Category Archives: True Life Tales

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!


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.


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.


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

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

Halloween Photos.

I mentioned on the Bun Toons last week that my ten year old daughter, Kate,  was working on her Wonder Woman costume, and she insisted it had to have the Golden Age look to it, with the long pants and the golden eagle, etc.

There we go.

The pants are a teensy bit longer than the originals, mostly to combat a Canadian Halloween, and we decided on nothing off the shoulder for a ten year old in the cold, but the costume scored big with out daughter.  Her mother Keiren did most of the work on this wonderful custom job, I just drew in part of the bird.

But the costume wasn’t the HALF the fun for our Golden Age Wonder Woman…

It was the honour guard that accompanied her.

Steve Trevor,  Steve Rogers, and a gumshoe up to no good in a city that’s got friends in all the wrong places.

Those are her brothers Sean (as the flyboy that looks suspiciously like MacArthur), Taylor (as the two bit cop with a chip on his badge) and their friend Josh (as the proud infantry man ready to mix it up).

The whole 1940s effect was pretty darn cool, if I might say so myself, and as they went from house to house, they  got a lovely reaction.

Who says this isn’t the Golden Age of Halloween Photos?

Our eldest son, Kellam and our daughter in law, Jessica came over and brought fantastic Halloween cakes and cookies that looked like pumpkins and ghosts.

 Beat THAT, Christmas!  You Suck.  Halloween ROCKS.

Ty the Guy OUT!!!

Here now, your BONUS Templeton-Smith Halloween Moment:

Behold the Family Pumpkins! And take note of the smattering of blood up by the door. Attention to detail.

True Halloween Bun Toons Extravaganza, YAY!

BOO! (True story!)

Around this house, Halloween is better than Christmas, and more fun than Birthdays.  You get to wear a disguise and see inside your neighbour’s front door.  We rarely do that on Christmas.

As always, every word of this is true, we didn’t even change the names of the innocent.  Screw the innocent.  What did they ever do for me?

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your BONUS Bun Toons Halloween Moment:  From last year’s epic Halloween Bun Toon.


For last week's equally true Bun Toons, click on the Rabbit

For every Bun Toon ever, click the Rabbit again!

Real Life Super-heroes

This blog has mostly focused on my connections to the comic book industry, and for the most part, the biz tells stories of super-heroes…larger than life characters who do the right thing, often bravely, often with personal sacrifice.

Today, I offer up tributes to a couple of real life people who earned our attention and thanks.

First up:  Sergeant Shamar Thomas, USMC.  

His speech to the NYPD on the streets of New York on Saturday after seeing some of their fellow officers brutalize OWS protesters is one of the most touching speeches I’ve seen.  I’ve watched it three times, and it makes me choke up.  He knows the way America is supposed to work, and watching it malfunction in front of him, pulls this moment of rage out of him.  This is the real life Captain America speaking his mind.

Check out the expressions on the faces of people listening to him, both cops and citizens.  As a civilian, it’s not my place to salute him, but I wish I could.

NEXT UP:  Zachary Quinto, our new Mr. Spock.  

Zachary came out as gay this week.  Even though we’re living in the 21st Century where this sort of thing isn’t supposed to matter, the sad thing is still does.   He said he couldn’t keep quiet about it any more after the tragic suicide of a young man named  Jamey Rodemeyer.  I’d rather he explain it to you than me, so the link to his blog is here.

Zachary stepped into the shoes of one of the 20th Century’s most beloved fictional characters, playing the new Spock, a difficult situation under any circumstances, and this might make his road ahead a little more difficult with a small, moronic section of his audience.  He felt he had his reasons to keep his private life quiet up til this week, and now he came out because he thought it would help other people in difficult situations.  A brave sacrifice for others.  The definition of a Super-Hero.

This is Quinto’s “It Gets Better” video.  Powerful stuff.

Last week, I STUPIDLY said that Leonard Nimoy was the only Spock for me.  Today I offer Zachary a Vulcan Salute and a sincere apology.  Good man.  You earned your ears.

Well earned.

Lastly:  A good Samaritan named Jordan (last name withheld).

Yesterday, I was on my way into the city to teach my class when my car choked and died by the side of the highway.  By a stupid oversight, I did not have my phone with me, and my wife and I had no way to call a tow-truck, and more importantly, had no way to contact my school to let the students know I couldn’t make it in to teach class.

Artist's rendering. This is not my car.

In the middle of rush hour traffic, a man named Jordan –  a total stranger –  pulled over, leant me his phone, and DROVE ME TO MY SCHOOL, MILES OUT OF HIS WAY!!!   He felt the students didn’t need to have the class cancelled if he could help.  Who DOES that kind of thing?!?

I have Jordan’s phone number and email address, and he’s getting a big basket of thanks in a couple of days.  The world needs more of this kind of guy.

I love that I get to tell the stories of super-heroes in the pages of the comics I work on.  I hope these comics inspire people to do the right thing.  Personally, I get inspired by the three guys you read about above.  Even in these difficult times, the world has great people in it.

The glass is half full.

Ty the Guy OUT

Here now, your Good Samaritan Comic Book moment:

There’s a comic book for EVERY character.

Dog Poop Romance Bun Toons, YAY!

Wait, DOG POOP?!? I must have mis-typed that!

Today:  A special “unseen Bun Toon”  Honest To God True-Life Adventure with an odd origin and a bit of a guest starring art-job from TK Labus (a friend of mine who is currently an animator on the bizarre cartoon series Ugly Americans).

Not too long ago, I was a guest on a reality TV show called “Outlaw In-Laws”, where I was asked to teach a man and his soon to be mother-in-law how to write and draw their own comic book to be printed and given out for the young man’s wedding.  Amazingly enough, these two didn’t learn how to write and draw their own comic book in the space of half an hour.  Instead, with their nuptials looming, I was conscripted into service to write and draw the darn thing myself.  Badly pressed for time and partly because I liked the more feminine style that she uses, I asked my friend TK Labus to help out with the art, and she penciled the story from my thumbnail layouts, after which I added a bit of wash tone to the whole affair and we made it time to have these handed out to the wedding guests as they attended the reception.  It’s the romantic story of our hero’s proposal told in Honest To God True Life Adventure form.  And it involves dog poop.

Sort of.


That should bring a tear to your eye…either with emotion or something else. Considering she said “yes” to that proposal, I assume they were meant for each other and are enjoying their life together.   I didn’t attend the wedding myself, there’s no telling what was in the cake.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your dog poop comic book Bonus Moment:

From Captain America #281.


For last week's outrageous Sherlock Holmes Bun Toons, click on the great detective's hat.

For Every Bun Toon ever, click the rabbit's nose.

Once again, I become a preposterously minor character in a vague spin-off of a legendary franchise!

Third in a series.

Last night, we had a meeting for the Toronto Cartoonist Workshop group — the talented bunch of creators who are writing and drawing the Sensational Holmes Incorporated second issue that I’m editing.  (I’ll start to show off some of the fantastic images from the new stories soon!) and after the meeting, one of our crafty and skilled writers (Mighty Mike Marano) got to chatting with me, and I mentioned that I’d appeared as an actor in some old Canadian TV shows about twenty years ago, and I foolishly told him the name of one of them:  Katts and Dog.

Dog and Katts. Note: I am neither of these actors

And so Mike promptly got to looking for it on Youtube, and found a clip or two online, because Youtube is a level of hell where all your past mistakes are in streaming form.

Before we go to the clip,  talk show rules require I set it up….  I play an annoying rookie cop – an academy classmate of the main character, Katts.  The role required sighing, snorting, barking and behaving like a dick whenever the camera was on.  My dialog included the memorable line, “Woof Woof, punk, I’m a dick.”.  It’s where the Emmy I keep in my “sun room”  comes from.

Seconds before a sigh. Soon, I'll be barking. Note: I'm the one on the right.

After you watch this clip, I’ll explain why this is even remotely interesting…

Okay…so I’m looking for a link to where you can buy the DVD set, or the IMDB page for this show or something, as is nettiquette correctness dictates, and found out that the only DVD sets of this old show available or in French.  And in French, the series has a different name:

Rin Tin Tin Junior!?!?   Being in Katts and Dog, I could care less about, but I was in a Rin Tin Tin TV show!  That’s cool, even accidentally!  I remember meeting the dog, but we didn’t do anything on screen together.  I think his name was RUDY.   But ignore that I’m terrible in the part, and that I never worked on screen with the dog, or that his name wasn’t originally Rin Tin Tin….I worked with a Hollywood legend’s fifteenth generation, French-Canadian heir…. Rin Tin Tin JUNIOR!!

It seems the series was set in San Fransisco or Paris. Or both. Perhaps it involved a magic transporting genie-dog who flew between cities. I've never seen the show.

Apparently, in either the French of the English version of the series, I had a two second moment in the starting montage of one of the seasons.  Which means, when it was on the air, I would have friends tell me they saw me on TV all the time, even though I wasn’t actually on the show, but I got whopping residual checks for like, fifty bucks every year or so for a while.  The instant fame caused me to seek drugs and whores, but Dr. Drew cleaned me up.

By season three, the dog adopted an orphan, and a drunken Katts was arresting street car tracks. I had long ago left the series, by this disappointing season, unaware for years that I'd even been on it.

First I was made a subway station  in Gotham City, then a minor character in Planet of the Apes, and now, again… in the deepest corners of the most obscure records of Hollywood history, I am an astoundingly unimportant footnote in the legend of Rin Tin Tin!

Oh the life I lead.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your BONUS Rin Tin Tin Comic Book Moment:

What kind of a heartless monster would trick a dog and a child?

If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.

Just as things were going swimingly, too.

I’m typing this on my wife’s laptop with one hand from an emergency room, where I’m waiting on X-rays to come back and see if I have, in fact, broken my wrist.  As regular readers of this blog know, I’ve been doing some Spider-Man work with Dan Slott lately, both the recent “Death of Johnny Storm” issue of Amazing (#657) …

Out in stores this week...

and the “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark” miniseries, that’s due to hit stores in a month (still beating the official opening for the theater show by two weeks!)

…and stupid me falls down a flight of cement stairs on the way into the FedEx center to drop off the latest batch of pages last night.  I can’t even blame snow or ice on my slipping, as we’ve been having a lovely March up here in Canada, and now that it’s over, it’s even nicer.

I’ve broken my thumb once before (back when I was a Superman inker), and was able to keep working by taping the brushes to my cast, but immobilizing my wrist may prove too difficult to do…so if it’s ACTUALLY broken, I may not be able to finish the last issue of STOTD on time, which would PISS ME OFF no end.   It’s been a frantic morning as boss-man Wacker has called more than my mom today…I’ll keep you guys updated, but I’m hoping desperately I get to finish this up.  I’m down to the last EIGHT DAMN PAGES, but they’re due in two weeks, so…who knows.

I was having a good week, too.

Ty the possibly broken Guy.

UPDATE:  It turns out that the wrist was perfectly fine, and that there is no Spider-Man musical comic book, and I’m not working on one if there is, and that you should never believe what you read on April 1st.  Ain’t I a stinker?