Saturday, November 29, 2008

Larry Marder on Facebook!

Yeah, yeah, I know--it took me long enough.
Anyway....I'm on Facebook here (revised).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Birthday to my beautiful, good-natured wife, Cory!

There are many things in this world that make my wife Cory oh so happy.

One is being amongst elephants in the wild.
Above is one of Cory's elephant sketches that often decorate her notes and cards.

Another is her association with A&K.
Below is Cory enjoying a cup of coca tea at the Monasterio Hotel, in Cuzco, Peru.
Happy Birthday Cory.
I love you more than any words can possibly say.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Larry Marder Interview @ Newsarama!

Plus there are some preview pages to the upcoming Dark Horse Beanworld Holiday Special.
My thanks to everyone at Newsarama and Dark Horse that made sure that this piece came out as cool as it has!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Neil Gaiman/Larry Marder drawing up for auction at CBLDF!

The press release says:

The CBLDF celebrates the 20th Anniversary of Neil Gaiman's landmark
creation Sandman with an auction of incredible original art!

Up for grabs are exciting pieces of Sandman memorabilia, including
individual works from the 20th Anniversary Poster by Colleen Doran, Mark
Buckingham, Richard Case, Jill Thompson and more! Also included are art jams
featuring Neil Gaiman and special guest artists like Mike Mignola, Paul Pope,
Jeff Smith, Eduardo Risso, Darwyn Cooke, Amanda Conner, and many others! We are
also offering a special convention premium from 2004's Fiddler's Green
convention, and a 1994 copy of The Comics Journal with Neil on the cover!
To bid on these items, go here!

Ah, but for me, it's a lot more than that. First let's go to Neil's words that he recently wrote on Nov 6th on his blog while plugging an interview of mine.

"Larry and I were friends for years, stopped being friends during the McFarlane nonsense, when he was working for Todd and not making art, and then went back to being friends again when he stopped working to Todd and started
doing comics again."

As I'm sure many of you are well aware, those were some pretty odd, and often stressful, times for me during those years. Private conversations you had with a friend, years later become evidence in a court of law. And all of a sudden you are being cross examined (literally!) by an attorney who's job it is is to try get you tangled up in your memories about things you didn't know you were going to have to remember years later. Probably the most painful thing about my years at McFarlane was the barrier that this put in my friendship with Neil Gaiman.

Well, once I was no longer employed by Todd McFarlane, Neil and I were no longer required to be in an adversarial position grimacing at each other across a bloody playing field.

The first time I actually ran into Neil was at a CBLDF function in New York City. It was so great to be able to shake his hand and hug him hello and not have it be strained. The pic at the left is a documentation of that meeting.

Anyway, for that event Neil did a whole bunch of drawing that took up about half a page on a 5" x 7" stock (really nice paper as I recall). It was first come first served as far as who picked out which drawing. But I definitely remember Jeff Smith, Jim Valentino, Colleen Doran and Paul Pope scribbling like mad that night. (Hmmmm, probably Nikki Cook too).

Well all of those drawings and a whole lot more, are up for auction for at a special CBLDF Sandman Birthday site.

And yes, there are some incredibly good drawings there, but, I'm not sure any of them are quite as unique as being a documentation of the rebirth of Neil Gaiman and Larry Marder friendship.

But that is exactly what this drawing is.

And it can be yours! Yes, I know times are tough, and money is getting ever tighter, but the good work that CBLDF does is just as important as it ever has been--if not more. So, if you like me and Beanworld and if you love Neil and Sandman--this is a hell of an artifact to have in your home!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

From the Beanworld Archives!

Lurking Strangers

11" x 17"
Markers, color pencils on bristol board

With the smoke from the wild fires billowing over the horizon in the distance today...this piece seems somehow appropriate. Although I'm quite certain that this drawing was actually some sort of internal dialogue I was having after working on an advertising job that had to do with antibiotics, antibacterial formulas or something germ-phobic.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Obama's Goofy Service Doodle!

Just about every poster across the Blogosphere has commented on the report that President-elect Obama allegedly is a Conan and Spider-Man fan. And just as many have commented on the drawing shown above that then Senator Obama drew while on the floor of the US Senate while it was in session.

What stuck me as funny was the fact that this rendering is in fact a Goofy Service Doodle. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the phrase, I define a Goofy Service Doodle as the following:

In other words, any time you are on someone else's payroll being paid to pay attention to the business at hand, and you are zoning out, engrossed in the scribbles coming out of the tip of your pencil or pen, then those drawings are indeed Goofy Service Doodles.

Which reminds me...I think I produced two Goofy Service Doodle Books in the '90s. Both with very low print runs and long out of print. I really should take the contents of those two books along with the Heyoka ashcan and a whole bunch of other stuff and make a small press mini-collection of these odd and obscure drawings sooner than later.

And on a final note: Barack Obama has a totally cool comic book signature, don't you you think?

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Classy Neighborhood

What a way to start my day. I'm visiting the Dark Horse offices this week to do some strategic planning and lock down the final proofs for Wahoolazuma! before it's sent off to the printers.

Every once in a while, something small will happen that reverberates BIG in my bean brain.
The above is documentation of one of those moments. As I was drinking my coffee this morning in Daian Schutz's office, I turned and saw her art file cabinet.
"Wow!" I marveled, "Beanworld sure has moved into a classy neighborhood!"

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Larry Marder @ Wordstock in Portland OR this Saturday and Sunday!

Saturday: 4:00-5:00 at Dark Horse table
Sunday: 1:00-2:00 at Dark Horse table

I will be there with Beanworld signing plates,
Beanworld Action Figures,
sneak-a-peek artwork and more!

Sorry about the short notice,
but you guys know me by now.
I'm often Mr. Last Minute.

Wordstock is Portland's Book & Literary Festival Wordstock is an annual festival of books, writers, and storytelling in Portland, Oregon. To date it has hosted over 550 writers, who have read and performed for nearly 55,000 people at past festivals.

Wordstock features ten author stages, a book fair with over 150 exhibitors, a special children’s area and children's literature stage, a series of workshops for writers and for K-12 teachers, a special broadcast of Live Wire!, the popular public radio variety show, featuring writers from the festival, and more.

Although it only began in 2005, Wordstock is already the largest celebration of literature and literacy in the Pacific Northwest, and is one of the largest festivals of its kind in the nation. Wordstock is presented by Community of Writers, a nonprofit that works to promote writing in the community and in the classroom.

Wordstock' sister program, Teacher as Writer, is a professional development program for K-12 teachers that seeks to improve student writing performance by training and supporting teachers of writing. In other words, it helps kids become better writers by making writers of their teachers. The board, staff, and volunteers who stage Wordstock are honored to help such an important and effective program make a difference in the education of thousands of children.

Wordstock is also partnering up with Stumptown this year "to raise further awareness about the changing role of visual narratives in education and pop culture. Alongside local cartoonists and writers—plus special Wordstock guests Mike Mignola (Hellboy) and Lynda Barry (What It Is) and notable creators Alison Bechdel (Fun Home) and Spain Rodriguez (Nightmare Alley)—local publishers Dark Horse Comics, Oni Press, Top Shelf, Shadowline, and Sparkplug will be participating in the fair's first 'graphic novel garden.'"

This all tumbled out of nowhere. I arbitrarily chose this weekend and planned a small, quiet pop-up to Dark Horse to do some Beanworld business with all the folks there including going over last minute correx on "Wahoolazuma" with Diana Schutz before it goes off to the printer next week.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cross Hatch Complete!

All three episodes of my SPX interview with Brian Heater are posted over at the Daily Cross Hatch.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

I'm going to try to explain, with a little more depth, with a little more clarity, what it means when I say "The characters tend to write themselves."

It is quite true and I recognize that it comes across quite nuttily. But it is true! The characters do tend to balk and get rather moody when I try to force them into situations that don't sit well them. It's almost as if they are physically resisting my pencil (or these days my stylus).
Of course, I arrogantly will try to throw my weight around as their creator and insist that I know best.

And it is always futile.

The farther off track I push them, the less they cooperate, and generally, as I said, I tend to wake up one day and acknowledge that I am defeated.

They win.

I'm force3d to agree that Mr. Spook would not say such a thing. This really isn't the way the Pod'l'pool Cuties would react to that particular situation. And I end up reworking the sequences until everyone is quite happy with me.

And of course, as I reread this, I recognize that this sounds either really pretentious or thoroughly insane.

Well, regardless, I think it does help make sure , in the end, that there will be better Beanworld stories.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Studs Terkel 1912-2008

I was never introduced to Studs Terkel but I rode home on the #147 Lake Shore Drive express bus with him for many years during the '70s and '80s.

Yeah, that's right.

Studs might have been a world famous author and radio host but he took public transportation. He was an incredibly friendly guy who would talk to people about anything, everything, as we were all jammed like sardines into the humid bowels of the CTA bus. He was hard to miss with his white hair, his red shirts, red socks, and his distinctive voice.

I was way to shy to ever ask him anything but I enjoyed listening. A lot. When he would board the bus, you'd always hear people greeting him and that was my cue to wriggle my way closer to where he might be talking. Just as often he would be hanging onto the rail and have his nose in a book or papers and then no one would bother him.

When I was growing up his WFMT radio show was quite frankly too sophisticated for my tastes. The people that he interviewed and the records he played were folks that didn't begin to interest me until I was much older. But I read his Chicago oral history book Division Street America while I was still in high school and it was a real eye opener for a suburban kid from Chicago's North Shore.

One thing that always sticks out in my mind was that Studs always promoted the blues/folk singer Big Bill Broonzy. Somehow I came into possession of a Big Bill album freshman year in high school and at the time he just wasn't my cup of tea. So I traded it to a friend for a THEM import ep that had Gloria and Baby Please Don't Go on it. I thought it was a fair enough trade then and I still do now. Not like I have any idea what happened to the disc. Like so many records from back then, it somehow just faded away.