Thursday, November 06, 2008

Defender of Democracy vs Kaiju Kong

I suppose it's appropriate in this election week that my friend Mark Nagata posted a new painting on his Toy Karma blog of Founding Father George Washington combatting the evil Eyezon. I was not hitherto aware of this battle from the dawn of our democracy! How many know that nearly 200 years later there was another great confrontation between an icon of Truth, Justice and the American Way and a malevolent creature from the unknown? Witness now the clash of titans when Lady Liberty battled the Mammoth Kong!



Mammoth Kong rises from the sea!



Population in terror! Mammoth Kong attacks!



Here come the jets--and Lady Liberty!



Lady Liberty! Defeat Mammoth Kong!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Lost Films of Tura Satana

As I've written previously, I've been invited to show in "Tura! Tura! Tura!" a group happening celebrating the legendary screen icon, Tura Satana! Exhibit curated by Mitch O'Connell, Beth Cisco and Casey Sass, the opening is Thursday, October 30th from 7 to 11pm at the Tattoo Factory Gallery, 4443 N. Broadway in Chicago.

Just completed are two rare Japanese posters from Tura's lost and, up to now, unknown films from the late 1960s!

Tura Satana in Violent Planet

Tura reprises her role as exotic, tassell-twirling Suzette Wong in a sequel to "Irma La Douce" directed by Billy Wilder —— "The World of Suzette Wong." Filmed in Parisian and Far East locations, this time Suzette's penchant for gambling and gamblers brings her afoul of the law and the local Yakuza-gumi in Japan's port city of Kobe. Havoc ensues when the sizzling Suzette catches the eye of the Big Boss (Shin Kishida) in a riotous dice-rolling rumble!

Tura Satana in World of Suzette Wong

While filming on the Daiei Studio sets during "Suzette," Tura was introduced to studio chief Masaichi Nagata. An enterprising connoisseur of international cinema, Mr. Nagata praised Tura on her then-recent US blockbuster, "Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kil!" Over many cups of green tea, a plan was made. Teamed with director Kenji Misumi (Zatoichi series, Nemuri Kyoshiro series, DaiMajin series), Tura would power up her dynamic Varla character for a voyage to another world! Shooting under the working title "Varla's Outer Space Adventure" (Varla no Uchuu Dai Boken) began in July of 1968. As work progressed the title was changed to "Violent Planet" and tested Tura's endurance to the summer heat and on-set pyrotechnics. A climactic battle with Varla wielding only a shoto (short sword) against twin Guillon monsters was planned and possibly filmed. Unfortunately no footage has survived and we can only yearn for this lost jewel through the film's poster art.

Astromonster Fine Arts is the exclusive publisher of these rare treasures from the mod world of '60s cinema. Write to astromonster(at)sbcglobal(dot)net for details and ordering info.

Friday, October 03, 2008

SUPERDOGunderdog Video!

The Chicago Tribune website has an interview with me, Tony Akins, Gene Ha and Jeff Zwirek, that lovable cast of rogues otherwise known as The SUPERDOGunderdog Show. Go to Comics as Art for the video!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ten Minutes of Terror!

Can you take it?




WildC​law Theatre is putti​ng on Deathscribe:​ Ten Minut​es of Terro​r Radio​ Play Festi​val at the Music​ Box Theater on October 6th. Join us for an eveni​ng of short​ horro​r stori​es done radio​ style​ with live foley​ and music​ by some of the best actor​s and direc​tors in Chica​go.​

Tony Akins
is on the jury at Deathscribe to help select the Best of Festival entry.

Event​:​ Death​scrib​e
Date:​ Monda​y,​ Oct. 6 at 8PM
Place​:​ The Music​ Box Theat​er,​ 3733 N. South​port,​ Chica​go
Cost:​ $15 in advan​ce,​ go to the WildC​law websi​te

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tura! Tura! Tura!

Just as we're catching our breath and getting to work on new art for the Miami Kaiju Monster Invasion show, another fantastic group show in Chicago looms near.

Mitch O'Connell, Beth Cisco and Casey Sass are curating a show devoted to new art celebrating the amazing icon Tura Satana!

Tura started exotic dancing at the age of 13. She became a burlesque sensation earning the title Miss Japan Beautiful. From there her talents lead her to guest appearances on many top television shows of the 60s including Hawaiian Eye, Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Burkes Law. Movie roles followed in Our Man Flint, Irma la Douce and The Astro Zombies, but her greatest cinematic superstar achievement was as the baddest badass Varla, the leader of 3 thrill seeking strippers in Russ Meyer's legendary masterpiece,"Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!"



The show will be at the Tattoo Factory Gallery here in Tura's home town, Chicago. The opening will be Thursday, October 30th from 7pm to 11pm. Gallery owner Paul Collurafici (and owner of the adjacent Tattoo Factory) is kindly donating the space and will not be taking a commission, so all profits earned hosting the event will go to Apna Ghar, a domestic violence shelter serving Asian women and children.

The Tattoo Factory
4443 N. Broadway St.
Chicago, Il. 60640

Exciting news! The amazing Chicago burlesque troupe The Flaming Dames have just been added to the Tattoo Factory Gallery opening night and willl be performing 2 exotic, erotic and energized acts during the festivities!!!

Plus! This just in! The poster for the Music Box screening of "Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" by local heartthrob Mitch O'Connell.



My thanks to Mitch for the invitation to show! Below is a teaser, the back cover of the Estrus Supersnazz record-plus-comic set I drew back in 1995. I'm doing a few brand new pieces honoring Tura. I hope you'll all come out for the opening——Miss Tura Satana is scheduled to attend. This may be a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet a legend——don't miss this one!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Max Toy Kaiju Bromide Project



The Kaiju Boom (roughly 1966—1975) penetrated every level of popular media in Japan; film and TV were ground zero but the shockwaves spread to include sofubi, games, puzzles, records, clothing and more. The demand for pure images was nowhere better expressed than in the multitude of collectable cards known in Japan as "bromides."

An emulsion of silver bromide makes possible the printing of photographic images. In Japan, the loan word "bromide" (ブロマイド) had come to signify a vast array of pictorial reproductions, regardless of whether bromide paper was used. Since the early 1900s bromides were distributed to idolize celebrities— geisha and sports stars, singers, actors and actresses. In the latter half of the 20th century, the kaiju became the new celebrity of the post-Atomic Age.

It was Yo Miyamoto who suggested to Kaiju and Ultraman super-collector Mark Nagata "an awesome idea" —— to put together a set of Kaiju Bromide cards to be included with a release of a MaxToy Battle Pack sofubi set for WonderFest 2008 in Japan. The concept would have Mark's Captain Maxx, Eyezon and Alien Xam mix it up with Target Earth's kaiju Gumos and Gameldon.

Mark put out the call for entries to a select cadre of kaiju creators: Bob Conge, Ralph Cosentino, Steve Forde, Nawoki Karasawa, Naritada Shintani and myself. I'm honored to be a part of this crew. There are 15 cards, 11 originals and 4 doubles. Mark's own contributions include spot on, period-authentic "zukan" (cutaway anatomies) of the Target Earth kaiju.



Courtesy of Target Earth's Miyamoto-san, here's what little we know about these new and terrifying kaiju:

GUMOS — Capture animals and humans with his six arms and eat them from the heads.
Tear up irons easily with his claws.
Spit out green poison fluid.
GAMELDON — Eat humans.
Very brutal.
Has very small brain.

My entry, "Golden Gate Splashdown," is set in Mark's home base of San Francisco and shows Captain Maxx putting the hurt on Alien Xam while big Eyezon wades in for a stare fest. And damn--why didn't I do another card with the Target Earth kaiju as well? Well, time was of the essence to get this one in by the deadline. Maybe I'll get a chance to work with these characters again.



But don't expect me to give them all up here! I urge you to mouse over to the Max Toy Company's store and order your set now!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Alex Wald Invades Miami!

Miami braces for all-out Kaiju Attack this December!

Astromonster Alex Wald joins the battle!

Harold Golen, founder of Miami’s Harold Golen Gallery will host "Kaiju Monster Invasion," a special December exhibition during Art Basel 2008. Mr. Golen’s gallery focuses on Lowbrow/ Pop-Surrealist Art and has been featured in the New York Times and Architectural Digest.

Kaiju Creator Alex Wald awoke from a millennial slumber to note with dismay that his name did not appear on the roster of teratological talent in the show's ad. Taking matters into hand, Alex contacted Mr. Golen and threatened him with gastric emulsification if he were not extended an invitation to show with the other assembled mutants. Amazingly, the ploy worked!

What is a Kaiju? The meaning of the Japanese word is “Strange Beast,” or simply --- “Monster.” During the 1960s in Japan, toy vinyl figures of popular Japanese characters like Godzilla and Gamera became popular collectables. Over the next four decades Kaiju spread throughout the world of popular culture, their influence seen in the emerging “art toy” movement, modern couture and in the artworks of lowbrow artists from around the world.

The concept of the Kaiju show at the art center will be to bring the most exciting and subversive artists from Japan and the United States in a single exhibition that will showcase the various interpretations of the Kaiju in both Eastern and Western cultures. This exciting exhibition aims to break new ground in the Kaiju art form while at the same time honoring the rich Kaiju history.




December 3rd, 2008 Through Jan 2009
Kaiju Monster Invasion at South Florida Art Center

Featured Artists

Ron English
Coop
Glenn Barr
Mark Nagata
Carlos Enriquez Gonzalez (Venezuela)
Gargamel (Japan; Koji Harmon and Kiyoka Ikeda)
Mitch O'Connell
Jim Woodring
Anthony Ausgang
Niagara
...and many more!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Crazy for Coin

Kikai? KANEGON ni natteshimatta shonen!



Wonderfully Strange? The Boy that Became KANEGON!

"Kaneo Kaneda was a boy who loved money very much." Japanese youth gets his Aesop-like comeuppance pursuing the capitalist dream. My favorite of all the Ultra Q episodes.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

SUPERDOG(underdog) revisited



Went by the gallery yesterday with Bill on the way to buy 20 pounds of coffee, an average week's supply for Mr. G. Please enjoy these additional photos until we get copies of the good ones from the opening night.





The Great Wall of Wald. Note the red dots on the labels. We like red dots...



新大怪獣ゴッコゴルゴン



Jeez...I've gotta work on my gut. Photo by Mister Bill.



Here's gallery owner Diane Tanios herself with yet another superdog.



Lake Magazine shutter ace Bruce Bevers lines up the usual suspects for a photo feature.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

SUPERDOG(underdog)

Today is 14 days since the sweltering opening night soiree that is "SUPERDOG/underdog Knuckle-Opera for the Socially Challenged" at the Diane Tanios Gallery. I should have photos soon by shutter ace Christopher Santiago who tirelessly documented every sweat-drenched moment of this historic event.

Thanks to Caitlin McKay and Tony Akins for the photo below,"Genuflecting Gaijin Generates Giant Gorgonoid Graphic."



Read all about it here from Reuters.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

All in the Family

In our efforts to serve business clients throughout Chicago and beyond, we must mention the first in a series of ads done for world famous Best Vacuum, your Emporium Extraordinaire for Preeminent Purifiers and winner of two Consumer’s Digest “Best Buy” awards. Paul Teven is the Best proprietor (as well as the best brother-in-law) and approached me about creating something unique for a promotional campaign. You can read more at Paul's blog and a gosh-wow real business trade article here.



Anyone in possession of printed copies of the issue of PAWS in which the ad appears are encouraged to contact me —— all the vendors in our area were out of stock as soon as the ad appeared! Has this ad become an instant collectible? An urban artifact coveted by cognoscenti and perspicacious pet owners? Let the power of my adwork get results for YOU.

Friday, August 01, 2008

SDCC 2008 recovery phase

After a 15 hour wait for a standby ticket at Ohare I finally got to San Diego on Thursday night. Fuller report to follow. For now, the photos below will have to suffice.


Billed out and bound to go. After I got to the airport I was informed only TWO pieces of carry-on were allowed. Small piece went into big piece--not without damage.



Hordes line up to witness Alex lose the Eisner Award.


The stage at the awards ceremony prior to the event getting underway. I was too intimidated to keep shooting. I'll learn...

Funnyara had this amazing original painting for a 1970s tokusatsu hero LP spread by an unknown artist. Please keep sending me work so I can afford stuff like this. Thank you.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

That time of year again


Someone is turning 48 this year, May 25th to be exact. No, not me, I'm way past that...This particular birthday boy is quite the connoisseur and, though he excels in many disciplines, may in fact have missed his true calling as a sushi chef. The things he can do with a little vinegar! Not to mention all those flabs and sedgements. But watch out merry celebrants, don't leave your treats untended. Let no bully pass!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Vote Early and Vote Often


That's our credo in Chicago. Maybe that's why we're "the city that works." But now is the time for all good comics men and comics women to come to the polls and vote for your "Bests" in the Eisner Awards. Voting has never been easier--just click through here.


The nomination for Best Colorist has me among some heavy competitors--Richard Isanove and Ronda Pattison have both impressed me time and again. And then there's Dave Stewart, the hardest working man in the color business. I'm sure these estimable folks wouldn't mind you voting for someone else for a change. The award ceremony, believe it or not, falls on my birthday. Wouldn't it be nice...?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

An Eisner Nomination for Coloring! Sugoi~ne!


You could have knocked me over with an archaeopteryx feather when Spencer Lamm phoned last week to tell me that I'd been nominated for an Eisner Award for Best Colorist on Shaolin Cowboy numero 7. So when Mr.Geof Darrow phoned the following day I thought he was calling to offer his congrats as well. Turns out he didn't yet know and was just calling to shmooze about Ultraman and Yakuza flicks (which we proceeded to do at length). Once again I must thank Geof for the incredible opportunity to color his book. Everyone knows Geof's drawings are amazingly detailed: every building in the Monster City, from skyscraper to construction shack, has windows. And window sashes and shutters and awnings... If you look very closely at that opening page, somewhere about a thousand blocks back, you'll see a stratospheric tower laced with tiny windows, and me sitting up at my Mac and grinning from ear to ear.


Thanks too to everyone who wrote me with their best wishes. Don't forget to "vote early and vote often," folks!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Hello, 4706!




The oldest and most important festival in China is called the Spring Festival. Many people call it the Chinese New Year. No matter what you call it, it is a time of celebration and renewal all over the world.

The Spring Festival celebrates the Earth coming back to life and the beginning of plowing and planting. Because the Chinese use a lunar calendar, the date of the Spring Festival changes each year -- this year it corresponds to February 7, 2008 on the Western calendar. The traditional Chinese calendar did not use continuously numbered years, but many people consider the new year starting in 2008 to be 4706. In celebration we say, "Gung Hay Fat Choy," which means "Best wishes and Congratulations. Have a prosperous and good year."

Life may seem calmer during this Earth year. That could be deceptive, however, as the Rat never stops moving -- especially when it comes to mental activity.

Unfortunately, Earth has a destructive relationship with the Rat's fixed element, Water. This is not disastrous, but it does mean you should not rely too much on luck this year.