Thursday, January 28, 2010


This is a commission piece I did for a friend who wanted the Avengers from the days of Captain America's Kookie Quartet. Probably one of the most interesting periods of the Avengers as it was a nearly impossible effort every issue for the team to accomplish anything because of the arguments, retorts and quips from Hawkeye about Cap and the attitude of Quicksilver, and then there's the love triangle that nearly formed between Hawkeye, Cap and the Scarlet Witch.

Personally, I have yet to make it all the way through reading that part of the Avengers' saga as it was just too much a struggle to read back to back issues. Hawkeye was a real punk back in those days.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

By the Power of Grayskull

TURMOIL IN THE TOYBOX excerpt #2 (page 89)
"Children see that the power of Grayskull transforms Adam into a character with supernatural powers and abilities. MANY PARENTS HAVE EXPRESSED CONCERN THAT THEIR CHILDREN, AFTER WATCHING THE 'HE-MAN' CARTOONS, GO RUNNING THROUGHOUT THE HOUSE WITH PLASTIC SWORDS HELD ALOFT SHOUTING, 'BY THE POWER OF GRAYSKULL, I HAVE THE POWER!' God's Word warns us that only by the blood of Jesus do humans have any power and authority over others. There is no mention of the power of Grayskull."

Logic escapes this kind of thinking... better to rely on something more meaningful than mere knowledge. Some power greater than that of our mortal making... something like the POWER OF GRAYSKULL!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Spaghetti, the Best Westerns

I love a good Western, and by that, I usually mean Spaghetti Westerns. It's morally gray, it's days of beard growth, unkempt hair, dirty clothes and most of all, no singing!

So let us hope that the guys making the movie based on the JONAH HEX comic book don't mess it up. They've cast a good leading man to act his way through the scarred up face of the title character, but lets hope they've given him the right kind of story to live in.

After all, how do you mess up a character as cool as this...

Oh, wait a minute, they've done it with Constantine, Wolverine and countless others already... ah well.

Monday, January 18, 2010

THOR & ME: Completing a Collection

This is the omega of my Thor obsession, and it happens to be the "alpha" for the character and his world. Yep, an actual scan of the copy that is in my collection, that is the completion of my love of Thor. My copy, not some image grab from some other odd website. MINE!

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created their own version of the Norse god for their comic book series JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY way back in 1962. They wanted an unconventional hero and one with long hair and a big hammer fit the bill. Think about it, this is over a year before the assassination of John F. Kennedy. This is practically late 1950's America with it's crew-cut hair, suits with fedoras and pill-box hats. And they create a hero with hippie hair before there are even hippies? Ah, but you say he was from another age, a character out of time. True, but there were plenty of other adaptations of historical figures with modern make-overs.

Although my own collection of the series began with a good handful of the series from the early days of the title THOR which were packed with Lee/Kirby goodness, I only had a few issues of the series as it began in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY. And it pretty much remained that way for me as I was happy to keep up with the new issues as they came out. And my early reading days of THOR are from the issues around #265 or so, so that was the cool stuff for me back then--John Buscema and Keith Pollard art and stories by Roy Thomas among others.

I only later developed a love for the genius of the Lee/Kirby THOR--the power of it, the creativity involved and the sheer ease with which they were able to make these colorfully strange characters seem alive. I wish younger me had developed that appreciation so that the hunt for all of those early back issues would have been less costly, but what can you do about that?

As it is, about seven years ago, I finally decided to get serious about hunting down the rest of the series when I noticed that I had pretty much accumulated everything after the title became THOR instead of JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY. So the hunt began, and I decided to just seek out bargains where I could and take advantage of eBay auctions with low bidding. And it wasn't long before I was coming up on having just that last/first issue to acquire.

And so, I went to Heroes Con Charlotte with a pocket full of cash and the intent to hunt down #83. The first day of the con, I spotted only three copies of said issue in the entire building. One was in dreadful shape and one was out of my price range due to it's great condition and a very guide-strict seller. Ah, but then there was a perfectly priced/conditioned copy. But then the cat and mouse game began.

I had vowed to wait until the final day of the con to make a lowball offer on the book, hoping to catch the dealer in a moment of need. But I was weak. I managed to wait all the way to the end of the second day of the show (it's a three day con) before making an offer that was a hundred dollars less than the asking price. I was met half-way and gave in to the inner child who had waited twenty five or so years to complete my collection.

That was it, I had every issue of the JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY/THOR series--AND IT WAS GOOD.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I stumbled across a real relic of the ‘80s last week--a little trade paperback book entitled TURMOIL IN THE TOY BOX by Phil Phillips.

I was in the local Salvation Army hunting for treasure (usually a paperback, record or VHS movie on the unbearably cheap) and I picked up this little TPB and gave the cover a look. Initially, I thought “neat, a novel about toys coming to life”. My mind began to race thinking about Toy Story and how fun it was. Maybe this would be a neat read and somehow involve He-Man, My Pretty Pony, G.I. Joe, Barbie, etc. And then I read the back cover. SIGH.

It is a warning that Care Bears are out to convert your children to paganism. That Rainbow Brite wants you to turn away from the lord. That Cabbage Patch Kids are out to indoctrinate your children into the occult. That the Smurfs are... well, you already know that the Smurfs are pure unholy evil. Get the picture? Children’s toys and cartoons are dangerously powerful tools of the Antichrist.

Well, duh.

And, of course, whenever anything like this is made, it is passed along throughout the landscape of the like-minded and so you can even find Youtube clips of the author being interviewed about how He-Man is making your child into a knight in Satan’s service. It pleased me (I’m always pleased to be pleased) that others had found this gem and commented on it already. Now, my work will be easier. Just refer my dear readers to the websites and posts below and enjoy the fruits of other’s labors.

Enjoyable, eh?

And now, an excerpt from the book itself:
While preaching in Florida, I went to a mall to buy some shaving supplies. After leaving the store, I did something I had not done in years--I walked into a toy store. The first toy I saw was one called Skeletor, which was holding a ram’s head staff in its hand. I immediately recognized the ram’s head as an occult symbol; I decided to buy the toy. I went back to the house and opened the wrapping around the toy. Inside was a little comic book, which I read with astonishment. “How could any sane person sell this to a child?” I thought. It was “loaded”, absolutely loaded with the occult from beginning to end.

What I like about the guy’s writing is how he leaves out certain facts, like that Skeletor happens to be a guy who has only a skull for a head and how he’s the evil villain of the series. Another thing--he decides to buy the toy after recognizing the evil occult symbol? And, of course, it’s the comic book that clinches it for him (always with the comic books).

I will be revisiting this book again as I read along and will probably provide the “proof” that he offers his dear readers that the toy and cartoon makers are out to warp young minds.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Just a sample from the ol' sketchbook, this page focusing on heads of all shapes, ages and sizes. Can you pick out the one head to rule them all?

Practice, kids. To even get as good as little old me, you've got to stick to it. Try to draw something--anything--every day. Little things like this page make the bigger, more grand pieces of art work. Like, say, this chubby New Jersey mobster.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Red the Yeti as painted by Dan Brereton

So Dan Brereton created this family of supernatural adventurers and called them The Nocturnals (see and eventually did this contest where a fan could submit his/her idea for who should be the new Nocturnal and my entry won.

The prize was this nifty painted image of my character (forgive the tiny file size, I seem to have lost the bigger one):


Red the Yeti is a character I came up with while doodling in a sketchbook and this is the first place he appeared. He's a laid back kind of guy who likes soda, Johnny Cash songs and long walks in the woods.

Later the same year, there was a contest in PREVIEWS catalog about creating a new NOCTURNAL (a supernatural group of crime fighters created by Dan Brereton), so I entered this little guy in the contest. Dan picked him as the winner. Prize was a nifty painting of your character (which I'll have to post around here sometime when I can find the file).

I've developed him further in the years since, but have yet to completely crack his story.

Red the Yeti copyright Gary S. Lee