Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Head Sketch Jigsaws

When Dave was doing head sketches during the "Cerebus TV" phase, I would request multiple sketches and ask for them to be themed. Dave is good at taking a suggestion like this and running with it. This request was for 4 drawings, done as the four seasons. Here is what came back.

This request was for 5 drawings, featuring the original X-Men. Here is what came back.

This request was for 16 drawings, done with the years, covering "the ages" of Cerebus. I suggested some dates for the later ones based on the published timelines, partly because I have always thought something was out of whack. Cerebus's son either ages much more slowly than Cerebus (we see ShepShep as a kid, with Cerebus looking middle-age-ish, but when ShepShep is an adult, Cerebus is downright ancient). Any Aartvarks out there want to put Cerebus and ShepShep's images against a time line and see if they make sense?

Anyhow, here is what came back, including the question marks where I had suggested dates.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Brag Aart: Fantastic Four #65 p 12

For those of you who do not know, there is a single site that specializes in the hobby and/or obsession of collecting original comic and comic-related art. You can join and post galleries that are well-indexed and always deliver a suite of images rather than text. I've known about it for a long time, but never quite passed over the barrier to posting there. I even joined in 2009 but never quite got around to setting anything up.

The site is called Comic Art Fans, and it is located at http://comicartfans.com

It is not that usual for a fairly large collection that contains some Silver Age goodies to show up, but over the last month I have finally been posting. The response has been great; I've known a bunch of guys in this community for a while, now, and a few of them knew that my stuff was already posted at my Museum Site. 

The site-runners contacted me to do a little interview for their monthly Collector's Feature, and as a part of that I was asked to identify my favorite piece of comic art in my collection. Talk about Sophie's Choice!

I ended up coming down on this Fantastic Four page. An edited draft of my answers to the interview appears below.

My CAF gallery is located here. I have hardly even posted any Cerebus stuff, yet. 

1. Please tell us a little about yourself.

I am a chemistry professor in the United States. At 57 years old, I grew up as a true child of the 1960s Marvel comics era (and it is so interesting to see the Marvel movie era in full swing). I have been reading comics since those by-gone days when you had to know the location of a bunch of different comics racks in a bunch of different stores around town in order to possibly keep up, and subscriptions were out of the questions because they came through the mail, hard-folded in half and exposed, except for a strip of brown paper. If none of that makes sense to you, count yourself lucky. 

2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite and why?

This is really tough, but when I think of the strongest emotional charge I get out of owning original comic art, I default to the mid-1960s run of the Fantastic Four with Lee, Kirby, and Sinnott. And if I could gather up a bunch of pages on a scavenger hunt, these are the ones I would go for. So: Fantastic Four #65, p 12 is one of only two pages I have from this era.

3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?

I have been collecting comic art since late 1982, the month I got my first real paycheck! As a long-time comics reader, I thought it was simply fascinating that one could actually buy the original art from a favorite page. The nostalgia factor was extremely high. Then the collector mentality kicks in, which I see as a form of curating, the sort of competition that takes place between the different museums around the world. In a sea of one-of-a-kind items, like art and antiquities, there is never duplication, only the collective effect of curating. This is a difference from, say, stamps and coins and even comics, where collections can be identical and where it is the oddballs, rarities and errors that stand out. And I think the motivation for curating is legacy, a statement of one’s clever accomplishment.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sea Slice II by Oriana

6x24 in oil on canvas - just stellar - the illusion of depth is amazing (mine… all mine)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Brag Aart: Avengers #25 p 11 by Don Heck

I think it helps to have grown up with the 1960s Marvel comics to get why this page is so interesting. It simply represents a completely different way of thinking about the super-hero genre of comics.
Let me put this into a more contemporary perspective. 

A week ago Tuesday evening, the characters on a television show, where a pretty significant subplot has been brewing, all set off about their business during the episode, and at the end. On Friday, a major motion picture opened, where some of the consequences from what was going on with the TV show played out. And on Tuesday, this week, the story line picked up from where the movie left off. 

Marvel has once again re-written the superhero genre. This time it's TV/movies. The TV show was Agents of SHIELD, and the movie was the Captain America: The Winter Soldier, both of which are just pieces in the highly articulated Marvel cinematic universe. It's a little crazy that the critics are not really getting this part of it. Marvel is truly building a fan base of this coherent universe, for a broad constituency, based exactly on what catapulted them from 0-to-60 during the 60s. I think they have a lock on this for the next 10 years, while Fox and Sony keep rebooting. Once the actors are aging in real life and it becomes harder to capture the new generation of fans because it will take 15 movies and a TV series or two to catch up, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. But for now, the children of the 60s Marvel era are as pig-in-shit happy as you can never imagine if you were not there, to see these
stories and these characters played out so well. 

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Is that a phone ringing in your pants, or...

For a number of years, I have noticed that I (often) get the sensation that my phone is vibrating, as though a call is coming in, when it is not, in fact, happening.

Oh, great, some stupid neurological disorder.

Now… some of you who are reading this have just said to yourself "hey… wait a second… that happens to me, too, and I thought I had a disorder."

I was with a friend the other day and it happened, and because it is someone I really trust, I said "It's so weird, I often get the sensation that my phone is going off…"

"Woah. So do I," he said.

OK. That totally activated my not-a-coincidence algorithm. Next step: Google.

Guess what. Phantom Pocket Vibration Syndrome is a thing.

A whole bunch is known or speculated about this.  Basically, the signals we get from the world have a certain accuracy that is intrinsic, and there is a level of false signaling in everything. The level of false signal is fluid, depending on the level of anxiety you have about something (I am going to speculate here that this is the origin of hyper-ticklish people freaking out when you wiggle your fingers at them).

Because we want zero tolerance to a missed phone call (that is, there is a high anxiety associated with missing a call) we can fine-tune outselves to the idea that our ringing phones are important not to miss, and the false signal level is higher (way higher) than average.  A random rubbing of your pants against your leg get interpreted as the ringing phone because we are afraid of missing a call, so the sensation gets interpreted as a possible vibration.

Response to potential threat must work this way, too. It's better to default to a false signal of danger because you want zero tolerance to a false signal that the sabertooth is about to eat you.

And that is my most interesting report today on our lizard brains.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Baked Ravioli

I got it in my head that I wanted a baked ravioli dish. I don't know why, because I've never made (or even had) baked ravioli. But when the gods of culinary whisper into my ear, I just obey and head to the store.

24 oz of Dom Pomodoro brand marinara-style sauce (or, use your own)
12 oz of Alessi brand wood-fire grilled Italian Red Peppers (pat dry, slice thin)
8 oz fresh mozzarella (sliced)
2x 8 oz packages of fresh pasta, large ravioli (or, make your own)
1 large sweet onion (diced finely)
1/2 oz fresh basil (chopped)
freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Put half the sauce in a 14x14 baking dish.
Caramelize the onions in some EVOO. Add the peppers and half the basil, near the end, to heat.
Add the onion/pepper/basil mixture to the sauce in the baking dish. Mix.
Add the ravioli. Separate and coat them.
Add the rest of the sauce. Mix and keep the ravioli submerged.
Top with sliced mozzarella, basil, and sprinkle generously with Parmigiano Reggiano.
Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes.

It is not necessary to pre-boil the ravioli. I used a freshly made, room temperature product from the store, but it's likely you could use small frozen ones without thawing and maybe up the baking time to an hour.

If you buy the sauce and the ravioli, this is about an hour and a half from start to eat. Simple foods.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Brag Aart: Epic 26 p 47

From the first Cerebus collaboration between Dave 'n' Ger. This story, which was titled "His First Fifth" when published in Epic Illustrated (1984), was perhaps also known as "The Guttersnipe," based on the pencil notations on the original art.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Crayola or No Crayola?

What I was thinking for the Crayon Carver was a big set of early era Marvel characters (ca. 36 in a custom display… the Crayola big-pack) - Original Avengers, FF, X-Men, some of the singletons, and some villains). The price was $2500 for the set, display included.

Is that reasonable?


Was it the right price for me to buy a set of Crayon-carved super-heroes?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Crayon Carving

Meet Hoang Tran.

Hoang was in dental school, where one of the skills he picked up was carving small bits of wax with particularly sharp tools. In one of those lovely moments of connection, he thought about how he could now carve shapes, other than teeth, into a different kind of wax.

Here is his Esty Site: Carved Crayons
And here is a nice interview: A Shoulder to Crayon

And here he is, doing his thing:

You MIGHT think that I would contact Hoang about doing a set of Cerebus-related characters, and I thought about that for a few moments.

But I did not.

I asked him about another project idea, instead.

Actually, I can think of a few interesting projects, but we'll see how the first one goes.