Monday, December 16, 2013


I've always loved this song by Jackson much so that I made it into my Christmas card a few years back. But because of the political disruptions (it was the year of 9/11) I only sent it out to a few friends that I thought wouldn't be offended. In retrospect, I'm sorry I pulled my punches.

But I think of all of you with fondness at Christmas time. Thanks you for all your bits and pieces of generosity and kindness through the year, and I hope you can put up with one last spate of my cantankerousness.

And here's a link to Jackson Browne singing the song;

Merry Christmas to All!!

Saturday, November 16, 2013


One of the many great things that came out of the Sunday morning drawing workshops that Bill Stout hosts was that I met Josh Sheppard, one of the more talented storyboard artists in the business. And a very sweet man, although with a very healthy dose of the cynicism that comes from working in Hollywood; he once related to me the story that when he told his wife about talking to young perspective artists, she dubbed him The Dreamsquasher.

Despite this  pejorative salutation, Josh has always been of the greatest help in steering other board artists toward work that crops up…including your truly. One of the accomplishments of the current crop of board artists has been to organize and  create a list of all the artists working in entertainment and with what type of restrictions they require on the job (union, non union, TV or film only,etc.) as well the pay scale they demand. There has been a couple of these groups and its has been very helpful questionnaire both for artists and their perspective clients. Even  Josh was a little skeptical when he saw my entry on one of these groups. I added on to the category, What Jobs Will You Accept or Not Accept, I stated that I would would be glad to work for Ang Lee or John Sayles, but all other directors would have to explain to me why I should want to work on their films. When you read Josh's short comic story below that comment might make more sense.

 Josh is also very knowledgeable about film in general and a great conversationalist. We've shared many a lunch together talking over both the state of the business, art in general and comics specifically. For all his great success working on any number of big budget feature films, boards for hundreds of commercials and all types of CGI special effects Josh remains at heart a fanboy geek and frustrated comicbook artist.

When he talks about his true love, Josh  will pull out the very personal and exceptionally humorous graphic stories he produces in his spare time. What I've posted today is one of the classic examples of Josh's offbeat and cynical humor that he has done in this form. And after you're done splitting your sides with laughter, the scary part is just how spot on is Josh's portrayal of working in Tinseltown.

(And now a few words by Josh himself: I was lucky to discover the good stuff at a very young age: All the 50's-70's Mad Magazine artists, all the 60's Marvel guys: Jack Kirby, John Buscema, Gene Colan. And thankfully R. Crumb.

(Noel Sickles)

(Mentor Heubner)

(Noel Sickles)
(Wallace Morgan)
Later influences as a pro: Alex Toth, Mentor Heubner, Noel Sickles, Edgar Degas, my friend Gerald Forton, Noel Sickles, Robert Fawcett, Raymond Poivet, Attilio Micheluzzi, Wallace Morgan, Joe Kubert, all the great U.S. newspaper strip artists, all the great U.S. print illustrators. And watching 70's cop shows like the Streets of San Francisco!
(Raymond Poivet)

(Attilio Micheluzzi)

(Attilio Micheluzzi)

(Gerald Forton)

(Gerald Forton)
(Raymond Poivet)
Josh Sheppard contact info:

Sunday, November 10, 2013


There's a great moment at the end of the  film The Time Machine where Filby discovers his friend has returned to the future and taken three books with him…"But which three?" he wonders. Like Filby, if given the chance to grab a few of my favorite films, which ones would I choose. Now the obvious choice is to stick with the classics, grabbing Casablanca, The Third Man and Lawrence of Arabia….but I'm afraid I probably skip what I feel are the BEST films I've ever seen and just grab a few of my "entertainments". Don't get me wrong, the aforementioned films are certainly among the most entertaining I've ever watched, as well as the most of the work of Kurosawa, Hitchcock, Ernst Lubisch, John Sayles and so many other of the truly great ones.But when it's just you and you'll bowl of popcorn and you want a relaxing evening, what do you watch just for fun. (Sorry, no superhero films in either my BEST of FAVORITE lists.Certainly not in my top 100, and probably not in my top 1000.)
(After adding in all the art to have some visuals I realized you really have to have some images from the films themselves. Don't cheat your viewers...)

Since this conversation started with The Time Machine, the 1960 George Pal film has to certainly be included. I watched it last on the eve of the millennium, a hundred years to the day when the story takes place. The cast headed by Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimeaux is superb. I was so disappointed when I saw Alex Toth's adaptation of the movie that he didn't draw a likeness to the latter. Really great special effects for the time and the Morlocks scared the crap out of me.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Laughs from beginning to end with a really wonderful cast headed by Matthew Broderick, but with great bits by Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Grey and Jeffrey Jones. While I was amused by the recent Super Bowl commercial featuring Broderick, I've always wondered why there wasn't a follow up film of Ferris taking a day off in his adult life.

Charlie Chan. Any of the  earliest films of this series with Warner Oland are the best, and the Sidney Toler versions are still excellent. Absolutely great scripts with amazing lighting and cinematography. It's hard to believe that these are just "B" movies. It's easy to see the influence of these films on Will Eisner and many of the early cartoonists. While it's unfortunate that the character was portrayed by non asians, it is important to remember that Earl Derr Biggers created Charlie after real life Honolulu Chinese detective and the books were written as an alternative to Fu Manchu and the "yellow peril".

Raiders of the Lost Ark. While I've never thought of Spielberg as a great director, he has certainly done some fun stuff. You can't get much better than the chemistry between Harrison Ford and Karen Allen (something that was missing in the sequels.) Romance, action, great villains and lots of very creepy sets.

The Usual Suspects.  Twists and turns galore with a truly "didn't see that one coming" ending. Kevin Spacey and Gabriel Byrne at their best. Perhaps at bit of a homage to Eric Ambler's A Coffin for Dimitrios (which was made as The Mask of Dimitrios with Peter Lorre and Zackary Scott.)

Nero Wolfe. When this A&E series came out with Timothy Hutton and Maury Chaykin as Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe I was very skeptical. Archie should be Cary Grant of James Garner! But after watching a few of the episodes, which were very faithful adaptations of the Rex Stout stories, I was hooked, and can't imagine anyone else as these characters. A great ensemble cast who would continually change roles as supporting characters. Kari Matchett as Lily Rowan (and several other femme fatales)…perfect!!

The Falcon. When you're watching Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent and George Sanders shows up as the  British Agent, your immediate reaction is why isn't he the star of the movie? Sanders does appear in another Hitchcock film, Rebecca,  where he plays the smarmy cousin who's had an affair with the dead lady in the title, but he was best when he played the suave and sophisticated leading man. He did this both in the Falcon series and later in several films in which he played Simon Templar, also known as the Saint, written by Leslie Chartiris.  The Falcon Takes Over is the first screen adaptation of a Raymond Chandler novel (Farewell My Lovely) adapted with the Falcon in the Philip Marlowe role. In both series, George's real life brother, Tom Conway, shows up to play his brother on screen.

The Road to Utopia. Watch any of the Road films with Bob Hope and Big Crosby and you can't go wrong. Their ad libs and their asides to the audience are priceless. As Bing maneuvers a romantic moment with the ever present Dorothy Lamour , Bob turns to us:"Go out and get your popcorn,folks. He's gonna sing." Robert Benchley "narrates" the film since as he explains, the studio didn't think we could understand it otherwise.

As a kid, comics were great, but movies were truly the doorway to another world. You've got the list, start checking them out. Would I steer you wrong. Wait a minute….I didn't have time to mention Fred and Ginger, Preston Sturgess, Woody, Karloff, Cooper, Nicole, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marlene…..

Saturday, November 2, 2013


Asylum Press releases FREE Retrowood: All Roads Lead To Rome #1 digital comic

Oct. 22, 2013 (Los Angeles) Frank Forte announces that Asylum Press will be releasing Mike Vosburg’s crime comic, Retrowood: All Roads Lead To Rome #1 (of 3) for free on all digital platforms.

SPECIAL 16-PAGE FREE FIRST ISSUE!  Private Investigator J. Parker Wrighte is hired by Monolith Studios to look into the suicide of one of their major stars, Pepper O'Dell. He discovers from talking to her co-star, Jack B. Nimbeau, that Pepper was not the sweet and innocent girl next she played on the screen.  Parker also meets the seductive screen star Domino Mueller and drives with her to a clinic run by Dr. Rome. Features special pencil art and thumbnail gallery.  Fans of crime and mystery fiction will love Retrowood: All Roads Lead To Rome.

Retrowood: All Roads Lead To Rome #1 (of 3) will be available for FREE on all digital platforms starting Oct. 23, 2013.

Retrowood: All Roads Lead To Rome #1 (of 3) will be available for free on Comixology, ComicsPlus, Graphicly, My Digital Comics, DriveThruComics, AVE-Comics and can be found on on iPad, iPhone, Android devices, Mac, and PC.

Retrowood series description:
The environment is faux Depression era Hollywood, complete with snarling gangsters in snappy suits, the untouchable wealthy , corruptible starlets in sleek revealing gowns, and elegantly designed automobiles set against the poverty and despair of the average joe. And in the middle of all this a world of celluloid dreams is being created. Private detective J. Parker Wrighte, is on an upwardly mobile career path from his lowly dust bowl beginnings, but finding that every advancement comes with cost and compromise. Working for the Kinchay Agency, Parker is investigating a case for Louis Orwell, one of the most powerful men in Retrowood; but at every turn he is continually dragged back into contact with his past, beginning with the murder of his best friend from childhood, Henry Irving. Drunken priests, sadistic nuns, nymphomaniacal wives, with basketball and gambling thrown in…. How can you go wrong with that?

“We’re excited to have Mike on board at Asylum,” says publisher Frank Forte, “Retrowood fits in with our growing list of titles.  After H.I. or L.O. we have a number of Retrowood one shots coming out as well as a new 4 issue series that Mike is drawing right now.”


Mike Vosburg's comics career began in the 1960s, when as a teenager he started Masquerader, one of the first comic book fanzines. He began working in underground comics in the 1970s, with creations such as Split Screen, written by Tom Veitch. Later in the 1970s and 1980s, Vosburg contributed to horror titles by Western Publishing and Charlton Comics. His story "Mail Order Brides," published in Kitchen Sink Press's Bizarre Sex #3, was in a similar horror/mystery vein.

Around this time, Vosburg also did various work for DC Comics and Marvel Comics. He is probably best known for his work from that period on Savage She-Hulk, Sisterhood of Steel, and G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. He also worked on the Valiant Comics' titles Bloodshot and Archer & Armstrong.

From 1989-1996, for the TV series Tales from the Crypt, Vosburg illustrated comic book covers designed to look like the original 1950s comics. Originally hired to do concept drawings for the wraparound sequence, Vosburg ended up storyboarding the title segment as well as illustrating almost every cover used in the show's 93 episodes.
Asylum Press is a publishing company that produces premium comic books and graphic novels within the horror, science fiction, and action genres. Asylum Press' books feature original, character-driven stories and cinematic artwork by top creators and newly discovered talent that will appeal to not only comic book fans, but also mainstream fiction readers who don't normally buy comics.  Asylum Press delivers high-concept books via a bold new business model that focuses on digital publishing and new distribution outlets in both the American and international markets.

Asylum Press is distributed by Diamond Comics Distributors, Liber Distributors and Tony Shenton and to the Booktrade by SCB Distributors, Ingram and Baker and Taylor.  Distributed in the U.K. by Turnaround Distribution.

For those of you interested, the earlier editions of Retrowood are also available digitally from  comixology:

Meanwhile, my new series, The Mad Mummy keeps moving along. I wrapped up the pencils on the second issue this week. The first books should be ready for the publisher in early 2014. If I'm vague, it's because I'm still learning (remembering) how much is involved in producing a regular book.  But I will keep everyone posted here on the progress.

Just cause they were fun to do, here are three pinups I had commissions for recently. Next week I'm doing a Starfire and Belit pinup.