Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More comic strip mashups

More mashups I did for Wizard.

Dr. Suess and Super Heroes. "Hop on Cobblepot" and "Oh the Things You'll Destroy" were my ideas, the rest came from the Wizard staff.

Little Orphan Ani
Annie and Revenge of the Sith. I couldn't find a version with the dialogue, but you get the idea.

Power Man and Iron Fist #50 recreation
Not exactly a mash-up, but close - recreation of a classic comic book cover for a ToyFare promotion (I think I might have posted this on the blog once.)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Comic strip mashups

Something I've done a lot of for Wizard and ToyFare magazine were these mash-up comic strips where I'd take popular genre characters from comics, sci-fi, and draw them in the style of a classic newspaper comic strip. Most of the gags and strip ideas were generated by the editorial staff and I was just hired to illustrate them, but a few were ideas I pitched myself. They were pretty fun and emulating (or at least doing a passable likeness) of the original art styles was a real challenge.

(Peanuts / X-Men)
I think this is the first one I did.

Orlando Bloom County
(Lord of the Rings / Bloom County)
This one was my favorite.

Deadman/Family Circus
this appeared in a fake Daily Planet newspaper
Phantom the Menace
(Star Wars prequels / Dennis the Menace)

The Doctor Doom Is In
(Doctor Doom / Peanuts)
I think this was for Inquest, I never actually saw it in print, but I have seen it used for people's internet avatars all over the web.

The Dark Side
(Star Wars / Far Side)

Fantastic Family Circus
(Fantastic Four / Family Circus)
This is one of the ideas I pitched myself that got greenlit.

(Garfield / He-Man)

Kraven and Hobbes
(Calvin and Hobbes / Spider-Man villain Kraven the Hunter)

Nancy Callahan
(Nancy / Sin City)
I had pitched an idea for "Sin Ziggy" but this was way better.

Little Zemo in Slumberland
(Little Nemo / Baron Zemo, a Marvel comics villain)

Spy vs Spy vs Alien vs Predator
This was printed in color, but I think it looks more authentic in B&W. Mad Magazine even reprinted it, so now I can tell people I'm a published Mad cartoonist.

Thunderkatzenjammer Kids
(Thundercats / Katzenjammer Kids)

Prince Valiant
(Prince Valiant / Valiant Comics)
Only people who read comics in the early 90's will get this one.
I just noticed I colored his gloves white in panel one, and then red in panel three. That's just awesome.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Animation samples!

It walks! It talks! Here are some flash animation samples I've done over the past few years, arranged from most-recent to oldest. Someday I'll put together a proper demo reel, but for now these will have to do. WARNING: the "Double Dee" segments in the middle might not be safe to view at work. They were OK for basic cable TV, and there really isn't anything explicit or bad in them, but I wouldn't show them to minors and you should at least put on headphones to curb the curiosity of any easily ruffled co-workers. Enjoy!

Crif Dogs animation - June 2009

Bird animation for The Bouncing Souls "Pizza Song" music video - 2004 (I think)

Cine-o-mat website intro - 2005

Double Dee cartoon - 2004

Double Dee talking clips - 2004

Old, uncompleted demo reel of material from 1999-2003 (I was still learning flash, please be kind.)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Gimme One With Everything"

I've done a lot of work for Wizard magazine and their related publications like ToyFare and the no-longer published Inquest Gamer. Mostly goofy editorial stuff with nerdy geeky pop culture icons like superheroes, sci-fi movie stars, cartoon characters, etc. - the most popular of which were all the feature article illustrations I did with dozens of characters interacting together in one scene. The Wizard staff always referred to them as "Where's Waldo" pieces. I always called them "just draw everything" assignments.

Click on any of the images for a super-sized version and please do not use any of this artwork without permission.

This was the first one I did  "The 80's Strike Back!" and I think one of my first pieces for Wizard ever as well. I'm not sure why they asked me to do it as I had NOTHING like it in my portfolio at the time (I maybe think the original artist they had lined up either dropped out or wanted more money or was too busy). I was given a typed list of characters, asked to place them in a club/disco setting interacting with each other, but otherwise to "go nuts", which is the best thing you can hear when doing work-for-hire art. I wrote about this piece in an earlier blog post.

"Adult Swim Pool Party" About once a week some know-it-all 13 year old posts a comment on my Deviantart account about how dumb I was for not including or any other number of characters in this piece. This was for ToyFare and the article was about all the Adult Swim action figures that had been made at that point in time, which is why there are "only" 40 or so figures in the picture, and not every character from every show ever. I love the Venture Brothers and Home Movies too, but there aren't any toys of them (at least when I drew it) , so they aren't in the picture. Dear 13 year olds: art cannot travel through time. Sheesh!

"Where's Guy Gardner?" I'm not a big Green Lantern fan, but this one was fun, filling it up with all the well know Green Lanterns, homages, and green themed characters I could think of. Oh, and in case you're wondering, Guy is hidden on the far left, halfway down, behind Kilowog's hand. You're welcome.

"Banshee's Wake". Banshee is a somewhat obscure Irish member of the X-Men who was killed as part of a big storyline and Wizard commemorated the occasion by commissioning a drawing of Irish comic characters and real-life characters like U2, Oscar Wilde, attending his funeral. Yes, I know Groundskeeper Willie is Scottish, not Irish, which is why he's getting kicked out. And no, I don't know why Power Man is there - maybe the original Power Man was Irish? Do we Irish have a rep for being racist or something? I don't get it really, but the editors insisted he be included, so there it is.

A whole mess of dead comic characters sprinkled with real-life famous dead people. Tried a different approach to the layout of this one, which I didn't think was very successful. Since the time of drawing this I think at least half of the characters have come back to life in one way or another. The editors wanted Johnny Cash and Ray Charles as the stage band, but screw that, gimme The Ramones! The bar is modeled loosely after Southpaw, a music club in my neighborhood.

"The Geek 100" I didn't quite understand what the focus of this article was - I couldn't tell if it was supposed to be about Easter Eggs, or just cool moments or what - it was like it had A.D.D.

Black vs Black. Oh boy - this one had the potential to get me in a LOT of trouble, but people really dug it. The characters of Black Panther and Black Adam both got married at the same time, in Marvel and DC comics, respectively, in essence "a double booked Black wedding", which character with Black in their name was invited to: Black Manta, Black Lightning, Jack Black, Men in Black, etc and of course Black Sabbath as the house band.

"Greatest TV Cartoon Characters of All Time" This one is my favorite, and I think the most successful by far, but ugh - that Mighty Mouse still bugs me, he just doesn't look right. I just assumed Homer would be #1 and took it from there. The composition is based on Gustav Dore's famous etching of Moses with the 10 commandments tablets. For the most part I agreed with the editor's choices, but for record, I didn't want to put Anakin Skywalker in - that was an editorial choice, and in my first sketch Samurai jack was in his place (who I ended up putting in the background anyways). The 2-D Clone Wars is a great work of animation, but I just think all Star Wars post-Return of the Jedi has been a epic train wreck of awfulness, plus the cartoon had only been on for a few months so I thought it didn't yet deserve a place amongst the greats. I was also told to cut the girl Wonder Twin, but keep the guy, which was odd (at least I didn't have to draw that stupid monkey). I can't stand Scooby Doo, but I won't argue he doesn't have a place here, so I just drew him very small.

"The Limbo Lounge". Another Dead Super Characters piece. This would be a pattern. This was a rush job - wish I could have spent more time on the background.

"Hot For Teacher" This article was about teaching the rules of the most popular CCG games at the time: Magic the Gathering primarily.

"Super Hero Movie Trivia" Opening illustration for a trivia quiz about Superhero movies and tv shows. Celebrity likenesses aren't really one of my strengths, but I'm proud of the way this came out.

"Know Your Ninjas" Famous ninja characters from TV, movies, video games and comics. I forget what the article was about exactly.

"Stilt Man's Funeral" Stilt Man is a D-list Marvel super villain so his funeral was attended by all the D-list super villains I could think of. Note murderous vigilante The Punisher running into the room drooling like it's a steak dinner with all the trimmings. There's a step-by-step tutorial of this somewhere else on the blog.

"Beach Party" Another article about toys, this one on action figures based on animated cartoons.

Jeez, only 14 pieces? I feel like I did way more than that, maybe some will turn up in the future.

EDIT October 28, 2009: Found another one, for Star Trek. Sorry about the text on it, it's the only version I've got:

Expect more posts like this soon - I'm overhauling my online portfolio and will be archiving a lot of my older artwork here on the blog. Oh, and again, please do not use any of this artwork without permission - I worked really hard on it and I'm just posting it here in great detail for people to look at and enjoy, not so you to turn it into t-shirts or whatever. Of course you already knew you weren't supposed to use ANYONES artwork without permission - but a friendly reminder never hurts, right? Thanks.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Web design

While I'm primarily a freelance illustrator I occasionally do job in other visual arts fields like animation and web design. I like being able to exercise other skills and creative muscles from time to time, it helps keep from getting too burnt out just doing one thing all the time.

Here are some samples of my website development work. Click on the images to view them at full resolution or click on the URL's to view the live site. - James S Russell, Writer - Euphoria Spa, New York City - Orazio De Gennaro Studio - Khushi Spa Products - Flash
(site has since be re-branded) - Heilborn LLC - Liza Pagano, Graphic Designer - HTML/CSS only - Lucca & Co - HTML/CSS (layout only) - Marilynne Herbert, Photojournalist - The Royal Oak Foundation - HTML/CSS only

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Diarrhea Dog is back in Royal Flush #6!

Diarrhea Dog is back in Royal Flush #6, debuting at the Royal Flush Film Festival in New York City Oct 15-19, 2009 and on news stands soon after that.

Check out these SICK covers!

Joan Jett cover illustrated by Josh Bernstein

Hugh Hefner cover illustrated by Robin Eley