Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The HOT and the not so hot....

HOT SAUCE COMMITTEE, PART I, the first Beastie Boys album since 2004's TO THE FIVE BOROUGHS, was supposed to drop in September 2009....but was held back after MCA's medical scare. 

A release date for this album has yet to be announced, but these tracks have leaked online: TOO MANY RAPPERS, POP YOUR BALLOON, HERE'S A LITTLE SOMETHIN' FOR YA, and LEE MAJORS COME AGAIN.

The verdict: I'm digging the weird, Egyptian synthed-out, jungle-beat "Pop Your Balloon" the best out of these four....It's a fun romp and it sounds like they're having fun performing.

"Lee Majors" may have the most promising title, but the song is a throwback to the '90s rap/punk amalgams for "Check Your Head" and "Ill Communication" which are kind of hit or miss. This one seems more miss upon first listen, but it also sounds like a track that might grow on me a little.

Another "Ill Communication" reminder, "Too Many Rappers" (which was supposed to be this album's lead single) re-pairs the Beasties with Q-Tip and that's always fun. This track is okay if not as good as "Get It Together." As a lead single, it's no "Check It Out" or "Intergalactic" so  this may not bode well for the entire HOT SAUCE album.

"Here's a Little Somethin'" is the Beasties on autopilot. This is what they sound like when they're at their most generic, like on a couple of the last few tracks on the otherwise fun TO THE FIVE BOROUGHS. If it's not too late, they should shove this one back into the vault before HOT SAUCE is released.

I will always be interested in the latest Beastie Boys album, even if over the years they've become more preachy and politically correct and will never deliver the subversive thrills of a LICENSED TO ILL or PAUL'S BOUTIQUE again. However, looking at the HOT SAUCE COMMITTEE track list, songs with titles such as "Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament" kind of make me go "Uh, oh...."

Mayerik's Maudlin Memorial to Man-Thing's Maker!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Follow CARTOON FLOPHOUSE humor comics at Twitter!

Jack Kirby will never endorse Twitter, but what better visual than his Silver Surfer to suggest that you streak over to Twitter and sign up to catch the wiseguy droppings of CARTOON FLOPHOUSE cartoonists Michael Aushenker -- @CartoonFlophous -- and Jose Cabrera --- @CryingMachoMan ---- on this nonsensical site.

You won't really learn much about what I'm doing or where I'm at, but it may just warm your heart and make you smile nine different ways. 

Tweet, tweet!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Not ILL Enough for "ILL:" Lost LICENSED Tracks...

In the RUN-DMC movie TOUGHER THAN LEATHER, there's a scene where the Beastie Boys perform in concert a LICENSED TO ILL-era track called DESPERADO (sampling Ennio Morricone's GOOD, BAD & THE UGLY hook) that never made it on LICENSED or any album. Here's that scene!

This was just the tip of the iceberg. Thanks to the Wild West frontier of the Internet, more unreleased LICENSED TO ILL tracks have surfaced. I'm happy to report that with the possible exception of DESPERADO (with its militant early Run-DMC break beats and shout-outs to Abe Lincoln and White Castle, here's the studio version, you can here producer Rick Rubin introducing this "rough mix"), they're not worth committing to vinyl, wax, plastic, Ks or MBs. 

SCENARIO is like their version of Eazy-E's "Boyz in the Hood" or a tune of that ilk. It's kind of repetitive and very rudimentary. I'm guessing this version has several layers missing.

I'M DOWN is a Karaoke-esque cover of the Beatles tune that is beneath both the Beasties and the Beatles. It's pretty awful and has a frat-boy sing-a-long quality that worked in GIRLS but flops big time here.


Several rungs down the interesting ladder, here are a couple more Beastie Boy oddities.....an original 1993 version of INTERGALACTIC meant for the album ILL COMMUNICATION that sounds like the jazzy style of that album and is lyrically too on the nose and not as musically exciting as the INTERGALACTIC to come on 1998's HELLO NASTY.

Another ILL COMMUNICATION leftover called THE VIBES.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


photo: Pinguino Kolb

Please order our new GUMBY/POKEY comic. 

Our full-color, 24-page, all-ages GUMBY'S GANG STARRING POKEY solo adventure is out! Special appearance by Gumby. It's the first of four issues starring Gumby's supporting cast. It's already received a great review from The Comics Journal.

The Diamond Previews code for GUMBY'S GANG STARRING POKEY is SEP10119

Publisher: WildCard Ink, Gumby Comics

Please, please order, we wanna represent!


writer Michael Aushenker
artist Rafael Navarro

Red-Yellow-Blue: What a Combo! AND...Jim Wheelock is trying to finance INFERNO!

Aw...ain't Darkseid grand? Somebody turn that sentiment in a Hallmark card!

Here's a fun blog posting pointing out how primary colors work on all kinds of cartoon characters, from Superman to Hanna-Barbara's Huckleberry Hound. 

This is also an excuse for me to post one of my favorite Kirby covers of all time: AVENGERS #4! (The AVENGERS movie should aspire to be as good as this cover....but if the THOR trailer is any indication, I fear it won't reach such sublime heights!) 

Avengers Assemble!

Meanwhile, in Central City.....

My CAPS and GHOULA buddy JIM WHEELOCK is trying to raise financing through Kickstarter for his comic book, INFERNO, and he's running out of time. Check out the info right here. The deadline is month's end!

Monday, August 23, 2010

New and Improved! Online and In Person!

Check out the brand new CARTOONFLOPHOUSE.COM website, up since August 18th!

And check us bozos out when we take GEEKS in Uptown Whittier by storm for a live presentation and live comic book signing (as opposed to the humanoid robots we usually send in our place...) on September 11th!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Check out the BRAND NEW CartoonFlophouse.com WEBSITE!

It's been a long train coming, but here it is! We've overhauled the CARTOON FLOPHOUSE website at CartoonFlophouse.com and it's LOO-KEENG GOOOOOOUD!

CARTOONFLOPHOUSE.COM is your premiere destination to get the funniest humor comics alive, written and drawn by Jose Cabrera and Michael Aushenker.

This is the only place to find the hilarious adventures of El Macho, the Crying Macho Man, the ridiculous Balding Berto, and Goya the chicken. This is the only place to follow the exploits of bellhop of the absurd Greenblatt the Great! or catch up with those happy-go-lucky Unstoppable Rogues as the rooster-and-tortoise duo piss off their bosses, crash parties and upset street riff-raff. You'll find that clueless billionaire buster Silly Goose, Cocktails for One (gag cartoons about high-society losers), and the obnoxious Harry Lummel, the world's worst lover!

Check out the official home of CARTOON FLOPHOUSE comics, with links to our blogs and to ordering our zany comics! And let us know what you think of the site, Bat-Mite!


Friday, August 20, 2010

Joie de Bronze Marvel: Painted Covers From French Editions

These are kind of neat! (But did they really need to publish Dazzler in France?!?) Love the painterly re-creation of MACHINE MAN #2! King Kirby Kovered! Here's the original version! 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Reverse Flash of Success: Movies Fuel Comic Book Sales!

I'm reading in the early box office reports that the SCOTT PILGRIM movie is not doing well. Frankly, I'm not surprised (and not happy about that either---SCOTT PILGRIM is one of the biggest successes in independent comics of recent years). Despite the disproportionate anticipation of the film among my circle of cartoonist friends (and at SD Comic-Con), I never thought this one had a chance to top the box office (and look at what did! THE EXPENDABLES!) because if WATCHMEN (!!) and KICK-ASS (both of which have solid comic book followings) couldn't do well at the movies, I didn't think this movie based on an indie cult hit would capture the mainstream's imagination. I mean, WATCHMEN is considered by many the greatest comic book ever conceived and that still couldn't do squat for the movie version.

But here's the biggest upside: ironically, in a reverse flash of success, it is these movies---and not the big hit superhero flicks ----that are selling thousands and thousands of the comic books in anticipation of their film counterparts. People in the industry are always complaining how a SPIDER-MAN, X-MEN or IRON MAN movie does not drive enough new readers to their comic book counterparts....Meanwhile, you may remember how WATCHMEN graphic novels stormed the best-seller charts in the weeks before the movie flopped. Same with KICK-ASS.... and SCOTT PILGRIM just enjoyed massive store parties (thousands of people) with the arrival of FINAL HOUR.

So even if these movies fail to capture people at the box office, these off-beat comics are gaining a lot of readers...and that's really good for comics!

*Sorry, I've got Professor Zoom on the brain after just reading the awful, dreadful FLASH: REBIRTH.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

More Comic-Con 2010 fun with.....GUMBY!

I love this pic! The comedy stylings of Aushenker and Gumby!

Thanks to photographer extraordinaire Pinguino Kolb for this comical photo of me and Gumby at San Diego Comic-Con 2010. It's from this photo gallery of her photos for Comic Book Resources. It was hard to wrangle Gumby to stay still enough to take this shot. Mr. G is a popular guy at conventions.....

Gumby obviously said something controversial that is gonna get us both into some hot water. YIKES!

PS - When I wear green bellbottoms, I get called on it by the fashion police. How does Gumby get away with that?

September 11: Remember that date!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Breaking KTLA News: Stan Chambers is retiring.....

Happy 87th today, Stan!

After pioneering local news for lo these many decades, roaming reporter Stan Chambers is announcing his retirement. Here's an interview/article I did with Stan (and his grandson and KTLA heir, reporter Jaime Chambers, right) that was published a day before my birthday in 2008.

I'm no Bob Hope, but thanks for the memories, Stan!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More Comic-Con 2010 Highlights: the WOWIO Yacht Party

On Friday, July 23, 2010, Gumby Comics publisher Mel Smith (left) and myself arrived at the Wowio Yachty Party with colorist Lance Borde after the convention with freshly pressed copies of GUMBY'S GANG STARRING POKEY. That's not Lance in the middle (although no one is arguing he wouldn't look smashing in a little black cocktail number), it's Arriane Alexander, a Wowio affiliate who helped out with the event.

Wowio.com carries the digital download versions of my comic books (see my Wowio.com home page) and their execs are the coolest. My rep, Kristin Ellison, and Kelly Lind, the marketing coordinator, are a fun bunch from Boston. It was terrific meeting them in person at the yacht party and thankfully, the boat didn't sink that night (confession: I cheated on my diet that week).

In addition to the food, booze and good company, a couple of live bands and some fireworks capped off the evening at San Diego Bay. 

Fun times!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Friday, August 6, 2010


I just saw BEOWULF (2007). I liked it. It's a big cartoon, cut it some slack, OK? It was more fun than 300 and it already looks better than THOR. (Now I know why they cast Anthony Hopkins as Odin....Thanks, BEOWULF!) Grendel, Grendel's mother....naughty, naughty!

CRAZY HEART (2009) I really enjoyed this country music-flavored movie. A simple story with rock solid acting by likable actors. Even Colin Farrell does well here! Maggie Gyllenhall is good. Jeff Bridges is good. Bad Blake abides....

Speaking of alluding to the Coen Bros., I finally saw their live-action cartoon, INTOLERABLE CRUELTY (2003) and I liked it more than I thought I would. It's a trifle, for sure. This was no BIG LEBOWSKI or HUDSUCKER PROXY, but it was kind of fun. Coen Bros. Lite. I'm feeling generous...I'm cutting George Clooney some slack after FANTASTIC MR. FOX. "Gus Petch will nail your ASS!" "The Massey prenup! It's ironclad!" I've run out of quotes....

None of my friends enjoyed SHOPGIRL (2005) so I might be unfriended for admitting that I enjoyed this mushball movie. Steve Martin wrote this movie as well as starred in it. When Steve Martin writes a movie, it's usually good (as opposed to 98 percent of his movies). Steve Martin is kind of pathetic in this one. Claire Danes is good and I always enjoy the quirky Jason Schwartzman. This is kind of Steve Martin's LOST IN TRANSLATION (which is a better film for sure) and he's a little full of himself, even narrating the movie. Still, it held my interest.

SHERLOCK HOLMES (2009) is a snoozer. Y-a-a-a-aaawn! God awful in its inert dullness. I'm so 3008, it's so 1008!  They should have lit a few more candles in certain scenes so we can see what's happening. None of the stars have chemistry, Robert Downey, Jr. is an unconvincing Brit riding on IRON MAN good will (and good marketing, I guess ---- how and why did this do well?) A Bloomingdales mannequin can act better than the lead actress, whoever she was. Whose idea was it to pair up RDJR with Jude Law as Doc Watson? JUDE LAW??? He's not even fat! Oh, God, even the score is annoying: that fiddle is in pain!! Someone put that violin out of its misery. It was like a Holocaust movie soundtrack gone awry! What gives? This film should have been titled LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN (minus the LEAGUE OF EXTRA). Skip this mess!

The YOGI BEAR movie trailer (2010)....(Don't even get me started on how wrong this movie looks! I'll sooner rent MARMADUKE!!!!)

The trailer for THOR (2010). It's no secret that I was let down by the logic-challenged IRON MAN 2, which I felt, following the atrociously mindless and irrational WOLVERINE, signaled the jumping of the Marvel superhero movie shark (named Bruce). Well, the trailer for THOR seems to confirm this. WHAT THE HELL IS THOR DOING RUNNING AROUND NEW MEXICO, FENDING OFF GOVERNMENT AGENTS? HE'S NOT THE HULK!!! DID ANYONE READ THE COMIC BEFORE MAKING THIS MOVIE? DID ANYONE SEE "BEOWULF"? THAT's what the THOR movie should look like! Crazy blood and guts and demons and dragons and sword and sorcery and larger-than-life deities...And how about Manhattan? Donald Blake is an urbane doctor with a limp living in the big city, not some wandering beach-bum transient! What giveth?

The biggest problem with THOR is the same affliction that plagued the FANTASTIC FOUR flicks: it's missing the Kirby flair. Someone needs to replicate and incorporate Kirby's cosmic aesthetic. ESPECIALLY with stuff like the FF and THOR. Those are SO Kirby....

If Jack Kirby were alive today, he'd show up on the set of THOR and shoot 11 people, then turn the gun on himself. Since he's no longer around, someone should've done that for him! (now THAT's a movie shoot....LOL).

Here's a better Thor than anything in that damn film:

It's a redesign of the Mighty Thor, inked by Don Heck. Hell, this is almost as great as the original Thor costume design. I love the gloves, where can I get a pair?Burberry? Kirby probably pooped this out......but even Kirby's throwaways are genius!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Not to be outdone by the Three Stooges, Team Gumby stages some real live "antics" on the San Diego Comic-Con floor. 

That's Mrs. Joe Clokey on the far left, their tech support guy from Atlanta in the foreground, Gumby; myself holding a rapidly depreciating mint-to-very-good copy of the GUMBY'S GANG STARRING POKEY comic; the book's colorist, Lance Borde; and the book's publisher, Mel Smith. Man, what a fun table we ran! If SD Comic-Con 2010 were a reality star, it'd be Kim Kardashian. Top shelf! 07/23/10

The guy in the black cap in the background was our lovable neighbor, who may have once lived inside a trash can on Sesame Street. A real people person, this guy. He was so committed to selling his wares, he went M.I.A. for most of the convention. (No surprise his table was rarely visited.) He only surfaced long enough to gripe about us laying stuff on his unused table. At one point, he dramatically threw down a pamphlet in frustration with us. And yet, he was gone for most of each day and his table sat there in neglect. Go figure!  (One handwritten note, scribbled on a lined sheet of paper, famously promised that he would "Be Back at 4:30 p.m." ---- hey, it's not like they were lining up at his table!). 
From 7/22/2010, here's another gallery plane at the AFTER CON art opening. Lots of skateboard art and references to Vampirella and the Heath Ledger Joker made it into the show. This wall seems to have it all!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Matt Lorentz's AFTER CON art show (SD COMIC-CON)

Photos by John Warner

Simultaneously, as San Diego Comic-Con 2010 was turing out to be one of the best I ever attended, I had some artwork (two acrylics and one round oil canvas) in a show curated by ex-San Diego local MATT LORENTZ (he of the Tony Hawk and Quicksilver skatewear designs).

Matt got a great bunch of artists - probably about 50 of us - to contribute to the first annual AFTER CON, a charity event in memory of Comic-Con founder Shel Dorf held in a nondescript white building just north of the corner of 10th and Market in downtown San Diego.

I could have gone to this art show every night, as they had receptions from Thurs. through Sat. during Comic-con, but unfortunately with all of the stuff going on, I only made it on Thursday night, but that proved fortuitous, as I ran into my pal Pinguino there. It was a full house.

It was a fun night. My buddy and Comic-Con host Alex Vallejo stopped by at the end of his night partying and we chilled out at the art show, goofing around.
See that Bat-Mite in the upper right? That's a contribution by my buddy, EL MUERTO AZTEC ZOMBIE cartoonist JAVIER HERNANDEZ.
Here's another shot of that Bat-Mite, with my EL GATO'S MUDDA peeping out of the side column (li'l b/w painting of the old bag with the glasses). The Bat-Mite painting sold, by the way.
Not only were paintings featured, so were these cool scupltures. Anyone speak Na'vi?
Cute little devil, ain't he?
That's a head-on shot of my EL GATO'S MUDDA painting above. Anyone who's read my EL GATO CRIME MANGLER comics knows that she smokes and cusses, folks!

A tribute to late Comic-Con founder Shel Dorf and Stan Lee above...

My two other paintings in the show are the second ("Tiki Holiday," which sold) and the fourth ("The Double Man- The Animated Series").

Thanks, Matt, for putting together such a fun show. It was a lot of fun and Matt did a great job. Count me in for the second annual AFTER CON!

Monday, August 2, 2010

More from the trenches of SD Comic-Con 2010 (and 2008, even!)

Thanks to my buddy and SD Comic-Con 2010 host ALEX VALLEJO for the photos on this post. Above is Alex's goddaughter Geneva with a certain big green guy at this year's convention.
Here's Team Gumby on Friday, July 23, 2010 at the Gumby Comics table where we were signing up copies of GUMBY'S GANG STARRING POKEY, the book I wrote and RAFAEL NAVARRO drew. On the left is Gumby Comics' new techie wiz from Altanta, that's Art Clokey's son, Joe Clokey, along with his wife and kids (Art's grandchildren), Gumby, myself holding the Pokey book, LANCE BORDE, POKEY's phenomenal colorist, and MEL SMITH, our gonzo Gumby Comics publisher who has pulled together and continues to pull together some great talent and material under the Gumby brand. (If I look a little dyspeptic in this photo, it's probably because Lance is goosing me...he just can't resist!)
Legendary letterer JANICE CHIANG (she of Marvel Comics in the 1980s) paid me a visit. This is the first time I've met her in person although I've already interviewed her for an upcoming BACK ISSUE magazine article. She's a pip--a terrific interview---and a true survivor in an industry that has changed "radically" (get it, Janice?) in the last 15 years. She's currently lettering for Archie and a bunch of other companies. You'll be reading more about her next year in the pages of BACK ISSUE magazine!
What would Comic-Con be without the terrific costumes? How that tall guy found an Optimus Prime outfit, I'll never know! On the left is Alex Vallejo, that's me in the Gumby green, about to get stomped on by an Autobot.
Sometimes I crack myself up! Here I am -- Laughing Boy -- yukking it up upon realizing that the ice cream counter at this Rite Aid in La Mesa has the same colors as my dessert, a scoop of Lemondheads and a scoop of Red Hots flavors. (Yes, I ordered those flavors willingly, not on a dare! And I loved them!)
Alex is looking really cool on the left, I'm looking not nearly as cool on the right. Judging by my hair, this was from San Diego Comic-Con 2008.
Here we are this year, eating at the courtyard in Old Town because the Ranchero Lena restaurant (below, from 2008) is now defunct.
That's fellow BACK ISSUE contributor Jerry Boyd (blue shirt), Alex, my girlfriend Laura, me in the red Speed Racer tee, and CRYING MACHO MAN cartoonist/CARTOON FLOPHOUSE partner Jose Cabrera (looking dope!)
See how much fun we're having at Comic-Con 2008? We shut down the place.....LITERALLY! It no longer exists!

Good times! The laughs keep on coming. I'll share more pics as they come in...and on a slow day, I'll post part 3 of my Wonder Con 2010 coverage! I still owe you faithful readers the scoop!