Thursday, February 28, 2008

Some WonderCon Pictures!

As usual...most of the time I either left my camera in my room or forgot that I had it in my pocket. But from time to time i would remember I had it and would get a picture here and there.

Here I am with my former boss, Jim Lee, at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund booth.

It was great fun to run into Brian Haberlin, my former associate at Image Comics and TMP.

Also ran into another former associate, Steve Oliff.
We had a great conversation catching up on our respective careers
and mulling over old times.

Wow! David Laurence Wilson popped up too.
Dave's Readymade Rubber company was Beanworld's very first licensee.

I always liked those Beanworld rubber stamps.

Here I am with Terry Moore, a fellow veteran from self publishing days and Image Comics
I can't wait to see Terry's new book

Rory Root has been a Beanworld booster since we met at PetuniaCon in 1984.
It is impossible for me to go to Rory's Comic Relief convention store
and not see dozens of books I really want to read.

I was delighted to snag a copy of Mark Evanier's Kirby: King of the Comics book there.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

BOTH Posters?

Ken's wrote: "Larry! My little brother was nice enough to pop by Wondercon today and pick up *both* posters. He didn't see you around, unfortunately.I can't wait to get my posters! SQUEE!"
And that prompted a response from anonymous that said: "Both posters? What "both" is that?"
Let me explain...
The top poster I created for Comic Book Legal Defense Fund in 2003. It was perhaps the only inked drawing I made that entire year. It's a contemplation of various ideas I've always had about possible Beanworld futures. It's not necessarily 100% accurate. But I think sharp-eyed Beanworld fans will be able to connect a few dots.

This poster is the one I drew last week for WonderCon. The edition was small--25 copies. There are still some left. CBLDF will be selling them in about 10 days after the stock gets back to their offices. I will post the details here as soon as I know them.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesday's Tantalizing Teaser!

My view from behind the table.
Had a terrific time at Wondercon.
But I'm road weary and will have to wait to post in full tomorrow.
But here is the teaser for this Tuesday:
Believe it or not--after all these years,
a new Beanworld Action Figure presented itself to me this weekend.
And I happily welcomed it into the fold!
More news later.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Roarin' Rick's Road Bits!

My ol' pal, Rick Veitch sent me an e-mail this morning:

I've posted one of my ROAD BITS on my blog this morning.
You have a starring role!

Rick Veitch's dream comics are some of my favorite reads of all time. If you aren't already a regular visitor to can't recommend his site strongly enough.

Today I'm going up north to WonderCon. I will post the details about the "Yoo-Hoo, Mr. Spook!?!" piece as soon as I know them.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tuesday Tantalizing Teaser!

It's a poster.

It will be on sale at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund table
at WonderCon this coming weekend.
No, I'm not an official guest--so you didn't miss my name
on any of the convention announcements.
Yes, I will be signing and drawing at CBLDF's booth.
They will have a variety of Orphans and other things.
And I will be happy to discuss this drawing.
More details as they surface.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

History Of The Beanworld Action Figure

Chapter Eight

For some reason, the years 1989 to 1991 are a bit foggy in my memory. I wrote, drew, and published eight issues of Tales of the Beanworld over those three years, which doesn't sound like very many, but it was the most productive period I had as the creator of Beanworld.

I attended the San Diego and Chicago conventions each year and hung out at the monthly Chicago mini-cons with the rest of the Chicago comics community. It was a tough era for alternative comics. The distributors most friendly to alternative comics were either going out of business or being absorbed into larger nation distribution companies.

Beanworld Action Figures remained a staple of all my convention appearances. As you can see from the 1990 example above, my fliers got a bit slicker.

I decided that those four "faces" were the permanent Beanworld Action Figure line-up. But it was right during this time that elements of the sports card indusry started to influence the comic book marketplace. I hadn't had a bit of interest in any cards since collecting Topps Beatles photo cards during the first wave of the British invasion in middle school.

But I always had my ear to the ground, paying attention to trends, and one phrase I kept hearing over and over was "chase card." A chase card is a nominally rare card that is randomly inserted into individual card packs in a low ratio to the rest of the series. The general idea was that collectors would purchase extra sets while "chasing" after the scarce cards. And of course the chase cards were traded at a higher price than the regular cards. (Not a bad marketing idea, but the general scheme eventually spiraled out of control. )

It became apparent to me that to continue their function as a parody of the industry that Beanworld Action Figures HAD to have chase figures too. Thus entered the last two Beanworld Action Figures. "Crazy" and "Dead."

Each morning as I banged out the days quota of Beanworld Action Figures, I'd sprinkle in a few spiral eyed "Crazies." And most bags of lima beans would have a few broken or shattered beans. I'd slide them over to the side and eventually toss 'em in the trash. One day a fan asked me, "What do you do with the dead ones?"

And the proverbial light bulb went off over my head and I drew two crosses for eyes and gave it to him (or her, I'm sorry to say I can't remember who this was) and said, "Here you go. The very first super-chase Beanworld Action Figure." And from that day forward, all the busted beans found their way into the little dish with the others.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Guest Blog Part Two Is Up @ Boneville!

The above drawing is a commission I did for Kevin Noonchester about 20 years ago.
Kevin was one of Beanworld's first hardcore fans.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Few Personal Thoughts About Steve Gerber

I only met him a few times. I think I might have helped market some of his titles that passed through Eclipse Comics in the '80s.
But it wasn't the man that I knew. It was his writing. His work in the mid-1970s had a profound influence on me.
Reading a Gerber title during that period of time was an experience like no other. There was a span of time when reading a new issue of Man-Thing, Howard the Duck or Defenders was the high point of my comic book reading month. It just so happens that this was the also the same time that something I called Beanworld started to take root in the creative part of my imagination.
Although the undergrounds had shown me that ANYthing was possible in the comic storytelling format--Gerber's books showed that ALMOST anything was possible in a newsstand comic book that could be marketed to all ages.
My favorite Gerber character was the Elf With A Gun. During his run on Defenders, Gerber only wrote 4 pages featuring the terrorist Elf over a span of two years. The character would pop out of nowhere and inexplicably shoot innocent people that didn't seem to be connected to the storyline in any way.
Gerber never explained WHY the Elf behaved like this. But in the post-Viet Nam and post-Watergate era, it was a brilliant piece of deranged anarchy that just made me laugh and smile.
I became a better cartoonist because I had the privilege of reading his work.

Tuesday's Tantalizing Teaser

This is a market sketch I colored up.
Needless to say....this Bean Village scene takes place in a far, flung Bean Future.

Their hair is very important.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Guest Blog at Boneville Part One.

So what is this illustration above?
I think this was the cover that Eclipse Comics used to originally solicit Tales of the Beanworld #20 or #21 but somewhere along the line I changed my mind and decided to tell other stories. Then, I think I decided to make the "Why Me?" story issue #22.
I went off to be Executive Director of Image Comics and Eclipse fell apart shortly after the publication of TOTB 21. I don't believe #22 was actually ever solicited. (Does anyone remember?) Anyway, while going through The Beanworld Archives I found a photocopy of the above (including some color notations) and decided to finish it while teaching myself Photoshop last year.
So with my recollections of that time in the comics industry going online at seemed like the proper day to share this odd artifact with you.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I'm Gonna Be Guest Blogging @

L2R: Jeff Smith, me, Colleen Doran, Martin Wagner, Dave Sim, James Owen

Yesterday, to much fanfare across the blogosphere, Jeff Smith announced that he will be hosting a series of guest bloggers on his site,, to write about their memories and current thoughts regarding the Self Publishing Movement of the 1990s and what, if any, lasting effect or infuence it may have had.

As Jeff wrote:
We spent hours together on the road and in hotels, at restaurants, and at convention booths. We talked about making comics and selling them. We
had radical ideas about owning and controlling our own work. I remember very specific conversations about trying to change the retailing model of comic book stores from periodical collectables to that of replaceable stock - -i.e., our
trade books.

In the weeks that follow, I’ll be posting guest blogs from people who
were there, like Colleen Doran, Larry Marder, Paul Pope, Terry Moore, Charles Brownstein, and others. I am currently extending invitations to newer indie cartoonists and professionals working now in the current era of web comics, indie comics, and graphic novels.

I suspect that we shall witness another brilliant example of the Rashoman Effect I wrote about last summer in regards to the Image Comics oral history book. But that is the beauty of this sort of thing. Somewhere in amongst all of the recollections, you, as the observer, can start to triangulate what might actually be historically accurate. Memory and truth often overlap but are hardly the same thing.

Colleen kicks off the effort today and it is well worth reading. I'll let you know when I'm gonna get up to the plate.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday Tantalizing Teaser

These are gonna be some long. long spears; don't'cha think?

Friday, February 1, 2008

History of the Beanworld Action Figure!

Chapter Seven

In 1988, "FREE Beanworld Action Figures" were were joined by "FREE Beanworld Comics" at conventions as a give-away after a trial run at that spring's WonderCon in Oakland, CA. Eclipse had a few extra boxes of TOTB #9 gathering dust, and they suggested that I try giving away copies as free samples. The entire idea of "Hey kid, the first one's FREE!" totally appealed to my marketing sensibilities.

It was an unorthodox approach for the era. Comic collectibility at the time was based on the title being "scarce" or "rare." A comic being given away for free ran the risk of being percieved that "Gee, that comic is sooooo bad--they have to give 'em away."

A high percentage of folks took their gratis copy and came back later to say "Wow. I didn't know what to expect but I really liked that!" Well that was good enough for me, I decided to make handing out surplus issues the backbone of Beanworld's marketing efforts. I eventually settled in on TOTB #8 as the best introductory issue. Not only did I have a good supply on hand in storage, but the story was a good one for newbies.
So, I thought, "Well, FREE comics are a far better program than Beanworld Action Figures, and because of the mail-in program, every Beanworld fan on the planet must have his or her own figures by now, so I'm going to pack in the program. No one will notice."

Wrong, Larry Marder, wrong!

I can't recall which show it it might have been when I decided to curtail giving away Beanworld Action Figures--but I sure do remember the fan reaction.

It ranged from disappointment to indignation.

Fans pleaded with me to continue the program. It was now so much part of their convention experience to get new Beans at each year's show.
Who am I to fight an argument like that?

So, I not only brought them back--I added yet another face. A "happy" faced bean that I named "Tee Hee." Now I was cranking out four faces each and every morning at conventions. But I was reinvigorated by the knowledge that Beanworld fans really treasured these silly little objects.