Thursday, May 28, 2009

Great Day!

Sometimes you just have a great day and for some reason you feel social enough to want to share it with anyone and everyone. Last Friday I was a special guest on Fender's Den of Sin on CrossFire Radio. As an independent DJ Fender is himself both impressive and unimposing. He's a welcoming sort and that goes a long way with what he does. He and I actually go some years back. In fact he was the one who gave me the stage name "Animal" when he saw me playing and noticed the Muppets Animal mounted to my drums.

It's been some years and I do still play out, but those days are few and far between now. I'm okay with that. I feel as if I've done pretty much everything I've ever wanted to do as a drummer. The only thing I haven't done is play to an audience of 40,000 or more. If the chance ever presents itself I'll jump on it. No matter what kind of music it is. Even polka! Come on. The world is waiting for a Lawrence Welk revival.

As I entered Fender's studio the red "on air" light gave a friendly warning and I had no idea what to expect. I met his co-host, an impressive ex-military soldier who you never would have guessed had given any number of years to the service; a rocker they call McLovin - and the guy is full on fun. He brings Fender's show something that can take it to a commercial level.

When I took my seat before the mic and gave it a few checks it wasn't long before I met the show's producer Bruno, a rocker himself who gives the show a sense of the professional. So I was all set. The only thing I had prepared for was talking about the magazine (ROCKnROLL GraphiX) and promoting the contributors who've helped make it so wonderful. But just as the show started there was one thing I never could have anticipated...

My mother!

For those of you who tuned in you already know what happened. The next hour or so was spent with both hosts showering me with a barrage of embarrassing questions, which I had the pleasure of answering directly before my mother's ears. Of course there was no solace as they equally questioned my mother about my upbringing and the items she may have found under my mattress. There was great joy on their faces as she laughed and I ached to find a hole to crawl into. A highlight I'm sure they will most likely use in a promo jingle was when Fender was saying goodbye to my mother and she very proudly stated, "enjoy your sin!"

Despite my embarrassment I've been assured the spontaneous call from my mother only helped my cause. It seems to be true, so I am very glad of it. In short, thanks to Fender and McLovin for having me in the Den - to hammer me with embarrassment.

Nearly a week has passed since the show and I'm still getting positive feedback from it. A week can clear one's head, especially if one is focused on the daily grind. A typical day for me involves waking, going straight to work on the magazine/site; working a full 9 hour/day 40 hour/week job; working on lettering for various clients; attempting to promote the magazine in any way I can find; recruiting new talent and contributors; and all this while trying to fit in time with the woman I share my life with.

Man, when I look back at that I realize how much she tolerates. Not a lot of guy's girlfriends would put up with their men talking to porn stars. And that makes today an exceptionally great day. Someone once said it's the simple things that make life worth living. Hell. That's got to be true.

I started my work early today. I promised my Baby Girl she would have me for a whole two days all to herself and I intend to keep that promise. She was sound asleep for a good three to four hours while I got all my work done. And on that, everything just went right. No major setbacks. Everything smooth.

We headed out and did a few errands. Nothing too stressful. Then, as we drove casually though Crestwood, Kentucky, we came upon a commercial garage and my eyes widened with excitement. To my astonishment sat a fully restored 1968 Pontiac GTO. Beautiful! And close by was a classic red Thunderbird (I can't quite place its year). Two powerful Pontiacs side by side. It was a miracle. We pulled into the shop's lot and I introduced myself to the mechanic and we bantered for a while. This, again, is where I am impressed with my girlfriend's tolerance. No girly girl wants to sit and wait while her man talks shop and takes pictures of machines she only thinks of as vehicles to get you from point A to point B.

Well, after all this her only reward was a nice dinner. Okay. Not a great dinner but nice. Hey, there was steak. How can you not have steak after seeing two classic Pontiacs?

I'm not much for the sentimental, so I'm sure you'll believe when I say, Yes. It is the simple things that make life worth living.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Borgia Returns in Hand Painted Glory - July 09

I recall the very first time I was introduced to the movie Conan The Barbarian. It was at the back of a Playboy magazine. A full page ad proclaimed the movie’s existence and as a 12 year old boy already a fan of the Marvel magazine Savage Sword of Conan it became a quest to see this movie. But as a boy raised in the projects my personal resources were limited, to say the least. No, I had to wait until I was lucky enough to catch it on cable the following year. But when I did see it… what an experience!

"Infidel defilers. They shall all drown in lakes of blood. Now they shall know why they are afraid of the dark. Now they shall learn why they fear the night."

"Valor pleases you, Crom. So grant me one request. Grant me revenge. And if you do not listen then to hell with you!"

I can probably quote almost every line from the movie, so enthralled was that chubby little boy with it. To say it’s my favorite movie of all time is an understatement. That chubby little boy I used to be went out and found a long piece of flat wood, spray painted it silver and made a hilt for it by wrapping it in electrical tape. I even made a scabbard for it by wrapping it in strips of poster board and wrapping tape around that. I then found the belt from a brown robe and wrapped it around my wrist to make an arm band (that’s a lot of wrapping, I know) and tattered some clothing here and there to transform myself into a barbarian warrior.

"No one in this world can you trust. Not men, not women, not beasts… this you can trust."

That chubby little boy found his way into the woods and thus into a fantasy realm, where he battled witches, wizards and giant snakes. He even taught himself how to weld a sword the same way as Conan, with flashy stunt movements, twirling the silver wood sword behind his back. Many trees felt the wrath of that child.

I’m not about to compare July’s HM to one of the most beloved movies of all time, as I know some of you are thinking. I am, however, going to compare the feelings. After reading Eastman on Co.’s latest publication I had the sensation of being everything that I was as that chubby little boy who twirled fake swords and tried fruitlessly to grow his hair long and make his muscles big. In short, I was a kid again.

Bisley’s women are as abstract in their anatomy as they are vicious with their see-right-through-you stares. Lovely, yes. Sexy, for certain. But deadly. And a Bisley girl on the cover of HM is always stunning. Be careful when you open this issue. She may cause a paper cut.

I’m going to get right to what I think is best about this issue: Borgia. We’ve waited a long time for its return and the wait has been well worth it. Jodorowsky and Manara once again give us an orgy of debauchery and lustful delight, presenting us with a tale of Rodrigo Borgia as His Holiness Pope Alexander VI. And the machinations of Borgia knows no limits, as he schemes to force his Church on the whole of Humanity.

I can’t stress how debauched Borgia really is. Or should I say was? Do some research yourself and you’ll discover the historical figure Jodorowsky and Manara base their character on was possibly as sinful as his fictional counterpart.

I don’t want to ruin everything for those of you I know will read the graphic but I will highlight some spoilers: Incest on Easter Sunday, directly atop the Holy Altar; blasphemy; heresy; witchcraft; whore-mongering (beheading of a whore while she sits atop the face of an astrologer); astrology; homosexual intercourse by way of a threesome; deception; murder; and loads of sex, sex, sex! This is everything you’d expect from Jodorowsky and Manara.

I can’t walk away from this without mentioning the art work. Some may believe it is digital (coloring) but I don’t agree. I can’t be certain but looks hand-painted to me. Whatever the case it’s fantastic. And the shorts included in this issue are a nice compliment next to the feature graphic.

Standing out from the rest is The Coffins Will Dance No More by Stephane Betbeder and Pierre Doal, a ghost mystery in which a paranormal detective discovers the truth behind the family secret of his client. I’m sure there may be some who will argue this too is digital coloring but come on. Some artists still take pride in the work their hand’s create. Of course the lettering is digital. As a letterer that’s something I know a little about. And here it’s something I want to point out. I really admire how each balloon and each caption is colored to compliment the colors of each panel on every page. This isn’t something you see in the mainstream. Mainstream publications don’t take risks like this.

I have to tell you there isn’t anything in this issue to dislike or complain about. I love every page. To all the haters out there: Seriously, this one’s a challenge.

I want to give special attention to this issue’s Dossier by S.C. Ringgenberg. I’m not sure if many of you are reading his articles and if not you don’t know what you’re missing. Don’t skip Dossier this month. Go straight to it. And if you get a chance to check out Jane Wiedlin this Summer approach her and tell her you saw her in Heavy Metal.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to get back to re-reading Borgia. That is one fucked up pope.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

It's Official!

Daddy D., yours truly, has been announced as Azurek Studios' new English Supervisor. I will be editing scripts for English translations and occasionally collaborating with stories, such as the up-coming Strawberry Gun. I was recently very sick so this just made my day! Much thanks to Rita and Stefano. I look forward to all the work.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

May 09 - Perfect 10?

I've boarded the plane back to the states after my visit with Stefano Cardoselli and his beautiful wife Rita Gorgoni. You may know them better as Azurek Studios, who (along with the rest of their staff) are multiple contributors to Heavy Metal. Although I've learned a great deal about the couple and their work, my visit was not business. As a vacation this was not so bad. Stefano and Rita are not only partners in business but in music as well. I'll be reporting later about their band, for which Stefano is the drummer and Rita sings. As a drummer myself it thrilled me to no end and I had a great visit.

On the extensive flight I seem to be alone. My Italian is no good. I appreciate and have a great respect and love for the culture, but my language skills are not the best. So on the trip back home it's a good thing I've plenty to keep me busy.

One very important bit of business for me is the launch of the website for the magazine ROCKnROLL GraphiX, which I've promoted like crazy and people are probably sick of hearing about. The work was left to the site's designer, R. Douglas Ezell and after some delays it was uploaded to the web on April 1st. Truth is there are still a few kinks to work out here and there but overall reception has been positive.

I don't want to work right now. Isn't a flight considered part of a vacation? Good thing I happen to have a copy of the May 2009 HM issue to help me escape the lure of work.

Let me say this right now: I sincerely hope this issue will be in the running for the ranking of a perfect 10 at the end of the year. May 2009 is quite possibly one of the best issues I've read in a long time. It's as close to perfect as an adult fantasy magazine can get. Starting with the cover by Michael Calandra we know this is classic Metal for the new century. For the second time this year I am reminded of Wolf Mother - Rumina, the mother of Romulus and Remus. Yet this image evokes the power of a witch with a strong wolf as her familiar. And these thoughts are what the cover of a copy of Heavy Metal are all about. Fantasy to fuel the imagination.

Did I mention perfect art? Turning the cover and entering the hefty mag I'm struck with a fantastic gallery from Ural Ukyuz, an artist who reminds me just a bit of Dave Stevens. I'm sure some won't see it. But I do. Right off the bat, from the turn of the cover, I know this issue is going to feature some of the best and most imaginative art HM has published in its long history. And Ukyuz is a good start.

I'm a fan of Dossier by S.C. Ringgenberg and I hope to write about him here. I'd like to bring you an exclusive someday. Dossier was close to my heart this issue. Ringgenberg was the man who reminded me that the above mentioned Dave Stevens gave us back Bettie Page. Here he brings to our attention an important book on the artist's life and works. Brush With Passion: The Life and Art of Dave Stevens. But it's his commentary on Bettie Page and her own admiration for Stevens that got to me most. Page said of Stevens, "My best friend, bar none." High praise from the Queen of Hearts.

False Gods by Santiago Casares and Miguel Mora is something you might have seen in the original Heavy Metal movie. An adventurer lands on an alien world and claims himself a god before the insectoid lifeforms. His claim is a boastful invitation to dinner.

But it's Requiem, the big graphic novel by the creative team of Pat Mills, Olivier Ledroit, Jacques Collin and Anne Drano that is the star of this issue. If you've never seen Requiem you may not get its humor or even what it's all about. I assure you this is not your run of the mill indie comic that you would see here in the states. This is graphic violence, sexual situations, irony and sarcasm. Requiem, the Vampire Knight, is searching for his beloved and nothing will get in his way. Not even death! Just when you think the story is complete you turn the page and the story itself takes a turn. Excellent story-telling from Pat Mills. And Ledroit's art once again spills off the pages and threatens to sink into your soul and demand a confession. Just the way I like my heresy.

A perfect edition of Heavy Metal would not be complete without a contribution from Stefano Cardoselli. Killer Ball is an intergalactic game of death. Imagine Death Race as football and you may get the idea. Killer Ball is the Superbowl of comic book violence. Something only Maestro Cardoselli and the staff at Azurek Studios could bring us.

There is so much more that makes May 2009 a near perfect issue. I'm talking "classic" Metal. I don't want to ruin it for you. If you have not picked up a copy in a long time, claiming you've lost faith in Kevin Eastman; if you've never read HM before; if you've only glanced at previous issues; if you don't have a subscription but would like to - I'm telling you, THIS is the issue to renew your love and restore your faith. This is the issue to start your life long obsession with. And this is certainly the issue to justify buying a subscription. No excuses!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

ROCKnROLL GraphiX Delay!

Okay, this is the part where I go into an apology for the site's delay in launching. It won't be long, that much I know for certain. But let me explain.

As many of you know we've been promoting the site's launch (tonight) Midnight, March 21st. Obviously that did not happen. The fault is primarily my own. Last week our computer was infected with a virus and had to be wiped, etc. As a result a great deal of loss occurred, including the entire Summer 09 issue. 158 pages, gone. For those of you who have made contributions for the Summer issue I will be sure to get in touch with you shortly. You're probably wondering why materials were not backed up on a flash drive (at least). The answer to that is two-fold. One, the materials were backed up. Two, the virus was such a detailed go getter (nasty little bugger) that it was somehow able to likewise infect the flash drive. Yeah. Be on the look out for any threats to your own computers. And if I haven't mentioned it I hate hackers. They go on my naughty list. And not the good naughty list.

Fortunately, the entire first issue itself was already in the safe haven of our site's designer, R. Douglas Ezell. And we love him for it. However, at this time our delays are now site design related. I want to assure you that Doug is doing everything in his talents to insure our site's safety and we're working together to make this site the best it can possibly be. Point is, we want it to be right and do not want to rush it for the sake of a promoted deadline. With that said, we know that in just a few short days, possibly by the end of the coming week, when the site is launched there may be a number of little tweaks here and there - but the overall design will be there.

Once again, I aplogize for this delay and I appreciate your understanding.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Daddy D. Teams up with Azurek Studios

Azurek Studios and your Daddy have now begun a collaboration for submission to Heavy Metal. The un-revealed title will be everything you love from Stefano Cardoselli, with the script written by long-time Azurek scribe Rita Gorgoni and letters by David Paul. The story comes from an idea by David and Rita and features guns, girls, cars, a crazy motorcycle and some seriously fucked up zombies. This news is exclusive to METAL MADNESS and I'll keep you updated on the developments.

Friday, March 13, 2009

What is ROCKnROLL GraphiX?

Well, with a heavy heart, and after much consideration, I've decided to move this column out of Project Fanboy and into its own home. On the one hand I feel somewhat down by the decision to do so because I had made some good friends there. On the other hand, this is the right thing to do. Writing for Project Fanboy was a lot of fun, but the atmosphere there is family-friendly and, as we all know, Heavy Metal is an adult magazine. In other words, it just didn't fit. I wish the fanboys well and hope the best for the site.

I'm going to be having a lot coming up pretty soon, including another big exclusive with Azurek Studios and their lastest for HM. I'll be keeping you posted about the latest news for everything Heavy Metal, including the new film helmed by David Fincher and animated by Blur Studios. Until then I'd like to share with you my dream of a kick ass ezine called ROCKnROLL GraphiX, launching midnight, March 21st.

Imagine if you had one magazine that included all the material that only you cared about. It might include titles like...

Heavy Metal: lots of really cool adult comix. Now, just like HM that doesn't mean porn. It just means stuff outside the mainstream, written by adults for adults. We're very excited to be bringing you an exclusive with Azurek Studios and Stefano Cardoselli (with Rita Gorgoni) our very first issue. Wait til you see his cover art. Nothing like it!

Rolling Stone: Okay, now some of you may be too young to know this but way back in the day Rolling Stone used to be the kind of magazine that was concerned about the content it published. Nowadays all you get is so much fluff. The kind of articles RnRX will be bring you doesn't give a shit about fluff. AC/DC is back and for our launch issue we're telling you how it all happened, starting from the band's very beginning. We've also got articles on the controversy of legalizing pot, the history of The Devil and the origins of Rock n' Roll (music, that is).

Hot-Rod: First we're going to be giving you a brief look back at hot-rods and why they're so damn hot, still today. Then we're gonna take you on a fast paced, balls to the wall joyride, as we honor the grandfather of ALL muscle cars - the GTO!

Maxim and Playboy: Girls, Girls, Girls! Oh my damn! Guys (and all you ladies out there who love looking at girls), we know it's not about eye candy. Oh wait. Yes it is! But we also know it's about variety. And that's what we are dedicated to bringing you. And they're all smokin' hot.

But this is just a taste of what ROCKnROLL GraphiX is all about. I can't wait to share it with everyone and I can't wait to unveil our Official Pinup Girl of 2009 this SUMMER!