Thursday, April 30, 2009

Southern Fried Mascots

This unruly looking character to the left was created by the very warped but brilliant Ben Boling and appeared as the books mascot appearing on the table of contents. He is an obnoxious Opossum- not sure what most Opossums are like but this guy is a mean dangerous drunk.
The equally cool logo to the right was done by cartoonist John Sheppard who produces a number of weekly panels This concept was more in line with the 1st cover concept that was to be a large greasy bucket of chicken with chicken legs (feet and all) sticking out. We decided on a different direction with the monster truck scene and as of now this has not been used. Maybe someday- who knows?!

Southern Fried Comics

One great thing about having been involved in Cartooning/caricature/comics etc. is that when you actively go to conventions and meetings you always realise just how many other talented individuals are out there with similar passions as yours.

One such group that I had the opportunity to be involved with is the Atlanta division of the Southeast Chapter of the National Cartoonist Society - few what a mouth full !
During one of the groups regular monthly meetings at the Mellow Mushroom pizza place on Lavista rd on the 1st Thursday of every month (anyone can come)
We came up with a concept for a comic book to showcase the group. Having already put out THWAK/JOKESTER/CRACKED I volunteered my services as Editor and after a rather lengthy process Southern Fried Comics #1 came out in 2007. The book featured 8 different artists (From Ben Boling (THWAK/CRACKED) to Stephanie Gladden (Cartoon Network) with widely varying styles and was distributed by Diamond and published by a local group called Terminus Media.
Look for more posts on this project.
This great wrap around cover was done by artist Brad McGinty who also contributed to the THWAK comic book and his own Pee Dog Posse. This also shows an alternate logo, which was changed for the final release.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Friends of THWAK - Kent Gamble

In 2005 caricaturist Kent Gamble teamed up with Emmy Award winning sportscaster Len Berman and put out "And Nobody Got Hurt" a fun collection of unusual sports facts. Illustrated throughout by Kent it is truly enjoyable light reading. Kent has also illustrated a few other books put out by Texas Tech University Press and his work has appeared in the New York Times, People, Golf Digest, CRAZY, Australian MAD, CRACKED, THWAK and many many more.
More of Kent's work can be seen in the brand new THWAK Bonfire of Insanity trade paperback where he contributed 4 brand new pages as well as the cover!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

JOElanta 2009 show MAY 17th

We are getting very excited about the 9th annual JOElanta GI JOE , Action figure and General Toy Show that is rapidly approaching. The buzz is out check out on utube as well as go directly to to find out more info about the show.
Also check out a look back at JOElanta
and Jack Wash's Film Festival winner "Plastic Chef"
Saturday night is gonna be great for all those with Commander's packages as there'll be a ton going on. We'll kick things off with registration at 3pm in the lobby of the MARRIOTT Century Center at 2000 Century Center Blvd NE, Atlanta Ga 30345, next we'll have a "Meet and Greet" followed by Trivia. Next is our world famous JOElanta Film Festival, a couple of presentations and then a Dealers preview room!!!! Stay up late to room trade and watch the parachute drop!
Sunday we'll kick the show off at 9am for Commanders and all others at 10am. Remember this is a Family friendly show- 1st 100 kids get a free toy, any Scouts or anyone in uniform will get in for free. Check out the 501st STAR WARS Storm Troopers in full gear! Our Diorama experts Steve Bugg and Mike Gardner will be on hand to unveil their latest creation - a tribute to "War of The Worlds" with a 16" robot! Here's last year's Diorama "Killer Mine at Bloody Canyon" The show will have 120 tables packed with all types of toys, the Iron Joe competition (where teams will compete to build a Diorama within one hr), custom figure and vehicle contest hosted by "Tanker", tons of door prizes and fun for everyone.
We are very excited to be working towards our goal of opening "The Cody Lane Toy & Diorama Museum" right here in Atlanta.
Hope to see you all at this years show. Doors open at 10 am Sunday 17th! Bring the family, dig up your old toys and bring them to be appraised by our experts.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jedi Jam

This picture was taken at The GREAT ATLANTA TOY SHOW in 2005. Even though we had been doing JOElanta GI Joe & Action Figure show for 5 years at the time it was our 2nd regular toy show. Our 1st being in Jan of that year with an Antiques Roadshow type theme patrons were encouraged to bring in their old toys and have them appraised by experts in different fields. It was a huge success and everyone had a great time.
The Jedi Jam was a STAR WARS themed show with tons of sci fi related toys as well as Storm Troopers from the 501st in attendance and of course Vader Painter, here seen about to crush a poor lowly toy show promoter. HaHha!
Incidentally we are gearing up for the 9th Annual JOElanta taking place the 16th & 17th of MAY at the Marriot off of I-85 (2000 Century Center Blvd Ne, Atlanta, Ga 30345). There'll be 120 tables packed full of all types of toys and action figures as well as comics and magazines. Check out for more info.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More Stupid Cupid

Subscription page in the "All Monster" issue #3. Artist Ben Boling's excellent creepy fronitice piece continued the horror themed issue.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Stupid Cupid Gallery

Subscription illo THWAK #2 by me.
Table of contents illo for issue #1 above and new illo for the rest of the run below by me.

The only time Stupid Cupid appeared as a character inside the mag was in the SUPER ZEROES story by Dave Newton. Above that is Kit Livey's version from his "Relationships" piece in issue #5. To the right is Marty Hirchak's Stupid Cupid that appeared on an envelope sent to me.

Like all "good" humor magazines THWAK needed a mascot. This unusual character arose from one of our early brain storming/goofing off sessions when the comic book version was being conceived. The character was a combination of 3 sick minds -Buddy Finethy, Brad McGinty and Josh Latta (I guess I was the one goofing off!) and as a mischievous fellow he was generally up to no good. With a name like STUPID CUPID we weren't exactly setting the bar very high for him!
The above gallery shows some of the THWAK gang's interpretation of him. He has appeared on each issue - hammering the logo in the comic book (Buddy Finethy), shooting an arrow into an unsuspecting "napping" ancient Egyptian Mummy #1 (Marten Jallad), being hoisted above an unruly bunch of "Super Zeroes" #2 (Dave Newton), reading a bedtime story to some scary individuals #3 (Ben Boling), about to "host" a big bash for the gang of Humor mag mascots #4 (Kent Gamble), as a siloutte in the James Bond themed #5 (Dave Newton) and most recently as an instigator to a "little" bonfire in "The THWAK Bonfire of Insanity Collection"(Kent Gamble).

Friends of THWAK - Bruce Bolinger

Great News - artist & writer BRUCE BOLINGER's latest book is now available on Amazon!

Bruce Bolinger was a regular contributor to CRACKED magazine from the late '80's until around 2000. He first started contributing as Don Martin's inker but then started contributing his own off the wall artwork that helped give CRACKED it's distinctive look during that time period. (For an in depth interview with Bruce check out "The THWAK Bonfire of Insanity Collection" available from this blog)

Prior to joining the CRACKED team Bruce's work appeared in the Ripp Off Press magazines which lead to his own exclusive 3 issue series "Stranger in a Strange Land". Since his departure from CRACKED Bruce has been hard at work with his single panel gems that have appeared in numerous publications including THWAK and JOKESTER magazine.

This brand new book called "Just South of Sane" include 105 of his best. With a forward from ex-CRACKED editor/National Lampooner Andy Simmons this collection is packed with some really off the wall madness.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Friends of THWAK - Scott Gosar

Hey gang, I'm going to be starting a new feature here on the THWAK studios blog called "Friends of THWAK" where I'll be reviewing and commenting on various projects that many of the talented folks at THWAK have been involved with.
Kicking it off is owner of The MAD ( Scott Gosar. Scott has been providing 1000's of customers access to tens of thousands of their favorite humor magazines for close to a decade! Honestly if there's something you are looking for then Scott probably has it in his huge warehouse. With complete runs of MAD, CRACKED, National Lampoon and CRAZY and tons of obscure items you'll certainly have fun finding those long lost vintage magazines. The great thing is that Scott meticulously grades his inventory so if you're looking for Near Mint issues for your collection or plain reading copies - he has it all!
I actually "met" Scott in an online sense when I was perusing around his site back in early 2002. After mentioning my own publishing venture with THWAK I found out that Scott was a talented writer with excellent satirical sensibilities and starting with THWAK #2 was a regular, contributing many articles to both THWAK and JOKESTER. While writing for the Weekly World News (the folks who bought CRACKED) Scott and I took over as editors in late summer of 2003 and got started recrafting the look and feel of the iconic magazine. We certainly had a great time coming up with themes, cover ideas and layouts.
Scott has been continuously adding to the MAD stores' inventory these last few years and also conducted an excellent interview with MADman Frank Jacobs, portions of which are on his website. Look for the full interview in "The JOURNAL of MADness" trade paperback which will be out later this year.
Incidentally the MAD store logo was done by none other than MAD artist Tom Richmond.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

THWAK comic #1

As you can see from the initial covers we were going for the "far out psychedelic look". The cover to the right was a dummy used for promotional purposes prior to the final print which was done through Quebecor in Canada in late Spring of 2000. Incidentally most of my projects have been either printed through Quebecor (now LeBonFon) or the now (unfortunately) defunct Prenney Print & Litho, also in Canada.
The initial cover with its "floating" Skreech head was slowly morphed to the "toned down" - yeah right - cover on the left. Skreech still made an appearance but got bumped from the center spot in favor of "Cactus Swazye" (by artist Brad McGinty) the lead character in one of the two main stories. The other featured Edgar the lead character in the strip "Zounds" by Josh Latta & Morie Benjamin. At the time this strip was running in Insite magazine a local Atlanta magazine. The other 3 contributors to this initial issue included Buddy Finethy who served as editor with his "Possum Kingdom" strip, Anthony Owsley's "Commemorative Stamps" (later used as the back cover of the premiere magazine issue and my own work under the "Organized Chaos" title.
We certainly had fun putting the book together with the lions share of the layout being done by Brad McGinty and some touch up work happening at Magus Corp studios. Many copies were sold around town during various book signings at Borders, Media Play, Comic Conventions and a number of comic book stores. Initially another issue was in the works but I decided to shift the focus to a more satirical humor magazine. The "What Really Happened In Pompeii" 3 pager that appeared in the 1st magazine was one of the pieces that was slated to be in issue #2. I'll post more unused artwork in future posts.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

THWAK magazine #1

This is the premiere magazine size issue that came out around July of 2001 with a Winter 2001 interior date. The cover illustration was done a couple of months earlier while I was vacationing in sunny Florida. The original black and white line art was donated to be auctioned off for charity while at one of the larger Comic Conventions in Atlanta. The painting was actually done over a copy of the original and is still part of my archives. My friend Buddy added some airbrush to give a little more perspective.
Initially Anna Nicole Smith was not in the news at the time but when I came up with the cover gag she seemed the natural choice. Here Stupid Cupid has shot an arrow into the "significantly older" gentleman giving him an excuse to "fall in love at 1st sight" while Ms. Smith needed no outside stimulation. This issue continues to sell whenever it pops up on e.bay.
Upon its completion a copy was actually sent to MAD just to say "Hi" and was most probably thrown out immediately! hahah - Although over the years I know that a number of the UGOI have been given copies . As you can see there were 2 slightly different covers. The 1st cover (rare) lacked the black background in the logo (right) the second printing fixed that to help the logo pop as well as a number of interior page changes. The logo font is wide Latin - which should be recognizable to most Don Martin fans as this was the font used in all the titles to his pages in MAD. As mentioned earlier this 1st issue did mimic MAD's use of Departments on each page, with entries such as "Vegetarians Only" to a piece on Cannibals, "MeNoHava Condongo" to a piece on Uncommon Birth Control Methods and "Definitely NOT the Chicken of the Sea" to apiece on Sharks. Although an exercise in fun we discontinued that direction with the 2nd issue.
The beauty of self publishing is that you can keep learning from each and every experience. I certainly feel that way about THWAK as a magazine. We even experimented with the table of contents and the overall layout of the 1st page.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Backcover to THWAK #1

This piece by artist and writer Anthony Owsley (Atlanta comics Newspaper DRAWL publisher & editor) originally appeared in the THWAK comic book as a black & white half pager. Here it was re purposed to look like an actual brown paper covered package with an insufficient postage stamp and the old THWAK address. I still feel that this was the best backpage we did.

Up until "The THWAK Bonfire of Insanity Collection" 128 page trade paperback that is available for purchase from this blog, this was the only time a THWAK piece was reprinted in a THWAK magazine.


This issue marked the beginning of THWAK being distributed by a number of new distributors. A UPC
code was acquired and in some cases a sticker version was applied to the cover while at others the code was printed directly on the cover. I also experimented with the interior paper quality using a bleached newsprint. Although it looked nicer it was this paper was only used until issue #3 as it proved not to be very cost effective.
This issue also contained a 4 page spread by wacky Billy Genius titled "WAR Propaganda - Past & Present" where war posters were recreated based on the originals to reflect the times. Here Billy's approach was to contrast the major sacrifices that were made during WWII compared to the "help your country during the war in Iraq by shopping more". It certainly proved to have staying power as this particular piece was to be reprinted in CRACKED #362 as a 2 page pull out interior poster. What was interesting is how Dick Kulpa changed the title to "Buy American or it's 'Bye, America!" and with the intro changed the feel of this piece to a serious call to what the everyday person could do to genuinely help the war effort. What a contrast!