Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Pitt Artist Pen - 12/01/11

This was done in a student's sketchbook and is the first public appearance of PLAGUE.

PLAGUE was originally created around 1997 when I was developing an animation proposal featuring ZONE. PLAGUE will be playing a part in upcoming ZONE stories.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Pitt artist pen - 2011

This was done in a student's sketchbook yesterday. I drew it with the idea that I would be coloring it at some point and when I do I'll post it here.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

How I got my gray hair.

Marker - sketchbook eight - 1989

In my sketchbook this was titled, How I got my gray hair. This is a sketch of me, uh I mean, my alter ego Henry and ZONE. In the storyline Henry is a reporter covering North Jersey with an interest in illegal dumping and other criminal activities that resulted in toxic pollution. 

In issue number one of THREAT! Henry is following some leads about chemical barrels dumped in the Meadowlands when he comes across ZONE. Henry was my everyman, confronted with a new form of life and trying to come to terms with it.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Cover to THREAT! issue four - 1986

This blog needed a little color. 

When we created THREAT! we very democratically decided that we would rotate the cover spot among the four features. This was my first cover.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Somebody's been playing with my favorite toy!

ZONE'S flashlight illuminates a dimensional opening.

While enjoying some ice cream ZONE meets Chase, and wonders...

ZONE and Chase, face to face with Dr. Live a.k.a. Dr. Evil. 

ZONE: First this guy. Now this one? What's going on? 

ZONE and Chase meet the girls.  Wait, WHAT?

It seems my favorite artist has appropriated my favorite character. Done in pencil on loose-leaf paper. These were difficult to scan, I had to mess with the levels.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

20 years ago today

Drawn in non-repo blue pencil and finished with Berol marker – 10/16/91

This was drawn in a 9" x 6" bound artist's sketchbook. I was searching for a simpler style for drawing and finishing ZONE, large areas of black and simpler shading.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Pencil and PITT artist pen - 2011

This was done a few months ago for a student who requested a sketch for his sketchbook. Looking at it now I cringe, how could I crop the feet off so crudely? What's up with the background or lack of one? Absolutely no balance to the black, etc. My only defense - I think this was done rather quickly on the last day of school.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Digital drawing

Alec Morgan - digital - 2011

Recently received an e-mail from Alec with this drawing attached. Alec is a 2011 graduate of The Kubert School, you can see more of his work here:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hey Little Buddy

pencil sketches - circa 1988

Dreaming of the cover slot of DARK HORSE PRESENTS.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


 Darren Auck - ink on paper - 7 1/2" x 10" - 2003

Okay, so I was walking from the garage to the studio in the Auck house and I looked down and saw ZONE on a piece of paper that was on top of a pile of books, comics, artwork, etc. and I go, "Hey, I can use that for the blog."

I had forgotten about this piece Darren had created for the October 2003  issue of CARTOON LOONACY.

This is supposed to be a blog about the history and Mystery of ZONE so I won't go into details about how Darren and I met in the fall of 1980 as we both started our studies at The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art or how we immediately experienced a mind meld that has lasted over thirty years. He's family.

This piece of work features Darren's character PSYCHOTRONO and guest stars the toxic man-monster ZONE. There are several collaborations that the two of us have done over the years that feature our characters together sharing the spotlight and I'll post them as soon as I can dig them out of the vault.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


11 x 14 mixed media on canvas board - year unknown

I distinctly remember working on this piece but can't remember when it was, most likely late 80's or early 90's.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

ZONE meets Dracula!

Jessie Desmond – 2011

This entry came from out of the blue from Jessie Desmond. Jessie is a former student with diverse talents (you should see some of the amazing cakes she's made) and interests, who occasionally has moose show up in her back yard.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Monday, August 1, 2011

It was 25 years ago today... Damn, a quarter of a century.

Back in 1986 my friends Gary Fields, Jim Rohn and I attended a number of Fred Greenberg's New York City conventions promoting THREAT! these cons were a great chance to meet fans and other creators.

During one of the cons in 1986 a fellow approached me about the possibility of doing a signing at his store. I was flattered that he asked me and was feeling somewhat superior that he had asked me and neither Gary or Jim. Rather petty I admit, but most of the guys I went to school with were all trying to get their piece of the fame and recognition pie. Being asked to do a signing at a store was somewhat prestigious and I felt like I was starting to climb the proverbial ladder.

On August 1st I took a bus up to Suffern, New York and was deposited, if I remember correctly, right across from the comic book shop I would be signing at. At the store the owner welcomed me and had a table all set up near the door.

There were a few people in the shop and they seemed interested in me and my artwork and the general buzz of a creator signing. Not one of them seemed to be anything other than a kid who would have normally been in the shop on a Friday afternoon anyway

A few people drifted in and out of the shop for the next few hours. The owner made some comments about not getting enough advertising out on time.

I was there for five hours and I don’t recall signing very many comics, perhaps a few flyers from the store advertising the event, maybe a sketch or two.

The owner of the store had promised to buy dinner and pay for my transportation costs. During the day he mentioned the French/Vietnamese restaurant that we would be going to.

As the day wore down the owner showed me the back room of the store where he said he had an art studio and he was producing his own comic book. If I remember correctly, the room was paneled in blue and there was a drawing table and a few drawing instruments scattered about.

The artwork was amateurish, the story about a team of super agents who lived in a secret lab underneath… the Meadowlands!

And as he talked up his concept, he pitched the idea of a crossover with ZONE.

And at that moment I realized the reason he had invited me to do a signing at his store and not my fellow THREAT! creators Gary and Jim.

We went to a Chinese restaurant, the French/Vietnamese place had a dress code and the owner of the store was not dressed properly.

For some reason, maybe a screwy bus schedule, the owner of the store offered to drive me home.

BUT, he tried really hard to convince me into staying for a few hours more and going to the local cinema for the opening night of George Lucas’ newest feature film, HOWARD THE DUCK.

I declined.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

ZONE of the Dust

Blue ballpoint pen on newsprint - 5" x 8" - circa 1978 - 1980

Not a very exciting image I'll admit but I found it digging through the archives, still searching for the first and vastly different image of ZONE I ever drew.

See the earlier posts Set the Way-Back Machine and Notes from 1983

Saturday, July 16, 2011


2H pencil in sketchbook - sometime in mid to late 1995

Again, I curse my use of such a light lead. I had to do some work adjusting the levels to get this to be visible.

This was drawn when I lived in a small apartment on Bright Street in Jersey City. It was a great apartment with a big kitchen, a deck and access to a somewhat tamed jungle of a back yard. That apartment was my refuge from the dissolving of a marriage. Clark the cat loved the deck and back yard.

I'm not sure what prompted this sketch but I remember right after I drew it I felt a little shock at my use of the F word in relation to ZONE. I like the idea of him being protective of her and her having the strength to tell someone off knowing she had ZONE as backup.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Entrance Ramp

Pencil and PITT artist pen in 7" x 5 1/2" Moleskine - 2011

This was done while traveling on the train, the lettering added later. I liked it better before I erased all the extra pencil lines.

I intend to turn this image into a 30" x 15" oil painting.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Yer lookin' at the heads...

Ink on paper - Circa 1984

This image was used for the back cover of the stapled together zine I put together in 1984, which I talked about in a previous post.

This image is almost a throwaway, it's nothing special when it comes to images of ZONE but it does illustrate one of the best things about ZONE (in my mind anyway) and that's his shape. This drawing plays (nominally I admit) with negative space.

The dynamics of ZONE'S unique head allows for plenty of latitude when it comes to designing interesting panels, especially in close-ups. One of my goals when I designed the character was to create something that I could draw to look the same, over and over again.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Not to scale

ballpoint pen on scrap paper - circa 2009 - 20010

Just one of hundreds or perhaps thousands of sketches I've done of ZONE.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day Tribute

THREAT! #7 October 1986 - Page one of a seven page segment

Yeah, that guy in the circle, that's my dad, he's standing next to a stylized version of my mom on the left and my brother Scott is two people to the right of him about to take a drink.

Who's that peeking out from between the pines?

The Creator meets his creation.

For nearly 20 years a seven foot tall man-monster stood a silent vigil outside my parents home.

That's right, sometime in the late 80's or early 90's my dad made a ZONE out of plywood and kept it in his suburban back yard.

I'm unsure of the actual year he created it but the young gal on the left in the bottom photo is all grown up now and the mother of a toddler herself.

My father was always one of my biggest supporters, particularly when it came to ZONE.

Thank you Dad, it always tickled me and made me proud to see a life-sized version of my character.

Sadly time and the elements took their toll on the big guy, ants had eaten through his body and his time to stand silently among the trees was no more.

This past spring while I was visiting my parents I noticed the once proud head resting against the garage, it was all my dad could save of our creation. I asked my dad if he would mind if I took the head home, he gave his permission and it now sits stoically on a shelf in my apartment.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Unpublished three page story and notes on its inspiration

Marker on typewriter paper - 6" x 9" - year unknown

These are drawn about the size of a comic book. I'm not sure what I did them for, as a layouts for pages or just to try drawing at print size. ZONE doesn't have his weird shoulder wings so I know they were drawn after ZONE appeared in DARK HORSE PRESENTS, so this was drawn in maybe 1990 or 1991.

I'm satisfied with pages one and three but page two just doesn't work for me. I was trying to show three different things simultaneously. I think the sequence could be extended over a couple more pages.

Now, the inspiration for this story I remember clearly.

This was inspired in part by Patti Smith's poem: the amazing tale of skunkdog, the first portion of which follows:

the amazing tale of skunkdog

don't be surprised if death
comes from within...

seven days and six nights the hero watched relentlessly.
horizontally under the sky. without food, drink or friend.
what was he after. what was he looking for.
a sign? an answer? a way out? something new.

now on the seventh evening of the seventh day hero
was holding on by a thread. lack of sleep, provisions
and loving arms was taking its toll. he ceased to
look up.

fair hero. he who was so intent on keeping his eyes
peeled immediately missed out.

for he had made the sky jumpy. his piercing stares
put it on edge. when he finally looked down the stars
went haywire. cassiopia rocked like a cradle.


As mentioned in my previous post The Amazing Skunkdog, In the early eighties I had entertained thoughts of illustrating Patti Smith's poem. This ZONE story was a tribute/swipe/homage to her work. To this day her words are still powerful and I can visualize the stars going haywire, I just don't think I've adequately visualized it on paper yet.

Did you notice the Pepsi can?

That is partially in answer to the perennial Coke or Pepsi question. It 's also a tribute to June Gibbons' novel The Pepsi-Cola Addict, a novel I have never read. In fact, it is a rather rare self-published novel that's quite had to get a hold of but the name really struck a cord with me.

I learned of June and Jennifer Gibbons by reading Marjorie Wallace's fascinating book, THE SILENT TWINS. Well worth reading or at the very least Googling. The Welsh twins had independently devised their own secret language and rarely spoke to anyone but a younger sister.

As teens the twins decided to become famous writers and both turned out several self-published novels. Their story is both sad and fascinating, at the time I read THE SILENT TWINS they had both been committed to Broadmoor Hospital.

the amazing tale of skunkdog is © Patti Smith
The portion printed here is is done so without permission but with the hope that she would understand.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Amazing SKUNKDOG

black crayon on paper – circa 1980 - 1981

The Amazing Skunkdog - from my first year at The Kubert School. I believe these were done as part of a character design assignment for Milt Neil's, Introduction to Animation class.

The Amazing Skunkdog, name and inspiration come directly from a poem by Patti Smith in her 1978 volume BABEL.

I was planning to adapt the poem to comic pages and my well-worn copy of BABEL still has pencil marks in the margins indicating where I would break the poem down into panels and pages.

What does this have to do with ZONE?

A year before ZONE was finally delineated The Amazing Skunkdog was clearly his visual predecessor, we can see it in his hulking frame and the unique shape of his head.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Regrets, I've had a few...

Ink on duo-shade board - 1986
Page 25 from issue # 3 of THREAT!

Back in the day, the THREAT! guys were a regular fixture at Robert Geenberger's NYC comic conventions. We'd sit at a table and promote our book, talk to fans and maybe do a couple of sketches. And then one convention, when I was feeling particularly mercenary (and probably broke) I decided to try and sell my pages.

Well, I sold one page, this one, for $35.00 which was about what we were getting as a page rate back then. This one was one of my favorites and I've regretted selling it ever since.

I've always wondered if the guy who bought it hung it on his wall or just slipped it into a portfolio in his closet or under his bed.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Jeffrey Catherine Jones

Jeffrey Catherine Jones 1944 - 2011

This is a sad passing of energy. Jeffrey Jones was an incredibly gifted artist whose work was always inspiring and influential. His influence on ZONE was large. IDYL published in National Lampoon, and I'm AGE published in HEAVY METAL, were beautifully sketchy one page narratives espousing the profound, the profane or the pun.

I saw Jones only once, at a comic book convention years ago. Try as I might I can't recall if I spoke to him or just studied him visually from a distance. If I did say something it would have only been something like, I really like your work.

I did have the honor of introducing a very close friend to the work of Jeffery Jones, and now she has a Jones painting hanging in her dining room.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Student Sketchbook Stuff

Faber-Castell PITT artist pen – 2011

Done in a student's sketchbook, Friday, May 13th. I don't think the background worked out that well on this one, I was trying to get an up-shot of ZONE leaping off something and just couldn't mange to get the background elements right. I should have drawn the figure higher on the page. I guess that 's what I get for drawing on the train at 6:15 a.m.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Playing with Photoshop

Ink and Photoshop® - 2011

Ink - 2011

This sketch was done in one of my students sketchbooks last week, I colored it Saturday.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Mother's Day tribute.

Ink, zip-a-tone and crayon on Bristol - 1985

A Mother's Day tribute.

This play on words printed as page 16 in the very first issue of THREAT! I was struggling to draw my own mom in the second panel, working from a photo of her it just wasn't working out. Then, my roommate and fellow THREAT! contributor Jay Geldhof suggested I just find a "mom-type" photo for reference, I did and it looked so much more mom-like. I did some minor adjustments to the hair and glasses and then it really looked more like my mom.

Hold on tight to your genes, was a play off the Electric Light Orchestra song Hold On Tight (1981). Lots of talk about DNA and genes at the time this was created. Being a fairly new vegetarian at the time I was concerned about them using radiation on fruits and vegetables to kill bacteria and messing with plant DNA to create super plants that were immune to certain diseases and resilient to pests. After what happened to him, ZONE is cautioning us to be very careful with what we mess with.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

April Fool

It's the last day of the April and I wanted to squeeze in a couple more images of ZONE as draw by other artists.

Both of the guys featured here were students at The Kubert School. I think both of these drawings were informed by their interest in hip hop and graffiti art, and, both have gone on to become very talented artists and designers.

Sean Clauretie - Ink and Dr. Martin's dyes on Bristol - 2001

You can see more of Sean's work here:

Jon Wheat - ink on Bristol - 2001

You can see more of Jon's work here:

Friday, April 29, 2011

April Fool

Bjorn Ousland - Ink on 2 ply board - circa 1985-'86

This is a page of original art that was sent to me by my friend Bjorn Ousland, way back when. I met Bjorn in 1981 at The Kubert School, he was in the class following mine. Bjorn came to study at the school from Norway, we shared a lot of similar interests from comics and music to artists and SF authors.

This page has ZONE showing up in the third panel on a poster being applied to the wall in the background. ZONE - UN FILM DE M. KRAIGER I'm not sure what book this appeared in but I believe it was a story written by someone else and illustrated by Bjorn. When he sent me the page he pointed out the coffee stain on right side of the page, courtesy of the books editor, it's not readily visible here.

After graduation, Bjorn went back home to Norway and has been steadily producing humor comics, historical graphic novels and children's books ever since.

To see more of his work, including incredible watercolors from exotic locales go to:

(click on the rocket-ship for English)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April Fool

Jeremy Regan - Ink on Bristol - 2002

This striking image is one of my favorites, Jeremy is a former student of mine from The Kubert School. I tried to get him involved with a couple of comic projects that never were realized through no fault of ours, the editor I was pitching ideas to was laid off.

Jeremy's latest mania is custom toys and you can see examples of some of his work here:

Monday, April 18, 2011

April Fool

Wow! This turned up in my email today, it's by a young artist you've probably never heard of...

Orion Zangara - traditional/digital - 2011

Actually, Orion is one of the students in my 3rd year Writing and Imaginative Drawing class at The Kubert School. You can see more of his work here: And very soon here:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April Fool

Paul Chadwick - 1992
Cover to SAN DIEGO COMIC CON COMICS, published by Dark Horse Comics.

Yeah, that's our guy ZONE, making a cameo appearance in the upper left, right behind Concrete's head. This was a goofy jam comic that Dark Horse published for that year's San Diego Comic Con. I didn't attend that year, so unless Dark Horse sent this to me, I'm not even sure where I got my copy of the book. It's not a great rendition of the big guy, but it's cool to see him alongside the creations of some of my favorite comic book artists, then being published by Dark Horse. Can you name all the characters?

Rich Hedden, pencils • Tom McWeeney, inks - 1992
Page four and five of SAN DIEGO COMIC CON COMICS.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

April Fool

Rich Hedden and Tom McWeeney - 1989

Hey, who's that standing back there at the bar? From page five of ROACHMILL #8 published by Dark Horse Comics.

Rich and Tom are Kubert school alumni, I believe they were two years behind me but we'd met up at conventions or parties.

I had totally forgotten about this but found it yesterday going through a box of comics.

Roachmill - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Richard Hedden

Saturday, April 9, 2011

April Fool

George Erling - marker in sketchbook - 1991

I think I first saw George's work in 1979's Animal Bite Comix from Everyman Studio. Sometime in the mid-eighties I got to meet him through Gary Fields and CARTOON LOONACY.

George is hands down, one of my all-time favorite cartoonists, I just love his drawings and stories. He drew this in my sketchbook either at a convention or a picnic at his or Gary Fields' house.

George did the drawing of Max for me because I had written to him and told how much I had liked a story he had done about his dog Max.

You can see some of George's work here:

Good Ol' Joe Tater in "That's Life"

Cap'n Boom & his Burger Boys of Space


Those Cute Li'l Boopers

April Fool

Tyler Chin-Tanner - pencil and charcoal - 2011

Exploring ZONE'S grim environmental aspect.
Tyler is the founder of the comic book company A Wave Blue World.