Pulled From My Files #53: CYCLOPS LOGO

This and all images © Marvel.

In 1993 I was asked by Marvel’s marketing department to design a logo for the X-Men character Cyclops, which I was happy to do. I sent in six sketches inked in markers over pencils. This first one was a fun idea, with a suggestion of the Cyclops eye-beam creating a reverse across the center, and might have worked in color, but was hard to read in black and white, and probably too tricksy anyway. Continue reading

And Then I Read: CAVE CARSON #5

Image © DC Comics.

Cave and his crew are in the underground kingdom of the Muldroog, the people from which Cave’s wife came many years ago. Cave’s daughter, Chloe, is here too, and both of them are learning new things about the history of the Muldroog, the ancient evil force known as The Whisperer that they imprisoned and guard, and why that force is about to become a threat again. Cave and Chloe are rejoined by their wife and mother, who had returned long ago to her people. Also here are another crew of underground explorers from the EBX company, bent on freeing The Whisperer and destroying the Muldroog, as well as capturing Cave and his team. When the two groups meet up, trouble happens.

I liked this issue better than the last one. The back story and characters have me interested again, even though I’m still not loving the art. It’s full of cool effects, but very abstract at times and sometimes hard to “read.” Perhaps it will grow on me. I don’t yet know why Wild Dog is in this book, but at least he fights well, so that may be it.


And Then I Read: THE BEE AND THE ACORN by Paula Susan Wallace

Cover art by Emily Isabella.

This is a non-fiction book, an account of the conception, founding, and development of the Savannah College of Art and Design by the woman who conceived it, was one of the four founders, and is its President today. SCAD, as it’s long been known, is one of the largest and best colleges in the world for education and career-training in arts of all kinds, with over 100 degree programs and over 12,000 students. In addition to their home base in Savannah, Georgia, they have satellite schools in Atlanta, Hong Kong, Lacoste, France, and online. The reason I read it? Ellen’s nephew is a freshman there, and next week she and I will be visiting SCAD along with Ann and Dave, the parents of student Zack. We’re looking forward to the trip, and Ann gave us this book to read about the school and the people behind it.

Paula Wallace’s story is, indeed, inspiring and amazing. She was an elementary education teacher with a big dream: to start a school for the arts. One that would be different from every other art school and university program out there: it would focus on the students, not only developing their skills and talents, but teaching them how to sell themselves and find careers. There would be no giant lecture halls, no teaching aides drawn from the student body. Classes would be small, and each taught by full professors. It would be inclusive rather than exclusive, it would spread the classroom out to the larger world, and help the community as much as the students.

Paula shared that dream with her family, and her husband Richard as well as her parents, May and Paul Poetter, agreed to help. With little money except May and Paul’s retirement nest-egg, they bought a derelict Armory in downtown Savannah in the late 1970s, a time when that part of Savannah was itself derelict and dying. They were beset with many serious difficulties: a hurricane that struck the town a few weeks before they planned to open, skepticism and distrust from some locals, doubt and disbelief in their dream from the accrediting groups that needed to approve them, and lots more. Somehow they made it work, and this book is a testament to that effort through Paula’s memories and stories. Yes, it’s slanted toward their successes, but also explains the ideas and attitudes that made the school attractive to students and successful in the long run, even with many roadblocks.

It’s a great story, and if you have any interest in the topic, or perhaps know someone who might be thinking about an arts education, I highly recommend it.

The World Series of Birding 2017, please help!

My special message and request for Earth Day! Two weeks from today, Saturday May 6th, is the annual outdoor escapade and fundraiser known as The World Series of Birding. I’ve signed up with the Cape May Bird Observatory Century Run team as I have many times in the past. It’s the only fundraiser I participate in. Along with lots of other teams we will attempt to spot as many bird species as possible on that day. The top teams will go from midnight to midnight, and cover the entire state of New Jersey. Our Century Run team’s goals are a little more relaxed: we go from 5 AM to about 10 PM and stay within Cape May County. It’s still an exhausting marathon to test one’s determination and stamina, but usually a lot of fun, too. Each participant pledges a minimum of $1 per species seen, which one can supplement with pledges from friends and family. And that, gentle readers, is where you can participate!

As in the past, I’m encouraging you to make a pledge for my WSB big day, to help me raise funds for the Cape May Bird Observatory, part of New Jersey Audubon, and their valuable mission of conservation, education and research. Current and proposed trends in our government do not bode well for environmental issues and groups, or for the birds, animals, insects and plants we share the planet with, so causes and organizations like this are more important now than ever. You can pledge any amount, but the usual method is to pledge per species seen. Last year our total was 134 species, a little better than average. A more typical total is 130 species. If we tally 130 species, a pledge of 50 cents per would result in a monetary gift of $65. A pledge of $1 per species would mean a gift of $130. As a bonus, I’m offering any of my Signed Prints as incentives: for a pledge of 50 cents per species, the print of your choice, for $1 per species, any two! Higher pledges are welcome and will garner more prints in the same ratio. Pledges lower than 50 cents will get you a signed comics trade paperback that I lettered, my choice, if you would like that. Pledges of any amount down to 10 cents per species are welcome, or if you’d rather make a flat rate donation, that’s fine, too. All pledges will support education about and preservation of New Jersey wildlife and natural resources, as well as garner my enduring gratitude!

Here’s a LINK to my blog about last year’s WSB Century Run, if you’d care to read it. And if you’d like to pledge, click the CONTACT ME link here or in the right column of this page and let me know by email. I’ll be collecting pledges until May 5th. Or, if you’d prefer, an easy way to pledge is right on our TEAM PAGE, just let me know if you’ve done that. Our team will be out there tallying on the 6th, rain or shine, hoping for good weather and lots of migrating birds. Who knows, maybe this year we’ll hit the ever elusive goal of 150 species. That would be amazing!

Incoming: SUICIDE SQUAD Vol. 6

Image © DC Comics.

Perhaps thanks to the successful movie and probable sequels, this reprint series keeps rolling along. Though I lettered most of them, I have to admit I don’t recall very much about it. I know there were characters I liked, and I enjoyed the writing by John Ostrander and Kim Yale. Looking at them now, the art seems pretty average for the time, and I don’t like the coloring very much, often too dark, but that may be caused by using the original colors on brighter, less absorbent paper. There isn’t much in my lettering that I would boast about. A few nice sound effects and titles, but most of it is pretty average too. I have to put the success of the series (and the reprints) squarely on the writing in this case. The on-sale date is May 15th.