Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

The candy is gone, the porch lights are out and the door is closed, the witches, Batmen, Spideys, Scary Movie Killers and princes have all flown on in search of sweet Halloween treats, bringing another Halloween on Spruce Street to a close. This year I didn't give out comics for the first time in years. I didn't have time to go through the attic and dig for decent comics to give away this year; and I don't think the kids missed it, only one kid asked for comics.

I had a Halloween party last nite in Casa Manley, many were invited but only a few hardy partiers came. My Brother Marc, ( his own gruesomeness a costume itself) my neighbor and good buddy Chuck from next door, Jamar and Darcy, Claire and Echo.

I invited many more but so many people were busy, out of town this weekend or hung over from Saturday to attend. Losers!

The spread was readied early while the night was still slumbering in it's tomb.

Those who braved the ghoulish night were treated to a monstrous dinner cooked by the Monsterman himself...

Home made Chili, corn bread, and wings!

We had quite a few costumes...

Killer Claire!

And of course, your host...Monster Manley.

We ate, joked, drew and had a great time. I hope to host an even bigger party next Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Studio

A shot of me working in the studio last year.

Friday, October 28, 2005

B-Day Wrap Up

It's been a busy week here but I am finally posting a few more pics abnd drawings from last Sunday's combined Libra Birthday party at Pod in Philly.
I am also posting a few more drawings I got, one from my pal Christophe and another by Echo based on a joke I made at dinner. I admit, ok, two girls fighting over me as I eat is a pretty Wild on E! fantasy, even if it's on paper :-)


They were playing Samurai Tack on the TV above the sushi bar all nite, even playing one of the episode i worked funny was that!

I love this place...the gang waiting for apps...

BLUE MARTINIS! Gotta drink anything blue, that's the rule.

the crab spring rolls arrive and beef/chicken lettuce wraps

This place has excellent sushi

The birthday King , Elizabeth and Echo...this is kinda spooky looking.

The bill....and the speration of credit cards...good thing I wasn't drunk!

Echo's drawing of me enjoying some girl-on-girl action at dinner.

Christophe's cool card!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

"My granpappy wernt no monkey!"

Majority of Americans Reject Theory of Evolution

Just when you think Americans can't possibly get any dumber we get this latest poll. If you ask me "natural selection" just isn't working. We need proactive selection.


The last two weeks I have been hitting the life drawing class they have at school, taking advantage that I can do it for free since I teach there. I am pretty beat by the time it starts, since I've been up since about 6:30am or so and have taught all day (till 4:30) the class starts at 6, so I grade homework and talk with other teachers till then. Frankly, my energy and concentration are not the best. But I want to get more into working from life, and get better at it, since I mostly work out of my head as an artist, and do stylized and highly stylized drawings all the time, which makes me fall back on formula and convention.

These drawings are far from great...and though it's good, yet painful process,(even wiped some out and started again) I am committed to getting better. I seem to do better on the gesture drawings and worse on the finished drawings as I think my concentration is just not sharp enough, I was blowing proportions like an amature. These were 1-2 minute and 10 minute poses.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Yesterday was the school wide bus trip to NYC and the MET for DCAD, where I teach. I went along to get a free busride and see the Van Gogh exhibit and to take my animation students over Noodle Soup Productions, the studio who does the Venture Brothers for Adult Swim. I've done freelance storyboard work for them on the first and now teh second season of VB. On the bumpy bus ride up I did this sketch of one of the students. Thanks again to the great crew at Noodle Soup and producer Rachel Simon for being so generous with their time and showing the students a glimpse of a possible future.

I'll post more photos from the trip later.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Happy Bithday to ME

Today is my birthday and one of the best things about being an artist is getting cards from fellow artists..

Monday, October 17, 2005

Post-It Monday

With fall here and a brisk wind blowing today I decided to take the air conditioner out of the studio. As I was taking the air conditioner out of the studio window and doing a little sorting and cleaning in the studio, I came across a few doodles on post-its which had fallen down behind my desk. Like many people I often doodle while talking on the phone, mostly absent-mindedly, sometimes in a sketchpad,or the back of an envelope or on one of the many post-it note pads I have laying around the house. Sometimes it's weird what the half occupied mind will release; strange, funny or twisted drawings. I grabbed a bunch and scanned them in to post today.

Friday, October 14, 2005

And now some sketches

Drawings and doodles by me from the little Cartoonist Party I had in Casa Del Manley last weekend.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Mall Madness –– Blade Runner Lunch

I took my class this week to the mall for on-the-spot gesture drawing. I've done this with every class about this time of year. Drawing people from life as they are on the move really throws some for a loop and is a real struggle, but some students catch on and get into the rhythm. What we are trying to get is energy, motion, gesture, not lots of details and rendering.

I spent a good deal of time coaching and doing little dems for the group, so I didn't get to do as much drawing myself. It was fun and the time flew by fast.

A few of the students and I hit Tokyo Sushi, the sushi bar for lunch in Wilmington. I admit, I'm a pretty new convert to sushi, never being a big fish fan as a kid, nor as an adult, though I do like tuna, catfish and sea bass, even sword fish. But I do like the Philly Roll.

This place was recommended by my student Jessica who eats there often. I tried some salmon eggs but stayed away from the octopuss! Yecch. Calamari strongly disagrees with me. We had some cool Japanese ice cream sandwiches made from ice cream and some sort of bean, they were awesome. I always feel like I'm in Blade Runner when I eat sushi. I keep expecting the cook to say "I just do eyes."

It was a fun lunch with the group then back to school for the afternoon class.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Rainy Day Doings

Rainy day games. It was a really rainy weekend here in Philly, so my pal Jamar and I decided to get out and have some lunch at the local diner spot in Upper Darby, The Lanerch which was filled with "local color"as they say.

This place is clearly from another time and that's kinda' what makes it cool. You expect to be called "honey" by the waitressess with their hair up in a bun. Well they still call you "honey", or "youse guys" in a Philly-Delaware county accent, but their hair isn't in a bun as the wait staff is pretty youngish.

The last time I ate there the TV at the end of the counter was tuned to Cartoon Network and we were listening to Cowboy Bebop as we ate a late night snack.

After our "heart attack" breakfast Jamar and I went to see if he could get his glasses fixed in Springfield at the Lens Crafters, but no go, so it was Target and Super glue to the recuse, then headed back to my house and drew at the "round table of cartooning" also know as my dinning room table.

My brother Marc showed up, resembling a fish more than a man, totally soaked from the driving rain on his trip from South Philly to my casa. We all hung out, I worked some on the new cartoon Net, Adult Swim show I'm doing art for called Minoriteam. It's like those old Marvel toons from the 60's, a sperfriends type team made up of racial stereo types done in a Kirby Style, so the called me up to do cleanup-inking, essentially putting the stuff on a Kirby-model. We listened to music pumping from my apple laptop, and topped the evening off with some great Vietnamese food from Little Saigon, I had the pho , the hua soup, man that was justperfect meal on such a crappy, rainy day.

Monday, October 03, 2005

SPX Reviews-3 Street Angel

After a lovely weekend here in Philly, I am back with another review from the haul of comics I got at the SPX con.
Todays review is of Street Angle by Jim Rugg (artist) and Brian Maruca (writer) and published by Slave Labor Graphics, the publisher of such fine fare as Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and more.

I admit, Street Angel slipped right past me, I think I had read about SA here or there, but with my visits to the comic shop infrequent, sometimes a couple of months between visits, a lot may slip past or go unseen, or be sold out by the time I get to the store. I missed the first two issue of Rocketo this way, and I guess I need to have them pull stuff for me, but frankly I get lazy about it. My retailer, Showcase Comics is a good one, and they do try and get anything I ask for and have a very well stocked shop. But still SA isn't a book that unfortunately will pull X-men numbers, so it would be easy to not have a copy on the shelf when I stroll in every 40 days or so. It was Mike Hawthorne who clued me into this great fun comic, even going so far as to say he'd buy it back from me if I didn't like it. So I'm thinking, well this better be good!

When I attended the SPX con Jim Rugg was one of the artists I put down to seek out and find a copy of Street Angle. Jim was a super nice guy and we chatted for a spell, it turns out he's another Darkhawk fan...who knew?...and when I wanted to buy the trade he said he couldn't sell it to me, as it was the last one he had at the show, so I asked if he could save it and sell it to me at the end of the con, which he did. Jim also had some swell looking prints of Street Angel and his other character Afrodisiac for sale. When I saw the print of Afrodisiac I knew I had seen Jim's art before and dug it in the Project: Superior Anthology put out by Ad House, which I picked up several months back.

Anyway SA is an awesome fun ride with her tung firmly planted in her cheek, fist in some ninja's jaw and her feet on her board. Rugg and Maruca give love props and poke fun of Kung-fu action and Blacksploitation and Marvel comics from the 70's without resorting to cliche and also without being limited by trying to be "retro", something many comics who derive direct inspiration from past eras do. They seem to smartly cherry-pick or add the spice of past eras where they need to. The name Street Angel even sounds like something Kirby would have coined. So while the trappings may seem retro, SA is truly modern. Maruca and Rugg also draw upon one the chief strengths of comics, the ability to make the absurd work. In a movie it would be very hard to pull off time traveling pirates, Ican gods, ninjas and the Son of God all in 90 minutes and have it make any sense, not seem like a fever dream, a cluster fuck of 12 screen writers. The strength of comics is that drawings can make make the unreal, real, the fantastic all blend and seem logical, fun, seem natural, make it work.

The Scene with Street Angle and Christ in the church had me physically laughing, something that few comics do, humor or otherwise, and when I am laughing while holding a comic I am usually laughing at a bad drawing instead of laughing with the artist. Rugg's work veers between a certain brushy-pulpy lushness, especially effective on the rundown back streets of the city, at times it reminds me of a bit of Joe Sinnott's lush lines, Romita Senior or even Mike Allred, sometimes even a pulpy Dan Clowes, the art being far more lush towards the end of the series. Here and there through the series he'll do a really close-up, lovely rendering of SA, which really gives us readers a real portrait of her a personality, unlike the cracked hip, broken-backed, balloon boobed soft-core porn most heroines are today. She got moxie and she's 12 years old, maybe the averegae babyman can only relate to the love-doll looking herione, SA seems real, not a babyman whack fantasy. She's underage anyway.

I imagine this book could appeal to girls and fans of Tank Girl. Maruca's dialog captures the same snappy appeal Stan Lee's had without trying to hit you over the head with it like so many who also tread in that vein. It's a fine line to be sure, I have to say the dialog also reminded me much of the approach used on The Venture Brothers, another successful use of the retro as modern. The characters are hip enough without crossing the line, so there's a more urban, modern awareness to the writing and the characters, who at times seem to almost acknowledge they are indeed in a comic without breaking the 4th wall the way they do in Scott Pilgrim. So we know we are in the now, or almost now, alternate now and not running down the alleys with Street Angel in some weird 70's action comic. I have to say more super hero comics should be as clearly told as SA is, you know who she is, what's she's about in every story, something I can't say I feel when reading most modern comics, I always feel like the glass is half empty most of the time. I have to say I probably also liked it more by reading it in the collection than I would as single issues. The collection is a pretty quick yet satisfying read, and like any good meal leaves you wanting some more when the plate is empty. There are a few weak spots, I would have liked to see a bit more authenticity with the pirates and ships, an better focus/eye contact between the characters in the compositions, and sometimes figures seemed a bit rubbery, Rugg definitely improved as the issues progressed, and his style congealed more. I don't know what the future holds for SA, Rugg told me he is planning more stories with Street Angel in the future as well as Afrodisiac. I hope those comics are coming soon as I really enjoyed this romp. So Street Angle gets 4 Stars from me.