Monday, February 05, 2007

Monday Monkey See, Monkey Do:
Creative Burnouts go Fishing,
Reading Tyrant Aloud to Eli,
Panel to Panel Update,
Trees & Hills,
Blair's Music Blaring,
Mario Bava and More!

Why I Love Mario Bava Fig. 1: The Three Faces of Fear, Indeed!
Intergenerational bonding in Black Sabbath (1963)

A lot of ground to cover this AM, so heeeeeeere goes:

Colin Tedford, co-founder (with Dan Barlow) of the Vermont/New Hampshire/Massachusetts/New England comics creative collective the Trees & Hills Group, just sent me their February update:

* Tuesday, 2/6: Creator's Group gathering and Comics Schmooze, one after the other in Northampton, MA.

* Saturday, 2/17: Trees & Hills Drawing Social in Keene, NH.

Plus: * Tim Hulsizer is running a comic art auction for charity.
* Keene Free Comics is reviving in honor of TV Turnoff week and calling for submissions no later than 3/18.
* New comics online!
* Brattleboro Commons seeks local political cartoonist (and others - scroll down a few entries for this one & be sure to read the comments).

All this and more awaits you
  • here, on their site.
  • __________

    I've been posting a lot of Center for Cartoon Studies student websites of late, but also should keep you abreast of fellow CCSer Blair Sterrett's activities online. Chief among those, archivist of the unusual that Blair is, be his online music posts on WFMU's 365 Days 2007 Project:

  • His most recent post I know of is 365 Days #27 - General Electric - Go Fly A Kite (mp3s)

  • 365 Days #20 - American Standard - Today We Bought A Home (mp3s)
  • is, according to Blair, "a mini product musical by American-Standard." It sports artwork by Suzanne Baumann, who Blair met "in person during the small press comic convention last fall. Strangely she recognized me in the crowd from photos of my old radio show... Start off by listening to track 3." BTW, Suzanne's comics website can be found
  • here; enjoy.

  • More of Blair's postings as he posts about his posts for us folks.

    This just in from James Kochalka, concerning the ongoing
  • Fine Toon (here's the link)
  • Vermont Cartoonists exhibition at the Helen Day Art Gallery in Stowe, VT (catch it twixt now and the end of March, it's a terrific showcase!):

    "Eva the Deadbeat interviewed me for her awesome video blog (Stuck in Vermont). She cornered me at Fine Toon: The Art of Vermont Cartoonists opening at the Helen Day Art Center in Stowe Vermont, which was a smashing success:

  • Here's the YouTube clip!

  • I like the part where me and Eli are reading a page from Steve Bissette's Tyrant.

    I provided most of the music too, except for the theme song at the beginning by Burlington band The Smittens."

    Thanks, James, and it was great to see you and your family at the opening night gala!

    BTW, at that gallery exhibition, you'll not only see Kochalka originals (including paintings by the grand fellow) and Tyrant original art, but also originals from Rick Veitch's and my first full-color jam creation, "Monkey See" (from Epic #2, circa 1979).

    The double-page spread that sold the story: Bissette & Veitch, 1978-79

    But don't go scrambling for back issues of Epic via online auctions: Rick is reprinting "Monkey See," along with all his solo creations from the late '70s and early '80s for zines like Epic, in his latest trade paperback collection Shiny Beasts, currently listed in the April Diamond catalogue.

    Rick and I have a long-standing agreement to allow one another to anthologize our collaborative work -- particularly our 'Creative Burnouts' creations from the '70s and early '80s -- and Rick's first up to the plate via his ongoing King Hell Press collections of Veitch's out-of-print creations. Shiny Beasts will also include his long-sought-after Epic collaboration with Alan Moore, a tale of love, sex and interstellar venereal disease that also features an eye-popping panel Rick called me in for. You want alien VD imagery to die for, just call Bissette!

    Shiny Beasts collects, for the first time anywhere, Rick's key post-Kubert School years, pre-graphic novel period of development, much of which was executed under the steady editorial guidance of the late, great Archie Goodwin. Though Marvel's Epic magazine was initiated by editor Rick Marschall, it was Archie who helmed that publishing experiment (Marvel's short-lived retort to Heavy Metal's unexpected newsstand success) to fruition, and Rick was in every issue of Epic from its debut (wherein he colored John Buscema's art for a one-shot Silver Surfer story). It was the color spread I've posted above that landed Rick and I our foot-in-the-door at Epic, on the heels of our offering the piece to Heavy Metal's beloved art director John Workman; John wanted it, but as a stand-alone illustration, whereas Rick and I were hoping to sell a story using the painting as a springboard.

    Now, I'd worked for editor Rick Marschall doing two stories for the black-and-white Marvel comics zines (including Bizarre Adventures, a sort-of precursor to Epic). Rick Marschall was still in the editorial chair when I showed up in his and (then) assistant editor Ralph Macchio's office waaaaay back in 1978. Rick M. liked the piece and immediately requested Veitch and I expand it into a story. We made a couple of attempts, first proposing a fantasy coming-of-age story concept (with roughs) Rick M. shot down. Back to the drawing board we went, and Veitch and I then concocted "Monkey See," which we jammed on as we did everything at that time, literally passing the pages (and bowls) back and forth until we had pulled something together we liked well enough to put to the brush. Thus, we shared all tasks: the scripting, pencils, inks, and colors, though it was Rick who was the airbrush maestro, pulling everything together with his painstaking use of that venerable commercial art tool. Rick was among the first wave of cartoonists to embrace the airbrush after Richard Corben's seminal early '70s underground and Warren creations, and it indeed opened many doors for Rick (and me: Rick graced a number of my first pro jobs with his airbrush tones) at the time. Rick Marschall accepted our revamp of "Monkey See," but by the time we delivered the job, Rick M. had been unceremoniously booted from his Marvel editorial position and Archie Goodwin was the man in the hotseat.

    Archie graciously honored Rick M.'s commitment to publish "Monkey See," and thus was Rick Veitch's run of impressive Epic stories initiated (I only did one other, "Kultz," with co-writer Steve Perry, for Epic #6). Rick learned much from his subsequent efforts under Archie's steady editorial hand, culminating in
  • his first serialized graphic novel for Epic, Abrasax and the Earthman (now available, with a stunning signed and limited print by Veitch and Al Williamson, at!)
  • It's all those extraordinary Epic self-standing stories (and more!) that comprise Shiny Beasts; not to be missed!

    I'll be posting Shiny Beasts preorder info, and more on "Monkey See" (including a peek at a few more pages) here later in February. Given Rick's ongoing solid relations with, I'd personally recommend waiting to preorder via PaneltoPanel -- there will no doubt be a limited edition print of some kind to savor! -- and I'll post that link here as soon as P2P guru John Rovnak sends me the specs.

    And speaking of John Rovnak and
  • I'm deep in work prepping another batch of online reviews for John's site; I'll post those links once the reviews are in John's hands and up for reading (I had two book introductions to get off my desk first, amid the moving and house buying-and-selling and all; as of this past Friday, those deadlines have been met and intros accepted by their respective publishers).

    However, that's not the big news. Dig, for a limited time John is promoting his marvelous online comic retail site with the following "catch it while you can!" February promotion:

    Join Panel to Panel.Net's comic book subscription service during the month of February, and receive two titles FREE for one year!

    Simply order a copy of a PREVIEWS catalog
  • here,
  • and then email us back with your desired titles and books. Now you're buying books with Panel to Panel's excellent subscription service; and if your monthly orders are at a minimum $35.00 each month, you'll receive two titles (of your choice) for an entire year absolutely FREE!!

    Titles to choose from include:

    USAGI YOJIMBO (Dark Horse Comics)
    THE SPIRIT (DC Comics)
    ARMY @ LOVE (DC/Vertigo)
    [Note: This is Rick Veitch's upcoming series, and it looks fantastic from the pencils Rick has shown me.]
    GODLAND (Image Comics)
    MIGHTY AVENGERS (Marvel Comics)
    RUNAWAYS (Marvel Comics)
    ELEPHANTMEN (Image Comics)
    TALES OF THE TMNT (Mirage Studios)
    BRAVE & THE BOLD (DC Comics)
    SHONEN JUMP * (Viz Media)
    LOVE & ROCKETS (Fantagraphics)

    *counts as two titles

    Plus, as a subscriber, you'll also receive 10% off all items ordered; and you'll receive the best customer service around, which has kept our subscribers happy for years.

    I'm among John's long-time subscribers and customers -- here's my plug, along with one from compadre and fellow cartoonist Mitch Waxman:

    "I've been using Panel To Panel's comics subscription service for over a decade and have been overjoyed with every aspect of it: the service, the attention to my interests and needs, and best of all the occasional bringing to my attention something I otherwise wouldn't have known existed. It's my one-stop comics and graphic novel shopping center!" - Stephen R. Bissette (Swamp Thing, Tyrant, Taboo)

    "Panel To Panel knows exactly what kind of comics, artists and writers that I like, and makes great suggestions for new ones. They're knowledgeable, approachable and a great comics resource. Panel To Panel's subscription service is invaluable; I get the comics I want, without being overwhelmed in the comic shop (if I can find one near me). Panel To Panel has been sending me a monthly box of goodies for 8 years, making them king of comics convenience years before Netflix or Fresh Direct delivered their first movie or bread stick." - Mitch Waxman (

    Give us a try, and make us your online comics resource; We'd love to earn your business.
    More information about subscribing with us is available
  • here!

  • February is a short month, so don't dawdle! Take advantage of this invite now. There's nothing in this for me, but plenty in it for you. Give John and a shot; he'll be a resource for my own past and coming work in the comics field for years and years to come.

    Did I say coming work? Why, yes I did.

    2007 will be the year of my return to the medium (not the US industry) of comics, and there's much to share -- as and when the time comes. I've been busy, not only scripting but also working my pencil and slinging the inks, thanks entirely to my son Daniel, the folks at CCS, and a few tempting invites from friends.

    Keep your eyes on this blog, the announcements will be forthcoming as winter gives way to spring!

    Why I Love Bava Fig. 2: The spectral Melissa at the window in Operazione Paura/ Kill, Baby, Kill!/Curse of the Living Dead (1966), a drive-in fave of my teenage years under any title.

    Other excitement for 2007 that's got me wound up of late is the coming wave of Mario Bava DVD releases and re-releases, which my long-time amigo Tim Lucas (who happens also to be the Bava biographer of choice and the venerable creator/editor/copublisher of Video Watchdog, with his lovely Oz-collecting wife Donna) has been touting of late on blog (links below).

    As many of you may know, Mario Bava's films were absolutely central to my own growing up. I savored some long discussion board debates about Bava's films on the old Swamp boards (in The Kingdom; alas, all gone and now longer archived online), but you must understand how vital Bava's films were and are to me. I was traumatized as a Catholic youth by Black Sunday; however, Bava's films were forever elusive, often hiding under retitlings and even sans Bava's name in the credits. I thereafter scoured the pages of Castle of Frankenstein and haunted the TV Guide listings, studied the 16mm rental catalogues (in high school, I ran the student film program and snuck Danger: Diabolik onto the programming, much to the outrage of a particular French teacher at Harwood Union High School; at Johnson State College, I booked a then-complete retrospective of Bava's films for the Sunday afternoon "Bentley B-Flicks" matinees) and (once I had my driver's license) the drive-ins and grindhouses for any and all Bava creations.

    As I got into underground comics, I became convinced Bava's films were influencing other cartoonists of that generation and my own: consider, for a moment, Richard Corben's color horror comics, which seemed the first overt eruption of Bava's color aesthetic into the medium. I've never had that particular conversation with Corben, but I'm willing to bet Bava was as formative an influence on his Kansas City upbringing as Bava was on my backwoods Vermont adolescence and teenage years.

    It was our mutual obsessive devotion and love for Bava's films that brought Tim Lucas and I together, via a letter I mailed to Fangoria in response to their publication of Tim's first article on Bava, and we've been friends ever since. It's sometimes hard to believe that almost every single film Bava made has been released on DVD, but there's more to come, and soon!

    Why I love Bava Fig. 3: Another indelible gothic image from Kill, Baby, Kill!

    First up, there's the coming
  • Dark Sky DVD release of a digitally-remastered and restored edition of Bava's Operazione Paura/Kill, Baby, Kill!
  • Tim's got my appetite up, and given Dark Sky's track record to date (I have nearly all their genre releases on my shelves, and in my head) and the promise of David Gregory's bonus feature, visiting all the key locations Bava used for his gothic gem, this promises to be the definitive release (at last!) of this minor masterpiece.

    But there's more!
  • In his February 3rd post on the Video Watchblog, Tim reveals what's in store in Anchor Bay's upcoming boxed set Mario Bava Collection Volume 1,
  • and you'll have to excuse me, but I think I just came in my pants. This boxed set provides the best intro to Bava's work to date, and for the uninitiated among you, this is the investment to go for.

    Jeez, I better go change my shorts.

    Have a great week!

    I don't know if I'll be able to post daily this week, as it's a busy one for me: I'm speaking to two classes at Brattleboro's Center for Digital Art tomorrow, so I'll be on the road early. My daughter Maia is coming up to visit this week (and work on our comic project together; her bro' Dan has already completed his jam with his Pop, namely yours truly) and we have two guest artists at CCS this week --
  • Tom Hart
  • and
  • Leela Corman
  • -- which will keep us all preoccupied and happy.

    Still, I'll be popping up here, too, as time permits.

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    Blogger caleb d. said...

    Hey, Stephen.

    That's quite a post! Just wanted to say I enjoy your blog, as well as the illustrators, cartoonists and graphic artists you promote. For what it's worth, I've chosen myrant as the weekly feature on my blog what i saw today (don't expect a ton of traffic!). So I wanted to say hello and introduce myself. Stay warm. Caleb.

    Blogger dogboy443 said...

    Oh Man..! Monkey See! I remeber that from the good ole days of Epic. Amazing stuff back then Steve. Going to have to flip back throyugh my back issues and search for more hidden treasures. Rick V's Abrazas was one of my favorites from that time period. Guess I'll have to pick up Shiny Beasts so please post ordering info when available.

    Thanks for the memories,
    The Other White Mark M.

    Blogger bob said...

    That "Monkey See" splash page does look good, even better than the originally printed version. I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of the stories look.

    Blogger SRBissette said...

    Rick says he's 'goosed' the color in all the "Monkey See" pages, which is truer to our originals: we worked with undiluted Dr. Martin's dyes in much of the story, so the colors were (and remain) quite vibrant. Can't wait to see what Rick's done with it, and the rest of the book, myself!

    Thanks for the kind words and link, Caleb. Hope your posting here brought some folks to your blog...


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