I've always liked Halloween. As a kid I was, for some reason, drawn to the "darker" side of subjects, although really scary movies would really scare me. The commercials for "Children of the Damned" freaked me out considerably. Peter Lorre's appearance on the "Jack Benny Show" had me looking under the bed. But most "horror" movies were too cheesy to be really frightening. The loveable "gothic" soap opera "Dark Shadows" was appointment television in the late 1960s.
I was also very much engrossed in the comic book universes. I was inspired to invent my own characters and write and draw my own comics. I always gave them away, as it was too much hassle to try to get anyone to buy them. One of the characters was based on Halloween culture and was named after a great game I had, called "Green Ghost" (it had glow in the dark elements and was to be played in the dark. Very cool). The idea in my head, which never really came to fruition, was that the story would follow an arc beginning in November and come to a climax on Halloween night.
A few years ago I was relating this idea to a friend who had a fledgling comic publishing project and he encouraged me to pursue the idea. The problem was that I couldn't come up with a story I really felt was good enough, so I never did anything with it. I did go so far as to develop the way the character looked, and outlined his abilities, which were those of a ghost. The Green Ghost could fly, become invisible, walk through walls, that kind of thing. In my original conception he was more of a crime fighter, who battled semi-supernatural bad guys and his powers were made possible by science. For example, he had an anti-gravity belt to help him fly and a device that could render him invisible and another to change the molecular structure of objects, such as walls, so that he could pass through them. I still think that was an interesting idea, especially for a 13 year old. The new concept gave him supernatural origins and the plan was for him to deal with other supernatural phenomena. A little too close to Marvel Comics' "Dr. Strange" character, probably, but in any case it never really jelled story-wise.
Anyway, this "Neo-Retro" piece was done, as all of them have been, for fun and to explore what a typical scene in a story might look like. I also got concerned about copyright issues with the game reference, so I changed his name. At first I thought of calling him "West Ghost", a pun on west coast. But much as I love the Pacific coast, it doesn't really lend itself to ghosts and fog and all of that, so I decided to call him East Ghost. After all, that's the home of Salem, Massachusetts and the coast of Maine (the setting of "Dark Shadows"). The dark, wintry and stormy coastline of the east is better suited to the nature of the character.
Have a happy Halloween or Autumn festival or Day of the Dead or whatever form of celebration you want to engage in.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Sunday, October 20, 2013
These are photos of a bluebird house I painted for an auction. It was part of a fund raising event presented by the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Dallas on behalf of the Trinity River Audubon & Dogwood Canyon Audubon Centers. Obviously my interest in nature makes this a perfect project for me. The event was last night, October 19, and while I didn't attend, I understand my contribution did well for the fund raiser.
Friday, October 11, 2013
The new edition of Strokes of Genius 5: Design and Composition has just been published by Northlight Books and includes this sketchbook drawing. It was executed during my two and a half weeks stay in Taos two summers ago. I had been joined by my wife Becky and our friend Erik Tosten for the final week of my stay and we visited the small town of Arroyo Seco. We stopped in at Abe's Cantina and Erik and I pulled out the sketchbooks and started drawing.
When we left Becky realized she had left her makeup bag in the ladies room. We went back to get it and another patron had found it and left it with the bartender who stashed it behind the bar. Nice folks. Go by if you get the chance.