Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Raunchy Return of the Slick!

The Slick will soon appear in the Ms. Megaton Man™ Maxi-Series.

One of our favorite Bizarre Heroes is The Slick, a roof-running, stream-spewing, sticky-fingered megahero in the more perverse Steve Ditko tradition. With his prick-pistol brimming with Slick-Stick™ and always about to pop, our priapic protagonist starred in his very own issue (Bizarre Heroes #15, Fiasco Comics Inc., January1996), and was memorably parodied by Dave Sim in his Guys story arc in Cerebus the Aardvark #209 (Aardvark-Vanaheim, August 1996), who rendered more graphically the onanistic subtext of the character.

The Slick eyes Darkcease in an unpublished splash page, circa 1998.

Pencil and ink artwork, circa 1998.

The Slick’s liminal adventures always bordered on the explicit (he was voted most likely to cross over with Wendy Whitebread, Undercover Slut), and his nocturnal missions more often involved fending off the groinal gropings of perennial groupie Mooncat or escaping the entangled restraints of predatory Rose Shark than fighting evildoers, strictly speaking.

Dave Sim parodies Bazaar Heroes in Cerebus #209 (Aardvark-Vanaheim, August 1996).

The Wanker, ready to repel using the protean ribbon from his propulsion nozzle.

An unpublished sequence from circa 1998, following his penultimate Bizarre Heroes climax, depicts an amorous encounter with Clarissa James, alias Ms. Megaton Man. However, when our boy follows Missy back to her lair, the contumely chimera turns out to be none other than Dark-Cease—one of the more fulminating femmes fatales among the evil Project Mainstream Megaclones—in disguise. In this newly-colored splash page, the igneous enchantress obviously desires Our Friendly Neighborhood Backdoor Surfer to douse her smouldering shunt-chute with lugubrious lubricant.

The Slick’s pseudo-solo issue capped his comic book capers and brought his Bizarre Heroes appearances to a head.
From Bizarre Heroes #15 (Fiasco Comics Inc., January 1996).

Mooncat wants to paw our pistol-packer’s pump-gun.
From Bizarre Heroes #4 (Fiasco Comics Inc., August 1994).

Rose Shark revels over her prone opponent.
From Bizarre Heroes #4 (Fiasco Comics Inc., August 1994).

The Webbed flicker writhes and flails to wriggle free.
From Bizarre Heroes #4 (Fiasco Comics Inc., August 1994).

The Slick will soon be making his literary debut in an upcoming chapter of the Ms. Megaton Man™ Maxi-Series, as none other than the leading lady’s nyctophilic lover, in prose that promises to be the most purple yet in that barely-YA narrative experiment.

B-50 has already appeared in the Ms. Megaton Man Maxi-Series, but the Slick’s shot has yet to come.
From Bizarre Heroes #3 (Fiasco Comics Inc., July 1994).

The Slick demonstrates his seminal attachment to Ms. Megaton Man.
From Bizarre Heroes #3 (Fiasco Comics Inc., July 1994).

Read More: Eroticism in Don Simpson's Comics, a two-part text essay with 64 unedited covers and comic book pages!

Catch the Sensational Slick’s upcoming guest shot in the prosaic Ms. Megaton Man™ Maxi-Series, the weekly serialized YA novel by Don Simpson! New chapter every Friday.
All characters, character names, likenesses, words and pictures are ™ and © Don Simpson 2020, all rights reserved.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Teenagers at 25: Turgid Turtles from the Twentieth Century!

Reposted from June 19, 2014; updated with new scans.

Here is the original art of two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I created in 1989 and 1991. The first, "Teen Techno Turtle Trio Plus One," appeared in the trade paperback anthology Shell Shock, and the second, "Tales of Alternate Turtles on the Moon," parts 1 and 2, appeared in Turtle Soup vol. 2 no. 2, both from Mirage Studios, the originators of TMNT under creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. Both cartoonists were fans of my early Megaton Man from Kitchen Sink Press, but Kevin especially patronized me for convention sketches in the summer of 1985 (much of the cash I made that year came from overcharging him for sketches of "Megaton Turtle" and the like), and he even did me the honor of creating a Megaton Man costume for Halloween that year and wearing it.

In any case I was invited to contribute to these anthologies, which were various creators' takes on TMNT. However, since I didn't really get the appeal of the Turtles at all (I never got the appeal of the late-'70s X-Men revival, either), I substituted my own group of snapper turtles led by a Jerry Lewis-like Nutty Professor mouse. The first story is noteworthy for introducing Pteranoman, my paleolithic take on Batman, who would soon thereafter get his own one-shot from Kitchen Sink, and later figure prominently in Bizarre Heroes.

It is also features some pretty nice cave babes which likewise prefigure The Phantom Jungle Girl, who also made her debut in Pteranoman #1. It also features some inside jokes, such as Proffy's catch-phrase from Larry Marder's Tales of the Beanworld. The "real" TMNT and their rat guru appear at the tail (no pun intended) end.

The second story appeared in color, and is a fairly generic pirate tale, with a very inside reference to Will Eisner and Wally Wood's Outer Space Spirit. It is noteworthy if only because I would later draw a "real" TMNT story for the Archie series featuring pirates.

The copyright status of this material, as far as I am concerned, somewhat unclear. I will have to check my archives, but I honestly don't believe I ever signed a work-for-hire contract, or indeed any contract, for these stories (although I was well paid for the time). As the writer-artist, the Teen Techno Turtle Trio, or Alternate Turtles, if you will, belong to me, and I would probably be free to reprint or collect them, although I would no doubt have to obtain permission to reproduce the panels in which TMNT and Splinter appear, and since the property is no longer controlled by Eastman and Laird, how I would go about that is unclear. More likely I would have to alter those panels in some way.

For some critical appraisal on the first and second story, see TMNT Entity blog.

The original artwork, in any case, remains in my possession, and as complete vintage stories, might be attractive to some collector.

Here's the original note I received with the returned artwork from Mirage Studios; I have no idea whose initials are on it:

New July 7, 2019: Cartoonists Kayfabe has made me as star. Check out the video at 2:05:

Read my YA prose experiment Ms. Megaton Man Maxi-Series, new chapter every Friday!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Fanny's Fanny and Other Sketches!

A mixed bag of some recent art, starting off with me swiping a piece of art another artist drew of my character! I was dumbfounded when I stumbled upon Bobgar Ornelas' winsome rendition of the Phantom Jungle Girl online; I had to see if I could capture that subtle body language and carefree expression. I still like Bobgar's version better!

My swipe of Bobgar Ornelas' rendering of Fanny! I liked the body language so much, I had to see if I could capture it. But I still like his better!

Bobgar Ornela's original art! I love it so much.

Clarissa's legs are a bit too long here; more like a showgirl's (Ms. Megaton Man is only supposed to be about 5' 6"). Anyway, just a warm-up.

Clarissa is a bit too leggy in this one; she's shorter and stouter, but it's still a nice drawing, I think.
Simon Phloog (the Son of Megaton Man) and Gower Goose confront a Frog Girl on a floating disc; this was a sketch to help me visualize a scene and its characters that I am attempting to write in prose. More on that project another time!

Angelfrog menaces Simon Phloog and Gower Goose. Concept drawing for a story I'm currently writing.

Apropos of nothing, here is me at the easel at the 1993 San Diego Comicon, drawing Megaton Man and Fanny. I forget the occasion; presumably the piece was for a benefit auction. Who owns it now?!

Not a recent photo: Me drawing Megaton Man and the Phantom Jungle Girl at the 1993 San Diego Comicon.
Last but not least, I pay tribute to Whisper and Mars, two early 80s series that featured strong female leads! I got ahold of a few issues of each recently and used the inspiration as another warm-up!

Steve Grant and Rich Larson's Whisper, and Mark Wheatley and Marc Hempel's Mars.

Check out my new Don Simpson's King Kong blog!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Fanny Lives: The Doom Defying Jungle Girl!

Donna Blank, The Phantom Jungle Girl, first appeared without origin with her unlikely detective partners Cowboy Gorilla and The Brilliant Brain in absurdist one-act skit entitled "The Crypt of Crime" (Pteranoman #1, Kitchen Sink Press, August 1990) . I next used her as a substitute member of the Megatropolis Quartet (along with Rubber Brother) in The Savage Dragon vs. The Savage Megaton Man #1 (Image Comics, March 1993). Lithe and fun to draw, her over-the-top name seemed no more ridiculous than a great many "straight" superhero characters, and she seemed to navigate quite easily between my more melodramatic urban pulp-noir conceptions such as The Meddler and the more overtly humorous cast of Megaton Man. Fanny was therefore a natural to anchor Bizarre Heroes (Fiasco Comics, Inc., 1994-1996) as a Crime Buster and subsequently hang out with the Wandering VW Van in The Megaton Man Weekly Serial (online, 1996-2000), which established her secret identity as Donna Blank, the short-haired social worker who knows little about her orphaned past. Donna/Fanny will play a major role in my current work in progress: all-new Megaton Man material than I am preparing for publication in some form or another in the very near future. Here is a brand-new pose I created from scratch recently, along with some key panels from her past comics!

This pose shows the undeniable influence of years of reading Ross Andru's Amazing Spider-Man in the mid-1970s. Although John Romita's covers were the attraction (he is my favorite Spidey artist and still one of my all-time favorite artists generally), I absorbed more than a little of Andru's often awkward and contorted posing, which as a reader at the time I found rather disturbing and lacking in suitable grace. But there's no denying that he always tried to achieve clear, readable storytelling, even if as he struggled to balance expressive body language with compositional constraints, perhaps beyond his skills as an artist. Given the level of artistry that has since become the industry standard, I've come to respect the fact that he made the attempt, and to the extant he has influence my work (and nearly everything I've ever looked at has registered some influence), I like to think I've managed to smooth off some of the rougher edges!

The original sketchbook scribble in pencil is on the right (dated April 21, 2015), which I subsequently scanned and printed out, enlarged, above left, and tightened up with a fine line pen, then inked on a sheet of Strathmore Vellum (I'm pretty sure from the same pad I used for Dracula's Daughter #1 back in 1992) below, both executed on June 23, 2015.

Fanny takes a turn as a fill-in member of The Megatropolis Quartet with Rubber Brother in the background, in the framing sequence taking place in my world in The Savage Dragon vs. The Savage Megaton Man #1 (Image Comics, 1993).

Donna Blank is introduced as Fanny's orphan alter-ego in an early episode of the online Megaton Man Weekly Serial (c. 1996).

Fanny navigates easily between the darker, more dramatic world of The Meddler and the more humorous world of Megaton Man in this incompletely colored tier from the Weekly Serial (c. 1997).

Fanny, now a member of The Doom Defiers, proposes a beach volleyball match to decide a dispute with The Bronx Bombers in my current work in progress (see more on my Megaton Man blog).

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Get Down, Get Down: Weird Cultic Rites of the Bizarre Heroes!

Here is a recent commission I created for the discerning Bizarre Heroes connoisseur Mr. Douglas Rednour, featuring two of his favorite characters, The Phantom Jungle Girl and the Asp. Doug requested a dance or athletic theme (no doubt inspired by Ms. Megaton Man's recent exploits in volleyball, posted on her blog), so I had to through her into the mix. I decided on a choreographic theme, with our trio of muses gathered 'round that ancient twentieth-century device, the 45 rpm record player! Groove on, ladies!

The original light blue Col-Erase and graphite pencil drawing on Strathmore 400 creme-colored drawing paper.

Crowquill pen (Hunt's #102) and India ink final.

If you would like your very own personalized, custom-made Don Simpson drawing,
please visit my commission rate page for some ballpark figures and contact me. Luxury you can afford!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Most In-Your-Face Hero of All ... Spread Eagle!

Part two: More pencils and inks, this time all-new growth from April 2014, as I round out the story from a sketchbook fragment from 2003 (see previous post). Notice the little pieces of tape!

See more here!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Spectacle of ... Spread Eagle!

From a 2003 sketchbook comes perhaps the most Bizarre Hero of all ... Spread Eagle! Below, the original sketchbook sheet and blow-ups lettered and inked in April 2014.

The original sketchbook sheet from 2003. In this same sketchbook are roughs for Al Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right as well as the Megaton Man Sept. 11 storyline.

Top: the original sketch with blue and graphite pencil additions. Bottom: the inked final.

Left to Right: The blown up sketch; a refined tracing on clear tracing paper; the inked final on Clearprint.

Left: blown up sketch with lettering additions on scrap bond paper. Right: inked final.

Left: blown up sketch with lettering additions on scrap bond paper. Right: inked final.

Top: blown up sketch with lettering additions on scrap bond and tracing paper. Bottom: flag rough next to the inked final.

Inked figure and tracing refinement for the mock cover.
See more here!