Archive for November, 2005

Here we go again…

Mike’s having problems with his computer again. The NEW one this time.
I never should have recommended the Mac. Not that I feel that Macs are
inferior. They’re not. It’s just that I now feel responsible.

Anyway, it may be a while before Mike can get his ‘puter running and post
again on his own. Thanks for your patience.

Mafus

Back in the Saddle

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I hope everyone had as wonderful a THANKSGIVING as I did. It was great being with my family– my mother and father, brother and sister-in-law over the holiday weekend. Thanksgiving is about the only time each year that I get to spend any quality time with Matt and Suzanne. I see them most HEROES CONS, but that’s such a chaotic situation that other than a nice quiet dinner one night during the show, there’s not much chance for any meaningful time together. As usual, Suzanne prepared a masterful meal. For me– as well as a couple of vegetarian friends who ate with us– she prepared an amazing meatless mexican casserole and mole (pronounced mo-lay) sauce. There were also cornbread muffins, green bean salad, greek salad (provided by the Wojtysiaks– Matt and Suzanne’s friends) — as well as the traditional turkey along with tiger prawn shrimp for the meat-eaters. There were also wonderful deserts like chocolate cake, pecan pie and chocolate drop no-bake cookies made by my mother. I ate so many sweets that my body STILL feels overdosed on sugar. I’ve been sluggish and achy for a couple days now. I think I definitely overdid the sweet stuff– I brought a bunch of it home with me, so I was cramming it in my face for 4 days. I got back late Saturday evening, and immediately conked out. I was intending to work some– but didn’t get back to work until yesterday… and even then, at a very slow, sluggish pace.

It was a fantastic holiday… but now it’s time to get back into high-gear to make up for lost time– as well as try to make room for CHRISTMAS, which is right around the corner.

Now if only the food-hangover will wear off……..

This is Entry 166.

Mike

MURK THING says "HAPPY THANKSGIVING…!"

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It seems an odd image subject for a THANKSGIVING holiday wish and hiatus note, using something that is, ostensibly, my childhood version of SWAMP THING or MAN-THING…. but I couldn’t think of anything else to do. I could have done something schmaltzy or overly sentimental about this particular time of year and holiday… but I guess I wasn’t in the mood. And I’ve been wanting to get back to playing around with doing new interpretations of the characters I created (read: came up with knock-offs of existing characters I really liked as a kid) when I was a child. I’m actually running a little thin on material… I’ve pretty much gone through all the best characters (and you’ve got to take THAT sentence with a grain of salt…) and I’m kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel at this point. At any rate– here’s MURK THING… which is my kiddie version of Marvel’s MAN-THING and DC’S SWAMP THING. I was, back then, totally awed by the amazing work that Mike Ploog did on MAN-THING during those times. Ploog’s work on that title (as well as GHOST RIDER and WEREWOLF BY NIGHT) back then was nothing short of spectacular. His drawings were at the same time both beautiful and yet so very moody and creepy. His stuff has a charm and unique quality that I never tire of looking at. And what can you say about Bernie Wrightson’s work on SWAMP THING that hasn’t been said before? The man was a master– and still is. Wrightson’s powerful and influential– if all too brief– run on SWAMP THING has inspired tons of artists down the years. And his successor, Nestor Redondo, was no slouch either. I was disappointed when Wrightson left ST… but it didn’t take me long to fall in love with Redondo’s work when he started. And so, of course I had to have a similar character… and thus we have this guy.

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I’ve got a lot to be thankful for these days. My family and friends, first and foremost; the fact that I’m STILL working in the comics biz… even though I broke in during the time when the ‘big boom’ of the early 90′s was just beginning to fizzle out; my great little buddy and living companion CHARLIE the tabby cat (this is my second THANKSGIVING with him); my health. Despite my LAST post, in which I complained ad infinitum about my back and deteriorating eyes… I’m still very, very healthy. I work out 5 days a week… and I’m still able to do that with no problems. I try to live a healthy lifestyle, and as the old saying goes, “If you ain’t got your health, you ain’t got nothin’…!” So I’m VERY thankful for that.

With all the dark and scary things going on in the world, I hope everyone takes an account of everything they’ve got to be thankful for.. and I hope everyone who celebrates the holiday has a FANTASTIC THANKSGIVING. I’ll see you on the other side.

Have fun.

This is Entry 165.

Mike

THE INEVITABLE MARCH OF TIME (Or– GUESS WHO’S WEARING GLASSES NOW…?)

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There’s an old saying that time heals all wounds. But time also levels mountains… changes the course of rivers…. and crumbles cities, no matter how well built. Time flows on without end. There’s nothing a mere mortal can do to stem that inexorable flow of seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years. The strange thing is that the human mind, for the most part, is usually so occupied with not only the day-to-day realities and demands of everyday life, but also the aspirations and dreams and goals that are the constant undercurrent of its thought processes, that the effects that time has on the body surrounding that mind can, to paraphrase John Steinbeck, steal in on little cat’s feet. And so, while it doesn’t MENTALLY feel as though I’ve lived 42+ years– my body has been, in recent times, TELLING me that it’s been that long. As I’ve said in past posts, the hereditary ‘gift’ of degenerative lower back problems, combined with 13 years of spending almost every day hunched over a drawing table (as well as the computer these past several years) whizzing by has brought on increased back pain and caused me to seek relief from a chiropractor. Fortunately, the good Dr. Krasnov has been able to help me to a very large degree and I’m now able to spend almost as long as I’d like at the drawing table these days. It wasn’t that long ago I was forced into laying flat on the floor staring at the ceiling between 45 minute pain filled sessions at the table.

Over the last several months, I’ve had another problem. It had become harder and harder to focus on what I was working on. When I first started noticing the problem I would begin drawing and after only about 10 minutes my eyes would blur… sometimes even cross. And I was experiencing burning, itching eyes… and they felt tired all the time. It didn’t matter what time of day it was, or whether I was working or not– my eyes felt as though I’d been awake for 3 days straight. The problem continued to get worse and worse. By the end of this past week, it had gotten to the point where I couldn’t work at all. I thought it was the fact that I use a light box for my work….. and I tried another method of creating the finished pencil pages this past weekend. That ended up being a complete disaster and a waste of time (the page got done… but it took 3 times as long to do this as it usually does for me to finish my work). I had also noticed that I was having increased trouble reading before bed. I like to read a chapter or two of a novel before falling asleep, and that was becoming more difficult as well. And so this past weekend, I decided to get my eyes examined and see if there was something that could be done to help me. As it turns out, I needed glasses. It seems I’m extremely far-sighted (which, at least means I won’t have to wear glasses or contacts FULL-TIME)– and I have an astigmatism in both eyes (the right being the worst– the Doctor told me that my left eye had been carrying the bulk of the load for some time). And so I now have to wear prescription glasses to draw and to read. I can tell the difference already– my eyes haven’t felt tired or itched since I started wearing the glasses.

I’m glad that I’ve been able to find the proper fix for my problems as time takes its toll on my body…. but I can’t help but wonder what the NEXT challenge I’ll have to deal with will be. I know they’ll be coming. It’s inevitable.

Like time.

This is Entry 164.

Mike

COVER STORY II

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Here’s the pencils for the NEXT variant/second printing cover to be released for the SPIDER-MAN: THE OTHER crossover event. This time it’s for MARVEL KNIGHTS SPIDER-MAN #20, which has sold out from Marvel. This time it’s THE SCARLET SPIDER who’s swinging down on you, web shooter blazing. I think that this is the most fun and interesting part of the whole event… the fact that they keep having these second printing covers done from my original cover. The piece that ended up as the second printing of FRIENDLY #1 was to ORIGINALLY be the regular cover to that first issue. But during the planning stage, Marvel decided that they wanted a unifying cover trade dress. That required creating another cover. I didn’t think that my original piece would get used any time soon…. but then the comics started to sell out from the distributor, and thus this fun second-print variant cover thing began. One of the things about that tickles me most about this is how much fun the assistant editors dealing with the SPIDER-MAN books seem to be having with it. They all have their favorite odd version/variation of SPIDER-MAN from his long history and they hope it keeps going long enough to get to the one they fancy.

It just might……. we’ll just have to wait and see.

This is Entry 163.

Mike