Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Monsters! are coming

Another thing I've been busy with lately is a new series of books for kids about creating your own characters. Due out next summer from Lark Books, MONSTERS! Draw Your Own Mutants, Freaks & Creeps will be the first of four books written and draw by me to help stir up youthful imagination and get kids making up their own little weirdos. Next in line are HEROES!, ROBOTS!, and MANGA! But I know you want to see more monsters, right?...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Enter... KLAUBAUF!!!

In some regions of the Christian world, Christmas and St. Nick are't all sugar and spice. Last year I discussed the meanacing Krampus, now it's time for the Bavarian horror known as Klaubauf. St. Nikolaus is followed around by this hideous Yeti-esque fiend, a shaggy monster with horns, bells and dragging chains. They go door to door scaring the sin right out of the little Bavarian children with threats of switchings, kidnappings, and eternal hellfire. Saint Nick is the 'good cop'. I don't know about you, but this would definately make me want to be nicer to my siblings. And if you thought seeing a crowd of Santas as a kid was disturbing...

Cryptids Update

Ok, so the blog has lain barren for several weeks now, and I feel just terrible about it. What, I ask you, is life without monsters? My good excuse is that I've been busy with a number of creeptacular projects. I'm still waiting with baited breath to get the official word from Cartoon Network regarding the previously blogged Cryptids project. I'm supossed to know by January. Anyway, I'm back at Monsterama now, so you can dry up those tears.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I Sure Do Dig Halowe'en

Well, tonight's the big, evil party. Hope you have a sugar-buzzed blast! I'm proud to say that both my kids chose to be vampires this year. No namby-pamby princesses or pirates for our house, no sir! Genuine undead only, if you please. My DRAWN! comrade and fellow weirdo Ward Jenkins seems to have had the right spirit from an early age. Chills the heart, it does. Ahhh. And I see young Ava is growing up nice and weirdly, too, just like my spawn. Know what else makes me happy? J. Deitrich and his Nouveau- Finko art. High octane heaven, man. Reminds me of ye old hotrods of yesteryear... One more all hallowed thought. I really think they made the movie about the wrong Ghost Rider. But that's maybe just me.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Monster Music

Dr. Mysterian not only offers to tell you the future, he also brings you a devilish collection of scarce and scary recordings.

The Golden Age Of Monsters

Fun reflection on the '60's monster craze."Monster Mania had such widespread cultural infiltration during that decade, even publications like Time and Life devoted articles to the phenomena. To many who experienced it first hand, it remains a defining moment of 1960s youth, along with the Beatles, the Batman television series and - much later in the decade - Woodstock, the Moonwalk , LSD and Free Love."

Mr. Addams

Here's a lovely review by cartoonist Edward Sorel of the new book Charles Addams: A Cartoonist’s Life, by Linda H. Davis. My favorite bit? "As anyone might easily have deduced from the way Addams drew children, he loathed the idea of having any. Although genuinely in love with his first wife, Barbara, he refused to have a child. “I am my own child,” he explained." I'm also impressed in regards to his encounter with Veronica Lake. She was the cat's pyjamas.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Full of Seeds

If you're looking for loads of spooky scans from old children's magazines, graveyard photos, McDonalds Halloween ephemera, and a picture of an old theater showing the Vault of Horror (and, really, who isn't?) Plastic Pumpkins is your next stop.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Friday, October 13, 2006

How Groovie, Goolies!

Oh my lord, they're back. The campy, cute, and creeptacular Groovie Goolies are available on DVD! For those of you unaware of this 1970 Filmation cartoon and it's charms, the Goolies were a large group of hip, singing monsters, featuring pop-culture echoes of classic Universal Studios creatures, including Frankie, Wolfie, Mummy, Drac, Dr. Jekyll-Hyde, Bella La Ghostly, the kids Batzo and Ratzo (my favorites!), Bonapart, Hagatha, Broomhilda, and Hauntleroy. They originally debuted as co-stars alongside recently discussed Sabrina the Teenaged Witch, and, yes, they put out a few pop songs.
BCI has this to say in their press release... "They were the grooviest, most eclectic array of animated monsters ever to hit the small screen in the early ‘70s. Now, thanks to BCI, the latest series from the Filmation catalog will be available on DVD on October 24th with the release of “Groovie Goolies- The Saturday Mourning Collection”, featuring sixteen digitally remastered episodes."
Now, 16 episodes ain't bad, but I'm still waiting for a decent print of the the truely bizarre cartoon mash-up that was Daffy Duck and Porky Pig meet the Groovie Goolies. So bad you know you desperately want to see it as much as I do!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Monster League Of Evil

Pop on over to Supermanica for Octobers' Monster of the Week from the four color pages of Superman. Last week's Monster was The Shark, and right now it's the delightful Monster League Of Evil! (thanks Bryan!)

Fearsome Foldies

Feel like making some seasonally spooky papercraft? The delightful Paper Forest has your links to the good stuff.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Mad House Mania

Before Gladir and Busino created the short-lived and well- loved Tales Calculated To Drive You BATS (of which I've posted often), they both toiled away on another obscure Archie comic book called Archie's Mad House. Though not nearly as monster-centric as BATS, this other Mad Magazine rip-off still had it's fair share of creepy cartoons. In fact, the comic eventually developed a 'monster section' (alongside a 'teen-age section' and a 'space section', being sure to cover all the hot fads) with a regular dose of wacky monster gags hosted by Hilda the Witch. I promise to post a heap of this campy madness at some later date. In October 1962, two of the sections collided in the creation of Sabrina, the Teen-Aged Witch, written by George Gladir and drawn by Dan DeCarlo. You've probably heard of her, even though it took Sabrina years to click with an audience. In an interview at The Comics Review, Gladir recalls those early days... "Around 1961 I came up with the idea of doing Tales Calculated to Drive you BATS'..or BATS for short. My partner in this endeavor was my old C&I classmate Orlando Busino. And while this book was destined to become a cult favorite it was relatively short lived, because the Comics Code Authority thought that our innocent spoofs on vampires and assorted monsters somehow violated the Comics Code. Shortly thereafter, I created "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" for Archie 's Mad House (#22 - Oct. '62), and was most fortunate to have the comics legend Dan DeCarlo draw it. I think we both envisioned it as a one-shot and were surprised when fans asked for more. We continued to do Sabrina stories off and on in Mad House until 1969 when we were flabbergasted to hear it was to become an animated feature. I might add, that Sabrina first made her appearance two years before Bewitched showed up on TV." Here are a couple of pages from that inauspicious beginning.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Holy October!

Time for Monsterama's yearly reminder about the history of the holiday season originally derived from the Celtic Samhain. But lets not short change the Christians... they brought a lot to the table in the creation of the festival now known as Halloween. In the 800's, as Christianity was spreading into Celtic lands, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints' Day (a time to honor saints and martyrs) in an attempt to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the traditional pagan night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve. In A.D. 1000, the church made November 2 All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the Eve of All Saints', All Saints', and All Souls', were called Hallowmas.

Monday, October 02, 2006

What Are You Going As?

Time to start seriously thinking about your costumes, folks. The big holiday is right around the corner. Here are a few ideas.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Skeleton Cave

Aeron Alfrey's legion of monster drawings are irresistibly weird. And if you're brave, his Imaginary Museum is far, far weirder.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Wicked Warren

I don't know what exactly Warren Leonhardt's tantalizingly secret project entails, but I know two things. He's a brilliant genius, and it's got Monsters in it.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Christopher Lee Rocks The Equinox

The Wicker Man.

Sleep of the Green Man

A very happy Maybon to all you beautiful wiccans, druids and witches out there. For the uninitiated, Mabon is the Autumn Equinox, which divides the day and night equally. Time to take a moment to pay our respects to the impending dark and give thanks to the waning sunlight. The Druids called this celebration Mea'n Fo'mhair, and honored the The Green Man by offering libations to trees. So go pour some Budweiser onto the roots of the nearest Oak tree and say 'Cheers!', why don't you. Or better yet, build and burn a Wicker Man!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Terrors Of Tallarico

Monsters is a nifty 1965 storybook with severely abridged retellings of the tales of Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Despite the appearance of the Mummy and Wolfman on the cover, that's all they had room for. Other than the obvious, what I really dig about this book is the distinctive art by Tony Tallarico. Tallarico is rather infamous for his depictions of Dracula, Frankenstein and the Werewolf, but it isn't this earlier, rather nice-looking book that ties his name to the characters. Oh no. Tony Tallarico is well known in certain circles for one of the weirdest pop culture mash-up's in history... the superhero versions of the three monsters done by Dell in the mid- '60's. The swingin' '60's version of Count Dracula saw the modern 'descendant' (didn't know the dead could conceive, did you?) accidentally drinking some "Bat Derived Healing Serum" he'd been working on, giving him the ability to transform himself into a bat. In issue four he got a female sidekick with the same powers named Fleeta. You know, like 'fliedermaus'? Yuck! The Werewolf was actually the codename/ supersuit owned by former U.S.A.F. pilot-turned-Super-Spy Wiley Wolf. His sidekick was a wolf named Thor. Ahwoooo!!! But my favorite of the three is the all-new Frankenstein, mostly because he's not all-new at all. That's right, this is the original Monster, who is reanimated when a lightning bolt strikes the ruins of Castle Frankenstein. For some reason he is dressed in a bright red leotard, tight blue trunks, and a belt with an 'F' logo on it. All he needs now to be able to go out and fight crime like the others is a secret identity. Oh! I know! How about 'Frank Stone'? Brilliant. This stuff was obviously hacked out at top speed by the creators... Tallarico's linework doesn't come close to his illustration job for Wonder Books. But it's sooo awfully conceived that it succeeds as Camp at it's finest. I'll let these sample pages speak for themselves.

I Wonder How They Taste...

Despite a few shudders over the materials used for such anomalies, I have a soft spot for Fortean taxidermy, as anyone who remembers my post on Jake, the Alligator Boy can attest. Juan Cabana is a talented modern practitioner of this dark art, with some very classic specimens on display. For a modern, rock n' roll approach, check out the grim works of local (Guelph) fiendster The Great Orbax. Lovely things, these.

Friday, September 15, 2006

A Holler For Holley

During the height of the Monster Kid craze, every pop culture character from Fred Flintstone to the Pink Panther was expected to host some spooks now and then. This gorgeous Ponytail cover by Lee Holley captures that period perfectly. Starting out as an assistant to Hank Ketcham, Lee eventually created a syndicated panel of his own about a (then) typical Teen-Age girl named Ponytail, which became quite successful. What I find even more inspiring is Holley's business savvy. Realising that his income from the fickle world of comics wouldn't last forever, he began investing in Real Estate at the height of his career, and is now a very wealthy man... not from the comics, but from his investments. Pretty smart for a cartoonist. Anyway... back to the monsters, no? The title 'Monster Mash' is more than a little misleading, as the Lurch-ing character appears only on the cover and title panel. What we do get, however, is a charming Haunted House tale, complete with a wager to stay the night, attempt at trickery, and real ghosts at the end. Here are a couple of pages...