Saturday, January 29, 2011


This appeared in issue #7 of THREAT!

Trying to interject some poetry to sequential images.

THREAT! was a magazine sized anthology created by Jim Rohn, Gary Fields, Jay Geldhof, Dave Harrison and myself. There were ten issues published by Fantagraphics Books in 1986 - 1987.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fleeting glimpse of a moment in time.

The image here is from around 1991 - 1992, it was created with something I can't remember the name of but I believe it was made by Sony. You hooked the device up to your Television and drew with a sort of primitive Photoshop, choosing colors, drawing tools and patterns. There was no way to save the image except by taking a picture of it, which is what this is, a picture of the Television screen.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Zen and Nuclear War - 28 years later

28 years later I spent a few hours on a Saturday playing with Photoshop.

Zen and Nuclear War

This appeared in issue #5 of THREAT!

Another strip about nuclear war, it seems so distant now but in 1983 before the fall of Communism it was on all of our minds.

I wanted to make some sort of statement but realized that ZONE might flourish in the toxic aftermath of nuclear fallout. That left the crow, ZONE'S connection to the natural world to voice a paraphrased poem, originally penned by Master So-gen, a monk facing execution by barbarian forces.

“The heaven and earth afford me no shelter at all;
I’m glad, unreal are body and soul.
Welcome thy weapon, O warrior of Yuen!
Thy trusty steel, That flashes lightning, cuts the wind of Spring, I feel.”

THREAT! was a magazine sized anthology created by Jim Rohn, Gary Fields, Jay Geldhof, Dave Harrison and myself. There were ten issues published by Fantagraphics Books in 1986 - 1987.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Reworking of my original strip. This appeared in issue #3 of THREAT!

Ink and airbrush on duo-shade.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A bit of color for a dreary winter day.

From sketchbook eight 1988 - 1989.
Color pencil and marker.

Drawn toward the end of 1989, I thought I'd throw a dash of color into this black and white world of ZONE. Sketchbook eight contains a lot of ZONE material and a lot of experimentation with different media. I'll post more from time to time.

High Tension Wire Background

From sketchbook number four: 1983 - 1984.

And, on the very next page...

This looks like it might be the prototype of the ZONE logo, drawn between mid-November and mid-December 1983.

As I scan these and try to correct the levels, I curse the 2H pencils I love to draw with.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Notes from 1983

Notes from sketchbook three, an 8 1/4" x 11" black-bound sketchbook in use circa 1982-1983.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


This appeared in issue #3 of THREAT!

What's this one about? I was trying to say don't give up on dreams.

* Ooh look, that's press type in the upper left corner, circa 1983 BC (before computers), the ZONE logo had yet to be defined.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's an extremely dangerous situation

Jumping ahead a bit, this is from an ad I created when ZONE was being published in THREAT! by Fantagraphics , I think it was supposed to run in AMAZING HEROES. I don't believe it was ever published.

Originally I had pasted a torn piece of paper to the right of ZONE with the quote, "It's an extremely dangerous situation" from some article that I found about toxic waste. I thought it was a good tag-line for the series and I still do but it was a crappy paste-up of found type so I've omitted it here.

You'll notice ZONE has a smoother shape in this image than in the previous ones, by the time I created this ad I had been drawing him for a while - but he wasn't yet in his final form.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


This was a metaphor for assured mutual destruction, a term that was being bandied about in 1983, when this strip was created. The Soviet Union was our enemy and Regan was building up nuclear stockpiles.

I was playing with the conventional comic strip format, the background in panel one was a painted backdrop the character is walking past. The lower left part of second panel is curling up and the entire panel casts a drop-shadow on panels three and four.

ZONE was yet to be fully developed, his legs are stumpy and his feet clumsy.

This also marks the first appearance of a crow in the strip. The crows would soon be featured more prominently as the natural world's connection to the creature ZONE.

Come move in another dimension

This was the second ZONE strip I did. I was envisioning this as a half-page strip, I thought it might be easier to get into HEAVY-METAL using less page space.

"Come move in another dimension" was a line from Patti Smith's song AIN'T IT STRANGE, from her incredible second album RADIO ETHIOPIA. In fact, Patti and Lenny Kaye might actually be saying, "I move in another dimension". Either way those words just seemed to embody the feel I wanted from ZONE, a sense that we were traveling on a new frontier.

I was 24, making my way in the world far from home, becoming a vegetarian - and I was acutely aware of how much chemicals were a part of our daily life. Toxic or benign, we were moving away from the natural world.

Set the Way-Back Machine

This is the first completed piece of ZONE art. There may have been some sketches but I'll have to do some searching.

ZONE was initially created while I was taking classes at The Cleveland Institute of Art. I imagined a post-apocalyptic world known as The Dust. I wrote a short poem.

He of the dust,
the dust the mighty
and always night.

He of the dust,
the dust the mighty
and always Zone.

I did a few sketches and then put the idea on the back burner for a few years, always trying to solidify a story about beings that moved about the dust blindly in some sort of containment suits.

ZONE fermented in my head until 1983 when I thought I might try and create a strip for HEAVY-METAL magazine. This is what I came up with - the early eighties were a time filled with punk and nu-wave music and the anxiety of Ronald Regan's nuclear diplomacy. I had moved to New Jersey to attend The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, my world was being informed by the music of WFMU and WLIR, forays into New York City, the toxic effects of chemicals on the environment and the influence of European cartoonists whose work was becoming more available with the advent of the direct sales market for comics.

In this early ZONE strip I imagined him with a vibro-sword and a can of spray paint. Here was the new man, ready for the new world of toxic chemicals and uncertainty.

This second strip was done some time later, I cleaned up the drawing and removed the Z 1 from his chest.

By the way, Z - One was part of my initial idea, the Dust was divided into quadrants know as zones. Zone was a being from area Z - One.