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That's a wrap

One more surprise art gig for me as the year wraps us: I was checking my Facebook a couple weeks ago when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a message from the Metro Times' managing editor asking me to do some illustrations for them, for the first time in I dunno how long. The theme: letters to Santa - fake ones from local celebs and real ones from readers. Here's the cover art for the issue, plus a spot illo for a "letter" from Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr (who, among other things, is threatening to sell off artworks from the Detroit Institute of Art to settle the city's debts). Read the MT story and see more illustrations here.



Monster Hits

Again this year, I participated in the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit's fundraiser, the "Monster Drawing Rally," in which dozens of local artists each draw for an hour in front of a crowd of visitors, with the resulting art being sold for $40 a pop to support the museum. Apparently this has become a widespread thing, with other museums and galleries around the country holding their own events. Anyway, it's a blast, and I managed to knock out three drawings in my hour this year, including, by request, the return of one of my old mini-comic characters - that bemused, button-down simian, Business Chimp.






Museum (h)ours

Time to take down the show of drawings I've had up at Cafe 1923 here in Hamtramck for the last several weeks. They were all sketches I've done of objects at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and they were on display while the debate raged (still unsettled) over whether the city can sell off some of the museum's collection to pay its debts. Here's a sample of the ones I've managed to photograph or scan, to give a feel of the show. (And thanks to Hatch Hamtramck for the opportunity.)















I missed 24-Hour Comics Day again...

...but seeing the comic a friend did earlier this month for the annual all-day comic book-making marathon session (invented by Scott "Understanding Comics" McCloud) inspired me to dig up the better of the two I've ever managed to finish, from 2003 (I think, or '04). It came out fairly well I think, and it's pretty coherent considering the "30-foot beer bottle" and "talking uterus" that appear were assigned to me as prompts by an online random generator before starting (possibly the "family of raccoons" was a prompt, too... ?). The ambulance is based on one I saw in NYC earlier that year. The Langley Schools Project version of "Desperado" was in the air a lot around then. (Needless to say, I don't own the rights to that song or "Get Up, Stand Up"...) And there really is a restaurant in the 'burbs here that has a giant beer bottle out front. The typesetting is a little rough here and there, and somehow I nev…

Come Sail Away

Here's a super-short story I wrote for an informal flash fiction workshop I attended earlier this year. I don't do much prose writing at all, but I thought this one turned out fairly well. The prompt was something like "Hey man, wanna ride?"
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Come Sail Away  

“Sorry, kid,” the boatman said, “no discounts. Everyone pays the same.”

The mop-haired boy stared back blankly for a moment, then reached into the pocket of his cut-offs and brought out a fifty cent piece. He hadn’t realized it was there. He held it out to the boatman.

“Perfect. Hop in.”

The kid clambered into the narrow wooden skiff. It wobbled as he made his way to the bow. He sat, facing the back of the boat, and started worrying at a few pebbles he’d picked up on the shore.

With a practiced stroke, the boatman slipped his pole into the black water, leaned into it and pushed off. Noiselessly, the skiff slid out into the calm, mist-covered river. No wind, slow current — easy sailing today, the boatman tho…

Sporting 'Wood

Even a July hail storm couldn't stop the fine folks at Popps Packing here in Hamtramck from hosting yet another awesome day of Pinewood Derby racing last week! After procrastinating for way too long, I woke up at 3am a few days before the event with an idea for my car. I made a lot of plastic models as a kid - my dad even worked for a model company for a while, drawing instruction sheets - but I was never much good at it. So I created what's essentially a 3D "Wacky Pack" on wheels, and turned it into an outlet for some lightweight childhood angst. It was a little too accurate, maybe - some folks glanced over it without looking close enough to figure out it was fake and read the jokes! Anyway, it may not have been the coolest entry in the races, but it was definitely the wordiest. It's now in the collection of another local artist, with proceeds going to benefit Popps. Each panel of the box is shown below, along with a photo of the finished car (the wood block and…

Oh No, Yeh Yeh!

For years, my cartoonist friend Suzanne Baumann has collected odd phrases from odd sources and written them down on the pages of blank sketchbooks, which she passes around at comic book conventions. The phrases become prompts for other cartoonists, and her sketchbooks have been filled with a lot of funny drawings over the years.

She's posted a few of mine from (yipes...) a long while ago, based on bad translations of product descriptions in a Korean confectionary catalog (!!). (Joey Ramone had recently died when I drew the sketch below, and the product description could pass for a Ramones lyric, so - there y'go.)

Spend a while browsing thru Suzanne's blog while you're there, like I did, it's full of great stuff!


Culture Vulture

A few years ago, I tried to fill up a sketchbook on the theme "I'm a Scavenger!" to submit to The Sketchbook Project. I blew the deadline, but I managed to finish comic-izing this appropriate excerpt from philosopher Jean Baudrillard's book "Fragments" (published by Verso Books). So now I'm scavenging that sketchbook for stuff to post here. (Go buy the book — this is the guy who helped inspire The Matrix, after all. Whoa...)