Tag Archives: Harvey Pekar

Comic Book Marathon Bun Toons! YAY!

First we toon.  Then we talk.

And thus, Canadian Splendor is born.  

 

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Right now, in Toronto, my wife Keiren is at the COMIC BOOK LOUNGE AND GALLERY (387a College Street, at Clinton) presiding over yet another wildly popular COMIC BOOK MARATHON, for dozens and dozens of local creators to show off their skills and stamina.

marathon logo

When the art and stories come in from this latest one, we’ll put some of it up here and at the school’s website and all over the darn ‘net, don’t worry.

But the last marathon was the first time my wife sat down and participated, rather than just running it.  She produced about ten or twelve scripts for short autobiographical comic stories, most accompanied with simple artwork.  There was no talking her into running the strips with her original art, but she was willing to let me finish up one and put it up here.

I started with the one you just read because it was the shortest, but I’m going to do a few more over the next few months, just you wait.  I loved them.  I didn’t change anything, I just inked her drawings with a bold line and some minor details. There’s one about a road trip Keiren took in high school with her best friend that I will be doing finishes over her layouts for in the next few weeks.  I couldn’t do it today because it’s five pages long and I didn’t have that much time…but it’s great!  Some are funny, some are poignant, some are really personal.

Who knew I was married to Canada’s Harvey Pekar?

I’m wondering what she’ll be creating and bring back with her today!  If you’re in Toronto, head over to College and Clinton, bring a pencil and a sandwich, and see what new majestic tale Kerien and the rest of the cartooning legions of the Big Smoke are spinning now.

lounge

Ty the Guy OUT!

Comic Book Marathon Bonus Moment:

comic book marathon

The first person to tell me Mad Magazine isn’t a comic book gets punched in the throat.

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cartoons of steel link

For last week’s MAN OF STEEL based Bun Toon, click the title above.

For the Bun Toon archive, click the Bunny Toon

For the Bun Toon archive, click the Bunny Toon

marathon logo

For some of the work produced at the big 24 hour marathon in January, click here.

 

And there’s more!

A surprise for all of us–actually didn’t know that this was coming out today. It’s a hardcover version of Strange Tales II and includes Harvey Pekar Meets The Thing, written by Harvey Pekar, art by Ty Templeton, lettered by Keiren Smith. Head for your Local Comic Book Store and get your copy today!

Keiren

Another Well Known Comic Character Dies.

Sadly, long time comic book character, “Liz-Taylor-as-Cleopatra” has been killed off by the editors until further notice.  Technically, unless you see a body, there’s no official death with comic book folks, so we’ll only report her as “missing in action”.

Besides playing lover to the Fat Fury, Liz-as-Cleopatra dallied with Asterix and Obelix in an early adventure.  If Richard Burton knew about it, he never let on.  And, should you consider that this isn’t a Liz-Taylor-as-Cleopatra comic book appearance, check a contemporary movie poster for a certain hit movie that came out earlier that year.   It really is a very lovely nose.

I prefer it with Asterix in the background, actually.

I’m fairly sure that this Liz Taylor-as-Cleopatra comic book was printed in Spanish, and the title up there translates into “Mohair Celebrities“, though she’s not even wearing mohair in the drawing.  So that’s confusing.

Liz also used to appear as a recurring celebrity in the backgrounds of important parties in the Marvel Comics all through the Sixties without the Cleopatra gear.  I think she might have even attended a Marvel wedding or two, though I can’t remember which at the moment.

Though we lost the real-life actress this week (a tireless AIDS activist and a great broad all around), we’ll always have her comic book version to resurrect if we can ret-con her back into continuity with a secret doppelganger, a robot, or a time traveling transporter that whisked her away from danger at the blink of an eye.

Which is why comics are better.

Ty the Guy OUT!

Bonus Pointless Elizabeth Taylor /Ty  Templeton Connections:

When I was young and single, I dated an actress (with the unlikely name of Barbara Bush), whose film debut was opposite Elizabeth Taylor and Carol Burnett in the film shown above.  I have no idea how quickly that connected me to Kevin Bacon, but I always felt Liz owed me at least a Christmas card.

ALSO:  I had to draw Liz-Taylor-as-Cleopatra for a Harvey Pekar comic story a couple of years ago…..

…proving once again, that Elizabeth-Taylor-as-Cleopatra is as likely to show up in a comic book as Doctor Doom.

My own little Thing

For various reasons, I’ve had to draw Ben Grimm  (the recently published Harvey Pekar Meets the Thing, for instance—from Strange Tales Volume 2 #3…)  Hope ya got one, it was a fun issue.

Well, after the third or fourth time you draw Ben’s mug, you realize how badly you want a detailed map of the cracks on his face, and the proportions of his brow ridges, etc, as it’s hard to visualize, otherwise.  The normal solution is to roll up your sleeves and do a turnaround on the character, but I happened to have a bit of clay laying about from a different project I was mucking about with…so….

 

It's Clobberin' Time!

I tossed this together in about half an hour.  It’s the size of a baseball, more or less, and after doing it, the Thing’s face makes complete sense to me if I have to draw it from a strange angle.

Or give him dramatic lighting.

The material it’s made out of is simple air dry clay, molded by hand, with a butter knife for the flatter parts, and a push pin (for the details).

In the long run, it’s almost a form of me being lazy.  It would have taken me about an hour to do a proper turnaround map for Ben’s head, and I wouldn’t have had a chance to get really mucky and sticky.

I’ve done this a couple of times before.  I made a Two-Face model like this when I was having trouble with a Batman cover.  And I made clay models of the main characters in my graphic novel BIGG TIME when I was working on that.  It’s a super-quick way to burn a character’s features into my brain to make them “real” with your bare hands.  Usually, I find I don’t have to use the little head as a model after I’ve made it.  The act of sculpting it creates the model in my brain.  Does that make sense?

Of course, with only one colour of clay, I can’t make those baby blue eyes, the ones that make Thing the idol of millions…

Ty the Guy OUT!

Here now, your Sculpture of The Thing’s Head Moment of Zen-

The Gift of Drawing. Batman, Bill Tate, and Harvey Pekar…

When Christmas rolls around (as it did last month), our family goes for the home-made gifts quite a bit.  We make ornaments, cookies, quilts, home-made stuffed animals…and that sort of thing.  Oh, sure, we buy video games for OUR kids, as they’re too pushy to ignore if Call of Duty XII is out, but in general, we like the thoughtful, homemade presents to give to cousins, uncles, grandparents, and the like.    This year, for instance, for my mother-in-law, the entire family performed a production of the Birth of Jesus (I played Herod -as killing the first born sons of entire villages has long been a hobby) which went over very well.

But sometimes, I do folks a drawing.  And since it’s ART LAND around here, I can share ‘em with you guys.

This shot of Batman looking wet and rained on was for the nephew of one of my wife’s friends.  I’m happy with how it turned out, mostly because it’s fun for me to see influences creeping into my drawing brain.  I had JUST finished reading a Paul Gulacy mini-series the day I started this sketch, and the Gulacy-ness of the style I drew surprised me when it was done.

 

An example of the same style of drawing, only done with more skill. And no, I didn't have this in front of me when I drew my lesser sketch above.

I’m a chameleon like that.  If I’ve just read something by Kirby, I draw a little like Kirby.  If I’d just seen a Picasso, lord help the kid getting the sketch, he’ll cry and ask why Batman has three eyes.

The following is a little more like “me” drawing it…

It’s a portrait of my stepfather, Bill Tate, who passed away in 2008.  I did it for my mother’s gift this year.  It’s pencil on drawing board, about 10 x 15, and you’ll have to trust me, it looks like him.

I don’t do “sustained” drawings much in my biz…it’s usually about the quick drawing, get in, get out, and move onto the next panel, so it was a pleasant change to work on the same image for five or six hours or so….getting the likeness, working the tones, playing with the textures of hair, skin and cotton.   Makes me suddenly wish I was a portrait painter, and all this nonsense with the webbing and bat-costumes was a passing fancy.

Ah, who am I kidding? I’m a comic book guy, and wouldn’t change it for the world.  Now, I gots to get back to drawing super-heroes, or else they take away the house and car.

Ty the Guy OUT!

And now, your comic book portrait moment of zen:

 

My posthumous portrait of Harvey Pekar, printed in Strange Tales 2 #3, which came out JUST before Christmas, last month. Can you tell I was reading something by R. Crumb the day I drew this one?

I am truly Zelig Templeton.

 

SHAMELESS PLUG BLOG DECEMBER 15 2010

Yeah, yeah, this was originally written and published in November. November 23 2010 to be precise. But life happens…plans change, especially plans of publishers and printers. Both these books were delayed from their original release date, but it’s been confirmed that they will really truly be in stores tomorrow, Wednesday December 15 2010. So, read this re-post quickly…then off you go.

SHAMELESS PLUG BLOG

Every now and then, comics I wrote or drew get published, and I get to ask you to buy them.  I often forget to do this, but this week, I’ve got enough coming out in a row to pester you.

I PRESENT THE SHAMELESS PLUG BLOG

Shameless Plugging you with the Jason Edmiston Cover A

First up:  I’m fairly sure that Johnny Canuck’s big return to comics in the NORTHERN GUARD is this Wednesday or next Wednesday, if your local doesn’t get it tomorrow.  There’s some chewy good fun in this comic – a revival of some terrific Canadian Golden Age characters, and the first published work of a couple of good Canadian pals of mine.  (I just called my wife a “pal”.  I’m a dead man.)

 

Shameless Plugging you with the less-often-seen David J. Cutler’s alt cover B

Speaking of the lovely Keiren, it’s fun to see her credit on the Harvey Pekar meets the Thing story that’s coming out NEXT week.   She’s lettered a couple of the stories I did with Harvey Pekar, and keeping with the tradition, she gets her first Marvel credit.  And she did a terrific job!  I’m allowed to show off the first page, now that Marvel’s put it into promotion rotation.  This one’s in the stores in a week, I’m told.

If you have any fondness for Pekar, you’re going to love his take on the Thing.  This is, by far, my favorite Pekar story I ever got to do, sad as the events surrounding it were, and I’m going to blog about why it was so wonderful and bittersweet, right after it comes out next week…no spoilers here.

The cover looks like this, so you’ll know to get it when it’s out…

 

this series is so cool, you should be buying it, regardless.

And just to top off the sudden flood of Templeton product on the market in one fortnight, this came out in England last week -  check it-

 

Issue #14 of Murky Depths.

It’s a horror/sf writer’s magazine, with both prose and comics contained within.  Not a bad little offering and you can find much more about this publisher at   http://www.murkydepths.com  But you probably figured that out on your own.  I’ll bet you can order copies there.

For my part, I did thumbnail layouts and original edits on a terrific horror/adult story about a man who finds out the world is going to end, and wants to go out – ehem…with a bang.  It was written by Greg Dunford, and illustrated by Gibson Quarter and Eden Bachelder -  a group of friends who are all merry members of the Toronto Cartoonist Workshop usual suspects.

All right…the shameless plugging is done for today. Though it may come up again when my issue of Mad Magazine comes out next month, or my upcoming issues of the Simpsons.   Or…

Ty the Guy OUT!

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Here now, your Shameless Plug Comic Book moment of zen:

 

Look at that outfit. The man is clearly shameless.

 

SHAMELESS PLUG BLOG NOVEMBER 2010.

Every now and then, comics I wrote or drew get published, and I get to ask you to buy them.  I often forget to do this, but this week, I’ve got enough coming out in a row to pester you.

I present the SHAMELESS PLUG BLOG

Shameless Plugging you with the Jason Edmiston Cover A

First up:  I’m fairly sure that Johnny Canuck’s big return to comics in the NORTHERN GUARD is this Wednesday or next Wednesday, if your local doesn’t get it tomorrow.  There’s some chewy good fun in this comic – a revival of some terrific Canadian Golden Age characters, and the first published work of a couple of good Canadian pals of mine.  (I just called my wife a “pal”.  I’m a dead man.)

 

Shameless Plugging you with the less-often-seen David J. Cutler's alt cover B

Speaking of the lovely Keiren, it’s fun to see her credit on the Harvey Pekar meets the Thing story that’s coming out NEXT week.   She’s lettered a couple of the stories I did with Harvey Pekar, and keeping with the tradition, she gets her first Marvel credit.  And she did a terrific job!  I’m allowed to show off the first page, now that Marvel’s put it into promotion rotation.  This one’s in the stores in a week, I’m told.

If you have any fondness for Pekar, you’re going to love his take on the Thing.  This is, by far, my favorite Pekar story I ever got to do, sad as the events surrounding it were, and I’m going to blog about why it was so wonderful and bittersweet, right after it comes out next week…no spoilers here.

The cover looks like this, so you’ll know to get it when it’s out…

 

this series is so cool, you should be buying it, regardless.

And just to top off the sudden flood of Templeton product on the market in one fortnight, this came out in England last week -  check it-

 

Issue #14 of Murky Depths.

It’s a horror/sf writer’s magazine, with both prose and comics contained within.  Not a bad little offering and you can find much more about this publisher at   http://www.murkydepths.com  But you probably figured that out on your own.  I’ll bet you can order copies there.

For my part, I did thumbnail layouts and original edits on a terrific horror/adult story about a man who finds out the world is going to end, and wants to go out – ehem…with a bang.  It was written by Greg Dunford, and illustrated by Gibson Quarter and Eden Bachelder -  a group of friends who are all merry members of the Toronto Cartoonist Workshop usual suspects.

All right…the shameless plugging is done for today. Though it may come up again when my issue of Mad Magazine comes out next month, or my upcoming issues of the Simpsons.   Or…

Ty the Guy OUT!

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Here now, your Shameless Plug Comic Book moment of zen:

 

Look at that outfit. The man is clearly shameless.

What am I up to?!?

I get asked this a lot.    I usually have about nine projects in the air at any one time, and as a result, I’m always behind on about three of them…but I’m STARTING to get caught up on some of it, so I thought I’d share (almost) everything I’m working on this week.

Back row: Suzie and Edgar. Front row: Sweet-pie, Dave and Lois.

Just finishing up a script for an issue of the Simpsons Comic, it should be done by the weekend.  Great fun, the family visits Canada again, and as a Canuck, I get to poke fun at some of my fellow country-men.

It’s been announced here and there that Marvel is publishing ONE LAST Harvey Pekar story for their upcoming Strange Tales series, but I’m not sure it’s been announced that I’m the one drawing it.  So I announce it here.

You can't see Harvey on this cover, he's hiding behind Hulk.

I’ve read Harvey’s script for this issue, and it’s one of the funnier things he ever wrote, and I’m bleeding with excitement to start laying this out on the weekend.   Drat him for dying like he did, but I’m honored and delighted that he made a point of asking me to do this before he died.  Yer a mensch, Harve.

For the next couple of hours I’m doing final production on a CANADIAN SHIELD cover for the fine folks at HEROES OF THE NORTH. I did a pin-up of their character PACIFICA a couple of weeks ago, and dove in for a second blast of illustration fun.  That’s today’s playtime.

Later today, I’m inking some pages over GIBSON QUARTER pencils for a new comic book (that I created and am editing for the Toronto Cartoonist Workshop) about the great grandchildren of the Master Detective, and their 21st Century adventures.  I’ll try to get some of the pages and cover for this mag up asap, it’s being published in about four weeks.  AHH AHH AHH AHH !  Deadlines!!  Whether you’ve never read a Holmes-style story, or  you’ve been an addicted Baker Street Irregular for years, you guys are going to LOVE this comic, trust me.  The premiere issue will  launch at FAN EXPO at the end of the month.  Much more on this as the day approaches.

Promo image from THE GAY CAVALCADE. Hoverboy, Uncle Orval, and "The Chief" seem to be upset about something...the Chief is likely drunk, as the character was often played for racist laughs.

And I’ve be looking over some old Hoverboy footage with the Hoverboy production staff… NEWLY DISCOVERED  “GAY CAVALCADE” episodes…the Hoverboy puppet show from the early sixties.  They need some editing and some cleaning up, but it should be ready for the Hoverboy Museum in the next couple of weeks.  FOUR entire episodes were found UNCUT!  Can’t wait to show ‘em to you.

And though it shot LAST week, I think the TV program I co-hosted for Space:  the Imagination Station about graphic novels should be airing in the next week or two.  Check your local listings (in Canada) as they say.

And that’s not counting my teaching, raising my children, or my work with blind orphan girls.  ENOUGH TALKING TO YOU GUYS, I’m back to work…but before I go….

If you haven’t seen the DC UNIVERSE ONLINE game promo for the new game “WHO DO YOU TRUST?”, then go HERE immediately!  I mean NOW!  This is the BEST I’ve ever seen in super-hero CGI.  Not kidding, it makes Arkham Asylum look like Pong.  I thought everyone had seen this trailer by now, but it turns out a bunch of folks haven’t seen the glory.  Go, enjoy.  Bring popcorn.

TY THE GUY OUT!

Here now, your COMIC BOOK moment of ZEN


Saturday Morning Harvey Pekar Tribute Part 2: In Comic Form

Saturday comes round and I get to fire another shot of brain waves and line drawings directly into the heart of the internet.

I'm just not quittin'

As everyone knows by now, the great Harvey Pekar passed away this week.  I think the proper send-off is a comic story.  That was Harvey’s way.

Glad to have known you, Harvey.  Extra glad to have worked with you.

Such a flattering portrait I did for his 70th birthday.

Ty the Guy OUT!

For last week’s BUN TOON, another exciting adventure in the life of EVERETT MANN: FREELANCE PROTAGONIST: go HERE.

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Harvey Pekar. Part 1.

Harvey was more than occasional collaborator, he was a genuine hero of mine, and I am royally pissed with the rules of the Universe, wherein he gets sick and dies.  So in between my regular duties this week (finishing a Simpsons script, editing two new indie projects and teaching at my school), I’m spending two posts going on about late great Harvey Pekar.    Today is part one:

DISCOVERING PEKAR:

I first came across him as a teenager with issue #5 of his  American Splendor (seen above) from 1980.  That’s a scan of my copy, complete with Scotch tape over the place where I tore it some years ago.

Torn comics are loved  comics.

I bought it because of my then-current drug of choice, Robert Crumb, with a cover and fifteen more pages inside by the underground master.  With Mr. Fritz the Cat on board, how could whatever this was, not be worth it?

And it was, from the moment I picked it up.

It starts by dryly advertising sickness, old age, unfunny jokes, and a decrepit Jewish guy under a banner promising the splendor of Cleveland.  That’s crack-flavored Kool-Aid to my sense of humor.

But check out this bitchin’ back cover.

That’s the first Harvey Pekar story I ever read:  Advice on how to avoid the sniffles while riding in an elevator – with a ending that strongly hints it WILL be continued next issue.    At this point I’m berserk with joy, because I’m rocking a belief that this whole magazine is going to be some sort of wry put-on about boy’s own adventure stories…giving us “TALES OF THE STUNNINGLY MUNDANE”.

But it wasn’t quite that, even if it seemed to many that it was.  There was far more tickingin the brain of Pekar than that one-off joke.  Inside were comics on the history of Cleveland neighborhoods, memories of a holocaust survivor, tales of  manners and lending money, and the existential terror of hypochondria, all sprinkled together with these tiny comic snapshots that stick to one’s memory as the days trip by.

The art by Crumb was all you could ask for, and the other two thirds of the book had it’s own treasures…from the slick, photo referenced (but baroque) Gerry Shamray:

To the very charming team of Budgett and Dumm.  These three very different styles of art added to the perfect little package that this particular issue seemed to be.

This stuff was like nothing I had every read in a comic book, or seen as entertainment anywhere, and I was junkie-hooked for life.

I mean, we did have “realism” in the comics at the time….

American Splendor #5 shared a newsstand with this Marvel Classic. It's getting real around here, man.

Not just with superheroes, but also with the gritty, true-life “undergrounds”.

This is too real man. Too f***ing real.

Nothing existed like American Splendor.  It was part comedy, part Haiku, part journalism, and part self loathing confessional, all from the unlikely  point of view of a V.A. Hospital file clerk in Ohio.

And over the years, we got Harvey’s view on the history of Jazz, obsessive compulsive disorder, race relations, more existentialist fear, cancer survival, marriage and parenthood, growing fame and fortune, brutal honesty, and the occasional knee slapping joke.

Harvey was a greater influence on my work that most people would guess, and if you read this webcomic (from just a few weeks ago), you’ll see what I’m talking about.

For my answer, and the full story, click here.

That particular webcomic got a very positive response, and I kept telling folks I hadn’t done much to deserve their praise…I simply transcribed a true story as honestly and as straightforwardly as possible, hoping to tug at your basic humanity a little.

In other words, I just stole Harvey’s act.

COMING UP IN PART TWO:

As I was writing this column, it occurred to me that the truly best way to tell the story of meeting and eventually working with Harvey Pekar, is in comic form…  So I’m drawing it as we speak, and it will be ready for Saturday Morning with Bun Toons.   Hope to see you there.

In the meantime, here’s some pages from a couple of the stories we did together for the last run of American Splendor at Vertigo.   There was vague talk of doing a graphic novel together recently, or maybe something else, but it never got worked out, I figured I’d have time when my schedule cleared up, and I’d talk to Harvey about it in another month or so…

I should not have waited to call him back.

Words cannot describe the fun it is to get to work with one of your lifelong heroes.  Literally a dream come true.

HARVEY PEKAR  FUN EXTRAS:

Back in the 80s, Harvey had a fan on the Letterman staff who booked our hero to appear a dozen times or so on Dave’s old NBC show. Harvey generally behaved in a very entertaining manner for a while, but as the bookings continued, he started to become quixotically obsessive about “outing” NBC as a front for the Pentagon war machine.  Promise me you’ll head over to youtube, and watch this delightful battle of egos from the early days of colour TV and sound transmission.   It’s a big part of why Harvey Pekar was the subject of a magnificent Hollywood movie about his life a half dozen years back.  The Letterman appearances introduced him to a larger audience, and it made for phenomenally entertaining comics and TV.

"You have crappy donuts in the green room, man"

See you Friday for a new and shocking HOVERBOY FRIDAY, and on Saturday for HARVEY PEKAR:  CRABBY MAN-CHILD OF DESTINY!  The Unauthorized Webcomic.

Ty the Guy OUT!

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