Saturday, June 26, 2010

GUMBY'S GANG STARRING POKEY will debut at SD Comic-Con (Wildcard Ink/Gumby Comics, SMALL PRESS area)

The long-delayed GUMBY'S GANG STARRING POKEY comic book I wrote with my buddy Rafael Navarro providing the sublime art is finally making its debut in three weeks at San Diego Comic-Con. It's a real gem. You're gonna love it, and GOO and PRICKLE will follow next year. THE BLOCKHEADS will also be spotlighted in the GUMBY'S GANG series.

WildCard Ink publisher Mel Smith and editor Paul Birch have been very involved in overseeing the GUMBY'S GANG series, and POKEY will be a spectacular launch of this new full-color, all-ages series. (That's the old version of the cover up above, the new one is even more spectacular!) We've taken great care with the GUMBY'S GANG series to go back to the source material -- the original Gumby series from the 1950s and '60s that sealed Art Clokey's legend -- to give this series some street cred with Gumby fans.

A few hints about the POKEY book: it's a time-travel yarn (like, duh! It's all over the cover!) and Gumby has a good amount of screen time, as does some of the supporting cast members, including a certain befuddled professor you'll recall from the original Gumby shorts.

Look for me and publisher Mel Smith causing mayhem and bedlam signing up POKEY at the WildCard Ink/Gumby Comics table in Small Press during San Diego Comic-Con in a few weeks. Raf Navarro will be at the convention as well and he'll no doubt show up to push the POKEY as well. Otherwise, he'll be selling his action-packed SONAMBULO comics from the Atomic Basement booth.

See you down in sunny Sandy Eggo!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Bonus MARVELicious! HULK, HULK!

I love this cover. I love this book.

When I was a kid, THE INCREDIBLE HULK was my favorite comic book (even surpassing AMAZING SPIDER-MAN for a spell) because I was also a big fan of the CBS TV drama. In fact, I wrote Lou Ferrigno as a kid in Brooklyn, NY, and he sent me back a black and white autographed photo of him Hulking out behind Bill Bixby. I still have that photo, as well as the envelope, which had a drawing of him on the letterhead, sent from Lou Ferrigno Studios in exotic Santa Monica (little did I know that one day I would live in the area, as I do now).

Above is the great Jack "King" Kirby cover to # 1, with commentary here by letterer Todd Klein on the logo, as posted on The Beat:

It's hard to believe now that this initial run of THE INCREDIBLE HULK, drawn by Jack Kirby and, at the end, Steve Ditko (the future team behind MACHINE MAN -- ha!) only lasted 6 issues!

Have a MARVEL-ous weekend!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


BACK ISSUE #41 is out, the "Red, White and Blue" issue covering patriotic heroes, right in time for Independence Day, and guess which article I've contributed! I call it: "They Red, White and Blew It!" and it's subtitled: "Fueled on High Octane, Behind-the-Scenes Drama, was Marvel's short-lived Team America One Patriotic Series Too Many?" It's followed by a second article I've put together: a gallery of unpublished pages from several alternative versions of the first few issues of TEAM AMERICA.

I managed to interview a nice spread of talent involved with the '80s series, and whether or not you dig this book, the story behind TEAM AMERICA is a story in itself.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Going "Green" in 2011!

Next year will see the coming of two superhero movies: THE GREEN HORNET (Jan.) and THE GREEN LANTERN (July). Try not to get the two mixed up. Above is some artwork that leaked onto the Net from WB studios featuring Ryan Reynolds as the Green Lantern.

Here's the trailer for GREEN HORNET, which looks more like a sequel to THE SPIRIT. In my opinion, it looks pretty dreadful. Not only is Seth Rogen obviously miscast but so is apparently the director, arthouse filmmaker Michael Gondry.

At least the makers of GREEN HORNET had the good sense to move the film's release date away from Christmas where, two years ago, another anachronistic crimefighter in a domino mask bombed miserably: THE SPIRIT. (So at least now GREEN HORNET has a chance of distinguishing itself from that movie by bombing in the following month).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Voila! New cover, new book.

THE SECRET DOUBLE LIFE OF MICHAEL AUSHENKER is now available as its own digital book at Wowio.Com. Here's exactly where to go to download it.

This is my autobio debut: part glimpse into my process as a cartoonist, and part-espionage thriller. It's also the book that my girlfriend does not want you to read because it is so scandalous, violent, controversial and out of control. (I now have to wear a SCRAM on my ankle so she knows where I am at all times.) On the plus side, I think I drew Laura rather well and she looks cute as a button. There's a preview of a couple of pages from the book at the listing where you can judge for yourself.

(Laura snapped that photo of me on the cover, by the way...) Despite the $5.00 on the cover, the download costs 99 CENTS!

Please note: other than the cover, this is the same story that appeared as a back-up feature in last year's CARTOON FLOPHOUSE FEATURING GREENBLATT THE GREAT! #2. No additional material.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Well, it's about damn time!

What a long Strange trip it's been! Now let's hope they get it right!

Get Him to the GEEKS!

Here's some highlights from Saturday's GEEKS comic book shop in Uptown Whittier (June 19, 2010), California......Photos courtesy of Jim Lujan. Thanks, brah!

Establishing shot - Geeks Comics Shop, Whittier, CA - Day

Here's a shot of the display window where Jose Cabrera, half of the new Cartoon Flophouse humor comics company, debuted his new Crying Macho Man banner, featuring El Macho. Jim's Ghettomation sign also horns its way into the fore....

Jim Lujan and Geeks owner, our host, the one and only Sal!

Jose displays the skills that got him nicknamed "Snapper" Carr-brera when he joined the Justice League.

Next to the entrance, Agimat Entertainment was set up, and Adonna and Arvie hooked...I mean "introduced" legions of kids to SUGAR RUSH, the video game based on their SHADOW CANDY webcomic. (Meanwhile, Jav and I were introduced...I mean "hooked" on the bowl of Jelly Bellies at their table...

Jonah Hex says: "Posin' with Adonna and Arvie always makes me look purty!"

Jim challenges Jose to a "Make an Ape Face" contest, then only Jose competes.

Here, Jose pretends that he drew Underdog after Jim did all of the heavy lifting.

Jose shocks me with the bill for my half of the table: five bucks!

Always a looker, the lovely Mrs. Lujan.

Raul holds a whole lotta Lujan (the drawings).

Sal and Will Will discuss politics, religion, and whether or not the pink Power Ranger was hot.

Sherm Cohen dropped by then left early after a 5-year-old asked him to draw Squidward making out with the old lady who owns Tweety and Sylvester.

Superfan Andrew takes a breather after putting the "Con" in Geeks Con by doing some cosplay as the Fries from Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

Will, I, am........Boom, Boom, POw!

One of many pieces of jam art created throughout the day. Jim kept the momentum going by coming up with themes. I didn't get to contribute to the Marvel and Superman posters, but I drew a Phantom Stranger on the DC poster, and the Herculoids here. (Thanks, Jose, for lending me your etch-a-sketch with your drawing of Igoo, Gloop and Gleep as reference!)

Busy weekend in the OC: enjoyed GEEKS CON, JONAH HEX

I had a really fun weekend participating in the first-ever GEEKS CON at GEEKS comics shop in the heart of Whittier --- UPTOWN, BABY! --- on grand Greenleaf Ave.

SATURDAY: The event was a one-store comic book convention, and Geeks owner Sal is a class act, he knows how to run a fun shop and mix it up with the cartoonists and create a great space for comic book creators and comic book fans alike. It was terrific to hang out with all of my cartoonist buddies - Jose, Jav, Raf, Jim, Ruben, Raul, Adonna and Arvie, John and Melissa, and, of course, the lovely ladyfriend, Laura! The lovely and loquacious letterer Katherine Renta also graced us with her appearance, as did Graciella and Reynaldo from Cartoonistas and Nuvein fame. Met lots of fun people, and some returnees, such as Andrew (dressed as an Aqua Teen Hunger Force character (the fries) and his buddy Justin.

In-between shenanigans included a lunch run to the Golden Ox on Greenleaf for some gyros and dinner at Mimio's, where we also hung out with the Agimat crew, Javy and the Hi-Tower crew after the show.

Thanks, Sal and Geeks, for a great time. May GEEKS CON grow bigger and better each year!

I didn't have my camera handy but photos should be forthcoming....

SUNDAY: Laura and I weathered the bad buzz and poor box office showing to catch the movie JONAH HEX.

I was driven to see it partly because of my interest in the project and partly because of my friendship with the character's co-creator, the talented artist Tony de Zuniga. Despite some harsh reviews, the film was neither a classic nor a dog, just a Western with a supernatural twist with some elements that will remind some of the movie based on Javier Hernandez's EL MUERTO, AZTEC ZOMBIE (down to the comic-book style opening title illustrations, which also reminded me of WALTZ WITH BASHIR). Josh Brolin was a great fit for the Hex character, and you can't get a better Tallulah Black than Megan Fox. Malkovich played the villain. The story, which cribs a little from the great Lee Van Cleef/John Philip Law actioner DEATH RIDES A HORSE, is basically about what 90 percent of all Westerns is about: revenge! Overall, a decent comic book-based film that may not be as good as SPIDER-MAN or THE DARK KNIGHT but is more exciting and internally consistent than GHOST RIDER and WOLVERINE and (dare I say it!) makes a lot more sense than most of the silly IRON MAN 2. By the way, Megan Fox's impossibly thin waist should be noted (and studied very closely, I'll say!): she's a better special effect than anything in X3, that's for sure!

And speaking of JONAH HEX, step right up to my segue as I give an early push to BACK ISSUE # 42, which should be out next month or so, courtesy of

Friday, June 18, 2010

GEEKS CON noon to 10 PM tomorrow (SAT. JUNE 19) in Whittier

Hey, hope to see you at the first ever GEEKS CONVENTION at the GEEKS comic shop in Uptown Whittier, California, tomorrow, where I'll be signing my latest CARTOON FLOPHOUSE comics from noon to 6 p.m., at which point my compadre, JOSE CABRERA, takes over to sign his CRYING MACHO MAN comics while I socialize like a butterfly!

Other Cartoonistas will be there including a bunch of my buddies: Ghettomation pioneer BIG JIM ("The Luge") LUJAN, BIG JAV HERNANDEZ of EL MUERTO, AZTEC ZOMBIE fame (who will now have EM dolls as part of his big merch push!) and MEDIUM RAF NAVARRO, the cartoonist behind the SONAMBULO saga and the keeper of the prized CAPTAIN AMERICA sketchbook (if you ask him real nice, he'll show it to you!).

Also in the house: the AGIMAT ENTERTAINMENT crew, who now have a video game called SUGAR RUSH based on their SHADOW CANDY webcomic.

Many more cool folk will be there. We're optimistic but we're hoping to attract double the size of the crowd that will show up for the Lakers parade on Monday morning.

It's going to be a fun bunch of bananas so come down and hang out!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

SMURFS movie preview

I am clearly losing it because I actually don't think this trailer is all that bad. I enjoy the little Smurfs hanging onto the cab for dear life, not to mention the Tone-Loc/"Smurfs" theme mash-up.

One thing's for sure: it looks more entertaining than anything out in theaters right now. Better this than THE A-TEAM!

One day, they'll look back on Summer 2010 as the turning point when movies crossed a line in stupidity and our entertainment has been dumbed down below stupid levels. This is shaping up to be the Summer of Dumb. Halfway through the popcorn movie season, here's where we stand.

IRON MAN 2 barely had any Iron Man in it, and the two big scenes he appears in make no sense at all. Rhode/War Machine picks a fight with Iron Man in front of a large crowd of civilians. Whiplash fights both Iron Men with his helmet off, thus making his head vulnerable to repulsor rays. Oh, and Tony Stark's "alcoholism" is barely touched on here, but it's played for laughs like he's a frat brother.

ROBIN HOOD is released against IRON MAN 2 in its second week. I guess its producers didn't want to make money.

SEX AND THE CITY 2 is so after the fact, they can all be grandmothers. And it apparently has scenes in a Middle Eastern desert.

THE KARATE KID should be called THE SHAOLIN KID because karate is Japanese and this film stars Jackie Chan and takes place in Beijing.

THE A-TEAM got its Ass-Team kicked by KARATE KID, which made more than double A-TEAM's gross on opening weekend.

GET HIM TO THE GREEK probably should have been retitled as well, as it's doubtful that most people outside of L.A. is aware of the Greek Theater.

SHREK: 4, TOY STORY: 3, in case you're keeping score of the redundant sequels.

MARMADUKE should have been a sure thing in the kiddie department, given the success of ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS, GARFIELD, and even BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA. Somehow, it arrived DOA!

KNIGHT AND DAY is looking like the big budget version of THE KILLERS, which also made zero at the box office. And despite Tom Cruise, it's already tracking WORSE than KILLERS! Good luck with that one!

Anyway, you get the idea. The movies out there are ridiculously bad. I have some hopes for JONAH HEX because at least it's an original movie and it's a co-creation of a great artist, Tony DeZuniga. But I already read a bad review for it. CYRUS looks like it could be a good little movie but not something I need to see on the big screen. I'll let you know what I think of JONAH HEX after the weekend, folks.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

CARTOON FLOPHOUSE comics now available digitally at WOWIO.COM

Hey, Flophousers! These ha-ha-hilarious books are now available digitally. Visit the CARTOON FLOPHOUSE home page at WOWIO.COM to order.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

SILLY GOOSE now available at Wowio.Com

Honk, honk! SILLY GOOSE is the latest CARTOON FLOPHOUSE comic book to go digital at WOWIO.COM.

Now you can order a download of SILLY GOOSE for a whopping 99cents (no need to be a Silly Goose and pay the big bucks for all those yucks, folks!)

For a complete list of CARTOON FLOPHOUSE humor comics available digitally, visit the CARTOON FLOPHOUSE HOME PAGE at

THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER turns 40........

June marks the 40th anniversary of the first appearance of one of my favorite DC Comics. It's a sleeper for sure, not even a superhero. And I've never been a World War II comics nut. But all that goes out the window with the fun feature known as THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER, originally created by the revered writer and editor of DC's war comics, Robert Kanigher, and artist Joe Kubert.

As Wikipedia explains: "The Unknown Soldier's first appearance in Our Army At War #168 was in a Sgt. Rock story, "I Knew The Unknown Soldier!", written by Kanigher and drawn by Kubert. Kubert, who also edited the DC Comics line of war comics at the time, decided that the character was interesting enough to be featured in his own series, which began some years later in Star Spangled War Stories, running from #151 (June-July 1970) to #204 (February 1977). Eventually, Star Spangled War Comics began featuring the Soldier exclusively. With #205 (May 1977), the book changed its title to The Unknown Soldier, continuing the numbering and running for another 64 issues, ending with #268 (October 1982)."

What Wikipedia doesn't mention is that the series took a really cool turn when writer David Michelinie and artist Gerry Talaoc boarded the book in #186 (above), which is also the first issue to reveal the face under all those bandages. Talaoc's distinctive stylized art is a hoot and gave the chameleonic master-of-disguise soldier some incredible style. I tracked down Mr. T for an interview for an article on UNKNOWN SOLDIER in BACK ISSUE #37, which came out last year, and a career overview will appear in BACK ISSUE #49 next year. On later issues, Talaoc inked a veteran of WWII comics, Dick Ayers, to great effect, as Ayers is a consummate storyteller. And then there's those terrific Joe Kubert covers that graced every issue, giving it some artistic continuity.

Oh, and if you're biting your nails waiting for an UNKNOWN SOLDIER movie, an urban version of it already came out in 1990 (sort of):

The reprint collection SHOWCASE/UNKNOWN SOLDIER, VOL. I is a great place to start on getting to know the comic. Now if only DC will release volume II, which promises to be back-to-back Talaoc! I'm spinning my Judas Priest album right now, filled with subliminal commands: "Do it, DC! Do it!"

Monday, June 14, 2010

And Then There Was...M?

In her crazy run for governor, Meg Whitman is pumping hundreds of millions into plastering the boob tube with commercials harboring a theme song with a main hook sounds suspiciously like DMX's "Where Da Hood At?"

Am I imagining things or is does Whitman fashion herself a Ruff Ryder?

Above, Meg asks: "Where my dogs at? Get at me dooooogggg! Arf! Arf!"

Arf! Arf!

Maybe Meg's campaign motto should be "Stop! Drop! Open up Sacto!"

Good luck with that campaign. I hope you save a couple of million for a lawyer to defend you against copyright infringement!

Friday, June 11, 2010

CARTOON FLOPHOUSE # 3 now available as digital comic book

The magazine version of CARTOON FLOPHOUSE FEATURING GREENBLATT THE GREAT! # 3 will officially debut at APE Convention in San Francisco in October.

But in the meantime, the book is already available in digital form via WOWIO.COM for less than a buck. Check it out at the CARTOON FLOPHOUSE home page.

Highlights of CF#3: More mischief with Greenblatt and Van Dyke. New characters FLAT TYLER, LAUGHING BOY, and HULA GAL are introduced. Plus: the back-up feature, gag cartoon THE OTHER FISH IN THE SEA, a gloom-and-doom look at the dating scene.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ditko's "Thor"

Did you know that Steve Ditko drew Thor? Oh, yeah....but not Marvel's THE MIGHTY THOR. This Charlton turkey from 1973.

Ditko was no doubt at the height of his powers in 1973, but this book is definitely NOT representative of that. It's very obviously a lackluster assignment which Ditko attacked without gusto. In fact, if this were an oil spill, this issue would be an Exxon Valdez if not the BP job: it's a disaster! I think his Bob's Big Boy art was better. But as a novelty/oddity, take a gander!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I'm lookin' at the (Red)Man in the Mirror....

I'm a big Redman fan but thizza downright weird: his new Michael Jackson tribute LOOKIN' FLY.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

June 2010 is JONAH HEX month, so enjoy this double-barreled DeZuniga whammy!

Call it "JUNE-ah Hex."

It's a big month for my acquaintance, TONY DEZUNIGA, co-creator and original artist of the classic 1970s DC COMICS cowboy feature JONAH HEX. A movie based on his best-known character comes out in two weeks and it stars no less than JOSH BROLIN and MEGAN FOX. And to the left is the new cover for BACK ISSUE magazine #42, which comes out in a few weeks. I got BACK ISSUE magazine editor MIKE EURY's blessing to post it here.

A couple of years ago, Tony and his lovely wife Tina moved to the Los Angeles area from upstate. My buddy and CARTOON FLOPHOUSE partner-in-crime JOSE CABRERA (of CRYING MACHO MAN fame) welcomed the DeZunigas by making a trek across town (and in L.A., that's more like cross-country) to meet them for dinner; an enchanting engagement which I chronicled in an article for BACK ISSUE # 36. Last year, I lobbied to our stellar editor of BACK ISSUE magazine to utilize the talented DeZuniga's services. As Mike was in the midst of planning an all-out Wild West-themed BACK ISSUE, this was good timing, and he commissioned Tony to do this cover:

But enjoy it while you can because, as it turns out, this cover image will be fleeting. I'm guessing that without his hat and Old West garb, ol' J. Hex was a mite unrecognizable. So you might say Jonah Hex got something of a "facelift" for BI #42, as Mike, in his infinite wisdom, had the cover redesigned to the one at the very top of this blog.

The resulting cover is quite stunning, utilizing a different piece of DeZuniga art and some terrific layout, and nailing the classical Jonah Hex imagery with much Wild West flavor and fervor.

(On an aside, my contribution to this issue is the piece on NIGHT RIDER, the original Ghost Rider character.)

Meanwhile, support ol' Tony DeZuniga and celebrate his creation and go see the JONAH HEX movie while it's in the theaters (opening June 18).