Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Imagining ZONE as newspaper strip.

Pen and ink - 2012

Imagining ZONE as a newspaper strip. This was actually done for the comic strip theme-issue of  CARTOON LOONACY.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Joe Kubert

Pencil in Moleskine 5/9/12

The image above was sketched during the graduation dinner for the Class of 2012 of The Kubert School.  I’d been to a few of these things and Joe Kubert usually talked about all the hard work the graduates had been through, what was ahead of them in life, but as I sketched Joe at the podium, I connected with what he was saying, he was telling this huge room full of people about his need to draw.

My association with Joe Kubert began long before I had any idea who he was or that anyone could make a living drawing comics. It was his artwork that caught my eye in the drugstore’s comic book spinner rack, on the covers of OUR ARMY AT WAR featuring SGT. ROCK, G.I. COMBAT and STAR SPANGLED WAR STORIES. I devoured the stories inside and with time came to recognize the different artists who drew them.

I was fascinated with the images of war, mesmerized by stories of combat and captivated by the covers drawn by Joe Kubert. Each cover image seemed to place a valiant soldier in mortal peril or illustrate a daunting, neigh, impossible challenge. Joe’s covers promised a life and death struggle.

In the spring of 1980 I applied to The Joe Kubert School for Cartooning and Graphic Art. In September of that year I left Ohio behind and started classes at the school. It was the start of a new life.

To tell you the truth, I don’t remember much of what Joe Kubert said at orientation or in class, I do remember themes that occurred over and over again when Joe spoke, hard work, the importance of meeting deadlines, the focus one needed to make a living doing what one loved. At the time I was less a fan of Joe’s art than that of artists like Michael Kaluta, Barry Windsor Smith and Moebius. I certainly respected Joe’s command of the medium, reviewing your work he could easily point out a way to improve the storytelling or add drama.

I had some clashes with Joe, mostly technical stuff. I once got called on the carpet for using airbrush on a black and white ink assignment. But damn, you just didn’t want to disappoint him, and his assignment always took precedence over all others.

I didn’t think I could afford a third year’s tuition and living expenses so after two years at the school I left to pursue work. I didn’t return to Ohio however, I stayed in Dover for two reasons, a girl, and the opportunity to remain in the creative community of friends I’d made at the school. I took on whatever freelance I could find and worked several part time jobs. One part time job was posing as an artist’s model for the students at the school. I only mention this because I filled in for a few night classes and there in the back of the class was Joe Kubert drawing me.

Several years later I ran into Joe at a New York comic convention, unsure if he’d remember me, he might not remember the name so quickly but there was recognition in his eyes. He was glad to see me glad to hear I was doing all right. Later seeing him briefly up at Marvel comics offices there was recognition and I think a sense of pride in both of us. Me, that I had made it into the comic book business and for him, that one of his guys was working in the field he loved.

In 1999 I needed work. I contacted Mike Chen at the Kubert School and asked about the possibility of any job openings. Soon after that call I got a call back from Mike, Tex Blaisdell was in the hospital, could I fill in? Sadly, Tex passed away that spring and I took his place on staff at the school.

Teacher’s meeting took place in Joe’s office, an awe-inspiring place filled with artwork and awards. There was a huge meeting table around which we would gather in the center of the room and on top of that a Fredrick Remington sculpture of an Indian atop a pony at full gallop. In the corner of the room was Joe’s massive drawing table, and on it whichever of his latest project he was working on.

You could tell he loved his family fiercely, I once asked what happened to the Roy Crane Sunday page that had been hanging in the hall outside his office. He pointed to the photo of his Grandson in graduation cap and gown and said this was something more important. There was a sense that by attending the school or working there, we were an extension of his family. Joe always stressed that just because you were finished with the school your association with it didn’t end, you were always welcome back.

Joe Kubert passed away Sunday August 12th 2012.

Joe made you feel included, with his more than firm handshake or the strong jovial slap on the back, I’m going to miss those. But much more than that, I’m going to miss the man who lead by example, the man who challenged you and encouraged you to do your best and the man who more than shared and understood, the need to draw

Saturday, July 28, 2012

THREAT! advertising art

This is a scan of a reduced copy of the original art. Not a very good copy either. Not sure of the year on this but it was probably after we saw some of the ads Fantagraphics put together.

Each artist got seven squares to fill. I am not at all happy with the ZONE I did in the upper right hand corner, it's a weak image.

I am pretty sure this was never used but it's been almost thirty years and I'm not 100% positive.

The other artists on here are:

Gary Fields - Enigma Funnies
Jay Geldhof - BOB the Mercenary
Jim Rohn - The HOLO Brothers

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


My good Friend Marie Javins posted something about yours truly recently.

No Hurry In J. C.

You may notice a bit of a resemblance in the photo to a certain someone...

Friday, May 25, 2012


This wonderful drawing arrived in the mail yesterday. I first met Gary in September of 1980, I remember clearly, we were standing by the pool at the Kubert School and we were introduced by Mike Chen. Later, Gary became my roommate at the Carriage House and he's been a friend ever since.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Swimsuit Special

Ink and duo-Shade - 1991

ZONE and Ultra enjoying a summer day in the Meadowlands. This was done for the 1991 AMAZING HEROES Swimsuit Special. 

This image of Ultra is based on Lourdes Sanchez, my girlfriend at the time, although the face is entirely my own invention - the swimsuit was deep red. Scattered next to Ultra's towel is some of my favorite reading material from 1991, THE JAM by Bernie Mirault, YUMMY FUR by Chester Brown and EIGHTBALL by Danial Clowes.

This was scanned from a photocopy.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Pitt Artist pen - 2012

ZONE and a scruffy, one-eyed puddle cat.

This was done for my student Val. Some people who collect sketches have themes for their sketchbook and when I asked Val if she had a theme for her sketchbook she said I could do what ever I wanted but if I wanted to I could do her favorite character Kitty Pryde. For anyone who doesn't know, Kitty Pryde is one of Marvel Comics X-MEN.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

High Tension Wires

Pitt Artist pens, ink and colored in Photoshop - 2012

This was done in a students sketchbook and colored today in Photoshop.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Jump Stream

Markers on Bristol board – year unknown

Another one recently rediscovered in the vaults.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Ink and PITT Artist pen - 4/12/12

This was done in a student's sketchbook - last year he asked for a sketch on the last day of school and the one I did was rather rushed.

This will be colored - soon.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Marker and colored pencil on graph paper - year unknown

While cleaning out a file cabinet I came across a cache of ZONE material including this sketch.

Along with various sketches, finished drawings and ZONE miscellanea I believe I may have found the first ever ZONE drawing.

More to come...

Saturday, March 31, 2012


Pitt Artist pen - Photoshop - March 30/31 2012

I did this sketch for a student who likes to draw pretty girls. It just started out as a sketch of a girl in a designer ZONE t-shirt but then it became Ultra Violent from the ZONE storyline in THREAT!

I haven't drawn Ultra in years,  I'm not sure how she would translate to 2012.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Jean Giraud / Moebius 1938 - 2012

I was sitting in a movie theater yesterday, I was watching the adventures of a man from Earth mysteriously transported to Mars when I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. I took a quick look at the message - Moebius has died - RIP JEAN GIRAUD. I thought the setting was somehow fitting, as Moebius had transported me to so many other worlds.

I first became aware of Moebius in 1977 when NATIONAL LAMPOON began advertising their new adult fantasy magazine HEAVY METAL. The first issue of HEAVY METAL has a cover date of April 1977 and contains my first real exposure to Moebius. His silent eight-page ARZACH was the most compelling story in the issue. Its world was as mysterious to me as its creator, Moebius.

The world of 1977 was far different than the world of Google and Wikipedia that exists today. There was nowhere I could go to get more information about the artist whose drawings fascinated me. Luckily, his work appeared in each subsequent issue of HEAVY METAL and over time I learned more about him.

Jean Giraud was a modern comic book master, as Moebius his work took me to far distant worlds of the future, and as Gir he took me to the hostile Southwest Territories following the Civil War. He was honored in France with a postage stamp and last year there was an amazing retrospective at The Foundation Cartier pour l'arts Contemporain in Paris. In addition to his comic book work he did design work for live action films and animation, his work entertained and inspired. He opened a door that I gladly stepped through.

I was lucky enough to meet Moebius twice. The first time was at an opening of his work at friend’s art gallery in Philadelphia in 1986. I was nervous and gave him copies of the newly published THREAT! which contained ZONE.

As a young starving artist I could only afford to buy a postcard for him to sign.

I met him again six years later in the Marvel Comics Bullpen. Marvel was publishing collections of his work and he was visiting the office for the day. He had come out to the bullpen to sign copies of his books for members of the staff. I had copies of his books but they were sitting on my shelf at home. I approached him with a blank piece of Bristol board, the scrap that is left over when they trimmed Marvel’s original art board down to size.  Seeking only his autograph he took the board from me and drew a picture of man standing in a corner, pointing to a drawing of a man standing in a corner, pointing to a drawing…   his own Möbius strip.  Unfortunately I’m unable to scan it as it is framed under glass and has been hanging on one wall or the other since I got it back from the framer twenty years ago.

My world was much richer because of Moebius, his work inspired mine and his storytelling beguiled me. Imagine now how much more precious is the note he scribbled to me.


Saturday, February 18, 2012


Pencil and PITT Artist pen 2012

This was done in a student's sketchbook this past week. The theme of her sketchbook is Today I...

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Ink - Sketchbook nine - circa 1991

Looking through my sketchbook for some ZONE sketches to post I found this three page story I had forgotten about. I was experimenting with a style that was inspired by Mike Mignola's take on EDDY CURRENT that appeared in issues # 9, 10 and 11 of Ted McKeever's METROPOL.

I was working in the Marvel Bullpen and had done the lettering paste-up on some of the pages. When I later saw Mignola in the office one day I told him how much I liked his work on the book.

I did a minimal amount of clean up on these, the borders were inked with a Sharpie® and had bled through some of the pages.

See my posting of 20 years ago today for another drawing from this time period.

See my posting Somewhere in Jersey for my rant about Sharpie® markers and art.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Henrik draws ZONE

Henrik Jonsson – 2012

Henrik is currently finishing his third year at The Kubert School. You can see more of his work here: Henrik's art

Monday, January 23, 2012


Cover sketches - pencil, Berol marker and colored pencils - Sketchbook nine - 1989

These sketches were done while I was trying to figure out what the cover to the first book-length issue of ZONE was gong to look like.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Pen and ink – 10 1/2" x 15" – 1984

This is one of my all time favorite single-page ZONE stories. It's a tribute to George Herriman and his wonderful strip Krazy Kat, with a nod to Bob Dylan.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

pencil, micron - circa late 90's, early aughts

This in another case of... The Curse of the 2H Pencil! I tried to adjust the levels but to no avail.

I'm posting this not because I think it's a great sketch or that I've run out of other material (I've got plenty more) but it shows how things sometimes start and then just...

I found this the other day while I was looking for something else and the simplicity of the line just struck me.

There's faint traces of a word balloon to the right of ZONE'S head, all that I can make out from the original drawing is, TRIPPING IN NORTH... and then just the letters A and R. Your guess is as good as mine.