Category Archives: True Life Tales

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.

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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?

The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate points at ME!

That’s a trading card from a “Comic Book Creators” collector’s series put out by Eclipse Comics in ’92.   For those who don’t know, Bill Finger is more or less, the secret creator of BATMAN, never credited in print, never acknowledged by the general public, and badly mistreated by Bob Kane (the “official” creator of Batman).  What was done to Bill was a crime, pure and simple, and he deserves the recognition that he never got while he was alive. Somebody should DO something about this.

Well, somebody is, and I get to play along.  Mark Tyler Nobleman has written a book about the creation of Batman and Bill Finger is the center of the story FINALLY.  And I get to do the illustrations for this important story!!  As a lifelong Batman freak, I’m thrilled to be involved.  As a lifelong Bill Finger fan, I’m hyperventilating with joy that I get to be part of setting the record straight about Bill and Bob.

This isn’t Mark Tyler Nobleman’s first foray into the world of comic book origins-behind the scenes.  Mark gave the world an excellent book about the creation of Superman a few years ago called BOYS OF STEEL:

Illustrated by Ross MacDonald, it’s a delightful telling of the story of Seigel and Shuster and their moment of genius in creating that strange visitor from another planet who can bend steel in his bare hands.   The success of Boys of Steel led Mark to want to tell the story of Batman’s creation, and he’s done it in a succinct and touching narrative that will pull at your heart strings.

I’d love to show you some of the artwork that I’ve been working on for the last while (this is the secret Batman project I’ve mentioned once or twice here in the last few weeks) and as soon as I’m allowed I will….but for today, I’m happy to finally let people know I’m working on this.  I want people to buy it when it comes out, not just because it includes my work, but because Bill Finger deserves it.

Is it just me or do those look like bat wings on the finger?

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your slightly inaccurate Bill Finger Comic Card moment:

The back of Bill’s trading card needs two corrections:  Finger did not die on today’s anniversary as stated…he died on January 18th.  Don’t know why they got that one wrong.  Also:  He was born in Denver.  Oops!

Happy Birthday Stan Lee! And the Top 5 Bun Toons Countdown Begins!

First…  Respect must be paid.

Stan (the Man) Lee is birthdaying up today, so we tip our hat here at Art Land.   Besides being the consummate showman, and the best “artiste de la hype” since P. T. Barnum, Lee IS actually one of the best writers to ever work in our biz, of that there is no question.  You’ll always find something  fun, or  something  hokey, corny, brilliant, dramatic, or two parts genius in every script the Man writes.    He’s at his best when working with other geniuses, like Kirby, Ditko, Romita, Colan, Buscema

Pamela Anderson and others, that’s true, but somehow Lee manages to be the one pulling his weight in those genius team-ups every time.  That’s his real talent, that he believes in himself like a Super-hero, and he’s kinda earned it after all this time.

Stan Lee, being accused of loving the big, fat dollar.

I have a really funny Stan Lee anecdote to tell on this blog someday…a fun moment I shared with Stan, Mark Waid, John Byrne and the Great Robert Loren Fleming at San Diego some years back that I plan to draw up as a Bun Toon, and then you’ll see…you’ll ALL see!  I’ll show you…!

Stan Lee and George Bush - both squeezing as hard as they can to see which one shouts "ow" first. The shake lasted three minutes, until Secret Service agents wrestled Lee to the ground.

I freely admit, I stole Ty “the Guy” from  Stan “the Man” (just as Stan stole it from Stan the Man Musial),  and I salute Marvel’s Great One on his 88th  birthday.

Love you lots, and lots Mr. Lee.  I just can’t help it, I’m a True Believer.

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Enough fawning over a legend, let’s pay more attention to me.  It’s the…

I started my little webcomic back in April of 2010, and have enjoyed this fun place to play and giggle – when I get an idea that simply won’t work in a Marvel or Simpsons script, it goes here.  Some toons are surprising hits, read by tens of thousands of people, and some are read by merely hundreds.  I never know what’s going to “go viral” around here, and what’s going to lay there like a lump.   So, betwixt now and New Year’s, I’ll be counting down the top five most popular Bun Toons, mixed with the five that no one read.  HAH!  I’m shackling my successes to my failures, which keeps my ego in check, and the glass half empty, because that’s how I roll, bitches.

Our first entry was much liked and commented on, passed around the net on a couple of sites, and read by quite a few people.   Every word of it is verbatim true.

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This next Bun Toon was put online early in the series, before anyone was reading them, or knew I was even doing them.  Poor little Bun Toon spent the year at the bottom of the “hits” pile on my blog stats.  Never got over two hundred hits all year.   Lonely little thing…here it is again…

See you tomorrow with some more grand triumphs of the Bun Toon Arts, and another ignoble failure to embarrass myself with.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your end of the year comic book Moment of Zen:

It’s the Top 20 Dumbest Issue of Mad Magazine, and I’m the 20th Dumbest!  Or at least, I illustrated it.  On sale now, wherever magazine stores still exist in this digital world of the future.  SHAMELESS PLUG ZEN!

 

SOMETIMES THE WORST THINGS TURN OUT JUST PERFECT!

Well, I promised to blog more, and then I lose my internet connection for three days.  IRONIC!!

But I’m back now- and while I was out, I discovered a deliciously wonderful story that disproves F. Scott Fitzgerald’s contention that there are no second acts in American lives.

Follow me down a path of deviant reality, through the doors that bar the way to the future, and to the past.  Travel with me, my friends, around the canyons of B-Movie Hollywood, with our companions, the ghosts of Bela Lugosi,  Ed Wood and Criswell, and the far more recent corpse of Paul Marco.  Can you stand the secrets of history repeating itself from beyond the grave?  Is your fevered mind prepared for truth of…

GRAVE ROBBERS FROM RUSSIAN MYSPACE?!?!?

Ed Wood in his "directin' clothes".

You’ve heard of Ed Wood Jr., the angora-wearing transvestite director of PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE (considered the worst movie ever released).   What makes Plan 9 interesting (besides the incoherent plot, dialog, and acting) is former Dracula star, BELA LUGOSI, in his final film performance.

This photo was taken while Bela Lugosi was still alive.

Director Ed Wood gamely insisted on basing Plan 9 around some unused footage of the late Lugosi (originally shot for a movie called “The Ghoul Goes West”), by creating a story about grave robbing, and the undead, and

The chiropractor body-double, looking exactly like Bela Lugosi would look if Bela was hiding his face.

having a different actor play the undead version of Lugosi.  It might have worked, if the actor Wood hired (his wife’s chiropractor) hadn’t been six inches taller than Bela, and looked nothing like him.   The fruity aliens, cheap special effects and awful editing are part of the Plan 9 experience, but it’s the astoundingly bad body double for the late Lugosi that made this film a legend.  Keep that in mind as we continue.

I was under the weather last week, and ended up watching a bunch of Ed Wood movies in a row to pass the moaning time—and I noticed a character named KELTON THE COP (played by Paul Marco) appears in most of these movies as a minor character.

Marco looked young enough back then to still be alive today, so I decided I’d see if I could track him down through google, or Wiki or IMDB, and see what ever became of Ed Wood’s stock company actor.

Paul Marco in the 50s

Paul Marco in the early 2000s.

Well, I was delighted to discover that Paul Marco was a guy who could MILK his fifteen minutes like a dairy farmer on crack…. Since the “rediscovery” of Wood’s films in the early 80s, this actor (that the Amazing Criswell once predicted would be “bigger than Brando”) continued playing KELTON THE COP to a dwindling audience of ironically sneering youth right up until he died at age 80, just a couple of years ago.

Robots cannot die, and neither can minor characters from astoundingly bad films

In the 80s, Marco put on the KELTON uniform and went to conventions to sign autographs.  He created the Paul Marco fan club in the 90s and served as president.   He went to midnight screenings of PLAN 9 as a celebrity host.  He put out a “KELTON THE COP” 45 rpm single in 1995 (long after the world had stopped buying vinyl).  He played Kelton the cop in a 2005 movie called “THE NAKED MONSTER”. He would host video store promotions, actor’s re-unions, mall openings, kid’s parties, ANYTHING to keep this character from the worst-movies-ever-made, alive.

The return of Kelton to the big screen.

And in 2006, when underground filmmakers CENTER PRODUCTIONS approached Marco to star in “KELTON’S DARK CORNER” – a 12 part series of four minute, micro-budget noir stories released exclusively through RUSSIAN MYSPACE– Marco agreed.  How could he not?

Unfortunately, he passed away after only recording four of them, and that’s where this feel-good story kicks into high gear with a double rainbow ending.

Kelton's Dark Corner episode 1

When they realized their star was dead, the producers of the Dark Corner  CONTINUED the series, with a solution that was inspired by the life and art of the great ED WOOD, himself.  To carry on, they decided Kelton’s character had to die, and be transformed into an undead female character named KELTONOVA!

AHHH! AHHH! The transexual undeadness of it all!

Sometimes the world is more gloriously perfect that anyone could imagine. Here’s a link to the final episode of “THE DARK CORNER” featuring the original Kelton.  I THINK it’s the worst film ever released on Russian Myspace, but I’ve only seen a few dozen of them, and can’t really judge.

I hope when I pass away, something distasteful can be done with me,  perhaps re-purposing all my work into hentai porn, or perhaps using my body as a weapon in a murder.   Of course, nothing will equal the sheer karmic glory of starting your career in Ed Wood movies, and posthumously becoming trangendered on low-budget Russian myspace films a half century later.

Perfect.  Just perfect.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your Comic Book moment of Zen

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