Monday, October 31, 2011

Welcome to the World of Ace Kilroy!

In lieu of a new illustration this Monday, I'm highlighting a long-gestating project that goes live today: Ace Kilroy!

Ace Kilroy is the creation of artist Dan O'Connor and me; its a brand-new online daily comic strip launching today over on!

Ace Kilroy is a project Dan and I have been working on for over a year. He and I attended the Joe Kubert School together, and from the beginning I was impressed by the quality of his work: Dan had a crisp, simple style, dynamic but not flashy--perfect for comic books, and I resented the hell out of him for it!

Anyway, over the intervening decades(!), Dan and I lost touch, and then we ran into one another again virtually on Facebook and then in something called Real Life at the 2009 New York Comic Con. Dan was telling me some horror stories (stories I was all too familiar with in my own life as an artist) about doing comic book work, and I was simultaneously angry and bewildered that a guy this talented has had to deal with some at times shady comic book publishers. Little did I realize, but Ace Kilroy was born on the ride home from the con.

Within a couple of months, I had formulated a basic concept of the strip, what it would be, what kind of tone I was aiming for, and I knew Dan would be the perfect artist to bring it to life: he and I are both aficionados of 30s and 40s culture (Americana specifically), and since Ace Kilroy starts off in 1937 and would steeped in that world, I knew Dan could really sink his artistic teeth into it.

Luckily, he agreed, and within a few weeks we were already working on the strips, having a blast, but with no clear date set when it would officially launch. Since the strip has a prevalent horror theme, I thought October 31--Halloween--would be perfect.

The short of Ace Kilroy is: In 1937, the United States has learned two disturbing facts. One, that supernatural monsters--i.e., vampires, werewolves--are real. Two, the Third Reich, in preparing to start World War II, are trying to take control of these monsters and turn them to the side of the Nazis, making them unstoppable.

President Franklin Roosevelt commissions soldier of fortune, WW I veteran and all-around adventurer Ace Kilroy to head to Transylvania, where there are rumors of some sort of real-life Dracula, and stop whatever nefarious plot is being hatched!

Ace Kilroy will feature adventure, horror, thrills, comedy, political intrigue, and even romance, in (hopefully) the most fun and engaging way possible!

I normally never use my other blogs to pimp my outside projects, but Ace Kilroy is special: I am enormously proud of what we've created so far, and we're going to give it ol' college try in terms of making it a financially viable, ongoing creative project: its nothing less than a daily comic strip, just like the classic adventure strips of old, except Ace Kilroy will appear on the web, not on the back page of a newspaper sandwiched between Ziggy and Mark Trail.

Ace Kilroy will run a black and white strip six days a week, with an extra-sized Color Supplement on Sundays, again like the classic strips of old. Dan and I want to bring back that sense of pure adventuresome fun with the strip, and transport the reader back to a time when the daily adventures of
Steve Canyon, Secret Agent X-9, or Dick Tracy were can't-miss, waiting-with-bated-breath-for-the-next-installment affairs for comics fans.

But since the daily newspapers of old are, essentially, gone (the comics pages especially), we're doing it in a very modern way: on the web, with all past strips available with the click of a mouse, with Ace appearing across a wide variety of social media platforms, which will occasionally feature bonus or special side material. Dan and I essentially want to hire ourselves as the artist and writer (respectively) of an daily comic strip...which of course means you!

Not to sound like I'm taking my other blogs hostage or anything, but if we can get enough people to support Ace Kilroy financially, then I can spend more time at home, leaving me the time and ability to subsidize my other, non-profit-generating efforts, like this one. And isn't that what we all want?

So if you're interested in taking a look at Ace Kilroy, and maybe even supporting it, you can do so at the following places, starting off with the official site, where you can learn more about the characters, the creators, and see the first strip:

...and finally, if you like what you see enough to financially support Ace Kilroy, you can visit the Ace Kilroy Fundraising Page on Kickstarter, where you can learn more about the strip, find out what kind of donations you can make, and even watch a short video all about Ace Kilroy. We hope to raise enough money to give Ace (and us!) and a good running start!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rod Serling

Thanks to Netflix Watch Instantly, I've been catching up on all the episodes of The Twilight Zone I've never seen before, or haven't seen for a long time. I spent last Saturday working on an illustration project and I just played episode after episode of the show, all day.

This started out as just a portrait of Rod Serling, and then I started playing with it and added some show stills just to jazz it up a bit. Submitted for your approval!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monster PSA: Jenny Agutter

I'm not the only horror fan who completely fell in love with Jenny Agutter thanks to her performance in An American Werewolf in London; as Nurse Alex Price she was unbelievably sexy and sweet, as she takes in the troubled David Kessler (David Naughton).

Agutter has been in other genre films, like Logan's Run and Child's Play 2, but she cemented herself an enduring object of desire in AAWIL. And who among us wouldn't want to be told that she wants nothing more than to take you home and take care of you?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Universal Monsters: Werewolf of London

Since Halloween is right around the corner, I thought I'd give the faux-vintage paperbacks the week off, and instead put up another installment of my "Universal Monsters" poster series!

I admit, I'm not that big a fan of Werewolf of London--I just find it too talky and dull--but nevertheless it is part of that great Universal series of monster movies from the 1930s. And of course it ended up leading (indirectly) to 1941's The Wolf Man, one of my all-time favorites!

Also, in some ways lead actor Henry Hull's make-up (by Jack Pierce, of course) as the werewolf is just as scary as Lon Chaney Jr.'s was, and it was that powerful image that made me want to add this film to my poster series!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monster PSA: Donald Pleasence

In many ways, this more of a de-motivational poster, since Donald Pleasence is trying to scare the bejeezus out of you--something he did quite, quite well!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Before I Sleep

This faux-paperback book cover is actually only half that, in that its a cover for a real book!

Author Milton Babgy contacted me about doing a new cover for his mystery/thriller Before I Sleep. Having had some great experiences doing covers for self-publishing authors, I agreed to work with Milton and I'm glad I did. I genuinely enjoyed Before I Sleep and dealing with Milton was a pleasure--he was very receptive to my ideas and always good-natured.

This version of Before I Sleep is available for the Kindle, and will be available in other formats soon!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monster PSA: General Ursus

I know this isn't a motivational poster/public service announcement per se; I just love using the "naked, merciless force" tag--its one of my favorite lines, from any Apes movie.

You know, with Chris Christie not running in 2012, I think there's an opening for General Ursus...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Frankenstein Button!

sgJust in time for Halloween comes this Frankenstein button, featuring my custom original Frankenstein movie poster on a 1.5 x 1.5" pinback.

Not only that--this button glows in the dark! Yep, take it into a dark room and you'll see the Monster light up!

If you were interested in purchasing a button, they're only $5 postpaid! Simply click the Paypal button below to order--and if you order anytime between now and October 27th, I will ship them in time for Halloween!

Yes, Mistress No, Mistress

This faux-paperback book cover is just fun, fun, fun, mixed with pain, pain, pain!

In retrospect, I think maybe the tagline should have been "Powerful men paid be treated like dirt!" Oh well...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Monster PSA: Darby Jones

This Monster PSA poster is from one of my favorite horror movies, I Walked With A Zombie. Producer Val Lewton was not big on filling his movies with typical movie monsters (in stark contrast to Universal, who was almost desperate to come up with monsters they could spin off into series), so Darby Jones as the mute zombie Carrefour is about as close as Lewton got.

And even though Carrefour was a zombie and therefore didn't worry about his health, I'm betting Darby Jones the actor saw the value in a good, brisk walk.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Just Pull The Trigger

All I saw for this faux-paperback book cover was day-glo colors and big flat shapes...and dammit, that's what I got!

This thing has a vague 70s sci-fi-ish feel to me, so maybe she's some of sort post-apocalyptic assassin. Yeah, that's it.