Monday, August 26, 2013

Inking Samples

It's about time I put some more stuff up on this blog.

Way back in the late 70's (I think), Marie Severin (what a sweetie!) was nice enough to send me a set of photocopies of various then-current pencillers so I could try my hand at inking them.  For whatever reason, they sat around a lot longer than they ever should have.  But maybe it's just as well.  By the time I felt like inking them, I'd gotten a LOT better at it

I totally dismiss one narrow-minded editor's view that the samples meant nothing because "these guys aren't in the business anymore".  If you can ink, YOU CAN INK!!!  I've come to the conclusion that most editors-- and most "human resources" types in general, are not in the business of hiring anybody.  Their job is to find reasons NOT to hire-- anybody-- EVER.

Anyway, these have once again been sitting around too long, as I meant to set them up at the old Zodiac Comics website.  Well, they're going up here-- NOW!  I'm posting both the "before" and "after" versions.  Enjoy.

CAPTAIN AMERICA 220  /  page 11  /  layouts by Sal Buscema
GODZILLA 9  /  page 19  /  pencils by Herb Trimpe
HUMAN FLY 4  /  page 6  /  pencils by Frank Robbins
HOWARD THE DUCK 17  /  page 6  /  pencils by Gene Colan
IRON MAN 109  /  page 2  /  layouts by Carmine Infantino
MAN FROM ATLANTIS 3  /  page 8  /  pencils by Frank Robbins
SPIDER-WOMAN 1  /  page 2  /  layouts by Carmine Infantino

More as I go!

Characters (C) Copyright & Trademark by Marvel Comics

Inks by Henry R. Kujawa

Friday, March 22, 2013

CD Art

I love creating my own custom music CD comps, and that goes for the artwork as well.  On this page is some examples of these.

One thing that absolutely drives me crazy about so much "professional" CD art is that the text is TOO SMALL to read!!! Note how I go out of my way to make the text readable, both in choice of fonts and font size.  This goes for both the song list on the back, and the name of the album on the ends. It's also important to make sure that where text overlaps an image, that the text doesn't get in the way of the picture, or the picture doesn't make it difficult to read the text. (It's amazing how much "professional" CD art does not follow such simple concepts.)

THE MADEIRA is an instrumental surf guitar band based in Indianapolis, Indiana that started in 2004, and featured 2 of my favorite guitarists from previous bands.  Ivan Pongracic was previously the leader of THE SPACE COSSACKS, while Patrick O'Connor was in DESTINATION: EARTH!


I got to see THE SPACE COSSACKS from Washington D.C. twice before they broke up. In that time they became my 2nd-favorite surf band (right after LOS STRAITJACKETS).  Ivan Pongracic actually helped me when I was putting together a collection of non-album tracks by supplying me with several i was missing.  What a guy!

     (December 2005 / February 2006)

INTERSTELLAR STOMP  (1998) was one cool album, and TSAR WARS (2000) is, simply, one of the most astonishing surf albums I've ever heard. But the text on the back was hard to read.  I fixed that...

Here's a various-artists comp I put together of various rock tunes & soundtrack excerpts, all celebrating the theme of "GIANT MONSTERS".  The cover art was by Steve Ditko, done for an old Charlton comic, GORGO #4, and reprinted on THE STEVE DITKO READER (2002) from Greg Theakston.

Professor H's MONSTER RALLY 2003  (2003)

More as I go!

All Artwork Copyright (C) Henry R. Kujawa

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Galacton 2230, Part 6

(Contuinued from Part 5)

Episode XVIII
As the overly-complicated storyline shambles its way toward something exciting happening at all, we see the introduction of (or at least, cameos by) Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Sean Connery, Mie Hama, Jane Seymour (all the way in the background, with the original "Muffy"), H.R. Giger's proudest creation, Wally Wood's "John Cannon", James B. Siiking (with the HILL STREET BLUES influence, it was inevitable), and, at last, our long-anticipated "cover girl", Caroline Munro!  (I was in her fan club for years.)

Please also note that in this universe, Jack Kirby designed a series of pinball machines...!

Episode XIX
The final installment to date includes tributes to Michael Golden's work on MICRONAUTS, the TV show STRIKE FORCE, the movie DARK STAR, Blue Oyster Cult, more F TROOP, BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY, DOC SAVAGE, THE ADVENTURES OF STELLA STAR, Frank Thorne (another pinball machine design), and, Jackie Gleason.

Maybe it's good that I stopped here?

As mentioned before, the last 2 episodes also extensively feature characters based on myself and my 2 best friends at the time I did them-- Jim O'Donnell (who also contributed ideas to the plots), and John Huber.  I see this very much as a tribute to them, especially as both have now passed away, too early.  I could never have just "made up" 2 characters like those guys!

Story & Art (C) HENRY KUJAWA
All prominent characters are Trademarks of HENRY KUJAWA

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Galacton 2230, Part 5

(Continued from Part 4)

Episode XVI
Amazingly, after the 2 previous episodes, there are NO new characters introduced in this one.   Good thing, it was crowded enough already. So much so, that the promised focus on Flight Deck Alpha was limited this time out to a single panel (wherein I pay tribute to some design work from the film THE SPY WHO LOVED ME).

One thing that stands out for me is that despite 2230 being a comedy, it was actually the first time I dealt with romantic relationships in any of my stories.  You've got the various entanglements Laurette Spang and Dirk Benedict were involved in, the mutual overpowering attraction between Michael Ansara and Maren Jensen, and of course, the ongoing love story between Richard Hatch and Anne Lockhart's characters.  As you can probably tell from this episode, especially the art, I had a thing for her at the time I did this story.

Meanwhile, Robert Stack, who the main character of my series THE GUN! was based on, and who had a small part in 2230 #1, returns this episode, to become a major player in this sequel. His TV series STRIKE FORCE was on at the time I was doing this story.  Looking back on the film AIRPLANE! (another influence on this entire mess, no doubt), it hits me Stack was a LOT funnier than Leslie Nielsen ever was.  Maybe they should have cast Stack as the star of POLICE SQUAD! instead?
Episode XVII
After 3 episodes focusing on minor interludes with the large cast of characters, this one finally begins to focus on the "main story", the mystery going on down in Flight Deck Alpha.  In addition to a number of minor characters making return appeareances from earlier chapters, this one introduces Ridley Scott, Dan O'Bannon, H.R. Giger (I kid you not!!) and Jenny Agutter.  I also pay tribute in the art to the design work of Ralph McQuarrie, who I just found out passed away at age 82 last March (2012).  

This art this time probably involved more use of zip-a-tone than I had ever utilized before, and I recall actually having to do up a color "guide" just so I could figure out which graytone level to use where. (See the last panel in the 2nd page.)  It really makes one appreciate how much easier computer programs-- either Corel Draw (a problem-and-a-half itself at times) or Photoshop (incredibly much easier to use for many things) are to have these days.

(Continued in Part 6)

Story & Art (C) HENRY KUJAWA
All prominent characters are Trademarks of HENRY KUJAWA

Friday, January 18, 2013

Galacton 2230, Part 4

(Continued from Part 3)

What started out as a one-panel joke cartoon, and then became a 2-page joke, eventually became a full 30-page comic-book story.  And somehow, I actually managed to find a printer, have 1,000 copies run off, and published the thing. Although intended as a fanzine, I wound up looking into the actual "Direct Market" distribution system, and, incredibly, sold 700 copies to Capital Comics.  They told me I probably could have sold a lot more, if I'd solicited it before I'd printed it.  Oh well!  It was a small miracle, with all I was fighting against at home, that the thing got out there at all.

Anyway, that wasn't the end of it.  Before I ever had the book printed, I'd already started working on a follow-up story.  Inspired by the soap-opera format of both the Paul Levitz-Keith Giffen LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES and the recent cop show, HILL STREET BLUES, I began fashioning a story whose complexity put the first one to shame.  Which may have been a mistake.  The 1st story wound up being 30 VERY-densely-plotted pages.  The follow-up, I felt sure, would take 3 times as long to tell.  The legalities of continuing a "parody" book beyond a single issue aside, the project took SO long to do (working in my spare time in between a full-time drafting job amd my various fannish collecting obsessions-- comics, books, magazines, music, and more TV shows than I'd watched since the late 60's), that I felt completely burned out on it by the end of the 2nd issue.  Yes, tragically, the 2nd story was NEVER finished.  But that's not stopping me from cleaning up the pages, and posting the previously-unpublished book here, in its entirety!

I'll begin by posting the cover, which was actually the very LAST page of art done for this book.  I pencilled it sometime in 1984.  If memory serves, I didn't get around to inking it until sometime in the 1990's, when I wound up inking a LOT of pencilled pages that had been sitting around for some time.  I'm not sure what my original intention was for the background (if any), but I eventually wound up doing the background in 3D.

And now, the FINISHED version.  Ain't this cool?
I think this qualifies as a "Good Girl Art" cover.

Episode XIV
Things start out way too complicated here, and get more so as it goes! In the first 4 pages alone, I introduce Dan Ayckroyd, Eric Bloom, Donald Roeser, Alan Alda, Mike Farrell, Treat Williams, Susannah York, Marlon Brando (filling in for the conspicuously-missing Edward Mulhare-- yes, my mind WAS being too devious even for my own good here), and Jim Henson (no kidding!).  Oh yeah, and a cat named "Heathcliff".  But the main character this time out is based on an old friend of mine named John Huber, who, as you'll see, was one very "outrageous" person in real life, and so required very little exageration here.

Sadly, John (known as "Kohn" in this story) passed away a couple years ago, from multiple strokes, even as my other best friend from back then, Jim O'Donnell (seen in the jail cell in this episode) also passed away at age 40 from his 3rd heart attack.  Among other things, I see this entire comic as a tribute to John's memory, as well as to so many TV shows and movies I loved back in the early 80's and earlier.
Episode XV
It made perfect sense (at least to me) to add Wayne Rogers and Lynn Redgrave to the "medical" side of the cast here. In addition, there's Steve Martin, Larry Fine, Moe & Curly Howard, George Murdock (whose likeness proved amazingly easy to capture on paper), Loretta Swit, and John Candy.  The "little kid and the dog" return this episode.  I mention them because you cannot imagine how much FUN it was writing them in this story, considering how many fans of the show tended to hate both of them on it.

(Continued in Part 5)

Story & Art (C) HENRY KUJAWA
All prominent characters are Trademarks of HENRY KUJAWA