Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Twilight's Last Gleaming

Twilight's Last Gleaming - 2003 - Page One

Twilight's Last Gleaming - 2003 - Page Two

Twilight's Last Gleaming - 2003 - Page Three

Twilight's Last Gleaming - 2003 - Page Four

This was the third story I did for the Special Issues of The Comics Journal. For this issue the theme for the cartoon section that Gary Groth devised was "Cartoonists on Patriotism". I wrote about both sides of my immigrant family.

It was the first time that I ever wrote an autobiographical comic, a theme I would continue to explore to this day.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Dorothy And Toto Have Landed

Recently I have been painting some watercolors of scenes from The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. This is fun to do and is relaxing to boot, because I have never felt a deep affinity with the book, so it doesn't threaten me because I care too much about it. As a child I loved the movie and I still enjoy it whenever I see it. But the movie isn't the book. Not at all.

A strange thing about The Wizard of Oz in 2016 is that the book has been in the public domain for quite a while, but the film is NOT in public domain, the copyright is held by the film studio MGM. This means that you can illustrate the book, but you cannot have your illustrations look anything like the movie. This is fine with me as I want it to look like 2016, not like depression era America.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Harry The Rat Reject

In 2007 I was asked by Gary Groth at Fantagraphics to make the cover illustration for a new edition of Jules Feiffer's 1963 novel, "Harry the Rat with Women". Like I always do, I read the material first, in this case a short mid-century novel.

The above image is what I derived from the subject, with plenty of room for the book designer to do anything they wanted with the typography.

I was told that the art director hated it and it was rejected. I don't know if it was ever shown to Jules Feiffer. Nothing abnormal in this. It is just another day as a freelance illustrator. Upon seeing the cover that they actually used, I must admit that I thought mine would have been much stronger.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Werner Herzog

This is a portrait I was asked to do to go with an interview of Werner Herzog. The book it is found in is titled "Book of Changes" and is some collected interviews conducted by Kristine McKenna.
I was glad that I was asked to draw Werner Herzog as I am a fan of his films, especially the ones he made with Klaus Kinski. I tried to draw him as I imagined he looked while they were filming Fitzcarraldo in the Amazon with all of the attendant difficulties.

Friday, January 15, 2016


Earache! - 2002 - Page One

Earache! - 2002 - Page Two

This story was the second one that I did for The Comics Journal Specials. The theme devised by Gary Groth for this issues Special Section was "Cartoonists On Music". Please bear in mind that due to the ephemeral nature of popular culture, some of my complaints are now outdated or have been thankfully rectified by the passage of time. Irregardless of these truths, the din is worse than ever.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Reverend Howard Finster

Kristine McKenna is a journalist who has interviewed many famous people from all walks of life.
When some of her interviews were collected into a book titled "Book of Changes" I was asked to do this portrait of the Reverend Howard Finster to accompany her interview of him. I was very happy to do so, as I am a longtime admirer of his paintings and sculptures.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Louis XVII Dauphin Of France

Another version of the earlier Dauphin painting, this time with a mob, from the same body of work in the 1980's. A bit smaller than the other, as I recall four feet by six feet. Oil on wood with hand carved painted frame. This painting was exhibited with the other Dauphin painting in the show "Crisis and Charisma" at the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Dauphin Of France

A very large oil painting from the 1980's that was shown at the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery in a group show that was called "Crisis and Charisma". I made several large paintings and drawings of babies at this time. As I recollect, this picture was eight feet by eight feet. It was somewhat amusing to paint a baby this big, but I shouldn't have brought on the clowns.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


This illustration appeared in the 16th and final issue of Hermenaut.

Published in Winter 2000/2001. The Stockholm Syndrome Issue.

The illustration went with an excerpt from a novel by David Mamet "Wilson: A Consideration of the Sources".  Art direction was by Tony Leone.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Fop - Page One - 2001

Fop - Page Two - 2001

Early in the first decade of the new century, Gary Groth - President of Fantagraphics, began a new series as the Editor and Publisher of The Comics Journal. 

Fantagraphics would begin publishing Special Issues of The Comics Journal separately from the monthly magazine of the same name.

These books came out approximately once a year and unlike the magazine were in full color in a square bound format.

For each Special Issue Gary devised a theme for a cartoon section. He would then contact approximately fifty or so international cartoonists and ask them if they wanted to participate.

Some cartoonists I know declined because they didn't want to work with someone else's ideas.
I don't mind working in this fashion if the someone else's ideas are good. Gary's ideas were.

Besides which, he allowed the cartoonists to have a wide open approach to the concept he was suggesting.  I did five of these stories for five Special Issues.

The theme for this special section was "Cartoonists On Cartooning".

Here is my two page story: Fop

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Palo Verde Tree

The other day while out for a walk in the Sonoran Desert, I stumbled across this charming moment of random beauty. Whomever bothered to hike with antique Christmas ornaments in order to decorate a Palo Verde Tree in the wilderness, thank you.