Creator and writer of comics WHITE KNIFE and TALES OF THE WOLFMAN. Editor for Instant Press Comics. Currently working on AW YEAH COMICS for Aw Yeah Comics Publishing.
Watch my blogs for upcoming projects.
It’s that time once again. Time to tell all of you about this past year.
2010 was not as busy as 2009, but it was still a pretty good year. My poem “Ysabel” was published in Issue 3 of the BAC Street Journal (available at the Beverly Arts Center in Chicago). I also conducted a fantasy writing workshop for teens, and edited the teen issue of the BAC Street Journal, which was published in March. I wrote a short comic (“Dr. Pickle and Mr. Brine”) for the Halloween Issue of Dave Losso’s Great Sandwich Detective comic (http://davelossoart.blogspot.com/).
I appeared with Rene Castellano at C2E2 in April and at FallCon in October. We also appeared at First Aid Comics in Hyde Park for Free Comic Book Day.
I am currently writing House of the Wolfman, the follow-up to Bride of the Wolfman. Rene (http://idiotpresscomics.blogspot.com/) will again be providing the art. The book is scheduled for Free Comic Book Day 2011. Nino Mesarina is currently drawing the second issue of Gondor, Son of Olympus – Deep Fried in Greece, which will hopefully be published along with the first issue as a full-sized one-shot comic from Instant Press Comics (http://www.instantpresscomics.com/).
The writing itch first hit me in second grade. We had a newsletter called the 2’s News. The teacher would have everyone write about different topics (First Holy Communion, going on a picnic, etc.) and publish the best ones. You could also submit your own original stories and poems. So, my poem was published in the June 7, 1972 Issue. Here it is for your enjoyment.
WHAT AM I?
Am I a deer?
Or am I a wall?
Am I a ball?
Or am I a dog?
Am I a tall animal?
Now I know what I am.
I am a person by the name of
David Scott Gruba.
Wow, identity issues at such a young age.
It wasn’t until my freshman year of high school that I would be published again. This next poem appeared in the 1979 edition of The Gift Horse, which was the school magazine.
ISLAND IN SPACE
An opening in space,
with stars contained in it.
There I wish,
my star-ship to sit.
Between the nova
and shooting star,
Away from the shooting,
explosions, deaths and war.
Where no alien matter has set.
Where no two planets have met.
But that is where I want to be.
To leave the confusion,
worry and fuss,
To just sit in
the light stardust.
A few years later, I had my first story published in the 1982 edition of The Gift Horse. It was "The Maze of Death" featuring Rasha al Kara, the prince of thieves. I later rewrote the story and changed the title to "The Wrath of Bal Tek." This version was published in Gruba Fiction.
As I come across more of my earlier writings, I will share them here. Hope you appreciate reading them as much as I enjoy rediscovering them.
- French Roast - an uptight businessman who realizes that he does not have his wallet and cannot pay his bill decides to keep ordering coffee
- Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty – a grandma tells her version of “Sleeping Beauty” terrifying her granddaughter at bedtime
- The Lady and the Reaper – a sweet old lady is waiting for death so she can join her husband once again, but someone is trying to ruin it for her
- A Matter of Loaf and Death – Wallace and Gromit now have a successful baking business, and someone is killing off bakers
- Logorama – car chases, a hostage crisis and wild animals in a city of famous logos (Winner of the Best Animated Short Academy Award)
The animation styles were different in each of the five films. The Lady and the Reaper is funny and original. I always love Wallace and Gromit, and A Matter of Loaf and Death does not disappoint. Logorama is very clever, funny and exciting. The story involves famous “spokescharacters” such as Big Boy, Mr. Clean, Ronald McDonald and Michelin Men (as police, no less).
They also showed three other animated shorts that received Honorable Commendations: Partly Cloudy from Pixar, Runaway from France and The Kinematograph from Poland. All three were very well done and entertaining.
A Planet of the Apes prequel called Rise of the Apes is going into production in July. The new movie is an origin story. Three of the original movies were prequels: Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes. I’ve read plenty of comments stating that the real origin may have been changed by the events in Escape, and that this movie will tell what really happened. That may be true, but it seems to me that they make these movies for a new generation that has never bothered to watch the originals and not to enhance the existing ones.
Fox also plans on doing all of the apes in CGI ala Avatar. The only redeeming factor of Tim Burton’s “reimagining” was the makeup. You were able to accept the characters for who they were and forget about the actors underneath the makeup. That was how I felt about the apes in the original movies. I think Avatar did a great job of making us believe the Na’vi were real, but they were a totally new race, something we had never seen before. We know what the apes are supposed to look like, and unless they real change it up for this new movie (which could also be a mistake), all they are creating are CGI versions of the apes we’ve already seen. CGI characters have their place in movies; Gollum is a prime example. However, sometimes CGI becomes a crutch, or an easy fix.
Yes, I am a huge fan of this franchise: movies, TV series, comics. (I once dressed as Caesar for Halloween, and I still have my Mego action figures.) And yes, I am ranting right now. Maybe next summer, when the CGI apes are up on the big screen taking over the world, I will be cheering in the theater. Maybe.
Legendary artist and painter Frank Frazetta passed away today at the age of 82. He was best known for his paperback covers of Conan and other sword and sorcery novels. His art was the definition of fantasy.
What most people don’t know is that Frazetta started out drawing comics in all different genres. He also drew funny animal comics and worked on such strips as Al Capp’s Li’l Abner and Playboy magazine’s Little Annie Fanny. In the mid 90’s, Verotik produced comics based on two of Frazetta’s characters – Death Dealer and Jaguar God. Most recently, Image Comics has several titles based on Frazetta’s paintings.
I first discovered Frazetta when I started reading Conan novels. I bought several other books and magazines just for his artwork. His paintings were so realistic and always had movement. You could easily visualize the action that was taking place, and you could imagine what was going to follow. The paintings themselves told stories.
I have never traveled to Pennsylvania to visit the Frazetta museum and gaze upon a Frazetta original. I think to do so would be like standing in front of the actual sun. You know it exists, you’ve seen pictures of it, but until you actually look directly at it, you do not realize the power it holds.
Free Comic Book Day is the first Saturday in May each year when participating comic book stores across North America and around the world give away certain comic books absolutely FREE to anyone who comes into their stores. Also, local creators make appearances at various comic book stores on this day. Here are some Chicago creators and stores that you need to check out on FCBD.
Raymond Leonard will be at Alternate Reality Comics located at 3147 West 111th Street. You can pick up his FCBD preview of Guytron.
Dave Losso of Great Sandwich Detective fame will be doing a Tour d' Chicago. Here is his crazy schedule:
1:00 to 3:00 at Brainstorm Comics - 1648 West North Avenue
3:30 to 4:30 at G-Mart Comics - 2641 North Kedzie
5:00 to 7:00 at The Comic Vault - 1530 West Montrose
You can also catch Nino Mesarina, creator of The Unbelievable Laundry Detergent Man, at The Comic Vault from 5:00 to 7:00.
Finally, Rene Castellano and I will be at First Aid Comics located at 1459 East 53rd Street in Hyde Park. Our latest book, Bride of the Wolfman, will be available. We will also have some free comics.
Go forth and support all of these fine artists and comic book stores.
Okay. I haven't been drawing anything new, like I said I would in my last blog. So, I thought I would share some more old artwork.
After I joined up with Instant Press back in 2001, Rene wanted me to draw my own comic. He told me that I could do a back-up for his Dorks comic.
I am a big fan of mythology. Thor is my favorite god (no hate mail please, my religious friends) and one of my favorite comic book characters. Hence, I created THORK.
He was a regular Dork, working at a construction site, when he gets struck on the head by a hammer that has fallen out of the sky. When he holds the hammer high, he transforms into Thork. His construction belt becomes a belt of strength, his gloves turn to steel and his head sprouts wings.
Below is a one-page preview drawn by yours truly and inked by Rene Castellano. This was originally supposed to appear in Instant Press 2003, which was never officially published.