveaway from a fast food restaurant. Still like the little cloth cape.

DC Direct Superman Action Figure: This is my favorite Superman action figure. Everything about this figure was perfect. Plus it had the added incentive of having a ton of articulation (which is a change for DC Direct). It truly is a beautiful figure. As much as I've loved the DC Direct Ed McGuiness style figures, this really is the cream of the crop. It puts all other Superman figures to shame. Color, cape length, articulation, and sculpt make this the perfect Superman figure.

Animated Series Superman Bank: I have 2 of these. They capture the style of the animated series beautifully. They also capture the power of the character as he breaks through the chains. The color on the bank is great. The face sculpt is awesome (one of my favorites). The power of the character really shines through. I dont know if he is filled with anything, but he is proudly on display in my living room.

Heroclix Superman (the little tiny guy in the front): I bought this on the corner of Broadway and Steinway on Christmas Eve 2005. I was out doing some last minute shopping when I ran across this guy selling Heroclix. Heroclix is a crazy little game with these figures and a click wheel system that decides damage. I've never played and wouldnt even fake to know how. Yet, I have a large collection of Heroclix figures. Generally everyone in the Superman family. This is the second version of Superman that posed him flying. The first had him breaking through chains. I liked this one better. I thought it was a much more intersting pose. The color is great, the only negative is that there is no articulation to this tiny piece and no detail on the face (what do you expect its like an inch and a half long).

Justice League Animated Series Justice Lords Superman: This Superman was part of a 3 pack my daughter gave me as a birthday gift. It was a cool set which also included Batman and Wonder Woman. That episode of Justice League was brilliant. One of the best ever episodes on that show. I love the different color scheme on the character. It lets you know right away that you are dealing with a darker more serious Superman. The sculpt is basically the same as any of the other animated Superman figures. Nice figure.

DC Direct Dark Knight Returns Superman Action Figure: When these figures were announced I was incredibly excited. When I finally got this figure, I was happy with it, but not ecstatic. I would have expected a grittier, darker Superman. While this piece was bulky in the Frank Miller style, it was lacking some of the grittiness of the original series. I like how large the figure is, and how well it fits in with the Batman piece of the same series.

The very best Superman collectible (in my eyes) is this DC Direct 13 inch figure. It is the deluxe version which included an outfit to change the figure into Clark Kent. It also includes a steel girder and a couple sets of hands to change into. There is even articulation to the S curl in his hair. Down for Supes, up for Clark. A brilliantly thought out and designed figure. My one complaint is I think the S shield is larger on the actual figure than it is on the prototype which was shot on the packaging. Truly one of the highlights of my collection.

Some of my other favorite figures which are not pictured are the Super Powers Superman and Clark Kent, Superman the animated Series Clark Kent quick change Superman, Michael Turner style Superman, Kingdom Come Superman, Ed McGuiness Superman and Earth 2 Superman, Ken as Superman in Superman Returns, and the Alex Ross Justice Superman.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Nightwing... Step 2

I've been really bad in getting back to Nightwing. I havent scanned him and him colored, and I havent composed him with the street scene that I wanted. What I did do was take the image of Nightwing I shot a while back and run it through some filters as well as taking a rooftop and running that through some filters as well. Its not perfect, but it gets close to what I'm thinking about. I still want to grit it up even more and increase the heaviness of the lines as well as well as distress it even more. When its all said and done I'm hoping I have a very New York looking Alex Maleev style piece that I will then submit to Project Rooftop (who havent reviewed anything for awhile... are they still reviewing anything?) for a positive review (I hope).



In the ongoing series of wrestling figures I unearthed this gem... A custom made Macho Man Randy Savage figure I won on ebay.

I've been a lifelong wrestling fan and Macho Man was my favorite wrestler in the 80's and well into the 90's. I remember going to MSG once a month with my oldest brother to watch wrestling live. Him buying me Macho Man Tshirts. It was definitely a passion of mine. In fact I would get so excited that I would have to always pee before the main event started (usually involving Macho Man)... my brother would completely flip out, but would always happily take me to the bathroom. He had huge wars with Ricky Steamboat (still my favorite wrestling match of all time from Wrestlemania 3) Ted Dibiase, Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior all in front of my eyes. While the rest of the world was in love with Hulk Hogan, it was the Macho Man who did it for me. He was the rare mix of power and speed with aerial moves, and no one except for Hogan had better mic skills. He was the ultimate showman.

Jakks Pacific has done a great job over the last couple of years with their Classics series, except for being unable to lock up the Macho Man. I finally realized a dream of mine last year in owning real Demolition toys. Still to this day I wait for Macho Man. Until then, I enjoy this custom Macho Man made from parts of other Jakks figures with a paint scheme that places Randy Savage in his Macho King phase. I thought the person (I can't remember his name) did a great job of really capturing the character.


The Flash... Peanuthead Thompson where are you?

This weeks Tuesday night drawing came after I had spent the past few weeks wondering what ever happened to my once good friend I had nicknamed Peanuthead. He and I would go to the glorious Midtown Comics every Wednesday and have lunch in one of the assorted fast food joints along 8th avenue as we compared our stashes. It was one of my most looked forward to moments of the week. Him and I remained very close over the years (we had also both become art directors at a young age, so we really bonded over that) up until his magazine was closed down. At his going away party we told each other how important we had been to each other and promised that we weren't gonna lose touch. About a year and a half later... we seemed to have lost touch. I've tried to email him a few times and never gotten anything in return. I really dont know what has happened to him. I've had old co-workers of his come to me and ask me if I knew how he was doing... um, I don't know. Just wanted to take this chance to say I miss him and his friendship.

Anyway, the whole point of that was that Peanuthead's favorite character was the Flash. I've never been a big fan of Flash but he was. We had all grown up with Wally West through his Titan days (and there was probably no better ongoing series in the 80's than the Teen Titans) and then were excited (although we all do miss Barry Allen) when after Crisis, Wally took over as the Flash. Leaving the mantle of Kid Flash for someone else (current Flash Bart Allen). For most people my age, who really dont remember Barry Allen that well, Wally really is the character. So in thinking heavily about Peanuthead I decided to draw his favorite character.

This image is a little different than my other pieces. It doesn't include as many heavy black areas. What it relies more on are strong, stoic faces, and great line work. I also added very subtle pencil tones once I finished inking the piece. They helped add more depth and emotion to the piece. The pencils took me a little over an hour. The inking took me about 2 hours. Then probably another half hour for the additional grays. The piece was a bit challenging because I've mostly been drawing single characters lately. So to have Golden Age (Jay Garrick) , Modern Age (Wally) and Kid Flash (Bart) in one piece was hard. I think it turned out nicely. It's a nice little piece for me to add to my collection.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

G.I. Joextravaganza... Part 2: Blizzard

I was always a fan of the G.I. Joes that had a ton of accessories and were considered specialists. This led to my love of Blizzard. He was probably my second favorite Joe of all time. Like me he had a love of the cold weather. Unlike me he came with skis and snow shoes (as well as a killer helmet) as well as a back pack that turned into a sled.

He was described on his filecard as one of the hardest and meanest men in the bunch. Also described as someone who doesnt make mistakes and doesnt get careless. Of all the Joe cold weather specialist he was easily my favorite. I also thought the design of the character and his accessories were all cleverly done.

Truly one of the figures I remember fondly when I think about my childhood. My younger sister (who constantly played Joes with me, and me in turn Barbies with her) can tell you that Blizzard really was one of my favorite Joes of all time


WWE Figures

For a period of a couple of years, I bought every new wrestling figure on the market. I wanted to have everything that the WWE released. I finally stopped heavily buying WWE figures about a year and a half ago. Since then I've only bought a handful of WWE figures (specifically the amazing Demolition... best tag team ever). With that said I have a huge collection of wrestling toys, both new and old... all the way back to the large scale LJN figures, to the smaller, cartoony Hasbro figures, to the current Jakks Pacific figures.

The body sculpts for the figures are relatively the same. I feel like they have five sculpts. Fat (Yokozuna, Earthquake, King Kong Bundy), Large (Andre, Big Show, Undertaker, Kane), Regular (Cena, Batista, Orton), Small (Benoit, Kendrick, London) and the female form. The thing I'm always impressed with on these figures is the faces. The WWE uses Gentle Giant technology to scan the faces which gives the faces a almost pcture perfect quality to them. They are very exact in their details... all the way down to the smirk on Triple H's face.

Over the following weeks I will be posting pics of some of my favorite wrestling figures. Here are two to start:

I was a big fan of ECW. I would stay up late and watch original ECW on the MSG channel when they ran locally at late night. Paul Heyman had such a breeding ground for phenomenal talent. One of the original stars was Raven. He had a huge following, a great stpryline and war with Sandman and just a cool schtick. Before ECW he was the character Johnny Polo in the WWE. He was awful and completely misused. Then he went to ECW and developed his character. Once he did that he became so popular that he then went on to have succesfull championship stints on both WCW and WWE and is now starring in TNA.

Me being a comic geek and a wrestling fan, I love that this figure was wearing a Punisher T-shirt. It also captured Raven's always pained look. That on top of the leather jacket and the grungy shirt tied around the waist completed this great figure. It's a lot more than the standard figure in wrestling tights.

This other figure is The Hurrican Gregory Helms. I must admit to knowing nothing about him when he was at WCW besides the fact that he was a lightweight champion that had lots of exciting aerial moves. When the WWE bought out WCW Gregory Helms was one of the guys on the roster. Then in the invasion story when WCW and ECW joined forces to fight the regular WWE guys, Steve Austin joined the WCW/ECW contingent and asked this guy to become someone. Gregory Helms took him a little too seriously and became The Hurricane. Some of his early skits in the reporter outfit, spinning around and becoming a super hero are still to this day hilarious. Plus when he tried to take Rosey under his wing and make him a Super Hero In Training and Rosey ran around the ring with a T-shirt reading SHIT was always funny. He's always been a splash of lighthearted humor in the male soap opera that is the WWE.

The Hurricane has had moderate success in the WWE. He's been a multiple time tag-team champion and a multiple time lightweight champion. In the orchestrated world of professional wrestling he's always someone who puts on a good show. This figure similar to the Raven figure is one that I like for the extras. Again I like that its not just a tights figure. Its a full on costume with cape and mask. The paint job works well and the cloth cape work nicely. Plus it has a spot on goofy Hurricane face. A very nice figure.


Monday, June 04, 2007


So as MS was testing out new equipment I was trotting out some of my favorite toys of all time. There were a wide variety of things from action figures to plush dolls and everything in between. In doing that I pulled out this doll from on my favorite movies of all time... Monsters Inc. The geniuses at Pixar put this incredibly inventive and original movie together. My first draw to this film was that it was going to contain the first preview for Star Wars Episode 1. It was nothing more than a breathing Darth Vader with visuals of the new film, but it was enough for me. Then the movie started and I fell in love. Especially with this character...

This is a doll of Boo from Monsters Inc. As much as Mike and Sully where the stars of the movie, Boo really stole the show for me. After watching the film she became one of my favorite characters from any Disney animated film. I saw Mike and Sully dolls in stores, but I never found Boo. That led me to research online, where I found this Boo on ebay. It of course came in a 3 pack with Mike and Sully (which as much as I liked I had no interest in keeping) that I completely overpaid for... although to me it was worth it. It stands to this day as one of my favorite toys of all time.


Friday, June 01, 2007

The Mighty Thor

I've been inspired to draw some of my favorite Marvel characters of all time recently. Why, I don't know. Marvel Comics for the most part have been a big stinking pile of poop (although I faithfully buy them) for a few years now. Anyway, I've always been a huge Thor fan. Love mythology, love the character, love the fact that he is a god hanging out with the mortals. Unfortunately he's been MIA in the comics for a few years now. We've been teased with returns in Fantastic Four and even Civil War, but it seems like he'll finally be returning in his own title written by JMS with art by the underrated Olivier Copiel.

Now his costume has been redesigned (not as drastically as when Walt Simonson took over) but it still contains a lot of the classic Kirby elements to it. Speaking of Kirby, as here ever been a better Thor artist. He defined the look of a generation, and every artist who has come after him just pales in comparison. With that said here are some of my other favorite Thos artists of all time: Walt Simonson, Bryan Hitch, and John Romita Jr. This new version seems to be a younger Thor, which could be very cool. I'm looking forward to how Marvel will explain the return of Thor with Ragnarok not having happened that long ago. Should be interesting. I hope they dont screw it up.

The line work on the piece was really strong. I was so happy with the pencils that I almost didnt ink it. Then I got bored one night and it was sitting in front of me and I decided what the hell... why not ink it. I still need to add some grays to add a little depth to it, but I was so excited with it in it's current state that I wanted to share.