Thursday, July 30, 2009

THWAK cake mmmmm good!

Shortly after THWAK #1 magazine came out my brother and sister in law had this "special" Birthday cake made for me. I guess I disproved the old saying that "you can't have your cake and eat it too".

Monday, July 27, 2009

A "Worried" Alfred?

I was given this original art by ex- CRACKED magazine owner/CEO Dick Kulpa during the time that I was involved with the magazine. As you can see Dick is an accomplished artist in his own right. One of the things he would do to promote CRACKED is attend various Comic Book Conventions and set up a booth with product while also doing caricatures. This item was one of his samples.
Incidentally Dick Kulpa was editor at Weekly World news when they acquired "The Globe Newspaper" and all its subsidiaries (including CRACKED magazine) back in 2000. Dick ended up as editor until he bought CRACKED. I am currently writing a piece for The Journal of MADness on this subject. There is also a book in the works on the history of CRACKED coming out next year. More to come...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Unused JOKESTER #2 piece

While Mike and I were just finishing up JOKESTER #1 we were starting to accumulate material for a follow up issue. One idea was to have a jam session with a bunch of artists, similar to the one I did for "The Osbournes vs Your Parents" in THWAK #5. This premise was to be called "Helpful Hints" and be presented as if in a series of informative announcements. Again, unfortunately this is yet another example of great art that no one would have ever seen. I wonder how much finished art/premises have been left unpublished over the years between all the prior humor magazines. The amount must be staggering!

The above art was done by Mike Arnold.

Friday, July 24, 2009

MAD magazine Displays

Here are some pictures from back in '99 of me in my studio/toy room. Most of my MAD collection has long since been sold off, although I do still have a decent amount of vintage magazines and records with art by the UGOI left if anyone is interested.
I wanted to be able to rotate my wall of magazines so I ended up using wire shelf racks. The edge/lip on the ends were perfect for standing the books up. The nice thing about this was that the "scenary" could be completely changed whenever I was ready for something else. Here are a few of the many wall displays, including all Mingo covers, Rickard, Don Martin, Mort Drucker and a variety of record album covers by MAD alumni.
The room has morphed many times over the years, at one point literally every square inch from floor to ceiling (including the ceiling) was covered with a variety of toys, artwork, magazines and posters. It has since been "tamed down" a bit. More to come.

Cannibal illo

A spot illustration accompanying the 2 page CANNIBAL ALERT spread from THWAK #1

Monday, July 20, 2009

The FROG PRINCE Ivo Astalos

Anyone familiar with German MAD will recognize this artist's work. Ivica Astalos has been contributing to German MAD since the early 70's in a style somewhere between Don Martin and Sergio Aragones. I was first introduced to his work in the mid '70's when my cousin gave me a German MAD while I was visiting my Oma and Opa in Hamburg. I recall that his work was easy to understand since he had a pantomime type style.
In the bottom color piece (sorry the color didn't come out right) the influence of the Don Martin style Frog Prince is immediately evident. I am not sure if this ever saw print. It is one of about 3 that Ivo had e.mailed me some time back. We had been sending each other magazines our work has appeared in and I had the opportunity to enjoy the new millennium German MAD.
As you can see from Ivo's original sketches German MAD has also been on the decline in terms of numbers for quite a while now. I for one hope it does not suffer the same fate that MAD has here and go quarterly.
For a great interview with Ivo Astalos pick up a copy of The Journal of MADness #14. You can also check out Ivo's site to see what he's been up to lately

Sunday, July 19, 2009

THWAK trade paperback Page Rough

Here's another sneak peak behind the scenes of "The THWAK Bonfire of Insanity Collection". This premise rough by Mike Arnold ended up as "People to avoid in High School" on page 89. To see what the final page looked like you can order your copy directly from myself right here on this blog. Check it out on the right border.
Incidentally other similar features of Mike's were "People to avoid at the Hospital" (CRACKED #364) and "Diseases for the new millennium" (JOKESTER #1).
To see more examples of what's in the book go all the way back to my first couple of pages of this blog back in Feb & March.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Friends of THWAK - Brad McGinty

Brad and I first met while we were putting the THWAK comic book project together. We often hung out here at my studio while we were brainstorming. Brad has done a little bit of everything from working for an animation studio, to doing a variety of freelance illustration including doing some painting for Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers and self publishing his Pee Dog Posse mini zine. As with all Brad's work it is very tight and has his own quirky twist to it.

Other projects that Brad and I have collaborated on other than the THWAK comic book for which he drew the cover and layed out, are: poster for the Great Atlanta Toy Show (see earlier post) and Southern Fried Comics for which he did the wrap around cover and 2 interior pages.

Check out his website (great Michael Jackson tribute toon)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Goodbye Mr. er....Bond!

Check out this "action shot" of these two customized marx figures that my daughter Ariana and I recently entered into the 4th Annual Marx customizing Contest. For the actual picture and all the other awesome entries check out at

We had a great time doing this and are already brainstorming about next years entry.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Alfred as a Beanie Baby

Here's an example of an idea submission to MAD during the height of the Beanie Baby craze back in the '90's. I received the standard "sorry we can't use this" rejection slip only to find that a similar idea was used about 6 months later on the outside of the subscription copies that were mailed to people's homes. Go figure!
The idea did see print in issue #4 of The Journal of MADness magazine.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

CRACKED magazine 1st issue

Issue #362 debuted mine and Scott Gosar's brief stint as editors of this iconic magazine and the last of CRACKED as the humor magazine we all grew up reading. After just 4 issues the magazine was sold and sat idly for over a year before hitting the stands as a slick cross between the Onion/Daily Show/Maxim. Needless to say it only lasted 3 issues and then promptly died, only to live on as a website.
Initially this issue was to have come out in October of '03 during the California gubernatorial elections, hence Arnold Schwarzenegar appearing on the cover alongside (ironically) Michael Jackson.
This picture was taken at a Media Play in Atlanta. It was certainly a consistent thrill for me to see the mag on the shelves alongside MAD, Heavy Metal etc... at Publix, Kroger, Wal Mart, Comic Stores and many many more locations nationwide.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

JOKESTER magazine

Although I fully intended to self publish THWAK even after I started as co-editor with CRACKED, time would just not allow me to pursue that goal. With time it appeared more likely that CRACKED was not going to flourish the way we had hoped and it was very clear to me that it may not last at all. It was during this time that I decided that I really wanted to put out another self published effort as I still had plenty of material that was never used during the first run of THWAK. I had just recently met another artist/writer who was a new addition to CRACKED by the name of Mike Arnold. Mike had become very involved with CRACKED in its final days and I came to find out that he also wanted to put out his own project.
It was apparent that we should try and collaborate on this next project as we both have very similar likes and approaches regarding humor. After some deliberating and brain storming we decided to put out a laugh filled book we a completely new layout direction. The idea was to make the front and back cover look like an overblown playing card - a Jester - or JOKESTER. The interior was divided up into 1) single page gags, 2) gag panels, 3) features (multi pagers) and 4) strips. Each category was a different playing card suite : hearts, clubs, diamonds and clubs. Mike layed the book out and it looked spectacular! Really top notch. For samples and to order your copy check out Mike Arnold's site
Although JOKESTER appeared in comic shops around the country it was not a great seller so unfortunately we decided to put it to rest after only one issue. With the current state of magazines in general, and specifically humor magazines, the writing is sadly on the wall regarding this genre. With the recent news that MAD magazine, at one time selling over 2 million copies per issue, will now only be published quarterly, and long running CRACKED and The National Lampoon now also history it is as though the Internet has finally taken its toll on this format.
The shift is now towards trade paperbacks. I am certainly looking forward to seeing what MAD decides to do here and have heard that there is a new book coming out shortly that is illustrated by my favorite (newer) usual gang of idiots and one time CRACKED artist) Tom Richmond.
THWAK has also joined this new trend with "The THWAK Bonfire of Insanity Collection" trade paperback (which incidentally was also layed out by Mike Arnold) is available from this site! Take it easy and keep reading and supporting satire!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Friends of THWAK - Ben Boling

Every now and then one comes across a talent that is just spectacular. You can't help but go WOW!!! this guys good! I've had this experience numerous times, and this artist Ben Boling is surely one of those WOW! artists.
I met Ben shortly after THWAK magazine #1 came out and he contacted me about how to submit. Needless to say that once I saw his work I was honored to have his art grace THWAK's pages. Ben's work appeared on the back, inside front, interior and the front cover (see THWAK #3 "All Monster Issue" some posts back). Once I made the move to CRACKED I brought Ben and a number of other THWAKsters with me. Ben took on the task of continuing the Chip Hacker strip (I'll post all these in a future post) as well as numerous other features. After CRACKED folded Ben contributed to JOKESTER and most recently the THWAK Bonfire of Insanity Collection trade paperback.
In addition to the above Ben has done plenty of other freelance work, logos, concept work and his work is featured regularly at the Alcove gallery here in Atlanta.
The 4 images above are 1) color page from CRACKED #362, 2) a direct prod at the appalling picture of Private England dehumanising a prisoner CRACKED #364, 3)Christmas card 4) color gag
For more of Ben's work check out and be prepared to be entertained.

3 More Single Panel Gags

Friday, July 3, 2009

My mug used in a painting in a Mellow Mushroom

Little did I know when my friend Buddy Finethy (Art Director at Mellow Mushroom at the time, now in charge of restaurant concepts) snapped a pic of me that he would use my likeness in this semi realistic painting that now hangs in one of the many Mellow Mushrooms that these days seem to be sprouting up mushrooms!