Saturday, July 31, 2010

COMIC BUYER'S GUIDE loves HARRY LUMMEL; my latest BACK ISSUE magazine article: the original GHOST RIDER!

Periodically, I write about and for periodicals or I am written about in periodicals. This is such an occasion.

First up, to my delight, COMIC BUYER'S GUIDE---a venerable monthly magazine dedicated to covering the comic book scene, current and retro (which I enjoy as a reader and I highly recommend!)---has published a glowing three-out-of-four stars review for one of my 2010 Cartoon Flophouse comic-book releases, FLOOP! FEATURING HARRY LUMMEL. The review appears in the just-released current issue (September; #1669). In general, HARRY LUMMEL has been receiving rave reviews so it was nice to find CBG handing out this particular issue by the box loads at San Diego Comic-Con. Thanks to writer Ray Sidman and CBG magazine for reviewing my book.

You can order FLOOP! directly from me: send a check for $5 plus $2 shipping to: Michael Aushenker, PO Box 25, Santa Monica, CA 90406.

Also out as of Comic-Con, the latest BACK ISSUE magazine #42, the Wild West issue. 

This one is a particularly strong edition, kicking off with a terrific interview with Michael Fleisher, long-time Jonah Hex scribe. My contribution to this issue is an article on the original Western hero Ghost Rider and it includes quotes by creator Dick Ayers and co-creator of the motorcycle Ghost Rider, writer Roy Thomas. Check it out. The new nearly-monthly BACK ISSUE now includes beautiful color galleries, the mag is looking sharper than ever.

Fun stuff! Who says publishing is dead (other than the publishing industry...)? Hit your local comic book shop today!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Gumby/Pillsbury Doughboy Encounter was in the Stars!

It's only appropriately cosmic that Gumby should meet the Pillsbury Doughboy, as he did at San Diego Comic-Con this year thanks to Doughboy's one-man entourage, Ken Thomas. 

Why, you crazy bastard, you may ask? 

Because lest I remind you that the Doughboy was designed/created by the late Martin Nodell (who used to be a Comic-Con regular). Nodell also created the original Green Lantern and Lantern's color is green like Gumby. Green Lantern was the hot character at this year's Comic-Con thanks to the impending motion picture. 

So there, the meeting was cosmic and inevitable. 

Also, little known fact, if you poke Gumby in the pupik, he giggles, too! Heeheeeheeeheeeheeee!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Before and After: the Abismo/Nerve Bomb booth!

One of Comic-Con's biggest annual sideshows is what will cartoonists Rhode Montijo and James Baker at Abismo/Nerve Bomb come up with this year? 

They started out slow a few years back circa 2006, donning powder blue jump suits to promote Rhode's children's book, CLOUD BOY.  Then they went a little cuckoo in 2007 (above) with the Used Salesmen theme above. You even could win a toaster with your purchase, they promised sleazily.

We thought they had topped themselves last year with the Giant Robot motif, which was out of control.
This year, they seemed to have thrown us a twist on the Used Car salesman theme by presenting them as retired or something with this whole yard sale shtick.

Rhode's got a terrific new children's book, THE HALLOWEEN KID, coming out next month (and ALREADY on its second printing), check it out!

Jamie's got a new color book: Sephilina the Nauti Girl, out now.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

GUMBY'S GANG conquers Comic-Con!

Here's more from the floor at San Diego Comic-Con 2010, the most exciting Comic-Con in years.....Many thanks to Grasiela Rodriguez, Kathryn Renta and several others for the photos on this post!
I spent the week as a guest at the Gumby table, where the book I wrote, GUMBY'S GANG STARRING POKEY, was a best-seller, thanks to the combined efforts of publisher Mel Smith (on the left), who did a terrific job packaging the book and guiding it; artist Rafael Navarro (below), who drew the hell out of it, Lance Borde, colorist extraordinaire, who was at our table as well, myself the writer, and, of course, the main reason it sold out....It's Gumby, dammit! The book sold out by Sunday night, selling hundreds of copies since Wednesday's preview night.
Our artist, my longtime L.A. crony and fellow southpaw, the outlaw Raffles Navarro, would pop in for a couple hours a day to sign. We had a damn good time signing for the folks, and as I would draw up Pokey when signing the books, he had little choice but to draw Gumby (sorry about that, chief! My Pokey hand is stronger than my Gumby doodles!) He was stretched thin between manning the Sonambulo comics table and signing a few other books at other tables. A comic book at every port! That's how Navarro Nava-rrolls! 

And voila, the book we were promoting, which officially hits stores in November!

Also dropping by on Friday was Joe Clokey, son of Gumby creator Art Clokey. Although don't hold the fact that he's holding the Pillsbury Doughboy against him!

Wednesday night, post-convention, my buddy and host Alex Vallejo and I spent the evening at the classy condo of artist Sho Murase and her Maverick studios crew Bosco, Sergio, Vaughn, Anthony and other Lucasfilm guys in the tree alphabet streets. They rented the condo for the second year in a row and, as with last year, threw a swanky party, complete with a view of downtown SD. This wasn't even the official party night but we still had some beers and spaghetti dinners courtesy of Bosco. A lot of laughs at "The Last Airbender" movie's expense. This was supposed to be the mellowest night, but Alex and I didn't get home till 2 am. So much for that!

The next morning, got up at 6 am to hit the convention floor....Thursday night, I enjoyed dinner with Team Gumby and a group of creatives at Sevilla, a swanky Spanish restaurant with savory sangria and a million tapas dishes. The highlight was some terrific melted manchego and bread. Then I wound up at the first annual After Con fundraiser, where Matt Lorentz curated a fantastic show near 10th and Market that included paintings by myself and Javier Hernandez (the EL MUERTO, AZTEC ZOMBIE cartoonist, who contributed a Bat-Mite painting but could not appear in person). One of my three paintings, TIKI HOLIDAY, sold at the auction. The lovely Pinguino happened to be there. Alex stopped by and by the time we got to his place, it was like 1 AM. So much for catching  up on sleep, right?
 Friday was all about the yacht party, where Wowio, my digital comics distributor, threw a party. Team Gumby and myself were joined by fellow Wowio and Cartoon Flophouse cartoonist Jose and Naomi Cabrera, Tyler and Wendy and Maddy Chin-Tanner, and Team Gumby - Mel Smith and Lance Borde, and Cartoonist Grasiela Rodriguez. 

Here's Gras, Naomi and Wendy, celebrating her birthday on Friday night.
Following some finger food and lots of drink and a couple of bands on the yacht (that's Jose, wife and Wendy above), Mel and Lance dropped Jose and I off at Sho Murase's again, and we partied it up with the Maverick crew, our buddy Alex, his goddaughter Geneva (she's a teen but she can hang with the best of us), and Alex's cool cousin Adrian. Alex left early to take Geneva home (at around midnight) and Jose and I got a ride back from Adrian at like 1 AM. It was an evening of great company, sangria and delicious burgers! Yumby!
That's Jose Cabera above, triumphant at his table, while Tyler Chin-Tanner looks a bit baffled by what Jose is triumphant about. Jose, his wife Naomi and I road back and forth to the convention together. Put us together and Jose and I always have a good time. I definitely missed Jose during his year and a half away from L.A. This was his triumphant return to Comic-Con (since 2008) and the enthusiasm ran high. Jose and I at one point toward the end of the convention attempted to approach the legendary Neal Adams for some chit chat. But when we saw a bored Neal yawn in the face of a sycophantic fan who was rambling on in his face, we cut and run. Better to appreciate him from afar (lots of people wore tees with his classic 
70s Green Lantern/Green Arrow covers on them) than incur his rage or, worse yet, his ennui! Looked like a cool guy though from inside my binoculars!

Jose and Naomi joined me and a mighty group for the annual Old Town outing. For more on this misadventure, read the post from two days ago. but here we are partying at what will surely be our new go-to Old Town spot. Wish we could remember the name of it! Grasiela Rodriguez (above) drank everyone under the table with not one, not two but three margaritas. Good think she was walking home to her Old Town hotel room that evening! 
The Saturday night Old Town outing was action-packed. Tortilla soup seemed to be the second-biggest hit (after the margaritas) and I enjoyed the company of cartoonist and children's book author Rhode Montijo (on my left) and Alex Vallejo (on my right in bright red). Behind Alex is his cousin Adrian and goddaughter Geneva, Chris Salas and Stan Yan and another guy from SquidWorks. Behind Rhode you'll spot Jose and Naomi Cabrera, Kathryn Renta, Stacie from the SquidWorks crew, and Grasiella the animator and quite animated Cartoonista! We were home by around midnight. No one seemed to get enough sleep during Comic-Con week!
Back to the floor....One convention highlight was meeting Dark Horse head Mike Richardson, who picked up a POKEY book. Another convention highlight was getting to hang out a bit with dear friends Tina and Tony DeZuniga. Tony (above with fellow classic Marvel/DC artist Ernie Chan) is having one hell of a summer this year with his co-creation, Jonah Hex, appearing all over the comic book and movie landscape. He signed my copy of BACK ISSUE # 42 (which features a Jonah Hex cover he drew) and my editions of JONAH HEX-NO WAY BACK, which looks terrific, like a European-produced Western bande dessinee. I can't wait to read it! You'll be hearing from me on that one.....

Here are the boys from Rafael's Sonambulo table along with letterer Kathryn Renta. That's Kevin Altieri on the left, Raf, and writer Mike Wellman on the right, co-owner of The Comic Bug, the Manhattan Beach store which was up for an Eisner Award this year.

There was a lot of chatter on the floor regarding the fate of Comic-Con. It's almost unanimous that nobody wants to see it leave SD (me included). People are dreading the possibilities of going to Vegas in the middle of July or to sterile and haunted downtown L.A., even if it would be more convenient for most of us Angelenos (and, um, not coincidentally, Hollywood, which would save a ton of money by bringing Comic-Con home). Anaheim, I heard from a good inside source, is not even truly in the running, so good! They already have Disneyland!

On Sunday night after the convention, Alex, Geneva and myself shared some rolls at Alex's favorite sushi spot, followed by a hilarious visit to the local Rite Aid for some dessert (More on that in an upcoming post!) 

Then I hooked up with my ride down, the Cabreras, and we hit the road back to Los Angeles. 

Another convention year sealed with a kiss!

More hot costumes from San Diego Comic-Con 2010~

Vampirella definitely got some notice....ask Ernie Chan!
Pac-Man and his ghosts paraded by the Gumby booth at one point in a deft display of upstagery!
The Avengers Assembled although Vision and Scarlet Witch look like they've been married for 50 years!
The two Bobs! Big Boy is always a convention staple.... is this Bob. I rather eat burgers than flowers. Sorry!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

And here he is...the suspect Silver Surfer!

This just in from brand new super-fan Cassandra Sio....With her camera, she adeptly fills in the blanks on my last posting about SD Comic-Con by delivering the goods: she happened to snap a shot of that baldy Silver Surfer that me and my friends, Alex and Geneva, saw roaming the streets of San Diego outside the convention center (not only on the way in but on the way out, too - on the same day! This poor man's Surfer came around like Haley's Comet, dude!) Thanks, Cassandra, for posting this photo.....and the ones below.

In part one from the files of superfan Cassandra, Cassandra stopped by my table (S-11) to pick up a smokin' hot GUMBY'S GANG STARRING POKEY, in which I drew her a Pokey.

I then sent her over to #2206 to get a Gumby drawing from POKEY artist Raf Navarro, and he not only signs up her copy, he takes it one notch higher, drawing her a full-on Gumby sketch. That's Raf for ya! I asked her to come back to prove that her mission was accomplished, but the winds of Comic-Con took her elsewhere, thus my confirmation was never received....until now, thanks to the magic of the Internet!
Nice work, Agent Sio! Mission accomplished! And you get a raise for the Silver Surfer shot (thank goodness we didn't spot the poor man's Galactus, the thought of which makes me shudder!)

Back from San Diego Comic-Con 2010....

Once more photos come in, I'll share some of the behind-the-scenes of this year's Comic-Con. In the meantime, I'll say that I had a terrific time at the Gumby Comics table, where I kept company with Mel Smith, the publisher of the comic book I wrote and was promoting, GUMBY'S GANG STARRING POKEY, the book's colorist Lance Borde, and, on occasion, artist Rafael Navarro (he was dancing at three weddings at once, hopping from table to table to promote and sign different projects). They kept me in stitches as we bantered with the crowd and SOLD OUT of POKEY #1 by Sunday evening when the entire shabang wrapped. It was a madhouse, and person after person, family after family, all lit up when the discovered the Gumby table. Gumby and Pokey still carry a lot of popularity, charm and fond memories for those who grew up on those classic claymation shorts.

Some costume highlights for me: Pac-Man and all four ghosts (Clyde, Pinky, someone and something) paraded by the Gumby Comics table at one point (see top). They were definitely a cosplay highlight, as was the guy dressed as the black & white Superman (either George Reeves or Kirk Alyn) who looked like he stepped out of a black & white show like in PLEASANTVILLE or something... and the chick disguised as the old-school comic book Black Widow (as in the Champions, not the iffy Scarlett version in IRON MAN 2), yellow belt, webshooters and all (see above, middle).
Every year, we hit Old Town for our annual Mexican feast in San Diego's historic old section. Usually, it's the day when cartoonist Javier Hernandez (EL MUERTO, AZTEC ZOMBIE) comes to town. This year, he didn't come down (too busy running his own convention in L.A., I hear...) but we still managed to get a good crowd over there on Saturday night (July 24)...and we even phoned Jav from our table and put him on speaker phone!). From left to right you can see Geneva and Adrian (the goddaughter and cousin of my buddy and official Comic-Con host Alex Vallejo), Alex Vallejo in the mean cap, that's me in the middle (in case you missed the bright Gumby green shirt), HAPPY TREE FRIENDS, CLOUD BOY and PABLO'S INFERNO creator Rhode Montijo, who debuted his new children's book THE HALLOWEEN KID (Simon & Shuster) a month in advance of its official release), CRYING MACHO MAN and CARTOON FLOPHOUSE compadre Jose Cabrera (the green track suit) and his firecracker wife Naomi Tucker. Also at the table on the other side (unseen here) was the photographer, letterer, and all-around dynamo Kathryn Renta, the King of Cool Stan Yan of Denver's SquidWorks cartooning group and some of his cronies, and Gras from the Cartoonistas, who drank us all under the table with three large margaritas (as she was staying in Old Town and not driving anywhere, she earned her right to part-tay).

Here I am leading a toast to Squidworks leader Stan Yan and my buddy, Alex Vallejo, both of whom became first-time daddies to cute little boys (Milo and Josh, respectively) within the last year. Miss Kathryn Renta, letterer extraordinaire, captured the sound and the fury of our annual Old Town outing with her photos, which started off on an awkward note when we learned on the trolley ride over that the restaurant we always hit (La Hacienda Rena) was no more. Rhode and I were the first to figure out while en route, based on field reports by Gras and Alex, who had made it over to the now-defunct restaurant first, that la Hacienda was la Hasta la Vista! But we kept it mum because we didn't know how to break it to the rest of our merry gang (which was pretty formidable in posse size). Once at the poor, ghosted-out restaurant, I laid a lone flower on the door knob of La Hacienda - a symbolic tear drop from all of us in memory of all of the good times we had enjoyed there year after year).

But after a long march to the courtyard area of Old Town, we quickly rebounded when Chris Salas of Colorado Springs from the SquidWorks crew led us like Moses to a restaurant that was big enough and empty enough to accommodate all of us. In no time at all, we forgot all about the old restaurant we used to go to and all of those musty ol' memories attached to it! Wa-hoo! The new place was awesome, even with the crazy music playing in the background. Yes, the food and drink was pretty good (especially the tortilla soup!) and we hope to revisit the place next year! Viva la new place!

Oddly enough, Stan and Rhode had suffered bouts of laryngitis at different points of the convention, as did one of the reps I finally met in person during the Wowio yacht party on Friday night (July 23). (For whatever reason, laryngitis was definitely an unofficial Comic-Con 2010 theme this year...maybe it was the June Gloom-in-July weather that dominated the week?) Mr. L is the one person you don't want visiting you during Comic-Con...I had my voice blown out one time many years ago and it's a struggle trying to sell customers on your comics when you can't even talk to them. Stan found a creative way out of that: he put a note on his Comic-Con badge telling the folks that he couldn't speak but inviting them to buy his comics. The good news is that I don't think it lasted for more than a day for each of them.

OK, back at the convention hall with more wackiness. Ladies, lock up your chickens, the Colonel is back in town! I'll have more on this year's convention as friends' photos come my way...for once, I didn't have a camera of my own!

In addition to Mr. Sanders,there was an old-school Mighty Thor (blue dots and all) and the lame-ass Silver Surfer (in the shorts, covered in silver make-up) cracked us up (too bad I didn't snap a shot of that guy). And at the Gumby Comics table, we had some cartoon character muscle of our own as Gumby himself appeared on Friday and Saturday, inciting the crowd to pose for pictures.

Oh, yeah, and Rorschach from the Watchmen (not actor Jackie Earle Haley, who was also there, but a cosplay version) bought a copy of POKEY #1. So it's official: the Watchmen love Gumby & Pokey! Pass it around!

The bottom line: one of my favorite Comic-Con experiences of all time...and leagues better over last year's weak week, when the convention seemed to be on automatic pilot and everything was "Eclipsed" by a certain TWILIGHT movie.

San Diego Comic-Con 2010 rocked the house! Let's hope we can still call it San Diego Comic-Con in 2014!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I'm at booth S-11, SMALL PRESS, at SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON through Sun., July 25!

THE ROAD TO COMIC-CON! Today, the fun begins as Cartoon Flophouse cartoonists MICHAEL AUSHENKER and JOSE CABRERA head for San Diego Comic-Con, ground zero for freaks, geeks, fans of all nerdity, and other functioning mental patients.

This entire week, I’ll be away from the CF Blog., but you can find me in Small Press with the comedy goods, signing copies of GUMBY’S GANG STARRING POKEY (WildCard Ink), FLOOP! FEATURING HARRY LUMMEL, and CARTOON FLOPHOUSE #3 FEATURING GREENBLATT THE GREAT! at the WildCard Ink/Gumby Comics table in Small Press, booth S-11.

Jose Cabrera will be at K-11 in Small Press, signing his Cartoon Flophouse Crying Macho Man mags.

Look for RAFAEL NAVARRO, awesome artist on GUMBY'S GANG STARRING POKEY, at booth #2206.

You'll want to get the new, full-color POKEY book because this time next year, Rafael and I will be accepting our Eisner Award for this comic. It's that spectacular! See ya soon, Eisner-Weisners! And see YOU even sooner if you're in SD for the big show!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

AFTER CON cartoonist art show during all 4 days of SD Comic-Con, 10TH AVE/MARKET STREET, 8 PM to MIDNIGHT EVERY NIGHT!

Here's the skinny on AFTER CON, an art show on 10th Ave. and Market in downtown San Diego that my buddy MATT LORENTZ has put together featuring a zillion artists. I've got three comics-related paintings in the show, my buddy JAVIER HERNANDEZ (EL MUERTO, AZTEC ZOMBIE) has a painting of Bat-Mite (cute!) in it. CRYING MACHO MAN's JOSE CABRERA is also contributing to the show.

There'll be receptions on all four nights from 8 p.m. to of now, I'm planning to attend the Thursday night reception as the post-convention calendar is going to be action-packed! I might go for Friday or Saturday night as well......Hope to see you there.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


This weekend only, I'm previewing GREENBLATT THE GREAT! strips from the comic book I'm currently working on, CARTOON FLOPHOUSE FEATURING GREENBLATT THE GREAT! #4

That's right, GREENBLATT THE GREAT! #3 has barely rolled out (I'll have copies at SD Comic-Con and at APE Convention in SF in October), but today and tomorrow, I'm previewing brand new strips from GREENBLATT THE GREAT! #4. But do not fret! I'm not giving away the gold....there are so many surprises in GREENBLATT THE GREAT #4 that you're gonna want to buy the book when it comes out in 2011.

In the meantime, enjoy some new Greenblatt! Here's the strip GREENBLATT THE GREAT!'S TOUR OF HOLLYWOOD!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


This weekend only, I'm previewing GREENBLATT THE GREAT! strips from the comic book I'm currently working on, CARTOON FLOPHOUSE FEATURING GREENBLATT THE GREAT! #4

That's right, GREENBLATT THE GREAT! #3 has barely rolled out (I'll have copies at SD Comic-Con and at APE Convention in SF in October), but today and tomorrow, I'm previewing brand new strips from GREENBLATT THE GREAT! #4. But do not fret! I'm not giving away the gold....there are so many surprises in GREENBLATT THE GREAT #4 that you're gonna want to buy the book when it comes out in 2011.

In the meantime, enjoy some new Greenblatt! Here's the strip GREENBLATT THE GREAT CATCHES A MOVIE WITH JOHN DILLINGER


Friday, July 16, 2010

Show me the FUNNY! Here they are.... CARTOON FLOPHOUSE CRYING MACHO MAN mags available at booth K-11 at SDCC

Here's a look at the entire CARTOON FLOPHOUSE line of CRYING MACHO MAN comic books which my buddy, cartoonist JOSE CABRERA, will be signing at # K-11 in Small Press beginning Wednesday night at SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON. Or, if you can't attend, visit the official CRYING MACHO MAN website for details.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New CARTOON FLOPHOUSE mag alert! CRYING MACHO MAN #4 by JOSE CABRERA: direct order & at Comic-Con!

Remember the number "11," folks...I'll explain by the end of this post......

Just in time for San Diego Comic-Con, here’s a brand new CARTOON FLOPHOUSE magazine!

CRYING MACHO MAN #4 is out now, and my Cartoon Flophouse partner-in-punchlines, cartoonist JOSE CABRERA, will be signing them at the A Wave Blue World booth (K-11) in Small Press at Comic-Con.

CRYING MACHO MAN #4 is Jose’s latest collection of hilarious gag cartoons. This one is loaded with Marvel and DC superhero shout-outs, as Superman (twice in one book!), Spider-Man, Batman, Wolverine and Ghost Rider all get the CMM spoof treatment. And hell, while Jose was at it, he lampooned another cartoon character: ME! Look for Michael Aushenker among several of the Cartoonistas (Jim Lujan, Javier Hernandez and Ted Seko among them) in a waiting room scene. Sheesh, the man’s pen can not stop with the mocking!

Also, this issue features a preview of Jose’s riff on “Ghostbusters” for the GHOULA (Ghost Hunters of Urban Los Angeles) comic book due in October (I’ll be contributing to that book as well). I rank #4 high up there, second to CMM magazine #2 among my personal favorites. All four of Jose’s cuckoo-bird CMM magazines can be found here (the real books) and here (the downloadable versions) so if you can't see Jose in person next week, order today!

In other SD Comic-Con news, I’ll also be in Small Press with the comedy goods, signing copies of GUMBY’S GANG STARRING POKEY (WildCard Ink), FLOOP! FEATURING HARRY LUMMEL, and CARTOON FLOPHOUSE #3 FEATURING GREENBLATT THE GREAT! at the WildCard Ink/Gumby Comics table in Small Press, booth S-11. (I'll post an official reminder in a few days before I leave for San Diego.)

For those of you attending the biggest Comic-Con of all time.....come on out and give Jose and I a shout-out when at San Diego Comic-Con!

ELEVEN is the magic number!!!!! REMEMBER THE # 11!!!!

K-11 and S-11 are the only table #s you need to tattoo on your knuckles!

See you in Sunny Sandy Eggo!

Adamant About Adams' BATMAN Covers

More gloriously fine art by Neal Adams from the 1970s, this time on one of his signature characters: the Dark Knight Detective. Enjoy!