Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I thought I'd post this filler blog while I gather the photos from the Chicago Comic Con and our shenanigans during out mini-vacation. 

First I'd like to give a sneak peek and the almost finalized cover for the upcoming book The Call of Lovecraft from Papercut Books

Here is the list of the astounding authors taking part in this anthology: 
 Ramsey Campbell
John F.D. Taff
William Meikle
John B. Rosenman
Carol MacAllister
J. Travis Grundon
Jacqueline Seewald
Lee Clark Zumpe
Brian Barnett
Gregory L. Norris
H. David Blalock
Scott Lefebvre
H.P. Lovecraft

Next up in the Shameless Self Promotion Agenda is Jonathan Maberry's new book is out. Wanted Undead or Alive: Vampire Hunters and other Kick Ass Enemies of Evil is the latest non-fiction book by the NT Times best-seller and multi-Bram Sotker Award winning author. It was co-authored by Janice Gable Bashman features interviews and art by some of the best in the business like Menton J. Matthews III, Sam Flegal, Chad Michael Ward, Mike Mignola, Peter Straub, Jack Ketchum, Don Maitz and more. Oh, I'm in there too! 

In the Who Knew? section I have this tid bit: I was contacted by a person asking if I was related to someone who was big into sci-fi by the name of Roy Tackett. All Tacketts are pretty much from the same stock which makes us all cousins to an extent but no, I am not closely related to this gentleman. But to find this out I did a Google search on him. lo and behold he had a Wikipedia article on him. He didn't just found a convention or two. He didn't just write short stories and reviews. He is credited with introducing science fiction to Japan! And for his work with Japanese fandom he was one of only two Americans awarded the "Nippon SF Fandom" award, Forrest J. Ackerman being the other. So a Tackett is in some way responsible for Godzilla...and anime...Who knew? 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chicago Comic Con

I'm in the process of packing for Chicago Comic Con. There will be tons of  phenomenal artists in attendance like Arthur Suydam, Mark Kidwell, Jason Craig, Bill Sienkiewicz, Mark Texiera, Menton J. Matthews III or Chris Kuchta. This will be our very first show in Chicago so I'm really anxious the get on the road. We'll have some new prints in stock as well as our new-ish shirt designs. Stop by booth # 3431 and say "Hey, ain't you the zombie guy?".

In other zombie related news I have a small spot in NY Times best selling author and multi-Bram Stoker award winner Jonathan Maberry's new non-fiction book Wanted Undead or Alive: Vampire Hunters and other Kick Ass Enemies of Evil. Below is the page in which I appear. I blurred out the text so you'll have to find a real life copy in order to read it! I'm such a dick...

Monday, August 16, 2010

What's right with anime?

Before I get into it I want to say that Gencon 2010 was pretty damned awesome! Thanks to everyone that stopped by and supported us. It was great seeing everyone again. I got some cool commissions so the next few months should be interesting as far as art goes. I was also approached for a project that I'm pretty jazzed about although I can't say anything about it. Yet. And as always one of the highlights was dinner with Abyss Walker author Shane Moore and Tracy...and the other Shane ;-)

Now, on to the topic:
I think maybe the best way to get to what is right with anime and manga is to show what is wrong with...uh..er..OK, so what is anime exactly? Anime is "is animation originating in Japan...(characterized by) large eyes...a "vein" or "stress mark" effect, where lines representing bulging veins will appear on their forehead (to denote anger)...a massive sweat-drop (which has become one of the most widely recognized motifs of conventional anime) or produce a visibly red blush or set of parallel (sometimes squiggly) lines beneath the eyes (to show stress or embarrassment)" and so on. From Wikipedia. So anime describes an art style...Hmm. So lets look at manga.

"The genre includes a broad range of subjects: action-adventure, romance, sports and games, historical drama, comedy, science fiction and fantasy, mystery, horror, sexuality, and business/commerce, among others". Also from Wikipedia. The article seems to describe manga as a type of creative medium. Maybe that's how I'll approach the subject...

To get to what is right with anime and manga is to show what is wrong with us, the western world. We have to label everything! It has to fit into some sort of genre in order for our brains to process it. For instance there are the genres of fantasy, sci-fi and horror (and never the twain shall meet according to some!). And these genres are further divided into sub-genres. For instance under the horror umbrella we have gothic, splatter punk, torture porn, slasher etc which can be further divided into or grouped under vampires, zombies and so on and on and on. The same holds true for sci-fi and fantasy. And when you have a movie like Alien come along it causes many (usually laughable) debates. 

My art is usually categorized as zombie art, horror art, and the new and frustrating mash-up. I hate the term mash-up, BTW. The others I don't really mind even though it irks me a little when someone walks up to me and says "Hey, you're the zombie guy". Yes, yes I am but I am also much more than that. I consider myself a fantasy artist. Why? I don't do many dragons or elves or unicorns. But what I do is make shit up. I create scenes and creatures that didn't exist until I came along. It's all fantastical therefore it's fantasy. 

I know there are some out there that are hardcore fantasy fans and that the whole zombie/horror things is "beneath them" or "too gross" or whatever. Fantasy is full of undead creatures and horror is full of magic! Fantasy and horror should go hand in hand! And that, kiddos, is what is wrong with us.

The Japanese and the creators of anime and manga have none of the hangups we do. Whatever it takes to make an interesting story will be thrown in there. There is no steampunk or horror or sword and sorcery or post-apocalyptic anime. It's just anime that may have a little bit of each thrown in there. There are no explanations (apologies) either. The story just happens. And the reader/viewer just goes with it. But we here in the west feel the need to explain (apologize) by calling it alternative history. Or a parallel dimension. or a mash-up. So why do we not have genres that are just based upon art styles alone instead of subject? Good question. One that I don't have an answer to.

Granted labeling stuff by subjects makes it easier for us to find what we like but are we missing something? I think we are. I know as a creator (yes, I think I am going to lean towards the term "creator" more than artist) trying to create something within a specific genre can be stifling so I'm not going to do it anymore. Not that I really worried too much about it in the past but I am now going to worry about it even less. I may even take to the streets with my message...which will be..."Down with labels"?...or "Genre specificity is for those that can't think outside the box"...Too wordy? Perhaps. Maybe I'll work on that but you get the picture. 

And for what it's worth I am not a fan of anime or manga generally speaking. There's a few good additions to the genres here and there but I am not a fan. But I think we can learn a lot.

And speaking of mash-ups...Egad! I hate that term! So speaking of non-genre specificity here is the cover to the epic final installment to Shane Moore's Abyss Walker series. Fantasy and horror. This proves the point I made earlier.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

GenCon and more...

First of all I would like to say that we know there is a major retail chain selling Zombie Sam t-shirts that look a whole lot like mine. We're looking into it now and I'll give more info when I can. Secondly: A big rotten thanks to everyone who gave us the heads up. When we get an average of one message a day for over a month it means only one thing: You love us! You really, really love us!! But seriously it does mean that not only do we have fans but we have fans who care enough about us to watch our backs which makes them friends as well! Thanks everyone!

We're gettin' geared up for Gencon which starts Thursday. Love this show. This will be our third or fourth year for this show and it keeps getting better and better for us. We'll have a bunch of new prints and shirts available that we didn't have last year so stop by and say hi. We'll be in the art show somewhere.

Abyss Walker author Shane Moore will be in the author's alley so make sure you stop by his booth and give him shit. And my friends are screening the film My Bloody Wedding there so if you like horror and comedy mixed up together check the schedule for the show time.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Sunday, August 01, 2010


Friday I took part in Zombiestock and it was great! Usually Friday afternoons are slow for conventions but this one was pretty well attended. Met some cool people and got to hang out with some old friends. Thanks goes out to Jason and everyone involved. Look forward to next year's event.

Afterwards I got to hang out at the Fright Night Film Fest's after parties. Not sure if there are words to describe the shenanigans that went on but suffice it to say I returned to my room at around 3:30 am! Too many folks to list but it was cool hanging out with everyone. Can't wait to do it again.

But I will share my highlight of the night: Being called a "wanker" buy Jason Carter...

Next stop: GENCON!!!