Saturday, February 28, 2015


An illustration of running back Ladanian Tomlinson.
When I was in sixth grade at St. Frederick’s in Pontiac, Michigan, I had the extreme good fortune to meet my good friend Fred Jackson.  We soon discovered that we both liked to read comic books, but what really astounded me was that Fred was already making his own homemade comics. And better yet, he soon taught me the process and we soon had our own mock company called Vokson.
Fred’s comics were far superior to any of my crude attempts. He already had several issues of a Mad parody called Cool,Calm and Crazy, as well runs of his adventure character Smollett Jones (for which he used the O.E. system of naming his protagonist ala Sherlock Holmes and Nero Wolfe…and this is a 12 year old) as well as the superhero  , with my favorite villain, the son of Fu Manchu. 

Over the next few years we cranked out dozens and dozens of books and traded them back and forth to read. Needless to say, I learned a great deal about storytelling and the creative process from this association with Fred; without that friendship I certainly never would have gravitated toward my own career as a graphic storyteller. Hmmm…should I be thanking  or blaming him.

Since I didn’t have TV at my house in those days, I also learned a lot from Fred about all the cool shows and movies I was missing out on: Abbot and Costello, Shock Theatre, etc. I was listening to The Shadow on the radio, and Fred was reading the pulp stories. We both read a lot of Sax Rohmer and loved detective stories.
And we both visited each other’s houses from time to time. Which isn’t that odd except that Fred lived in the black neighborhood of Pontiac and I lived in the very white (trash) neighborhood of Auburn Heights. This type of stuff was frowned upon, but fortunately both our parents were fairly progressive for their time.
(One of the pencil roughs Fred did when we collaborated on a Clark Equipment manual in the early 80's)

Fred still lives in Pontiac while I have ended up on Tujunga,CA but we have always kept in touch over the years. So when I started working on the latest story arc of The Mad Mummy, and needed someone to give me an editorial assist with the scripts, and I was wracking my brain to think of who could help me, it seemed only natural to pick on…er, to pick out Fred. It’s fifty years later, and VOKSON REUNITES!! And the best thing about collaborations, if they are successful, it’s easy enough to claim the glory, and if they fail, there is always someone there to take the blame. (And you thought I had learned nothing while working in comics and movies.)

A couple of the crosswords puzzles that Fred designed for USA Today and the LA Times
All kidding aside, it’s great to be involved in the creative process with Fred Jackson again. Thanks, my friend!

(For those of you interested in seeing more of our youthful creations, here is a link to a previous blog about the subject:  )

Below, and above are a few pages from the The Mad Mummy #6. I’ve been trying something a little different on this issues. After I finish the inking, I’ve been going bad and adding just a bit of Prismacolor pencil to create a bit of shading, similar to Crafttint/Duotone process. I certainly didn’t invent this process; Alex Toth, Howard Chaykin and others have certainly tried it- it was a fairly common approach in the 30’s and 40’s newspaper illustrations. I’ve always thought my best drawings were ones in my sketchbook where I used a combination of pencil and ink, so it made sense to me to try and incorporate that into this work. I’m curious to see how it looks once the color is added. But, check back for that next week….
The original She-Hulk cover, and below, my 2015 version.
Ms. Marvel: A pin-up I penciled years ago, but for some reason hadn't inked.



Saturday, February 21, 2015


When I was an young and ignorant wannabe cartoonist long before I discovered illustrators,  I knew who Bob Peak was. His drawings on My Fair Lady, Camelot, and numerous other movie posters and TV Guide covers were things that I had seen…and they impressed me tremendously. 

As I learned a bit more about art and the wonderful talents that worked in the field of illustration, Bob Peak still remained one of the giants for me. The sublime designs and the his spontaneous approach to the drawings display a facility with the work that never fails to amaze me.

His son Tom has already one produced one must have book on his father’s work: The Art of Bob Peak. (If you don’t have this one, visit immediately and pick it up. Trust me. You won’t be disappointed.) 

Now Tom has a Kickstarter campaign to produce another book: The Drawings of Bob Peak. As you look as the examples I’ve posted from my tear sheet collection, you can see that this is another “don’t miss” opportunity. (And I say this from experience. To this day I still mourn the Japanese edition of a collection of Bob Peak’s drawings that I’ve never been able to find or replace.) Unfortunately, I wasn't able to upload the Tom's video for the campaign, but it is available at:
Good luck,Tom! Time is precious on this one…the campaign end in another couple days. And if you really want to make an impression, there is a tier where you can actually own an original Bob Peak drawing.



Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Over the past couple of months I been revamping and redesigning my site to fit my current needs which is promoting my latest comic book projects and creating a storefront to sell my artwork and books. I’ve learned a lot more about html code than I ever really wanted to, but now the revised site is up and available for viewing. So take a look!

One of the best features of the new site is that I’ve been able to organize the best entries of my Vozwords blog (which features my articles and comments on illustrators and working in the field of graphic storytelling) so that you can quickly link to whichever entry you find of interest. It’s certainly more user friendly than the index interface on the Blogstpot site.

Another new addition is previews of all the different Lori Lovecraft, Retrowood, Voodoo Mansion and Mad Mummy stories. If you’ve missed any of these you can get a quick rehash of the story and art…as well as a link to where the work is available.

There are also a number of my newest paintings and comic book originals for sale in a gallery. Stop by and browse.

Those are just some, but not all of the features of the site. Be my guest and take a look. And if you do discover a type here or there or a link that doesn’t work quite right on your browser, be sure to let me know….and I’ll head back to the coding station with a sigh.

“The closer psychologists look at the career of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger the role preparation seems to play.”
“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”
Malcolm Gladwell Outliers

I’ve been reading a great book called Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell that examines why some people are successful and others aren’t.  It reiterates my own feeling about talent: to paraphrase Einstein, genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. One of Gladwell’s discoveries is that any success is built on the 10,000 hour rule; you have to work at something that long before you master it. His other finding are that where you live and when you live are major factors. If you’re living in a totalitarian society or during a severe economic crisis, success is going to be much more difficult, than if you’re living in America during a time of great prosperity. Personality traits and social background are also major contributors. Some cultures are better at teaching their children how to integrate in the existing societies, and no matter how skilled you are, it’s difficult to work with an asshole.

The bottom line is that doing the work will not guarantee success, but not doing the work will guarantee failure. So just keep at it, enjoy , and hope for the best. Here are a few of my sketchbook pages for the week. Next week, more on the latest issue of Mad Mummy!