Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy New Monster!

National Geographic has the dirt on the newly unearthed Austroraptor... a huge, five meter long bipedal dinosaur with a slender, pterodactyl-like skull, a find that has upturned the 'canon' on the evolution of raptors. Fernando Novas, the lead researcher behind the discovery says the new raptor represents the "the largest dromaesaurid discovered in the Southern Hemisphere." Fast and vicious like a velociraptor, but way bigger and scarier! Grroaaarrrrr!!!!


I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to direct Monsterama visitors to the beautiful artwork on display over at Derek Thompson's blog, but I aim to correct that before the year is out! Congrats to him on the wonder that is WALL-E, but I know you're all more interested in his eye-poppingly great monster sketches. Interview with the man here. Gotta love a guy who works in comic books and animation simultaneously, right?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy 2009

Some updated *official* news on the Secret Saturdays toy line coming from Mattel next year. And speaking of Mattel, this might just be the coolest Barbie ever! Hitchcock is one of my favorite directors of all time... just watched Spellbound again last night, in fact, thrilling all over the Salvidore Dali dream sequence. I think I'll watch Rebecca tonight. My kind of Christmas movies!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Good Will

Nice interview here with my man Will Friedle (voice of Doyle Blackwell on the Secret Saturdays), primarily about his work on the Brave And The Bold's Blue Beetle, but still pretty awesome. Get ready to swoon, ladies.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Farewell to Forry

The great Forrest J. Ackerman, who spearheaded the original generation of 'monster kids' and single-handedly created Monster Fandom, has passed on to the great Ackermansion in the sky. His often campy, humorous approach to horror was a great influence on myself and many others. The world feels less wonderfully creepy without him.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Ooo! Kreepy!

Say 'hi!' to Mister Guts, Tequila Sparks, and Laffy Blue Bottom... just three of the bazillion cute creeps up for ever lovin' grabs at the Kreepy Doll Factory. Started in Cleveland, Ohio back in 2000, the KDF is composed of a trio of wicked artists: Dan Baxter, Thu Tran, and Jeff Vincent. They make weird, cuddly stuff, and the site is chock full of kooky sketches, loopy comics, and lots and lots of one-of-a-kind plush psychos. Monsterama approves!


There's been some discussion on other message boards about the number of cryptids that could or will make an appearance in the Secret Saturdays cartoon. The highest number speculated suggests we could have a couple hundred 'real' cryptids to choose from. I want to assure you that the number is much higher! As a truly geeked-out student of cryptozoology, I was able to cull together a list of 500 mysterious creatures, along with descriptions, habitat, and a note on whether they were modern sightings or folkloric legends. This became the original Cryptipedia database, and has been used by writers of the series, comic book scripters, and game designers ever since. The game will have something like 40 exclusive cryptids alone, plus many more from the show. And my list keeps growing... every year that goes by reveals new unidentified mystery creatures popping up around the globe. Add to that my growing library of books on folklore, legends, monsters, demons, and the like (which can include reports of 'real' sightings of missing creatures), and you get the idea. We have more than enough cryptids to choose from, and plenty for you to discover through our Secret Saturdays universe.

Inside Job

Jim Valeri works for Cartoon Network in Burbank doing in-house design and stuff. Cool job, cool guy. If you click on the above link and scroll down, you'll get a peek at some rare Secret Saturdays related artwork.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving... all my American comrades. Here are a few Secret Saturdays images to see you through the weekend. First, a handful of some of my cryptid designs for the upcoming console/handheld game for Playstation, DS and Wii. This barely scratches the surface of all the new cryptids exclusive to the game. Next we have a cool Secret Sats poster image from the team at CN, with a couple of my personal favourite cryptids lurking in the shadows... and a cool Doyle pose from the in-house design team, too! He's turning out to be a very popular supporting cast member. Lastly, here's what the Globe And Mail had to say about the Canadian launch of the show. It's the only Big Newspaper I read on anything approaching a regular basis, so I'm naturally pretty jazzed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Kudos to Ruben Procopio at Masked Avenger Studios for this gorgeous Zak Saturday statue, with paint by Kat Sapene . Muchas Gracias!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Secret Santa

I've had a bunch of requests and questions regarding Secret Saturdays merch, so I thought I'd post a kind of F.A.Q. response. The Mattel toy line and the console games aren't due out until late next year... it takes longer to manufacture this stuff than you might think. In the meantime, Cartoon Network has a T-shirt available. Keep your eyes on their site for more speciality items in the future (and don't be shy about writing them requests!). The only other currently available Secret Saturdays stuff are the DC Cartoon Network Action Pack comic books in which the Saturdays will continue to appear. Hopefully that's enough to satisfy the kids (or kids at heart) with the Saturdays on their Christmas list.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tired Of Me Talking Yet?

Janet Hetherington wrote up a nice article for Animation World News based on our interview last week, and it's got a few little details possibly not covered in all the other Secret Saturdays inteviews I've done lately. Anyway, I think it's a good one.

I Heart Coo

Just got back from Kitchener after catching one of the last of this years' flicks in the Waterloo Festival For Animated Cinema, and, wow, Keiichi Hara's Summer Days With Coo was just what I was looking for! A great 'boy and his monster' story with plenty of funny, scary, and tearful moments... like E.T. with traditional legend replacing Science Fiction. It's no secret how much I love yokai (and Kappa in particular) so I went in fairly excited. I'm very happy to say that the film exceeded my expectations. It's impossible to avoid comparisons to Miyazaki considering the subject matter and ecological/ anti-development undertones, but the fact that this film holds up well under that comparison is saying something. From MAP, director Hara says, "Summer Days with Coo is very special to me. It was more than 20 years ago that I first read the original story and a great many things have happened between then and the realization of this film. Throughout my career, the concept has always been in my mind and I am very happy that I have finally had the opportunity to direct it as a film..." Official movie website here with loads of artwork. I sure hope this becomes available on the North American marketplace soon so I can share it with my kids.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It Slayed Me!

I finally saw Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer last night and was utterly thrilled with the funny, gory, old-school monster movie (Rated R, kids). It successfully combines monsters, humour, and psychotherapy... the three things that followers of this blog know have dominated the last year of my life. Watching the film was like closure for me! Kudos to Canadian writer/director Jon Knautz, and the wonderful creature effects by Form and Dynamics. And it was great to see Robert (Freddy) Englund in a campy, yet nuanced, Vincent Price-style role as the Professor/Demon Host! One reviewer described it as Hellboy meets The Evil Dead, which is pretty apt. So if you dig those, and you only plan on seeing one horror flick this Halloween season, Jack Brooks should be it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Chilling News

Just heard the good news... "The Secret Saturdays premieres on TELETOON on November 7 at 5 pm with that episode repeated on Sunday, November 9 at 8:30 am ET/PT and then
new episodes every Sunday at 8:30 ET/PT from November 16."
Get ready for cryptids, my fellow Canucks!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Creature... GOOD!!!

My favourite classic monster is Dr. Frankenstein's creature, as you might have guessed. In fact, I've built a lifesized one myself recently, and not out of paper, either. I hope to get him working (with small scale motion detector stuff) in time for All Hallows... I'll let you know how it goes. Cool Frankenstuff here...

Monday, October 06, 2008

Seeking Hyde

I'm in complete agreement with Kevin McCorry that the 1955 WB short Hyde and Hare is an under-appreciated gem. I quote, "Hyde and Hare is an atypical Bugs offering. In stark contrast to nearly all of Bugs' other cartoons, good does not win over evil. Evil seems to prevail, and the heroic rabbit seems to succumb to it. He falls from grace... He is transformed out of his familiar, noble image and into the look of a ghastly, savage beast." Creepy Halloween animation it most certainly is, and scarier than anything good ol' Gossamer was ever in!

Roy, Oh Boy!

Time to start musing about the Monster Month! I can't think of a better way to kick of All Hallows than with this stunning piece of spine-tingling art by my hero Roy Crane. Michael Price posted a wonderful interview with Crane last year. I liked this little chestnut: "I don’t worry about the violence. It’s good for children to read something about violence to prepare them for this world we live in. What literature doesn’t have violence? The Bible is full of it. And there was that girl who went through the looking glass, Alice, and the Queen threatening to cut off everybody’s heads!"

Secret Messages

Here's a short list of some early reviews for the Secret Saturdays...
The first fan site...
A balanced overview by MakenZero...
How to draw Zak Saturday at Dragoart...
Common Sense Media likes it...
Toon Zone is undecided...
And Racattack has some constructive criticism...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Week of Saturdays!!!

It's finally here! This Friday, October 3rd at 8pm, my new animated series The Secret Saturdays debuts on the Cartoon Network! Bam! Pow! Grrrr! Please give it a peek and let me know what you think, OK? Another little interview here at the Comic Book Bin...

The premiere of the Secret Saturdays pilot will have a 'clock' in the lower left of the screen counting down the time until the premiere of Star Wars:Clone Wars. If this bugs you, and you don't want it on your personal recording of the show, please be advised that the pilot airs again right after Clone Wars at 10pm, minus the clock. Another interview with me can be found at either Yahoo News, or at its original source at Newsarama, in case you're not sick of me yet.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Odd and Weird

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? My sharp-eyed daughter was perusing an online game site called Games2Girls when she came across Weirdville, a boring little game featuring a sorry-looking Jetcat knock-off, and quite clearly ripped off from my Oddville comics. I guess I should be either annoyed or happy that someone thought my comics were cool enough to 'borrow' from, but this just leaves me blah. I like a so-bad-it's-good bootleg as much as the next guy, but this is just plain bad bad.

Pressing On

Here's a neat review of the Secret Saturdays Pilot over at Comic Vine. G-Man watched the show with his 5-year-old daughter, and records both reactions. He also raves about the awesome Press Kit sent out by the Cartoon Network (see above), and has set up some sweet character pages. Definitely worth a look...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Saturday Play

Just heard the good news that D3 and High-Voltage software will be producing a Secret Saturdays console and handheld game for Wii, Playstation, and Nintendo DS! Don't get too excited just yet, though... these things take time to get right. I just couldn't wait to tell my Monsterama pals!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mummy Movie

The new Tutenstein TV movie is ready to rip! From Worldscreen... Tutenstein: Clash of the Pharaohs, the first feature-length movie based on PorchLight Entertainment’s hit TV series, will make its debut on Discovery Kids in the U.S. this fall, with its international premiere at MIPCOM Junior. For more info (and spoilers!), hop on over to Animation Magazine.

Metal For Monsters!

I'm proud to announce my involvement in the cool Metal For Monsters project instigated by Blend Creations, and featuring a horror-ful host of crap-hot creators! From the press release... Having a kid changes everything, even the way you read the newspaper. While taking in the latest atrocities inflicted upon young children throughout the world, owners of online jewelry boutique, Vivian Cheng and Eric Jean-Louis, hugged their little "monster" Jack and vowed to do something for his international monster cohorts. And since they are designers, not lobbyists or Peace Corps activists, they called on nine of their talented artist peers to draw their way toward a $10,000 donation to UNICEF. The resulting collaboration is a line of twenty limited-edition stainless steel pendants upon which comic-style monsters are laser etched. Starting on October 1, one hundred copies of each of the twenty designs will be offered for $81 through the website Almost 20% from each sale ($16) will be donated to UNICEF. From the renowned to the contented fringe, artists include: S. britt, Stefan G. Bucher of, Jon Burgerman whose clients range from The Science Museum to Sky, Pepsi, Sony and KidRobot; Anna Chambers; Justin Hillgrove of; Adam Koford, a creator of the Laugh-out-Loud Cats comic; John Martz, editor of the popular illustration blog; Jay Stephens, creator of the Emmy Award winning animated creation TUTENSTEIN; and Brian Taylor of Get your mitts on Bathead and Spooklops while they last, and feel good about helping out children in need at the same time.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Insider Info

Aaron H. Bynum wrote the new series up for the Animation Insider... our first official review! It's a pretty positive overview of the pilot, so, thanks, but I do have a couple of quick rebuttals. Firstly, any stiffness or awkwardness can be put down to this being the first time out of the gate, so don't judge us too harshly on that front. And I must protest the criticism aimed at Argost... I think it's awesome and original that he has his own TV show! I'm not sure how that fact is supposed to 'soften' the guy. I mean, how many celebrities or TV personalities are pure forces of good, really? TV is full of corrupting, negative, unhealthy messages, and it's good for kids to question all that. I don't pretend to understand why the public love to follow the exploits of sick, twisted personalities like Britney Spears, but they certainly do! Besides, Argost is a Megalomaniac. A type of personality that would quite naturally crave the limelight and bend it to his own purposes. Frankly, I'm surprised Dr. Doom never thought of it (Though I do remember Lex Luthor running for president). As a creepy celebrity Argost embodies the opposite of 'secret'... he is the public figure with the masses on his side. Trust me, it works.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Me And The Saturdays

I did a little interview over here for Racattack Force. You know, in case you're interested.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Secret Saturdays Is Coming! Soon!

Man O man, am I one proud Papa! The Cartoon Network has finally unveiled my new show, The Secret Saturdays, on their website! Coolest thing? The new game, Code Of The Cryptids. And as Vanhoozer mentions on his blog, this is just the tip of the iceberg...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Aw, Shucks

Josh at Creative Loafing has some nice things to say about comics I did over a decade ago. To be put in the same category as the likes of Evan Dorkin, Ivan Brunetti, Chris Ware, and the criminally underrated Doug Allen... some of my favourite living cartoonists, is almost enough to cure my depression. Thanks, man.

Friday, August 08, 2008

And You Thought I Made It All Up

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you V.V. Argost's Weirdworld!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Shock Treatment

Thank you all from the bottom of my black ol' heart for the emails and postings of support and well-wishes in this difficult time. I'm still in the sanitarium, getting better day by day, and I hope to be back drawing, creating, and blogging sometime soon. I'm very pleased to see that my honesty about the illness has encouraged and comforted others in similar situations. Mental illness, invisible and mysterious, is really the last social taboo, and we all need to work on overcoming that stigma. Nobody goes through life without falling ill physically at least once or twice. The same is true mentally. Don't be too afraid or embarrassed to seek help if you need it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Renfield Returns

Hokay, folks. Honesty time. I'm checked into a Mental Hospital for awhile, so blog posts will be sporadic at best, and likely without nifty visuals. Gotta get myself off the old meds and onto new meds, and supervision is best for that kind of tightrope act. Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Three For Thrills

Here are three things that I'm dying to get my mitts on this fall...Drawn & Quarterly's Complete Melvin Monster, part of their exhaustive John Stanley reprint effort (thanks to all those who wrote in about this one). Even though I have all of these comics, I'm looking forward to a well-designed, one-stop collection of the best kid monster comic ever created. Are you experienced? If not, Pappy's got what you need. My favourite Tezuka creation returns in English via Vertical's complete Blackjack collection. This genre-defying manga features a scarred gothic surgeon in eerily bizarre tales of adventures in extreme surgery. Weird and wonderful! And, lo and behold, Disney is finally releasing a definitive DVD of Dr. Syn, Alias The Scarecrow! If you're unfamiliar with these spooky adventures in Romney Marsh, this is a great chance to blow your mind. To be fair, though, Hammer Films version of the same tale, Night Creatures, is just as awesome.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cryptids Are Real!

This new site is a must-see, focusing on that most beloved of subjects-- cryptozoology-- the inspiration of the Secret Saturdays.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Spooky Encounters

I finally got my eyes on the film that revolutionized the Hong Kong horror genre. Spooky Encounters, or, Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind, deals with Taoist magic, ghosts, and vampires from Chinese superstition in a tale about a cuckolded husband, stuck in a series of terrifying situations when his wife's wealthy lover tries to do away with him with the help of a Taoist monk's black magic. Sammo Hung, the director/star, blends fantastic kung fu action, comedy, and mild horror in one of Monsterama's new favourite films! It's a clear inspiration for my beloved Mr. Vampire series. The final duel in Spooky Encounters is considered to be the great Samo Hung's second best fight scene ever, next to his historically famous encounter with Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


Canada's Wonderland sure has changed since I was last there around, oh, 20 years ago. It's mostly grown, but good ol' Hanna-Barberra Land has shrunk. No more Bedrock. The good news is that the H-B Merry Go Round is still there, complete with Yogi, Dino, and JabberJaw to ride on. And Scooby Doo's Haunted Mansion is actually much improved, and a real fun Dark Ride. Check out a (somewhat over-lit) video of the ride here.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Hand That Signs

Due to an unexpected sojourn to the mental hospital, I will no longer be attending the San Diego ComicCon. Apologies to all---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Looks like I'll be dragging my carcass down the the San Diego ComicCon later this month to kick off some promotion for the new cartoon. Catch me for a sneak peek at the Secret Saturdays at the end of the Ben 10 panel, or at the Cartoon Network booth where I'll be signing these awesome Saturdays magnets (above)!

Saturdays In Print

The first Secret Saturdays comic book story has been out for a few weeks, now, in CN Action Pack #26 (DC Comics), and the cryptid-savvy gang will be appearing in every other issue until their TV debut in the fall. Check out these carefully crafted 'prequel' tales for the first official glimpse of these characters.