Monday, December 29, 2008

Now It Can Be Revealed!

This is a scan of the front and back of Dark Horse's Holiday greeting card done by yours truly. I think it all started when I tuned in various ideas for the Beanworld Holiday Special. Diana Schutz said something in passing like "I'd like to put your name in the hat for this year's holiday card." I said sure and promptly forgot about it.

Then one day in August I got an email from Di telling me that I had passed muster and was going to be given the opportunity to "magically distill the essence of others' characters in your own inimitable style" for this year's card.

Just one catch.
The assignment was on a very short deadline.
And I was already feeling behind on the Holiday Special.
But, opportunity rarely knocks twice in our business, so I decided to forgo some sleep and accept the gig.

Lia Ribacchi was the art director at Dark Horse and she was a gem to work with. She put together a great package of reference material for me. And somehow, I was able to knock out this card with its 30+ licensed characters in a bout 3 weeks.

I colored the front panel and Dan Jackson colored the inside characters.

I've done very little work-for-hire artwork over the years.
But this was a fun job.

My thanks to everyone at Dark Horse and the licensors who made this happen.
(Some of the people manning the movie studio licensing departments probably were the same folks I worked with when I was at McFarlane Toys. )

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Archival Synchronicity?

I'll let Aaron King of MEGATONik start this post:

"Every year, for the past four years, the great folks at the Comic Book Resources Classic Comics forum have participated in a Classic Comics Christmas list. Thought up and moderated by the Spectacular Kurt Mitchell, past lists have been built around favorite single issues, favorite characters, and favorite comic adaptations and merchandise. This year, the topic was favorite covers from before 1990.

So, presented here with gracious permission from Kurt Mitchell and the rest of the Classic Comics crew, are my picks for this years Twelve Days of Classic Comics Christmas.

My selections were chosen with no solid criteria but were all pulled from my personal collection. Generally I wanted them to stand on their own, regardless of the story inside. If someone needed some information from inside the comic, the cover was probably disqualified from my list. Also, I looked for pieces that were more than pretty drawings. Either they exhibited something new and weird or they utilize the form and tropes of comics in a way that moves them away from being anything other than comic art. Of course, there are pieces that break all of these rules. Enjoy."

Well, one of the covers on his list was TOTB#2.
He wrote: "Anyone that read last week’s Emanata knows how much I love Beanworld, and here’s another little dip into that strange place. Automatic points for the graphic design element of including the main illustration inside a box, and you can just feel how worn out and full those beans are despite how non-representational the art is."

Thanks for the kind words, Aaron.

This morning, I decided to dip into the Beanworld Archives looking for something to post. One of the first pieces to pop into my hand was the piece below. It's the color comp that I made for TOTB #2. I thought more like an advertising creative director than comic book creator at the time. I was very accustomed to making ad comps for client approval. I treated myself like a client and so I would do things like making full comp layouts for Beanworld ventures for myself to approve. As time went by, this internal agency/client relationship disappeared as I became more familiar with how Beanworld was perceived in the marketplace and started to make it up on the drawing board as I went along.

Anyway, as you can see, it is totally old school, a messy paste-up done with marker on layout paper and some photocopies stuck on with Spra-Mount. I can see that I thought about some decorative dingbats to be put outside the frame of the illo but decided against them and just covered then with bits of paper. Looks like I followed my layout pretty closely.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And here are links to the other two classic WGN Holiday animations from years ago.

Suzy Snowflake

Frosty the Snowman

And a warm
season's greetings
to all of you
from all of us
at Beanworld Press.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday's Tantalizing Teaser!

A panel from page 50 of
"Remember Here When You Are There!"

2009 original graphic novel from Dark Horse Comics.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Holiday Tradition!

It's the holiday season and with it comes a plethora of holiday rituals, superstitions, and traditions.

Chicagoland's local television giant, WGN, had three great Christmas animation shorts that they ran continuously from Thanksgiving through the season.

Every kid that grew up in the area in the 60s and 70s has the content of these shorts seared into their memory.

The most powerful was this one--The Three Little Dwarves.

If you grew up in that part of the midwest, in that time frame, you can go up to virtually anyone and sing "I'm Hardrock. I'm Coco." And it is almost impossible that the other person won't respond by singing "I'm Joe" in the deepest bass voice they can muster.

Teachers used to be totally stymied with all the "I'm Joe" laughter that would roll around with every season.

Once Christmas vacation was over, the animation went back in the film library and out of one's daily thought process. But every year, the film would reappear to every kid's delight.

I have found that if you didn't grow up in the midwest and have access to WGN, there is a good chance you've never seen (or even heard of) this bizarre holiday classic.

The animation is quirky, jerky and the puppets look , well, weird, particularly Santa.

But it is the season and so it is time to reprise this post about Hardrock, Coco, and Joe.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hoo-Hoo-HAs & a Hoka-Hoka-HEY!

You can send your comments and questions for Beanworld Holiday Special right here.
The first online review has already been posted at CBR and I thought it was right on target.

Anyway....if you have something you'd like to say in public about BHS--you can say it here. If you want to say it in private, the addie is

And now, I gotta get back to finishing the cover for Remember Here When You Are There! 'cuz Dark Horse needs it asap!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


So not too long ago...I received an email that I've excerpted bits of below:

Dear Larry,

I am writing to inform you that I have started a Beanworld wiki on
wikia.comthe free wiki hosting service. Wikia hosts thousands of wikis on
more topics than you can shake a stick at, and I was surprised to see that there
was no Beanworld Wiki created yet, so I requested its creation, and they
approved it. (A wiki is a website users can edit and add to, the most famous
being wikipedia.)

Mark over at Beanweb has allowed us to use the content there as our own
Legendary Edge, that is jumping off point to populate the wiki with
articles. I hope to attract the beanworld community and soon have many
many editors of the Beanworld Wiki.

The URL for the Beanworld wiki is

It is my hope that the Beanworld Wiki will have even MORE content than
the Bean Web, as anyone can add to it and it just grows and grows and
grows. With new Beanworld on the horizon a wiki is just the thing to
have an up-to-date Beanworld reference on the web.

Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing from you and my 9
year old son and I are both anxiously awaiting Every Cutie Deserves a

I am sincerly yours,

L. Christopher Bird "ZenMondo" Sysop, Beanworld Wiki

In the off chance you don't quite understand what a wiki might is the wiki entry on wikipedia.

What ZenMondo has created is a central place where the Beanworld community can go and " populate the wiki with articles" about Beanworld that really belongs to everyone. Oh, Beanworld remains my intellectual property and all, but "Beanworld Wiki" is something that everyone can participate in. The way wiki's seem to self-regulate is that on the occasions that an entry is placed that is clearly out of is corrected by "someone-who-knows." So even though on any given day, a wiki may not be 100% correct....eventually it is going to be.

And besides I'll be there to keep an eye on it and offer up my own observations.

The BeanWeb that Mark "Half" Irons, so admirably put together a decade or more ago in the 20th century is hopefully going to be enhanced and surpassed by this incredible undertaking in the 21st century. Theoretically, this resource, in its first stages, could remain online as a resource to Beanworld fans for years, decades, as long as there are Beanworld fans someplace, somewhere.

But as a resource, for all of us, it is my hope that "Beanworld Wiki" is going to be a lot of fun. As stated in the intro: "Beanworld Wiki is a collaborative website about Larry Marder's Tales of the Beanworld. The wiki format allows anyone to create or edit any article, so we can all work together to create the site."

I got a feeling that this is gonna be tons of fun for everyone!


A rather long and detailed interview over at Are You A Serious Comic Book Reader? I'm pretty sure I talk about a few things that I've rarely, if ever, spoken about before in print. I am a very lucky comic book creator that I get asked such interesting questions!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's Beanword Holiday Special Eve!

Yep. Tomorrow, Wednesday December 17th is almost here.

And that is the day that I can officially say (for real):
The Beans Are Back!

And here is what just a few folks
out there in the fabled blogosphere
have to say about it:

But my favorite comment has to be Rich's in Lying in the Gutters:"


There’s a new issue of “Beanworld" on Wednesday/Thursday.
From Dark Horse Comics.
Stocked by all comic shops that actually like comics.

Yes this is the most important story this week, why do you ask?"

Oh, and then there is THIS!
Much, much more on THIS tomorrow!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The holidays came early at our house today!

What I'm holding in my hands here is an advance copy of Beanworld Holiday Special that arrived from Diana Schutz within the last half hour.

Am I happy with it?
You bet I am!

The production values are superb. Everything looks exactly like it is supposed to! Dark Horse's art and production team never ceases to amaze me with the amount of work and care they put into every project big and small.

I really do have to give a great big "Wahoolazuma" not only to Diana and her editorial staff, but also Matt Dryer for his work in digital production and Tina Alessi for her design work, including the new logo. About all the art direction I gave Dark Horse was "Try for a feel that's new but retro, a bit askew, and feels like going to the circus."

Also many thanks to Jeremy, Jacq, and Krystin in PR for doing a big job promoting this most peculiar comic book, and of course, the big guy, Mike Richardson for giving Beanworld a chance!

I can't wait to hear what you all have to say next week.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

So last night....

...I'm taking a break and flipping through my routine of channels. I always start at MSNBC, and if that doesn't hold my attention, or goes into commercials, I go to TCM.
Turner Classic Movies is without a doubt my favorite channel on basic cable. Not everyone has in their cable system and I really believe that I couldn't live in an area that doesn't have this essential channel.
Anyway, the movie on TCM was The Naked City, which happens to be one of those films that no matter what point the movie is at when I stumble across it--I'm almost certainly going to watch it until the end. And I did.
And lo and behold, when the film ended and Robert Osborne came on screen, sitting next to him was Frank Miller. Frank was the guest programmer last night and he picked four excellent films. I watched 'em all except during the Taking of Pelham One Two Three I dozed off for the night.
What a treat and good going Frank!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

When it rains, it pours!

It's a two-fer today.
Check out the article by Shaun Manning "Larry Marder Returns To Beanworld" that went up today on CBR.
Take my word for it, you won't be sorry that you did!

Larry Marder interview on

In advance of next week's publication of Beanworld Holiday Special, today Dark Horse posted what they billed as "A Peculiar Experience: Interview with Larry Marder." Aaron Colter asked me a whole bunch of interesting questions and I hope you'll find my answers interesting.
My favorite question was "If you could live in any magical realm, what would it consist of? "
Hit the link and read my answer!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesday's Tantalizing Teaser!

The Beanworld Holiday Special is only a week away.
So here's a layout panel from "Remember Here When You Are There!"
Big twinkish goings-on up in the Beanworld sky in this new graphic novel!
(Yes, I see the typo, Diana and Brendan!)

Monday, December 8, 2008


Life is full of the most peculiar twists and turns. When our beloved calico cat, Abby died last summer way before her time, it was a tough experience. She died while I was on deadline for the Holiday Special (around page 8) and also over that weekend I had to finish drawing the Dark Horse Holiday card.

Cory and I weren't sure that we were going to get another cat any time soon and we were quite certain we weren't going to get another kitten. Our other cat, Chipper (who really is just Chips most of the time nowadays), we adopted when he was an adult. Kittens are a lot of work and we both thought we were too busy for a kitten.


Cory saw Olive at a rescue adoption center and that was that. We adopted her on our anniversary in October and life has been an adventure ever since. Olive is a Siamese mix tortie and has the softest fur on any cat I've ever owned. She is also, so far, the most affectionate cat we've had since Augie Dog died almost a decade ago. (Augie Dog lived to be 19).

Olive is a handful. But it is funny, I'm writing sequences about the rambunctiousness of the Pod'l'pool Cuties nowadays and Olive is a daily inspiration for their behavior. I know what Mr. Spook and Proffy are going through trying to keep the Cuties focused and well behaved.

I think I've mentioned in the past that I keep a cardboard box near my drawing table. In it I tend to "file" drawings, sketches, and notes after I'm finished with them. I've always had a box like that nearby for years and years. In the picture above, Olive is in the current box which is just a box that I think might have come from Trader Joe's in Phoenix. Anyway, it's the same box I had by my table there and the whole thing was moved back here and re-put into its place under my table.

Olive likes to sleep in it. So, any Beanworld historians out there in the future, all the cat fur you are finding on these sketches? Olive's 2008!

Friday, December 5, 2008

From the Beanworld Archives

Sculpture Garden #3: World's Finest Sculpture

Marker on sketchbook paper
9" x 12"
As always apologies to DC Comics

Haven't a clue why I drew this when I did....probably at a convention after a day of drawing Beanworld sketches. I reckon I liked it enough to take it home. I really do enjoy doing my own takes on other folk's characters from time to time. Heh.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tuesday Tantalizing Teaser!

My mind is so deep in the writing of Remember Here When You Are There!, next year's original graphic novel, that I almost forgot that Beanworld Holiday Special hasn't actually shipped yet.

It's only a few weeks away now--publication date is December 17.

Here is a teaser from page 15. The Beans are having a Council Meeting to discuss the education of the Pod'l'pool Cuties. It looks like Beanish has been "volunteered" revise their the curriculum.

What WILL he do?