Flashback Friday - Evel Knievel

My brother just e-mailed me with the news that Evel Knievel died today. Ted just wrote the word...


It's the perfect word.

As 70's kids, we used that word all the time.
As 70's kids, Evel Knievel was a living breathing superhero.
As 70's kids, for Ted and I, very few were as cool as him.

He was sooooo 70's...

Knievel's stunts were big TV events. I remember waiting days in excitement to watch ABC Wide World of Sports for the weekend when they would air... LIVE ...the jumping of Snake Canyon in his rocket cycle.

The Knievel stunt cycle was a must have toy at Christmas. Ted and I spent hours creating incredible stunts and making ramps just like in these commercials...

Looking back with 40 something eyes... he was a overblown, cheesy, self absorbed, showman and daredevil. Then again, a recent generation of kids have guys who launch bottle rockets from their butts as daredevil heros.

Ted and I were lucky to be 11 and 9 years old when Knievel was the coolest. He really was one of a kind. It is a bummer.

Thanksgiving Memories #6

I learned to play CANASTA while visiting in Portland. It's a favorite card game of Kirk's Mom. We would play almost every night. Mrs. Scott is very competitive...

Thanksgiving Memories #5

The best part of driving to Portland is the scenery and mountains. Ted's girlfriend Leah had never been this far north , so I played tour guide...

Mt. Shasta is particularly beautiful. It slowly emerges in the distance and remains in view for miles.

It's a dormant VOLCANO! It last erupted 200 years ago, not that long ago in geological time. Sure enough...guess what happened when we stopped for breakfast... really! See, here's a picture...

It's our story to Monica and Kirk why we were late and I'm sticking to it.

Thanksgiving Memories #4

Last Tuesday...Ted, Leah and I drove to Portland, Oregon to spend Thanksgiving with my sister, Monica and brother in law, Kirk. We left at 10 pm, committed to driving all night till we got there. Our first stop was for coffee at Starbucks down the street before hitting the freeway.

Ted gave the car a holy latte blessing ...

The first 2 hours of the long drive flew by as we told classic road trip stories...

During a stop for gas, Leah went inside to use the bathroom. I thought it would be funny to move the car out of sight when we she came out...

This was the "rear view" mirror image for the next few miles...

Revenge was had when all the darkest and creepy "rest areas" were picked to stop at when I needed them...

even after the sunrise...

Thanksgiving Memories #3

My brother Ted, his girlfriend Leah and I hit the road leaving Portland after a fun 5 day Thanksgiving visit at 6pm last night. They dropped me off at my house a little over an hour ago. It's exactly 957.8 miles from my sister's curb in Oregon to mine in LA. Cartoons and stories about the whole visit once I get some sleep.

Thanksgiving Memories #1

I'm going to fill this week with Thanksgiving memories. Here's the first. It's an old cartoon, but thought a good one to kick things off. All new cartoons to come.

Friday Cartoon

Old Comic Book Stuff (1988)

This was one of those projects that started strong, got rolling and faded away. Back in 1988 I was working at Aaron Bros. Art Mart. One of the other starving artists working there was Andy. He was a comic book fan like me. He wanted to create the next great comic franchise. Everyday he would talk ideas about a superhero team based on the signs of the zodiac. I got caught up in it. I penciled the first 8 pages or so.

I don't remember much of the story now, but these pages involved... two renegade alien scientists that are on the run with "secrets to the universe". A larger, more powerful alien race is trying to stop them. They escape to Earth where they select a group of humans. Each will be given a special power based on the horoscope to protect the "secrets to the universe".

The original art is lost, these are scans from some old copies I have. Click on images to enlarge.

Happy Birthday Mom

Mom, circa 1968.

Disneyworld 1972. Me, Mom and brother Ted

Today... sister Megan, niece Devin, Mom and sister Monica.

Fall Football

November always reminds me of playing football as a kid. Immaculate Heart of Mary grade school excelled in education but never had a championship winning athletic dept.

As a matter of fact, many of us needed basic equipment orientation from day one.

Halloween 2007 - Spooky Robot Lady

I've mentioned on this blog that I'm a fan of the old Fritz Lang silent film METROPOLIS. One October, years ago, my own cheap version of "False Maria" (the classic robot in the movie) was made. My niece Devin calls her "spooky robot lady"...the name's stuck. It's one of the oldest customized Halloween props I still use. She's displayed on the dining table every season as the guardian of the party food. She was once a used and broken mannequin. Her creation became a team effort. Two friends helped give her life (2 years apart). Not that it's so special or unique that it needed the help to make, it's just what happened over the years. Click on pictures to enlarge.

Back in 2001, Paul Pistore and I were working together on another project when Halloween came around. I told him about this old mannequin I wanted to make look like a "False Maria" for Halloween that year. He wanted to help create. The figure was missing a hand and he custom made a "un skinned" robo-skeleton one. I love it. The best part of the figure. Paul made low tech construction, elegant.

He also made glowing purple eyes with Christmas lights and a fun LED blinking antennae. After 5 Halloween seasons, this year was the only one the lights failed to work. Kudos to Paul's electronic genius...twas' an exceptional run for something only expected to work for one Halloween. I've known union electricians who take 14 hours to get a store bought practical light I've put on a set to work. I'll fix before next year. In the meantime, here is a cheap photoshop enhanced image of what it looked like when working...

In 2003, with friend Jason Garner one night, with nothing better to do, we got creative and decided to detail her. Jason added small "tech" screws everywhere. It sold the robotic feel. The open back of her head (opened by Paul to add the lighting) once had the cut out piece to put back in. I've lost it since. Jason helped create the exposed faux electronic brain in it's place.

"False Maria" is an old woman now and falling apart. Spooky Robot Lady deserves a full blown makeover before Halloween 2008.

Two reasons I love our dog Grover...

1) He's creative and started decorating for Christmas. He's making the backyard a winter wonderland using the stuffing from a lawn chair cushion. I'm curious to see what he does with my sock and chewed up sneaker...

2) He takes himself for walks...

Oh, that Grover! (canned laughter)

You know you have a toy collecting problem...

when your 5 year old niece becomes a STAR WARS enabler. She made me these great crayon & scotch taped together cut outs of Luke and R2 to put in my display.

The geek I am loves her for being movie specific...she made Luke Skywalker from RETURN of the JEDI in the dark clothes and wearing black gloves. This was the movie from the trilogy we watched together one afternoon a long time ago in a neighborhood not so far away.

The geek I am also notes...Luke's hair is more Anakin Skywalker from REVENGE of the SITH. Devin said it was Luke so I'll accept her artistic interpretation. I'll correct her years from now in High School when she could care less and be embarrassed because I'm the dorky Uncle.

I could not believe my eyes.

As a cartoonist, you draw the the absurd and cliche to get a laugh. The real world always surprises me with living, breathing caricatures. I saw this woman coming up the escalator at a store yesterday (and yes, it was a woman). The t-shirt image is the actual one she was wearing. This is a life drawing, not a cartoon.

Click on image to enlarge.

The Holidays are Here.

One annual phone call I get marks the beginning of the Holiday season for me...

"Hi Dave, it's Nicole at Screen Door Entertainment. Want to do our Christmas card again this year? Oh and do you have your receipts together YET from KNITTY GRITTY last season?

Ah...to get that call is like a warm cup of Cocoa, the smell of pine trees and the laughter of children on Christmas morning.

Here's the idea/sketch for 2007, spotlighting the SDE logo.

Just for fun and photoshop practice...

Sick of my Halloween posts?

I know it's November. I'm over Halloween (almost). A few posts about the past holiday season might slip in this month but I'm focused on Pilgrims and Turkeys now.