Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cartoon Stuff Part 1

The R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book was one of the first books I purchased of Robert Crumb sometime in the turn of the century. The other one was "R. Crumb's Carload of Comics.

It didn't really register in my head what the impact of these books would mean to me. As a kid I collected cartoon animal books and drew them quite often. I was into animal books of any kind moreso than superhero books at least in the early parts of my childhood. I loved video games that had animal characters like BattleToads which is obviously inspired by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I also had the TMNT video games. The first one being uniquely an 8-bit looking game while the "Arcade" sequel was a badly colored version of the arcade, but your imagination filled the blanks.

I often drew Marvel and DC characters in anthropomorphic versions of themselves. I was into TMNT and made my own board game. It had 100 separate spaces to move across on the board game. It handed out pizzas and Pepsi 2-Litter drinks to the players to avoid losing a turn or dying.

I used to draw with Berol Markers (now Sandford Prismacolor) and Pilot Razor pens that after a decade have created fading purple marks around the images. They are no good! 

I was deeply into cartoons and horror stuff and they always seem to go so well together. I was pretty fascinated by horror movies of the 80's and 90's so the art I was drawing was evident of that focus. Some time in high school I started putting my child art into sketchbooks glued with badly rubber cement and now the art is pretty badly marked around the edges.

I was still heavily looking at comics and sometime in the late 80's=early 90's my mom got my a skateboard, some Batman figures from the new Tim Burton movie and two "graphic novels by the best writers of comics Alan Moore and Frank Miller. The Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke. I was so in love with these two books. I still have the original novels today. So it was no coincidence I decided to draw on of the images from TDKR. I can still smell and hear the marker streaking through the poster board (the matte side).

Another book I collected was a series by CFW Enterprises which I'm not sure if they still exist. The did a short run of comic book anthologies every month. The included Robo Warriors, Tales of the Kung-Fu Warriors, Tales of the Ninja Warriors & Shred. The cover is my favorite comic cover of all time. I think it just had this amazing impact not only visually, but because it was one of the first comic book (magazine in this case) that I ordered from the back of a comic. When it arrived in the mail it felt better than Christmas. I didn't know it was Ted McKeever who painted this and I didn't know about Eddy Current until many years later which then became another one of my favorite comic book series. I met Ted McKeever by chance sometime in the 2000's with some friends from work that went to a comic book convention in Ft. Lauderdale. He was great and I showed him my work and have me some advice. Frank Miller, Tec McKeever and Simon Bisley were the most instrumental creators that made me get into doing art as a career. Brom came later and created the kind of paintings I wanted to paint one day. 

I loved this one tale in there called Human Disease. I was so into skateboarding and even did a few comic things of my own, but it rarely went on to more than a page or two. My attention span then and today are the same. I move on to something else before I get really into something. It take a lot of discipline for me to stick with one thing. The only thing I can say I have stuck with are the cartoon kid stuff which I will go into a little later.

I got in contact with the artist Frank Gomez who ended up having a short run on several mainstream publishers, but from what I saw it just didn't have the vibe of the work he did in Shred. A pretty obscure indie book. It only lasted for 8 issues. I think CFW cancelled all their books and strickly worked on actual Ninja and Martial Arts magazines for the martial arts aficionados. You can buy ninja stars and kitana blades and that sort of thing. Not anything I cared for. I just wanted to read comic books that weren't about muscle dudes and porn star looking babes though I did like having the gal posters in my room of "real" women or so I thought at the time. I had that poster of Sandi Korn (Taylor). I think she was a regular guest in the Howard Stern show which I watched a little too much as a kid. Product of my father working late shifts at his job...thank goodness.

So this post was mostly for the R.Crumb books that got me hooked on Crumb for life. I didn't have friends that liked the same stuff growing up. I had a few comic book friends, but they all liked the typical stuff. I found a lot of these special artist I admired by chance or they ended up having a popular book that sold in an art store. This was before the internet where you can find almost anything these days of you search for the right things, but often it's more of a stumbling into something sort of thing.

The R. Crumb Coffee Table Art Book I own is a unique book. It actually is upside-down in a a few pages. I think it's usually called a misprinted book, but for a while I thought a lot of these were misprinted. So far I haven't found any online. If anyone knows of any please let me know.

Here are some pics of them all upside down.

If you are interested in purchasing the book it's available here.

More on Cartoon Stuff soon!