Monday, June 29, 2009

40th Comic-Con Souvenir Book pinup: Bullwinkle and Rocky-a-rama!!

Per the last post, here is my contribution to the 40th Comic-Con Souvenir Book. It's my tribute to the late, great Jay Ward, creator of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Superchicken and Fred, Peabody and Sherman, George of the Jungle, and various commercials including Cap'n Crunch......

For some reason, I thought this tiki-themed take befit the tone of Ward's crazy, California-bred cartoons, even though I could never truly do justice to Ward's unparalleled legacy.

I roped in my pal Rich Carradine into the tribute, because as Fairfax High students in the late '80s, Rich and I used to go up the the (now defunct) Dudley Do-Right Emporium on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles (across from the Chateau Marmont, next door to the former Jay Ward Studios building...yes, the one with the giant sculpture of Rocky and Bullwinkle). The Emporium, a store dedicated to Jay Ward Cartoons merchandise, was run and operated by Jay and his wife. Rich and I were fortunate enough to have shared some times talking up the shy but genial and accessible animation pioneer and pester him with our probing questions, such as what the connection was between Ward and Underdog, and other arcane inquiries inspired by too many hours watching Tom Hatten's "Popeye and his Friends," which featured Ward's cartoons. We'd follow him around as he made his rounds on Sunset, dropping envelopes in the mailbox and grabbing a sandwich at Greenblatt's Deli.

Anyway, I not only miss Jay Ward, but I miss the entire school of witty, pun-drunk cartoons (making sweet lemonade out of limited animation) which he created and which no longer truly exists. Cheers to you, Mr. Ward!

40th Comic-Con Souvenir Book pinup: Turtle Power!

Here's the entry for this year's San Diego Comic-Con International souvenir book by my Southern California Cartoonist Society buddy Matt Lorentz, and his pals (their respective Web sites below). They tackled one of the anniversary themes: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Beautiful job, Matt and bunch!
- The Art of Matt Lorentz - The Art of Rod Mojica

I've also submitted a full-color pin-up for this year's souvenir book. I chose a different anniversary theme to pay tribute to.
In years past, my pin-up honoring Art Clokey and his Gumby and Pokey creations has run (I threw some Unstoppable Rogues in their with my garage band pin-up featuring Gumby, Pokey and Prickle....and this was years before I became a Gumby comics writer).

With my CAPS group, I've contributed to pin-ups honoring Dick Tracy, Li'L Archie and Legion of Superheroes (not because I'm particularly fond of any of those themes, but because the group picked them).

I'll try and post my 2009 entry up in the weeks to come.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


The adventures of CLUCKY & BRETT continue as more of THOSE UNSTOPPABLE ROGUES is on tap for Spring 2010.

It's humor comics at its naughtiest. I can't reveal yet what goes on in the new installment, but let's just say that a few bare bottoms may turn up.

Here's the cover of the original book, which came out in 1995. A new ROGUES story appeared in 2002's version of CARTOON FLOPHOUSE. Both ROGUES books can be ordered at my website.

Viva la Rogues!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

EVERYONE'S A CRITIC: passing comments on two unmemorable movies and one good one

REIGN OVER ME starring Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle. What ISN'T wrong with this movie? The climactic courtroom scene does have the most random collection of actors I've seen in a long time: Sandler, Cheadle, Donald Sutherland as the judge, THE OFFICE's B.J. Novak as the dick prosecuting lawyer, and Ted Raimi as Sandler's psychologist. Random!

TROPIC THUNDER is watchable enough to seen from beginning to end, but aside from Robert Downey Jr.'s scenes, it only approaches being funny. Above all, it proves once and for all that Tom Cruise can't act. His attempt to inhabit his character in this film is a train wreck. The lyrics to the rap songs he was getting down to were funnier than he was.

FROZEN RIVER may be be on the slight side story-wise. It may not be ambitious, but it's confidently directed and I enjoyed the performances. I didn't know much about this film going in and I'm glad I took it home. What more do you want from a rental?

Thursday (June 25) was a weird one.......

Went to see WILCO play at the Wiltern on Thurs. evening. However, it turned into a day I'll never forget....

First of all, it was a crummy day for '70s icons. If it wasn't sad enough that Farrah Fawcett had died, the news of Fawcett's death was eclipsed by evening when word spread that Michael Jackson had died. And not the radio personality but the King of Pop (although it was funny that some fans flocked to the wrong star on the Walk of Fame to pay tribute to Jackson).

I still can't believe that Michael Jackson is dead (and yet I can, given his lifestyle)....He may not be my favorite entertainer of all time, but he certainly was an Elvis-level icon with the greatest selling album of all time. And I did enjoy many of his songs, especially the album OFF THE WALL. It's definitely left a void in the entertainment industry. Which leads me back to the Wilco concert.

I was rather double-surprised that Jeff Tweedy, Wilco's lead singer, did not make any reference to either the passing of Michael Jackson or his late former band member, Jay Bennett. I've seen the film and I'm aware that he had a falling out with Bennett, who was fired from Wilco. Bennett tried to sue the band a week before he died. But he did contribute to the band's solid body of work, and aside from playing a song Bennett wrote, "Can't Stand It," there was no overt connection. I guess he's not going to talk about it every city he plays, but I still find it kind of cold.

I enjoyed seeing Wilco again but not as much as the other times at L.A.'s Greek Theater (and once at the Santa Barbara Bowl in 2007...I saw the first concert where Tweedy had turned 40). The venue was better at the Greek, under the stars (the Wiltern has weird reverb and if you stand behind a tall guy, as we did, your view is screwed! Great old building, lousy concert venue), as were the songs he played. I'll never forget the first time, at the Greek, in 2004. The bulk of the material was from my two favorite Wilco albums, their masterpiece, YANKEE HOTEL FOXTROT, and A GHOST IS BORN. They even played KAMERA, my favorite song on YHF, which they haven't played live since (the times I've seen them). We got to be in the pit, right at the foot of the stage, near the center where Tweedy was standing. Everyone danced and bounced all night, we really worked up a sweat! and I even painted this oil painting tribute to that night at the Greek. That's me in the bottom left corner, in the lime green shirt. The guy in the glasses is my pal, Jamie:

My problem with the June 25 concert, other than the distraction of Michael Jackson's death and the pall it cast over the day, was that, having seen the band now four times, there's a lack of spontaneity. The first time at the Greek, Wilco played a country-fied version of "I'm the Man Who Loves You." He jumped off the stage to dance with his wife and son during "Hummingbird," which closed the main set (pre-encores). This time around, he also closed the set with "Hummingbird," once again led a clap-along during "Kidsmoke" and played many of the same songs he did during the "Sky Blue Sky" tour. There's definitely a concert routine setting in. The new songs from the album they're releasing on Tuesday have not grown on me yet and they didn't stand out in concert, although it was nice when he brought out Feist (for the first time live) to perform the duet "You and I."

I'll definitely buy the new album and keep supporting this band, one of the greatest American rock acts. But I've seen the band four times now....maybe that's enough for now.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


The final true album by the Clash, COMBAT ROCK, produced by Glyn Johns, was my gateway into the world of music. Lured by two of the catchiest singles ever recorded, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” and “Rock the Casbah,” I bought COMBAT ROCK at age 13. It was the first album I ever purchased and, to this day, remains in my top 3. “Should I Stay” and “Rock the Casbah” sound as fresh to me now as they did in the 1980s. I know this to be true, because just this morning, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” came on the car radio and I couldn’t resist blasting it.
Little did I know back in the day that those two songs, the most commercial songs on COMBAT ROCK, with their surreal flourishes (Spanish backing vocals on “Should I Stay,” the political lyrics and jet fighter squeals on “Rock”), were only the beginning. Even after working my way back in the Clash catalogue over the years, from the raw punk and reggae of the early albums to polished pop clarion of LONDON CALLING and the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink soup of the three-album SANDINISTA, COMBAT ROCK remains a surreal trip. Kind of an “Apocalypse Now” on record, filled with avant garde sounds, twisted cabaret, warped funk, unorthodox guest vocals (Allen Ginsberg, Futura 2000), and political statements that never overwhelm the songs’ musicality and entertainment value. It’s an amazing trip.

So imagine my surprise when a couple of years ago, I read a track-for-track review for the original version of COMBAT ROCK, RAT PATROL FROM FORT BRAGG, produced by Mick Jones. Evidently, the group had taken the final product away from Jones, given it to Johns, and COMBAT ROCK was the version released.
Well, RAT PATROL finally found a way to my ears and, while I clearly do not prefer it over COMBAT ROCK, it’s an interesting document, and even in its original form, this would have been a very good album, if not as tight and great as COMBAT ROCK.
The main problem with RAT PATROL is overdub overkill. Even the songs which are almost note for note the COMBAT ROCK versions----STRAIGHT TO HELL, INNOCULATED CITY, GHETTO DEFENDANT, ATOM TAN, the haunting closer DEATH IS A STAR----all suffer from too much information, a few overlay vocals too many. RED ANGEL DRAGNET goes on a little too long. The Spanish vocals thrown into STRAIGHT TO HELL don’t really fit the Asian-themed song as much as they work on SHOULD I STAY. On RAT PATROL, SHOULD I STAY and ROCK THE CASBAH retain much of their pop power, but the intro to ROCK is not necessary or as immediate as the final, and SHOULD I STAY is a little wobbly and not as air tight as the final. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS, with its similar structure and themes but different lyrics, is nowhere as good as the COMBAT ROCK version, lyrically or musically. Way to obvious….The extra songs on RAT PATROL, while interesting, are not essential, in my opinion—THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE ARE UGLY TOO is a nice extra, the penultimate track, COOL CONFUSION, is essentially a rhythm-heavy jazz instrumental (probably Topper Headon’s idea, as the drummer always wanted to be in a jazz band) and while it’s a great swatch of bebop, it really doesn’t belong on this Clash album (SANDINISTA, maybe…).
My bottom line is that I’ll definitely give RAT PATROL a few more listens out of the novelty of discovering new Clash recordings (in 2009!) and alternate takes on some of their best tracks. RAT PATROL is certainly a good album, not a mess or a disaster, but certainly a rough draft for a better album. RAT PATROL will never supplant the finished product, and I don’t think it’s me being nostalgic here. COMBAT ROCK is pithier, tighter. As much as I trust the instincts of the band members, it was a great move to take COMBAT ROCK away from Jones and let Johns refine what was all there in RAT PATROL, but, with his outside ear, take out all the bad ideas and obvious, overkill statements, and refine the final product into what for me is a classic album of quasi-abstract pop.

On a side note, I'm looking forward to the new BEASTIE BOYS album, HOT SAUCE COMMITTEE, VOL. 1, out September 15 (although the "vol. 1" part's scary). If it's at least as good and as party friendly as their last real album, TO THE FIVE BOROUGHS, it'll be a fun album. If not, I'll continue to bump BLACKOUT 2 by Method Man and Redman, which is a party on CD....totally infectious.

And I'm convinced that Beastie Boys' landmark PAUL'S BOUTIQUE was NOT their WHITE ALBUM but their SANDINISTA.....They obviously cribbed some notes from the Clash, from the potpourri of musical genres to the exotic vocal segues.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Cartoonist LONNIE ALLEN is a man of mystery to me. I’ve never really known him very well and I still don’t. I don’t think I’ve seen him more than once at conventions. I know he’s married and lives somewhere in the Denver area.
But I do know he’s a terrific cartoonist. That’s probably enough information, for his work speaks for itself.
My introduction to his work was “The Cheerleader & Other Stories.” He’s done some very absorbing slice-of-life, short-story fiction as part of the Denver posse SquidWorks, which is how I met him, through head tentacle STAN YAN, the subject of my second interview on this blog.
Lonnie kind of operates on a low-key, low-fi kind of way, releasing projects when he can. I really enjoy the ones in which he both writes and draws his comics the most (he also collaborates with other artists). “The Boxer” -- -- is another great Allen release. He’s also once parodied Frank Miller and he recently wrote “Crazy Asian Girl: Attack of the Woo Woo White People,” with art by John Peters. As Stan can tell you, I’m always looking forward to his next one. I don’t think there’s a SD Comic-Con that goes by where I don’t shakedown Stan for the latest Lonnie Allen publication.
Give it a look-see. You can find Lonnie’s work at

****What’s it like to be part of a cartoonist scene as one of the tentacles in Denver’s SquidWorks?

1) It's been amazing, especially since it's been around for so long. I've seen a huge number of cartoonists move through and some who've stayed. They have come from all walks of life, many with their own unique visions and ideas of and for the comics medium, and it just keeps going and going. I've stepped back my presence a little recently with Squid Works, but I know for a fact, it'll always be around. It's very much the premiere comic group in Denver, and I've always felt honored to be a part of it. Imagine having a clubhouse with your friends that never ends!

Which of your work do you consider your greatest achievement to date?

****2) Easily "Tell Tale Signs," a comic that I made entirely out of graphic signs. It was a different way of thinking about comics, and what a comic is. I think the approach and idea were are my unique contribution to the medium.

****How do you approach your work?

3) I think of most things as a writer would, meaning storytelling techniques, plot, and characterization, and I usually approach comics first with a story as the foundation. However, I've love drawing. I studied fine arts in college and focused on painting. I love both aspects, and it's why I love comics so much because it employs both (when well done) harmoniously.

****If you suddenly became a billionaire off of your mini-comics (three quarters at a time) and you could hire any famous actress to do your gardening, whom would you choose?

4) Hooo! First of all, even if I'm a billionaire, I wouldn't have a mansion. I'd prefer a party studio for me and all my comic friends to work and play in. And as far as that super-hot actress, cartoonist girls are way hotter!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Incredible Hulse

Here I am last Thursday evening at the newly refurbished Shangri-La Hotel on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, putting the "super" in male supermodel.

Actually, this photo was taken by BRUCE HULSE on his digital camera, which is a double honor. Bruce Hulse is a rarity in the fashion industry. He was a male supermodel in the '80s, and, faster than you can say "Zoolander," Bruce will beat you to the punchline. He's a stalwart guy, very cool, gracious. We both went to Cornell, but not at the same time. I first met him while interviewing him for this article in connection with his memoir, Bruce Hulse: Sex, Love & Fashion - Memoir of a Male Model

The other half of it, as the images in the print version of the above article attests, is that Bruce is a very talented photographer, having only worked along the greatest photographers in his field, such as Bruce Weber, Herb Ritts, Helmut Newton, you name it. The above was a casual shot on his digital, but he's got a gripping body of work shot in black and white 35 millimeter which I hope finds its way into an art book or a gallery exhibit.

Bruce's memoir chronicles his highs and lows in the 1980s fashion industry as a rarity in his field. You always hear about the female supermodels, but what about the men who share those Versace and Vuitton ads. I know, it's sex discrimination! Oh, well, fashion modeling is a woman's world.

Anyway, me aside, I enjoy the composition of this shot, the way he got the swirl of the stairs on the left. Of course, the Shangri-La is one of the most photogenic hotels you can find. They did a terrific job going art deco on it and I will be writing about it next week.

Enjoy this photo of me, the first of many, as this whole thing has gone to my head and I will be finding an agent and appearing in cologne ads shortly.

Thanks, Bruce!

Monday, June 22, 2009


This is the first of a couple announcements regarding this year's SD COMIC-CON INTERNTATIONAL. Like me, SDCC has turned 40 and sold out (yeah, I'm a sell-out, look for the $200-million El Gato motion picture, starring Seth Rogan, summer of 2011--ha, ha!).

I'll be in the SMALL PRESS arena, table K-13, selling these two new books:

It should be a fun convention year. Last year rocked ( long as my BACK ISSUE! buddy Jerry Boyd doesn't pilfer any "V for Vendetta" masks, it should be drama-free).

Stop by and say "Hi!" And, even better, if you don't have one of these books, support the future of humor comics and buy a copy! C Ya next month!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I am thrilled to report that in the new issue of COMICS BUYER'S GUIDE (August 2009) with Power Girl and The Flash on the cover (do I smell a romance?), comic book critic Bernard C. Cormier reviewed CARTOON FLOPHOUSE FEATURING GREENBLATT THE GREAT! # 1.

He gave it a positive review, rating it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars. Here's page 36, where the review appears....

I enjoy CBG a lot because (unlike WIZARD) it gives me a glimpse of everything happening out there -- the big companies, the indie books, some articles on retro books, and even the fanzines. It's informative and fun. TwoMorrows' BACK ISSUE! magazine # 31, to which I contributed (and which many feel was one of the best editions of the mag published) received CBG's pick of the month earlier this year. And that was exciting, too...not only because it was a great review, but for the mere fact that they were paying attention at all.

Even though a cartoonist must not invest too much emotion or credence into a good or a bad review, it feels good to be reviewed, and I thank CBG for giving CARTOON FLOPHOUSE some press. Humor comics deserves as much press as any other genre, and CBG has that territory well covered. I always strive for the ultimate gag strips, or else Cuba Gooding, Jr. hounds me with unwanted phone calls, in which he screams "Show me the funny!" (If I find the guy who gave Cuba Gooding, Jr. my number, I'll strangle him).

CARTOON FLOPHOUSE # 2, by the way, will be out in October, debuting at the Alternative Press Expo (APE) in San Francisco. And here's a preview of the cover:

WTF?!?! Brother Voodoo now dubbed Doctor Voodoo

In a "Strange" twist, Marvel has revamped Jericho Drumm from Brother Voodoo to Dr. Voodoo, and will seemingly turn him into an amalgam of Brother Voodoo and Dr. Strange. Guess there's no lack of imagination when it comes to the lack of imagination over at today's Marvel. Add to that the name change smacks of some kind of political correctness. I mean, good grief!

Here's the only Brother Voodoo I know:


(OK, here comes another one of my "late to the party" movie reviews....)

It's hard to tell if I would've enjoyed LORDS OF DOGTOWN as much as I did had I seen it in theaters in the summer of 2005. A lot of water has flowed under this bridge since it's release not too long ago, namely the death of one of its stars, Heath Ledger.

While I'm a longtime champion of DOGTOWN AND Z-BOYS, the 2001 documentary on the beginnings of professional skateboarding that inspired this film, I resisted seeing LORDS at the time thanks to a flurry of bad reviews. It also got some lukewarm word of mouth among friends who had seen it. Nevertheless, I finally rented it this weekend. It was directed by Catherine Hardwicke, who went on to direct a little film you might have heard of recently called TWILIGHT.

Watching LORDS OF DOGTOWN post-THE DARK KNIGHT, it's hard not to keep your eye on Ledger and his quirky performance. Ledger definitely commits to his affected take on Skip, one of the owners of the Z-Boys sponsors, the Zephyr Shop. I think Ledger is solid in this film, even though he's playing a relatively simple, almost cartoonish character. The more I think about the three (only three!) Ledger performances I've seen---in the affecting BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, The Joker, and this---the more it does seem that Ledger strived to take risks in his career, not going for complacent roles in which he could coast but challenging himself. It only revives the sadness over the snuffed promise of what his acting career might have been. When you really think about it, he's way more of a risk-taker than, say, Johnny Depp, who gets shoved in that category but, in fact, is more of a pretty boy who wants to be that interesting and aligns himself with interesting filmmakers but is not all that interesting an actor (in my opinion).

I also enjoyed the chemistry and comradery of the Z-Boys actors. Emile Hirsch as Jay Adams is excellent, as is John Robinson as Peralta and Victor Rasuk as Tony Alva. I admittedly did not recognize Rebecca De Mornay or Johnny Knoxville until after I saw the film and read the credits, but good for them for getting themselves mixed up with this one.

Hardwicke directs this movie with confidence at MTV speed. In the process, she captures the '70s Venice culture, the long-gone P.O.P. amusement park. The soundtrack is nostalgic and filled with good choices given the content, while the closing-credits cover of THE CLASH's DEATH OR GLORY (off LONDON CALLING) caught me by surprise (The Clash is my favorite rock group, so that was nice).

When I interviewed LORDS screenwriter (and Z-BOYS documentarian and one of the early skateboard pioneers depicted in the film) STACY PERALTA for this article (one of the first written about Peralta's latest documentary, MADE IN AMERICA, fresh off of its reception at Sundance), Peralta expressed his disappointment in LORDS and he admitted that fictionalizing his documentary was tedious and coming up with the teen characters' authentic dialogue was challenging. (He also said that he only met Heath Ledger once in passing). Peralta also told me that he prefers making documentaries over writing screenplays.

Maybe Peralta was too hard on himself. LORDS OF DOGTOWN may not reach the sublime heights of the Z-BOYS doc or pack that element of surprise, as I knew the story inside out by the time I saw this, but I found it entertaining. The dialogue didn't feel awkward or clunky, and the young actors seemed to inhabit their roles. Definitely a great rental if you go into it with low expectations.

LORDS falls neatly into a genre of movies alongside the 2007 underdog urban swim team movie PRIDE (starring Terrence Howard, Bernie Mac) and Mario Van Peebles' 2003 film BAADASSSS, about Melvin Van Peebles' birthing of the "blaxploitation" genre. They're all interesting underdog stories, well-told, and while they might not be greatest movies ever made, they're unpretentiously entertaining.

The multicultural history of the birth of extreme skateboarding (albeit more diversely apparent in Z-BOYS then here) depicted in DOGTOWN AND Z-BOYS and LORDS OF DOGTOWN is a great example of California culture exported to the world and a great American story, and it's definitely worth telling twice.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Happy 5th Anniversary, CRYING MACHO MAN!

This is one celebration I can get behind...

Cartoonist JOSE CABRERA is celebrating the 5th anniversary of his hilarious satirical strip CRYING MACHO MAN, which appears as a weekly Web comic and in collected book form in the trade paperbacks PRIME CUT and YOU SO LOCO.

I love his strip and Jose, with his nice bald head, he's one of my best friends (which is NOT the reason I love this strip, it's great either way). What's particularly interesting about Jose as a cartoonist is that his visual style has been evolving over those five years, basically transforming from a wonderfully wordy clip art style to Photoshop-colored, minimally word-balooned visual feasts, to loose, cartoony black and white quickies. And wherever he takes the strip, I'm happy to be along for the ride.

You'd never know meeting Jose that this was the guy responsible for the acerbic wit in every self-contained CRYING MACHO MAN gag strip. In person, he's as sweet as a Smurf! But, man, what a crazy refreshingly politically incorrect id he unleashes in his comics. He gives MAD magazine a run for its MAD money, and let me tell you, we need more honest cartoonists like Cabrera.

If all goes well, Cabrera will have new CRYING MACHO MAN collections out by year's end. Cross your fingers on that one!

If you're truly a fan of humorous humor comics, CRYING MACHO MAN comes highly recommended. Support humor comics. Visit Jose's Web site at and get on his free weekly e-list. Your funny bone will be glad you did.

Congratulations, Cabby! Keep the ha-ha's coming!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

HUMP DAY Q & A: animator/cartoonist JIM LUJAN

I remember the day I met animator JIM LUJAN.

It was last year, around April, at the first annual San Gabriel Valley Comic Book Festival, organized by my buddy, EL MUERTO cartoonist JAVIER HERNANDEZ (who will be interviewed here in the next few weeks).
Jim is a big and handsome guy with a sharp sense of humor and one of the sweetest people working in comics and animation today. I haven’t known Jim for all that long, but he’s one of those people that I becames instant friends with. Like my buddy JOSE CABRERA before him, Jim does funny stuff, and we humor cartoonists have to stick together amid this sea of shopworn superheroes that the comics industry is drowning in.
Jose had known Jim for two years via the Internet before we both met him at the SGV Comic Book Fest. Shortly after, Jim, with Javier and Jose, started a group called Los Cartoonistas, of which I am a proud but regretfully occasional and tangental member of (due to geographical/traffic challenges that only us poor L.A. folk can sincerely relate to).
Jim’s funny and accessible….as are his cartoons: funny, satirical shorts, featuring an array of everyman characters, sending up the trashier elements of American culture. If you dig Mike Judge and likeminded stuff, head over to Jim’s Web site--- ---- and Jim’s YouTube channel:

And if you REALLY love his stuff, get on Big Jim’s subscription e-list so you can keep up to speed with his latest work.
Ladies and gentlemen….JIM LUJAN!

---- Which animators/cartoons influenced and inspired you to become a professional animator?

Mike Judge was an influence on me. His really early stuff, even before Beavis and Butthead. I remember seeing "Inbred Jed's Homemade Cartoons" and feeling like Judge and I were on the same wavelength. I think we both come from the same area in our brains in our approach to animation. What eventually led me to becoming an animated filmmaker were regular films though, films like Pulp Fiction and the Big Lebowski. I wanted to create my own world. Animation allows me that, with no budget or actors! I really enjoy creating music for the films to. Music and backgrounds are two of my favorite things about my cartoons.

---- Why did you become a founder of the Cartoonistas and what are the highlights of being a part of this group?

Becoming a co-founder of the Cartoonistas has been a blessing. The goal was to unite local artists and plan public art events together....all with a cartoonist's vibe. In the month of May 2009 we actually became too busy. We had gigs every weekend (and then some). Its nice to see a group of artists expressing themselves publicly for the sheer love of their crafts. Javier Hernandez (co-founder) and I often talk about what the next phase of the Cartoonistas should be. I tend to think "lets open it up to more people, grow it, see what happens". Jav is more realistic "Lets take it slow, keep it between friends". I've met some truly inspiring people through the group (you for example). I take a lot of inspiration from you guys (and gals). When we get together, it makes my own work stronger.

---- Which loser will Security Man have to take down first--Paul Blart, Mall Cop or the "Observe and Report" guy---and how will he achieve this?

I actually really like Kevin James and Seth Rogan, so I'm going to call a truce. Those guys are both mega-talented. I will say, however, Securityman has been around since 1996 or so, so I'm quite confident that I was a trend setter on this one. Hollywood, whats up? You need to call me next time! Wink wink! If Securityman were to battle those guys, he would do the best action poses, thats for certain! He's all pose and no action. Can you imagine a fully animated Securityman movie? Wow.

--- Well, the million dollar question: have you ate at the My Dung restaurant in SGV yet and, if so, what can you recommend?

I have yet to eat at the MY DUNG (real name) restaurant in Monterey Park (or Alhambra?). Mark my word, I shall conquer the dung one day....and when I do, you will know. This I pledge. Too bad its not a Hawaiian place, then I could order the poo poo platter. That's classy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Menthor is alive and well....

...Tower Comics has just announced that they're bringing Menthor back to life, 43 years after knocking him off! In fact, he was never killed but has been found residing in a giant yellow circle outside of Jacksonville, Florida all along. Who woulda guessed?

And no, the fact that "Menthor: The Motion Picture" is in development had nothing to do with Tower Comics decision to bring Menthor back.

(Now if only someone would bring Tower Comics back from the dead, that'd be a stunt!)

CAPTAIN AMERICA is STILL dead.....Thanks, Marvel!

In what continues to be an obnoxious and predictable stunt, Marvel Comics killed off the original CAPTAIN AMERICA a couple of years back......and now the inevitable...he's baaaaack!

"Anything to sell books!" That's Marvel's slogan these days, right?

Here's Captain America as I remembered him.

This reprint from 1973 was the first comic book I ever read. My grandparents bought it for me after I picked it up off the spinner rack at Irving's Pizzeria in Canarsie, Brooklyn. Lee/Kirby Cap story, backed up by Lee/Colan Iron Man. Is there a better introduction to the Marvel Universe than this baby? I'll answer that...NO!

It was a bad move to kill him off to begin with (especially with a Captain America movie on the way, so nobody believed he'd stay gone for a minute), but would've taken more balls to keep the character dead. Hey, you don't see T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agent MENTHOR come back from the grave, do you?

Don't believe the hype...Steve Rogers is NOT back. Captain America has been dead since the late '80s or '90s when guys like STEVE ENGLEHART, JOHN BUSCEMA, SAL BUSCEMA, JOHN ROMITA, FRANK ROBBINS and original artist JACK KIRBY stopped working with the character, and artists such as Rob Liefeld and his understudies got their ham fists on him.

Don't worry, kids. Now that Marvel's brought Cap back, he'll be in good hands...

Monday, June 15, 2009


I finally caught up with this one on DVD and it was mediocre at best. The premise was not particularly imaginative or likely, I didn't like Jon Heder in it, and the villains were too daffy, even for this kind of comedy.

Of course, all (most?) of Will Ferrell's comedies gross tons, but, creatively, there are two categories of Will Ferrell films emerging....the really good ones and the lame ones. So far, I'm lumping ANCHORMAN, TALLADEGA NIGHTS/RICKY BOBBY and OLD SCHOOl among the funny ones, and the list of lame-o's is growing steadily (the nearly unwatchable SEMI-PRO, BLADES OF GLORY, and, despite a terrific trailer, STEPBROTHERS). I didn't see BEWITCHED or whatever his LADYBUGS flick was called...KICKING AND SCREAMING? I wasn't a fan of STRANGER THAN FICTION, but that was more of a lark.

I really dig Will Ferrell and I hope his comedies don't go the way of Adam Sandler's, in which the lame-o's outnumber the great ones (WATERBOY, PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE, then what?), but from the looks of LAND OF THE LOST (and from what the buzz is), he's heading in that direction. Even WALK HARD was a thousand times funnier than BLADES OF GLORY or SEMI-PRO. Career intervention, please!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


DITKOMANIA # 73 (the theme: DR. STRANGE) is out now! And check out this glorious cover by superhero caricaturist extraordinaire FRED HEMBECK.

DITKOMANIA is the official publication devoted to appreciating, discussing and analyzing the work of STEVE DITKO, who, at 81, continues to be a prolific cartoonist, self-publishing title after title on an almost monthly basis of late. Ditko, of course, is the original artist (and, by some schools of thought, including Ditko's, the dominant creator) of Marvel's flagship title, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, and DR. STRANGE. He also contributed his trademark wild, borderline-surreal art to myriad titles for Marvel, DC, Charlton, Tower...even those free Bob's Big Boy comics. He's a stylist, with one of the most distinctive and recognizable art styles in comics. And he's also one of the most frustratingly inaccessible personalities in the industry, which gets many of his fans hot 'n bothered trying to figure him out. Which then only annoys Ditko further. It's rather, um, strange.

I've been writing for DM for a few issues now, since about # 70. A column I call DITKOTOMY, as Steve Ditko's art and concepts of justice are all about duality. After all, how many times have you seen that great Peter Parker/Spider-Man split face by now? Or an angst-ridden Peter Parker casting the shadow of Spider-Man. It's iconic!

Anyway, it's been fun to contribute to this freewheeling little 'zine. DM has been pairing my column with artist WINSTON BLAKELY, which has been a treat. Blakely knows how to capture that Ditko aesthetic while maintaining his own identity for these spot illustrations. For my WATCHMEN-timed column on Ditko vs. Alan Moore, Blakely drew The Question popping Rorschach in the puss, and he totally nailed that frontal action shot which Ditko is known for.

Editor ROB IMES sets the tone, which is not sycophantic. Obviously, we're all great admirers of Steve Ditko, that's an automatic. Contributors love to delve into the arcane, but there's also room to be critical if, perhaps, some of his work falls short of the especially high standard Ditko has set in the 1950s through 1980s when his career thrived. And sometimes, Rob will dig up some good stories which debunk myths and misconceptions about the famously publicity-adverse artist.

Be sure to look out for DM # 75, which will be devoted to Ditko's work for Atlas Comics. Mr. Blakely will once again be illustrating my column, this time the subject of TIGER-MAN. I've already seen the layout for this one and let me tell you, Blakely has earned his stripes! (sorry, Winston, a bad pun is hard to resist...)

I've cut and paste the DITKOMANIA ordering info below. Best, MICHAEL

DITKOMANIA is published quarterly.
this issue is 32 pages (including covers) , 5.5 x 8.5 inches in size, printed in black & white.
within the UNITED STATES, a single copy of the new DM is $1.50 plus $1.00 postage (or $2.50 postpaid).
a 4-issue subscription is $10.00 postpaid.

to CANADA: a single copy of the new DM is $1.50 plus $1.10 postage (or $2.60 postpaid).
a 4-issue subscription is $10.40 postpaid.

to MEXICO: a single copy of the new DM is $1.50 plus $1.20 postage (or $2.70 postpaid).
a 4-issue subscription is $10.80 postpaid.

to THE REST OF THE WORLD: a single copy of the new DM is $1.50 plus $1.90 postage (or $3.40 postpaid).
a 4-issue subscription to DM outside north america would cost $13.60 postpaid.


in the U.S., payment can also be made by check or money order.
outside the U.S., payment can also be made using an international money order in U.S. funds.
payment should be made out to "rob imes" --NOT "ditkomania"-- to this address:
rob imes
13510 cambridge #307
southgate, mi 48195

you can also contact rob at for further information.