Category Archives: Tributes

Where No Bunny Has Gone Before! YAY

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Live Long and Hop Around More.

Last week, mere moments after I posted the Bun Toon, I headed out to my local theatre and took in the latest Trek Movie.  This week (with very very slight spoilers), I report back with…

STAR TREK Beyond four panels

Beyond turns out to be my favourite of the last three NuTrek movies.  Maybe because it wasn’t so ambitious, and maybe because they got Spock and McCoy bang-on-bullseye for all their scenes, but it “felt” right, and I was grinning the whole time.   I’ve warmed to the Earth-2 crew, even the new Kirk, though he’s the only one that still doesn’t “feel right” to me.  The rest of it was delightful.

It’s nice to see Trek back on track for the Fiftieth Anniversary coming up in less than a month.  With a new TV series, and other little things here and there, there’s much to celebrate for this old Trekkie, including a return to doing NEW Trek related projects that I can’t talk about in public quite yet…but I promise, I shall shout and howl and promote like crazy when I’m allowed to.  (I probably wasn’t even allowed to say as much as I just did.)

So forget I said anything.

I can’t wait for the next Trek Movie, already announced…with the GHOST OF KIRK’S FATHER!  BOO!

Ty the Guy OUT!


A few days ago, another one of my heroes passed away at the age of 91:  Long time Mad Magazine legend, Jack Davis.

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I first encountered Jack, like most of us did, in a Mad Magazine when I was about nine or ten.  He was one of the “gang of idiots”, the cartoonists’ cartoonist, whose casual excellence, and confident line work has been a primary inspiration in my career.

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In my twenties, I consciously tried to draw like Wally Wood, Neal Adams and Jack Kirby, but some years ago, I realised that SUB-consciously, I always draw like Jack Davis.

At least I do when I’m at my best.

His aesthetic, his line, his easy precision, and his lack of pretension, worked together to create what I consider the perfect “cartoon” style of the 20th Century.  It was accessible, and impossibly skilled at the same time.  There was something about the way he seemed to splash colours or tone on his drawings as though he had only minutes until a deadline, and yet EVERYTHING looked like it was in the right place.  The effect was magnificent, and obviously in high demand as Jack did a heck of a lot more than Mad Magazine.

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When I finally got good with a crow-quill, I went to Jack Davis art for instruction on how to create all those fabulous textures and tones. It’s a master class on how to make crosshatching and greys work in illustration.

Around the age of nine or ten, I noticed the same guy who was killing it in Mad Magazine, was the guy that did those fantastic TV Guide covers, and those wonderful movie posters, and those album jackets and those back cover adverts.  Jack Davis was everywhere a cartoonist was called for, and no one ever did it better.

Here’s a gallery of some of those MANY TV Guide covers, not as often seen as his Mad Magazine or Time Magazine covers.

andy griffiths jack davis

all in the family jack davis

laugh in jack davis

laverne and shirley jack davis

bob hope jack davis

snl jack daviswkrp jack davis

Last week, the Bun Toon FEATURED artwork inspired by and swiped from Jack Davis.  I was still using him as inspiration as recently as seven days ago.

That’s never going to stop.


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For last week’s Jack Davis based Bun Toon, click here.

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For the Bun Toon archives of years gone by, click here.

 

 

Debra Jane Shelly Bun Toon.

I wish I never drew this one.

I wish I never drew this one.

 

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For last week's Bill Finger Google Doodle Campaign, click here

For last week’s Bill Finger Google Doodle Campaign Bun Toon, click here

For the Bun Toons archive, please click here

For the Bun Toons archive, please click here

I’ll see you guys next week.

Ty the Guy Out.

 

 

Nick Cardy

nick cardyIf you’re a youngun, you might not know the career of Nick Cardy.  He was one of the very few Golden Agers comic artists still with us until this week, where he passed away at the age of 93.

Nick Cardy was a pillar of DC Comics during my childhood, and a great deal of my love of comics manifested itself while reading comics that he drew.  Especially comics he drew the covers of…

Speedy Teen TitansThis is a couple of pages from the first DC Comic I ever read: Teen Titans #6.  I probably knew who Batman was from the TV show, but I had this comic because Robin was in it.  I was five years old, and Robin and the Teen Titans were HUGE in my life when I was very little.  This sequence, where Speedy shoots at his friends while BLINDFOLDED was incredibly exciting when I was five.   I still own this comic. It’s missing its cover and some of the pages are scribbled on, but I’ve never lost it.

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This comic scared the HELL out of a year later.  Not only does Robin visit the GRAVES of his friends (complete with ghosts!), but for some bizarre reason, he takes off his costume and mask and spends half of the story in his underwear.  It’s such an odd sequence that it stuck in my head for years.

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Then THIS Titans vs. a Giant Book cover came out.  Again, I’m about six years old when I saw this, but something weird happened when I did….I think I understood the difference between a striking and clever composition and regular old comics right then and there.  Cardy was doing something outstanding here and I could recognize it.   Look at that cover, who could MISS it?  I still own my copy of this one, but it has the damn cover.  It’s actually in pretty good shape.  The little kid in me didn’t want that cover harmed in any way.

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In the 70s, when I was about twelve years old, I finally figured out I could subscribe to comic books and get them in the mail!  I think I subscribed to about twenty series, and constantly asked for subscriptions for birthdays and Christmases.  This issue of Superman (with that magnificent Cardy cover) was the first comic book that ever arrived in the mail at my house.  It was folded in half, which I didn’t like, but it was magical to get a new comic book or two at my front door about every other day.   Most of them had Cardy covers.

christmas with superheroes

Speaking of Christmas, long time readers of this blog know my affection for this particular comic book.  I put this Nick Cardy cover up online for all to see every Christmas, and the tradition will likely continue for years to come.   This image is as close to joy in a line drawing as my nostalgic brain can wish for.

girls loveNick Cardy covers were SO good, I bought Romance Comics and other icky girl titles if he did the cover.  I bought this at a convention when I was about fifteen, and my friend actually made fun of me.

batlash 2This gorgeous cover lured me into a lifetime love of Bat Lash.  And he SAVED the West.  Trust me.  Cardy did the interiors on this series and I gobbled up every one.

At this point, I’m going to be quiet, and let you enjoy a treasury of the man’s work.  93 years old is a great run at this planet, and he left us SO much gorgeous comic art.  I envy you folks if you’re seeing any of it for the first time.

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action teeth

aquaman 37 aquaman 50

batlash 4

girls romance love 70

superboy 186 superboy 189

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Thanks Nick.  You were an intimidating inspiration to this aspiring artist when I was growing up.  Every cover I ever draw, I’m conscious of wishing it was half as good as your stuff.

Ty the Guy OUT!

This issue of Teen Titans:

neal titans with nick

 

…was an impossible dream when I was a kid.  Neal Adams wrote the script, and did the layouts and Nick Cardy did the finished art.  Two of my favourite DC artists of all time, working together on the favourite series of my youth.

I own a couple of pages of the original artwork from this issue, given to me (because of a story too long to tell here) by the very generous Neal Adams.  So there’s a little Nick Cardy in my house this very moment, and there always will be.

And then there’s this:

booster 21The very first comic series I worked on professionally for DC featured the aliens introduced in (and not seen since) that issue of Teen Titans by Adams and Cardy.

Cool, huh?

 

Sticky Bun Toons?

Ooh, look at the big shot, so BUSY with work.

Ooh, look at the big shot, so BUSY with work.

I’m in the “so-late-with-my-latest-Marvel-project” zone that the clocks do nothing but terrify me, and have to spend the weekend catching up….(I want to have a job next month, you know.)

So…the Bun Toon had to be drawn in Stick Figure form this week, just to save time.

stick figure webcomic b

Of course, with the idea being that this was supposed to SAVE me time, the Jack Kirby and Frank Miller mock-ups took me EXACTLY as long as most Bun Toons do….sigh.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Of course, your Bonus Moment is the greatest Stick Figure Comic of all time:

Larry Marder's Beanworld has been flying the Stick Figure Freak Flag since the 80s!

Larry Marder’s Beanworld has been flying the Stick Figure Freak Flag since the 80s!

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For last week's Bun Toon,  click the plump, fully rendered family of rabbits above. (PS:  It involves a free cartoon I wrote!!!)

For last week’s Bun Toon, click the plump, fully rendered family of rabbits above. (PS: It involves a free animated cartoon I wrote that you can watch here at Bun Toons Central!!!)

For The Bun Toon Archive, click the happy singing pastry.

For The Bun Toon Archive, click the happy singing pastry.

Memory Tricks Bun Toons! What?

Again?  I did one of these yesterday?

Again? I did one of these yesterday?

Didja read yesterday’s Bun Toon?  Didja?

It’s up there as a link to yesterday.  Read that and then come back and read this:

memory tricks websize coloursEnhanced Honesty Plus.  It’s not just for American Media any more.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Your Bonus Moment isn’t a happy one… A Bun Toon from a little over a year ago…

neighbourhood watchmen

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For last week's haunting Bun Toon (co-created with the wife!), click here

For last week’s haunting Bun Toon (co-created with the wife!), click here

For the Archive (Yes, it needs updating!) click here.

For the Archive (Yes, it needs updating!) click here.

Kim Thompson Bun Toons.

The secret origin story of the bunny.

The secret origin story of the bunny.

The great Kim Thompson passed away this week.

Along with Gary Groth and Fantagraphics, he made the 80s a rich, exciting time to read comics.  Love and Rockets, Neat Stuff, Bitchy Bitch, Critters, Usagi Yojimbo, Fission Chicken…Fantagraphics was the coolest, bestest comics publisher in the whole world, and half the reason comic stores were an exciting new idea back then.

When I worked at Vortex Comics, putting out Stig’s Inferno and Mister X, there was no secret to the idea that we were trying to be the Fantagraphics of Canada.  Hell, we even hired away the Hernandez Brothers to do the first four issues of Mister X.   We had Jamie envy.

But my experience at Vortex ended badly, and my experience at Eclipse ended badly (for  completely different reasons – neither my fault), and in 1986, my comic book partner and best friend, Klaus Shoenefeld passed away at the age of 24.    It was a very low point in my life.

That’s when Kim Thompson called me on the phone and asked if I wanted to do some stories for Fantagraphics.

Literally, at the moment I was re-considering doing comics as a way to make a living, the coolest, bestest, comics publisher in the world thought I was worth a call.

What follows is the first story Kim ever bought off of me.  (click on the images to enlarge if they’re hard to read.   It’s eight pages long, so settle in with a lunch…)

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Yes, it’s a weak-sauce Walk Kelly pastiche….but it was the first thing I did for Critters.  Kim talked me into doing funny animals comics when I thought crittersthere was no value in them.  He introduced me to the work of Carl Barks and MADE me read his duck stuff, even when I didn’t want to.   Kim convinced me I was good at what I did when I was young enough to have trouble believing it.  He introduced me to Alan Moore (over the phone) and put us together on a project that included a rock and roll single that Moore and I traded A and B sides on.  That’s the cover to Critters #23 above and to the left…here’s the single being played on a RECORD PLAYER!  (I’m old.)

fbi records

Kim was the biggest champion of great comics you ever met, and Fantagraphics published comics that cost them money because they believed  in those creators and projects like no other publisher.   Who does that?

Those long ago years when I did a handful of stories with Kim Thompson at Fantagraphics are what told me I was actually in a comics industry worth being in.   I never had an editor or publisher be so nice to me, or be so supportive, or “get” comics like Kim.

F*** you, cancer.

Ty the Guy

Kim, when I first met him.

Kim, when I first met him.

Later Kim.  Holding some of the many awards he piled up.

Later Kim. Holding some of the many awards he absolutely deserved for his contribution to our art form.

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For last week’s MAN OF STEEL REVIEW BUN TOON, click Kal-el.

For the Bun Toon archive, click here.

For the Bun Toon archive, click here.

Happy Birthday Big Red S!

superman-metropolis-poster

Seventy Five years old!  Great Rao!

I have a lovely essay that I wrote on the occasion of Superman’s 70th Birthday, and rather than rethink it, I’ll just link to it below.  Click on the image and you’ll be taken to a much larger and readable version of the article.   When you’re done (or once you’ve ignored the article and scrolled below it), you can rejoin the regular blog, still in progress.

supaperman

What I said still holds true (unless the upcoming movie REALLY sucks).

I’ve had a long and unexpected association with Superman through the years, and I consider it quite an honour to have contributed to the great character’s legacy. Working out of the Superman office in the late 80s and early 90s gave me the whooping-giggle thrill of collaborating with some of the legends of this comics industry.  I got ink over such childhood heroes as Jim Mooney:

mooney superboy

And John Byrne…

Superman Splash 598

 Dan Jurgens…

jurgens superman

…and the definitive Superman artist for a generation: Curt Swan.

supboy10p23

…as well as a dozen other artists working out Mike Carlin’s Superman office.  My single favourite image I contributed to while I was a Superman inker was this cover for Superboy: The Comic Book #4…penciled by Kevin Maguire and rendered by your humble blogger.  I rarely put my own artwork up on the walls of my house, but I consider this a Kevin piece anyway, so it sat on my wall for years.

I dare you to tell me that isn't a great cover.

I dare you to tell me that isn’t a great cover.

Superman was on hand the first time I co-wrote a story with my pal Dan Slott.  Though we’d worked together as a writer/artist team a few times, this was our first collaboration as co-writers, and our little tale featured Krypto and his big flyin’ master.   Go find a copy and read it, you’ll let go of a few honest tears when it’s done.  I’m proud of this one.

Superman_Adventures_Vol_1_40

I got to work with Jerry Seinfeld because of Superman.  I was asked to design the look of  Superman for a series of Seinfeld/American Express animated commercials, as well as creating some odd Jerry and Superman scenes for billboards and print ads.

Superman Jerry 1The original photo is Jerry grabbing at “no one” in the air, and I had to draw Superman to fit where Jerry’s hand was.  Kal-el is supposed to be saying “this guy’s crazy”, but it looks equally like he’s tickling the comedian.

Superman and Jerry bond over their dogs.

Superman and Jerry bond over their dogs.

Is there any better job than being paid to illustrate Krypto starting a bromance?

Working for Superman offered me to opportunity to design collectable action figures:

lrgscaleDCD-PVC-22961

and crayon boxes, and puzzles and t-shirts and colouring books and darn near anything with an S on it.  Of the many many images of Superman I’ve drawn for DC Comics over my career, this is my favourite:

JLA 31I know there’s other characters on this JLU cover, but there’s something about the Superman figure that sits just right with me.  His proportions, his expression, even the colours of his costume, all came together in this image and I didn’t screw any of it up.  I actually don’t hate this cover and my wife will tell you how rare that is for me.  I might be wrong, but I think it’s the last time I drew Superman for the mother corporation…once I get it correct, I scoot off and don’t do it again.

So happy birthday Mr. Cape.  You’ve been a delightful character to read as a child, to work on as a young adult, and to come back to every few years like a comfortable trip back home.   I hope I get another chance at him someday…and I treasure the time we spent together.

I’m always a little jealous when he dates someone else.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your BONUS Superman Moment- You knew this one was coming.

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