Category Archives: Tributes

Happy 95th Birthday King Kirby

In tribute to the late King of Comics on his birthday, it’s been suggested that those of us who followed in  his footsteps wake up and draw our favourite Kirby Karacter, and donate the sketch to HERO INITIATIVE‘s KIRBY4HEROES campaign.

I’ve never worked on the Fantastic Four, but I DID get to do a few issues of Spider-Man that featured Ben Grimm, and discovered how much I love drawing the blue-eyed idol of millions.   And since it’s a sketch, not appearing in an actual Marvel Comic, I get to give Bashful Benjy back his beloved cheroot.

He still doesn’t seem happy, though.  I think it’s because I was still sleepy…

We love you, Jack.  There’s no possible way to ever give back to the Kirby family the way Jack gave to us, but it’s our duty to at least try on his 95th birthday.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your BONUS Kirby Karacter Sketch:

My favourite Kirby COSTUME to draw is still Big Barda.  A million years ago, before the Earth fully cooled, Barda was a member of the Justice League when I was pencilling that series in the early 90s, and I discovered how PERFECTLY designed that outfit was to draw from any angle, at any size, and it still held together.

Even a goofball like me could draw the Former Female Fury and keep it recognizable with that iconic ensemble.  I think she stole that hat from Galactus, and drank his milkshake while she was at it.

Joe Kubert Bun Toons. Sigh.

Sgt. Rock…Tarzan…Enemy Ace…Tor…Viking Prince…Hawkman…Punisher…

Joe Kubert.  The last of the Golden Age artists still working at his craft, passed away this week with art yet left to be published on the Before Watchmen comic he’s been inking.

Year after year, his work got bolder, more confident, and more gorgeous with every passing day.  I can’t think of any other artist in any other field who continued to improve as long as he drew breath.   There was never a period of decline.

Now that I’m a teacher of how to make comics, I often think about Joe and the magnificent institution he built known as the Joe Kubert School.  I never went there, but always felt that he taught me a hell of a lot in every conversation I ever had with him.

Thanks for the world you helped make, Mr. Kubert.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your BONUS Joe Kubert Moments:

The first Joe Kubert artwork I ever saw. This comic belonged to an older brother.

The first Kubert comic I ever owned. I bought this when I was about eight years old, ENTIRELY because of that cover.

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For last week’s Bun Toon “Brush with Greatness”, click above.

For every Bun Toon ever, click above.

For a previous blog entry about this very subject, and Mr. Kubert’s advice, click here.

SPECIAL Father’s Day Bun Toons! YAY!

It’s Father’s Day, dear internet, so we’re getting you a Ty.

click on any of the images in this Bun Toon Special Edition to make them larger.  It’s worth it, trust me.

Unlike my neighbour (Clone Subject #905), I was born biologically, and had a father.  His name was Charles, and I’ve mentioned him a few times on this blog; Chuck was a well-known Canadian celebrity, with a varied and interesting life.

And he sometimes looked like this, during his occasional “moustache” periods.

But before Dad was a Talk Show host, and before he was a best-selling novelist, or a famous inventor, or a network news director, or a Hollywood screen writer, or a politician, or an evangelical minister, he was a cartoonist.

The bulk of his work was published in the mid-thirties, when my father was barely in his twenties, doing sports cartoons for the Toronto Globe (not the Toronto paper the Daily Planet is based on, by the way…that was the Toronto Daily Star, a newspaper my father was eventually the City Editor of).

The original art to the Globe’s sports cartoon on the day Canada won a silver  medal at the 1936 Olympics.  Sports cartoons were as common as political cartoons in the newspapers of that era, and most major dailies had an exclusive sports cartoonist or two as well as a couple of political guys.

These originals are much smaller than you’d expect.  Most of them are about seven inches tall and about five inches wide.   You could fit two across a regular sheet of printer paper.  The one at the top of this Bun Toon is larger because it was for a weekend paper.

When I was a kid, in the 1960s, my father would give me drawing lessons.  He started teaching me proportion, and how to draw the human head from different angles, or the shape of a horse’s leg, or how to hold a pencil when doing “professional” lettering.  This started when I was five or six years old, DECADES after my father had long stopped drawing professionally. The box that contained his old cartoons was tucked away in the basement, forgotten examples of a skill he’d long abandoned using.

I inherited that box full of cartoon originals when my father passed away a few years ago.  I framed a couple and put some on my wall, and put the rest back in the box and left them in the crawlspace of my house. At first I didn’t think anyone would care about them but my family –  But it’s come to dawn on me that they’re probably some of the last newspaper cartoon originals from that era in Canada, and they should be scanned and shown off, just for the historical interest in this lost corner of Canada’s Cartooning Past.

Thanks for letting me present a sampling of my father’s cartoons, on Cartoon Father’s Day.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your BONUS Chuck Templeton cartooning moments:

Dad did political and editorial cartooning as well, though far less of that survives.  It’s hard to imagine there was a time that Hitler was the subject of political cartoons.

For my American readers:  the campaign referenced here was the campaign to re-elect our Prime Minister at the time:  William Lyon MacKenzie King, seated in the reviewing stand behind the wounded “soldier”.

Speaking of political cartoons, when my father was a politician (he ran for Premier of Ontario and lost.  A Premier is the Canadian equivalent of an American Governor), he amassed a sizeable collection of original political cartoons featuring himself as the subject, drawn in the 1960s by a who’s who of Canadian political cartoonists of that time, including art by Macpherson, Ben Wicks, and others.  I think I’ll save those for a future Bun Toons entry.  Who knew I had half the history of Canadian Cartooning sitting in my basement?

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For last week’s Bun Toon (featuring Alan Moore, and drawn by ME instead of my dad) click here.

For every Bun Toon ever (over 98% of them drawn by me!) click here!

Ray Bradbury. Thank you, from this illustrating man.


Words fail me.

Because they never failed him.

Thanks so much for ALL of it, Ray.  You helped birth BOTH my love of Comics and Science Fiction.  You made the world a fun place, and you always seemed to be smiling and laughing, more than almost any other writer I can think of, every image of you seems happy.

So, you get a moment or two of tears, then I go back to being happy to have shared the Earth with you as long as I did.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, the Ray Bradbury Bonus moment.  If you haven’t seen this, you’re going to love this more than anything today…

Ten to the Sixth Power!

This isn’t my first gondola ride, I know how the internet works.  I don’t have a million unique readers, it’s far more like ten or twelve thousand readers who tend to come back each week or so, and if you do the math, it works out that you’ll reach a million hits in a little over two years.

But it’s still fun to watch the counter roll over a big number, so I note the milestone.

I got giggly when my car’s odometer reached the year of my birth, too, so I’m a sickening number nerd.

I’ll see all my T-dot peeps ON THE COUCH this Saturday!

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your BONUS One Million Thing:

With the re-numbering after the New 52, this issue is going to be delayed even LONGER!

John Carter vs. the Mainstream.

Ah, John Carter…you never learn.  You’re not one of the popular kids.

I saw the Disney picture last week, and brain-explodingly LOVED it.  There’s some changes to the story I don’t agree with, and a few that I do, but overall, the heart, spirit and look of the movie was everything I hoped for.  Bang on.  Bullseye.  Round of applause.   For the twelve year old boy who first discovered Tharks and Dejah Thoris in an old issue of DC’s Weird Worlds, this movie made me clap my hands and grin until I ached.

My kids didn’t love it though, and not winning over that precious kid audience  is keeping this film from making the kind of money that the producers need.  Which means we’ll never get a sequel, a sticker book, happy meal toys or any of that stuff that comes along with blockbuster films.

Fig. I : What won't be happening at local Walmarts.

But that was a given. It’s John Carter. He never rises far above secret cult fandom. He’s the George Harrison of Science Fiction – The Dirk Gently’s Detective Agency, the Humbug Magazine, the Beethoven’s 6th Symphony of pop culture, and that’s kind of where I like him.

John Carter is the perennial poor relation to his superstar big brother, Tarzan. Both were created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, but Mr. Loin-cloth got dozens of novels, more than a hundred movies, two hundred TV episodes, four hundred comic books, animated shows, lunch boxes, toys, games, you name it, there’s a Tarzan version of it. The Ape Man was one of the most popular characters of the 20th Century.

Mostly because of things like this.

Whereas John Carter isn’t even IN half of the ten novels Burroughs wrote about Mars.  And when Carter got  adapted into other media, it was a tepid affair.  Instead of Tarzan’s four hundred issues, John Carter totaled about four dozen comics in the last century.

As for film and TV adaptations, previous to this recent Disney epic, the Barsoomian movie catalogue numbered one:  a basement-budget sci-fi direct to DVD adaptation of Princess of Mars, made in 2009, and starring former porn queen TRACI LORDS as Dejah Thoris and Antonio Sabato Jr. as the Captain.

This is real. It exists. I've seen it.

It’s surprisingly less vile than you think it would be, but still hardly much of a film.  The budget is so low, the Tharks only have two arms.  Seriously.

Fig. II: A Four-Armed Thark prepares an evening meal.

To further scare away the mainstream from this franchise, the “science” in this sci-fi is just goofy:  John can hop over mountains on a planet that’s actually HEAVIER than Earth.  The airships fly by means of the 8th Ray, or basically, magic.  Evolution on Mars got cheap-date-drunk before choosing how many limbs each creature got, and interplanetary teleportation is explained away by settling back in a spooky Indian cave.

Personally, one of the reasons I like Barsoom is the civilized way in which all parties agree that physics doesn’t really matter there, just like Oz, Wonderland, and Narnia, but apparently that sort of thing causes modern audiences to flee.

The final barrier to mainstream popularity is, ironically, the popularity these stories used to enjoy.   Burroughs’ Mars novels were such a huge influence on the Science Fiction creators of the years following 1912 that John Carter can’t seem “new” or “fresh”.

Fig. III: I think it's Barsoom.

Frank Herbert’s Dune was utterly lifted from Barsoom, as was Star Trek’s Vulcan, James Cameron’s Avatar, and George Lucas’ Tatooine. We’ve seen John Carter reproduced as Superman, Adam Strange, Buck Rogers, Captain Kirk, the Raiders of Gor, Richard Corben’s Den, Green Lantern and Luke Skywalker.

Dejah Thoris inspired Elaan of Troyus, Orion Slave Girls, and Leia’s Metal Bikini. Homages to Tars Tarkas show up in the Klingons, the Predators, J’onn J’onz, and the Sand People of Star Wars. Tharks are the reason we think all Martians are green.

Fig IV: A two-armed Thark - handicapped, but willing to fight on.

For younger viewers, it’s hard to appreciate the century old template that these modern tropes are drawn from, because it feels like we’ve seen it all before.

When in reality, we’ve only seen it all SINCE.

So, John Carter is a permanent sub-niche fandom, and those of us who have been to Barsoom expect it that way. It’s a little more cool to be out of the mainstream, man.  We burrow a little deeper into our inner geek.  We can drop references like Dirk Gently and Humbug Magazine and know the hepcats in the room dig the bit.

Figure V: Dirk Gently.

It would be nice if Disney didn’t lose quite so many hundreds of millions on this picture.  It’s so much better than the critics are telling you.  Andrew Stanton created a lovely tribute to a piece of science fiction history, and he did it with such love and joy and FUN that I giggled like a schoolboy for most of the movie.

If you haven’t seen it, go this weekend.  Your Jeddak, COMMANDS it.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your COMIC BOOK JOHN CARTER BONUSES!

The officially ERB FAMILY approved Marvel adaptation of the second novel in the Barsoom series came out just two days ago!   It’s drawn by my buddy Ramon Perez, and is as beautiful as the Red Planet itself.  The script is burning through the original book a little faster than I expected, but I suppose it’s a fairly frantic pace all around with GODS OF MARS.  The layout, the colouring and the feel of the book is delicious.

John, getting his Barsoom-legs back after a few years away. I TOLD you the art was pretty.

ALSO ON THE COMIC RACKS NOWADAYS!!

Dynamite Comics has two different ongoing Barsoom series:  Dejah Thoris and Warlord of Mars. The Dynamite WARLORD is currently adapting the very same novel that Marvel is adapting, (GODS OF MARS), and is a few chapters ahead, which means Carter fans new to the stories, but buying both titles are getting complete spoilers for the Marvel book.

 The scripts for both titles are readable, and the art is good in the Thoris series, (not so much in the Warlord book).  Unfortunately, there’s a lurking creepy quality to the stripper pasties they put on all the women in this incarnation of the franchise.

 Either embrace the nudity of the original novels, or give Ms. Thoris  something less skeevie to wear, thank you.  The brass nipple clamps are the worst of both worlds.

It’s been a fun couple of weeks revisiting the Mars of my childhood.  I’ve even taken to re-reading my Marv Wolfman/Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson Barsoomian comics from the 70s, with much nostalgic vigour when I get a spare moment, and I’ve put the audio-books of the original ERB novels on in the background while I’ve been drawing lately.  Best part:  Listening to the invariably male readers doing an imitation of Dejah Thoris when she’s saying romantic things.

I’m off to swim in the river Iss.  Wish me luck.

Moebius Bun Toons! YAY!

Darn it! Someone's let all the air out of my garage!

We all lost one of the corners of the comic book sky last week:  The magnificent Jean Giraud (also known as Moebius) has died.  If you know him only as one of those two names, you’re missing half his career.  Giraud, or “GIR” was probably the best illustrator of western comic books ever to pick up the pen, and Moebius was certainly the greatest illustrator of Science Fiction/Fantasy comic books of all time.  Amazingly enough, they were both the same man, and both an incalculable influence on me since I can remember discovering ARZACH in high school, and Blueberry in college.

Besides losing a legendary comic artist, the world lost a lovely and whimsical human being when Jean passed away, and my first thoughts after I heard he was gone, were of a small moment I remembered from a meal we once shared.   I share it now, with you.

It helps if you remember that MARRIED TO THE MOB was a Michelle Pfeiffer movie from the early 90s.  I think it was out in the theatres when Jean made this joke.

Is this moment as important as the Airtight Garage, or The Incal or Metal Hurlant?  I don’t know.  But it was charming and human, and whimsical, and unwilling to be cross or annoyed at the world.   And who doesn’t treasure that?

There are four postcards of Moebius’ doodles that are stuck in the wall near where I draw.  They’ve been there for years.  Here they are:

Those are the wee bits of Moebius that greet me every day in my studio.   Charming, and human, and whimsical, and unwilling to be cross or annoyed at the world.

Ty the Guy OUT!

HERE NOW, BONUS TRIBUTE TIME:

This month has also seen the passing of Sheldon Moldoff and Ralph McQuarrie.

Sheldon Moldoff drew the Batman I first encountered…he was the guy I THOUGHT was Bob Kane when I was a very young kid, because Bob Kane was signing his name to all of Sheldon’s work.

I cannot tell you guys how much I LOVE the 50s and 60s Sheldon Moldoff version of Batman, with ACE, Batwoman, Bat-Mite and the Flying Batcave.  I don’t see that stuff as corny or camp, I see it as the first version of Batman I ever saw, and my nostalgic affection for it is hard to hide.

Before there was ‘JOKER’S FIVE WAY REVENGE” and the dark, sombre Batman of Neal Adams and Denny O’Neil, we had “ROBIN DIES AT DAWN”, a comic that got under my skin and freaked me out when I was about six.  I recall it as one of the first comic books that had an emotional affect on me, and it still holds a special place.

I also remember reading a Golden Age Hawkman story in a reprint book from the 70s and being surprised that Sheldon Moldoff USED to draw like Alex Raymond back in the 40s.   Golden Age Hawkman stories became my Holy Grails.  I looked for them everywhere, and copied the line work and textures.

I saw this stuff before I saw the REAL Alex Raymond…or even Eisner, or Fine. Moldoff was the first Golden Age artist I specifically remember seeking out…the first one to convince me there might have actually been a Golden Age.

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STAR WARS borrowed heavily from many influences:  E.C. Comics, John Carter novels, Flash Gordon serials and Moebius’ work in Metal Hurlant…but the one person most responsible for the look and feel of the movie of my lifetime was Ralph McQuarrie.

It started with his production paintings.  They were leaked to the world in an article in STARLOG magazine a few months before the movie came out, and those paintings were enough to get my little legs scurrying to the movies the day it opened.

Sure, it’s the robot from Metropolis standing on John Carter’s Barsoom…but that’s what makes it GREAT!  Ralph knew where this Star Wars movie was coming from, and where it was going, and he started it all with these paintings.  For making our lives a little more fantastic, I thank you, sir.

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For last week's Bun Toon, that actually MENTIONS Barsoom, click above.

For every Bun Toon ever, click on the Jasoomian rabbit.

John Severin R.I.P.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll consider the first 28 issues of the comic book version of MAD the best comic book ever published.  John Severin was one of the main contributors to that notion.

And the main contributor to Mad's main rival "Cracked" for most of its print run.

There was no one like him for inking and rendering the real world as easily as breathing.  His sense of gray tones, textures, light and shadow and human expression were unparalleled.  When I teach inking classes at the TCW, John Severin is mentioned at least once an hour as one of the best who ever did this comic book stuff.

I first encountered Severin’s work on his stellar run of Sgt. Fury comics.  John was inking over Dick Ayers at the time, but the inks were so distinctive, Severin was the leading hand in the look of that title.  From there I discovered Cracked Magazine and John’s mind-boggling skill at likenesses.  Once I had found a reprint of an early Mad Comics spoof of Melvin of the Apes, I was hooked for life.   Without a word of exaggeration, I was reading a John Severin comic book yesterday, and marveling at how perfect every line was, every stroke of that pen or brush.

Damn this deal with the universe that guys like Severin don’t get to go on forever.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Number #1 Bun Toon of the YEAR! (And the bestest failure, too)YAY!

And now, that day has come, and so we face, the final curtain… on 2011.

Most of the people I know said this  year was one of the worst they’ve ever gone through.  I’ve had my own ups and downs, but my family is intact, we didn’t lose a cat or a grandparent, I’m still employed in the comics industry, and so far as I know, I don’t have brain tumours or a contract killer after me, so I’m calling the whole thing a win.   (But I score differently than most people; I never count the errors or forces, and don’t even pick up the pencil when it’s a southpaw.)

Speaking of the Score:  It’s time for the top Bun Toon of the Year…beating out such contenders as “Charlie Sheen vs. Galactus”, “Ma Kent vs. Aunt May” and “Everything You Need To Know about Thor In Four Panels”…we present the Thrilla with Frank Milla…

(Above is a MUCH cleaner copy than the one that went online originally).

A few people pointed out that Frank looked more like he was auto-fellating himself than inserting his skull into his bowels in my cartoon, which is a fair point anatomically, but moot satirically.  I’m good with his depiction either way.

My last line up there… “I used to love you, Frank.”…you don’t know how true that is, ladies and gents.  Watching Frank Miller turn into the current version of himself is like watching a beloved Uncle pee on the shrubs at a wedding.  And I mean the front shrubs, in the yard that faces the road.  At the Church.  Without undoing his fly first so it goes all down his pant leg and everything.

Cut it out, Frank, and find a rest room.

ALSO:  This came with the post, so you gets is again:

A contribution I did for Gail Simone's "You'll All Be Sorry" column from a couple of years ago.

AND NOW, MY MOST BELOVED FAILURE BUN TOON

That Frank Miller strip up there took me less than an hour –  from idea to putting it online where it was read by tens of thousands of people, we’re talking maybe 45 minutes (you probably noticed Frank never moves, and there’s no backgrounds either, two tricks of the lazy cartoonist!).

But the Bun Toon below took more than six or seven hours, by far the longest I’ve ever spent on one.  It was done mostly in lieu of sleep over a couple of nights, and it was maybe the most fun I had on a webcomic entry so far.  The poor thing did no traffic when it went up though, and has stayed at the bottom of the hit parade ever since.

Lesson learned:    Effort is for squares.  Just whip it off, baby, and you’ll get your reward.

NOTE: The premise here, explained in the original post, was that I was privy to some inside information about the next six comic book movies coming out of Big Time Hollywood because I was working on one of them, doing storyboards.

I can now reveal which film I was storyboarding for release in 2012.  It’s the Christian Bale Thunderstrike picture.  Look for it in local theatres in the coming year.

That’s it for 2011, bunny people.  Come by in 2012 and I promise we’ll be just as lightweight and meaningless, only better.

Now, wrapped in bacon.

Ty the Guy OUT!!

Stan Lee Presents Bun Toon Countdown 2011 #4! Yay!

Before we continue with the pulse  pounding countdown of the Top Five Bun Toons (and the Five No One Loved) of 2011 ,  let’s take a moment to salute the living legend himself, true believers, on this, his 89th birthday…..STAN LEE!

Stan Lee, pictured here in a moment of confusion, attempting to grab Robert Downey's man-boobs.

Stan Lee needs no introduction:  He created Batman, King Arthur and James Bond, as well as writing the original plot for Gilgamesh.  As curator of the Hobo Art Museum in San Francisco, Lee helped introduce America to the great whittlers of the 20th Century, and as a philanthropist, Stan Lee  established the first School for Bombast, on the campus of Yale University in 1973.

Stan Lee, in a moment of confusion, attempting to grab Hugh Jackman's man-boobs

Stan Lee’s famous nickname “The Man” has inspired others in the comics biz to adopt a similar nomenclature in tribute, including artist Steve Rude “the Dude”, writer/artist Ty “the Guy” Templeton, and letterer Emma “Not a Fella” Campanella.   Famous baseball player Stan The Man Musial was so inspired, he began using the nickname long before before Stan Lee did.

Always willing to adapt to the times, Stan Lee attempts to grab this lady's girl-boobs.

Ahh, enough of the silly… I kid around with the boobie grabbing and the whittling museum, but it’s all done with buckets of love.  Without Stan, there’s a vast wasteland of Richie Rich digests and Lois Lane Annuals and that’s the comix biz.   But Stan gave us Spider-Man and the Hulk and The Fantastic Four and so many others that no one could count ’em all up without a handbook.  He reached into the hearts of kids and adults on every continent, probably everywhere that civilization exists, and spread out little pulp paper bits of joy that changed the world, and every last one of us working in the field wish we could grow up to BE him.

Happy 89th Birthday, Living Legend!   You’re a real life hero to all of us.

I'm pretty sure he's rubbing this guy's nipple.

NOW BACK TO THE 2011 COUNTDOWN!   First a TOP FIVE BUN TOON-

By one of those cosmic coincidences that only the Watcher truly understands, the Number #4 Bun Toon on the 2011 hit parade features none other than the Birthday Boy himself.   It comes from February, and it asked the most magical “What if…?” of all.

Clearly, making fun of American comic books does fairly well on this blog, getting thousands and thousands of hits.  Making fun of Belgian comics has a different result.  When you consider the huge hoards of Belgians roaming the internet looking for suitable comic-based entertainment, the Bun Toon below should have done better.  But well…c’est la vie.

Maybe people were thrown by the French, who knows?  As the saying goes in Paris, “Il fait froid ce matin, et ma auto ne marche pas”.  Now that Tintin is a huge movie star, perhaps this toon will get some attention.   Maybe then, I’ll be as big as Stan Lee.

A boy can dream.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Come back tomorrow for the strangest Bun Toons of all….

Click here to be taken to the complete and utter history of Bun Toons online, since 2010!

And…don’t forget, today is the day that the legendary banned Elseworlds 80-Page Giant #1 sees print. Okay, it saw print when it first came out. In Ireland. Everywhere else it got pulped. And okay Kyle Baker’s story (the reason for the ban) has been printed and reprinted and then a couple times after that. But yayy!! Now ALL the pages are in print and there’s a few drawn by Ty Templeton.

Get it today at your Local Comics Store!!