Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Day Late, but "It Follows." Plus Creepsville & Agents of Peril (Required Reading!)

A day late this week. Family is the #1 priority around here, and we had a lot going with them. A day late, I'm back....

Have you seen It Follows?







In a nutshell, it tells the story of a young woman who is given a curse, of sorts, by a young man... The curse is given to her as a result of making love to the crummy guy who knows that she is doomed by their actions. The guy informs her that there is a creature that has been following him, that can look like anyone. This thing will kill her unless she passes it on to someone else whom she has made love to. The girl soon encounters what looks like the corpse of an old woman walking right towards her that no one else can see.

The film's story goes through a number of attacks but never really gives solid info on where this creature comes from or why it does what it does. It does seem ironic that horror films do often provide the means of escape and the way to destroy the evil. These days after the creation of Night of the Living Dead, we are given a more negative world where it's just a matter of time before you get to endsville. 


So, what is it about, beyond the interesting opening. Is it about unprotected sex? Is it about the long term step-by-step death of humanity? We see vey little of the adults in the families of the film's main young characters. Is it about the falling apart or even loss of the family unit? Is it just the end of the world? I leave it up to you to decide.

Almost as soon as this flick starts, we see touches that are reminscent of familiar horror film stylings, particularly John Carpenter and George Romero as well as Italian horror with the band Goblin handling the electronic music. I can't help but feel some slight nostalgia for the 80s horror boom.

I found the film creepy at first, but felt that it got lost. There's a scene involving a nerdy male friend of the lead, who thinks he can stop the creature. How does he know? Beats me. I must have missed that scene. (Please, someone clue me in.)

As I continued through the film, something else about the the movie's style took my attention away. First, it occured to me that I was spooked by the movie because I knew it was a horror film. The film also felt like one of those low budget romantic comedies with a young ensemble cast moping around the screen. My distraction continued as I thought about what might happen if the music in It Follows were lighter in tone. With only a slight change in the film's music, we would be in a totally different place than this flick's depressing world. It could be Boyhood.

******

Summer is finally here... which doesn't stop the Creepsville comic from marching on. Click on the artwork below and read this week's offering.

Meanwhile, Agents of Peril is also back, continuing my plan to rescan and post two installments of the strip at a time until I catch up to the new strips... and finally finish this years-in-the-making story... a tribute to Rollercoaster starring George Segal.

Okay, I lied about the Rollercoaster homage...




Saturday, July 18, 2015

Settling Down and Accepting Change - Creepsville & Agents of Peril In Place -- F-A-B!

I have to admit that I was out of sorts all this last week. Last week was the switchover from Monster Patrol to Agents of Peril. Meanwhile, at my job (whatever it is I really do), they're literally moving everyone in the building's 7 stories. I'm staying on the secret agent level but they're moving me east two aisles. Go figure.

[Hold on... Why is it that the building exterior looks like the Lament Configuration from Hellraiser? I hope they aren't seriously considering mixing high-tech spy junk with Cenobites. Nah!]

I really don't mind change as long as it is pleasant. Change is good. Without change, stagnation comes. If you follow that long enough, you get the end of the universe.

Well before that, there is the inevitable passage of time in which the kids grow up and move away. It's nice and quiet here with them mostly gone, but sometimes you miss the chaos, seeing change before your eyes. Now, two of them may be going soon... going west to school. I'm proud of them and will miss them... but, wait, it gives me an idea. Now, Colette and I have legit excuses to go to the left coast. Sounds good to me!

While we contemplate our travel schedule, why don't you read this week's Creepsville and Agents of Peril? You'll be glad you did.



Saturday, July 11, 2015

Agents of Peril Is Back -- and Things Are Gonna Get Very Ugly This Time!




It's about time I got this done...

By that I mean the everlasting Agents of Peril story that I have been working on for years. Work on the strip started way back after the plug was pulled on Creepsville. I've worked on it in bits and pieces ever since but never finished it, unil now. Now, it's going to finally get done.

You will have to wait until we catch up to the new stuff while I reprint or rescan the artwork for all the previously posted pages. A lot of you may have not seen the older stuff, which I must admit that I really like a lot.

Also, as promised, I will post the pages 2 at a time, until I get to the unpublished stuff... which will be one a week.

To kick it off and promote the new stuff that is coming, here's a piece of promo art I did awhile back for their return. It says 2010, but I thought I did this much more recently.




I also took a quick break on Creepsville this week, and thought I would show you a promo piece that Chris Ecker and Gary C allowed to appear in the first full-color issue of Big Bang Comics from Image. It was fun seeing my Creepsville characters in color for the first time printed in that classic old Sparta color style. If I was rich, I'd do Creepsville in that style all the time.



Well, I must go. There's something in the sky that's all bright. I think the rain has stopped for maybe another 10 minutes and I thought I would get some pictures of it before it's gone again. Until next time, have a great... and hopefully, dry week.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Endings, Beginnings, and Who's That Hot Chick in the Bikini?

Yes, I do actually get up as early as the time say I'm putting these things up. I know there's a way to do this procedure with the various gadgets and geegaws provided by Blogspot allowing me to write this stuff and post these graphics to be uploaded at a set time. There's just one problem: I'm doing other things in the daytime... like scanning loads of magazine covers for eBay auctions. I scanned over 50 of them yesterday. I promised Colette that I would sell some of the stuff that seems to be in every nook and cranny of our home.


I also did some work on an idea that I have had for this Blog for sometime. All I'm willing to tell you about it is that it will be called Creepsville City Limits. In a world filled with creative types, it probably won't set the world on fire, but I'll have fun doing it. 

While that project slowly moves towards starting, the first issue of Monster Patrol I've been posting here officially comes to a close. As I've mentioned a few zillion times, the Agents of Peril strip will return with more new scans of the earlier pages... and all-new never seen before pages I did while I had placed this project in suspended animation.

Even though the search goes on for Creepsville artwork on my computer and various disks after my external extra hard drive nosedived into oblivion, I still have the artwork in black and white, including some pieces that I did just for the fun of it. One such piece shown below features 50s-60s monster maker Paul Blaisdell's She Creature showing off her girlie stuff to a trio of familiar scaley and slimey judges for the Creepsville Bikini Contest.  I really enjoyed drawing this cutie, which was published in the final issue of Amazing Heroes' Swimsuit Specials.


That's it for me this week. The sun is just starting to make its presence known... which means I have a lot of other things to get done... like scanning several thousand more monster magazine covers, trying to figure out happened to that Video Watchdog book I had, and actually just reading a whole bunch of Marvel Comics pre-code horror stuff for the fun of it.

Read the comics below and have a great week. 


  

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Scary Night Time Stuff, Dream Comics & Still More...

I had a scary night last night. I was watching the old Hammer Films/Ray Harryhausen film One Million Years BC after a long work week.. I quickly dozed off (even lovely Raquel Welch's delightful curves couldn't keep me awake).

The next thing I know is that the dog is barking at the windows in the living room. Half asleep, I think someone's out there banging on the window. I have to admit, I'm spooked, but I hollar out, "Get outta here!" I wake up enough to get up, run to the door and turn the outside lights on. Nobody is there. I'm still shaking.. and think that this might be a prank. One of my brother in laws did the same thing last year wearing a gorilla suit. I scared him when I very quickly ran out the door and got ready to punch him. Instead, I tore his mask off.

Anyway, my wife Colette is out with her family, including the brother-in-law... so, I think I've been pranked. I call Colette on her cell and she says that they didn't do anything. I believe her. I think the dog actually got my brain working overtime, though later on Colette said there were kids riding around in the dark on their bicycles.

Speaking of scary things.. ot is it? Years ago, I had a very strange dream... Well, not scary but interesting. As luck would have it, a few days later I was at the San Diego Comicon for HERO Illustrated. I bumped into Roarin' Rick Veitch, who was publishing his dream comic, Rare Bit Fiends, at that time. I started telling him about the dream, but he stopped me. He handed me paper and pens and told me to draw it. I've posted here what I drew, which Rick included in his regular Road Bits section of the comic featuring people like me who had dreams to tell.

One odd thing here to note: I was once a student at Northern Illinois University and had a large class in a building there called Cole Hall. It had huge theatre seating to hold big classes. Many years later, a f*cked joker got into the building through the back and walked into a class shooting a gun. He killed a number of students and then did himself in. That must have been 10 years ago, at least, but I'm not sure. My daughter went to school there years later. I must admit that it made me worry for her.

On a much more upbeat note, as usual, I've also posted this week's Creepsville and Monster Patrol pages.

I think I just figured out what the dog was barking at... Our fridge is making a sound like an owl hooting, but very quietly. The dog walked into the kitchen and started barking. Two nights ago, she was barking at a curtain that was blowing a shape that looked like a small person. I pulled the curtain away from the vent. No little person...whew!

Until next time, I'll leave the lights on...






Saturday, June 20, 2015

On the Road to the Afterlife in His Or Hearse... Plus Frank Meets a Giant Skull & More!




So, you think this week's headline is odd, get a load of the goofus with the hobbit shoes above. If you look past the image of the rotting body of yours truly wearing t-shirt and shorts, that Skull-mobile was the wildest car at a local drinking and music establishment's annual Hearse Show. Yes, it moved, spewing huge flames out the back while popping wheelies. Truly a thing of beauty. Wait, there's more, but first...


Up again early, thanks to the pets. Two of them, Arial (the dog) and Sirius Black (the cat aka BatCat or KittyBoo) have been been constantly in battle, chasing each other around the house. They recently extended their play to all hours of the night. Obviously, I need my beauty sleep, which is difficult when there's a neverending Tom and Jerry cartoon going on.

Fortunately, this week I'm glad they got me up. I had lots of stuff to post this week that ties in with that Forrest J Ackerman style Blurb at the top.

Before you get to that, check out this week's Monster Patrol page. There are only two more pages to post before something else takes its place.. the previously noted Agents of Peril.

Meanwhile, the second issue of Creepsville's story "Party at Horror Beach" gets started today. After you read these two comics, there are loads of pix of a recent trip to a Hearse Show. What on earth is that? Check it out below. With these beauties on the road, you had best drive carefully.

Until next week, kiddies, keep your eyes on the road, your head out of the clouds and your hands to yourself.




Parking Lot of the Dead



 A week ago, I was coaxed out of the comfortable cold air of my Think Tank to see what is one of the few things that could revive this dead ass... a Hearse Show.

The event was this year's Hearse Show held at the Braurerhouse in Lombard, IL... also known as the far west 'burbs of Chicago where the Earth falls away into nothingness after the first row of corn.

Each year the bar holds this show in its parking lot, which brought out loads of hearses, motorcycles and some truly unique custom vehicles.

Svengoolie from WeTV was to be making an appearance at the show, but we were already gone before he got there... mainly due to my need for regular doses of arcane liquids that keep this body moving. We met a lot of great folks who had gifted inaginations as well as those who drive their hearses as their regular means of conveyence. Some of the cars were pretty wild, but I found the hearses that had been preserved with great care and respect for their woeful real world purposes rather moving.

Glom onto the following:



 In my opinion, and those of Roy Ware and Roy Ware Sr (who brought me there), this was one of the most beautiful hearses to be seen. That curtained sidepanel looked like it was actually made of wood.

 


Showing a variety of vehicles, this represented the world of real rather than just customized monster cars. This car was an old Chicago FD Vehicle, used to transpot the living and the dead. 


 





An additional point of interest to take note of was the fine detail work done inside of many a hearse, either in the front seat or the back for the boxes. One of the cars had a coffin with speakers nicely set into it.




 I really wanted to take these great musclecars transformed into hearses back to my home.. so I did. They're parked in my back yard right now. Don't tell anyone. Okay? My photo doesn't really show the fantastic paint job on the purple Bonneville justice. It was gorgeous. If I had it, it wouldn't be at my house... it would be out driving!


Old vehicles were there alongside more recent cars. Even the area of the lot used just to parking lot's regular parking had hearses in it. Overall, we had a great time there and look forward to going back next time.

All photos are (c) 2015 Franklin J Kurtz.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Disaster Strikes Creepsville!!! Kurtz Says, "...Only a Minor Setback!"

Once again the spectre of sinister junk computer equipment has risen to battle me, but it already lost. Hope is growing.

What am I babbling about. Well, yesterday I came home and found one of my external hard drives not moving, its light off, not a sound to be heard. My computer no longer showed it. It sure looked dead.

So, I journeyed over to my brother, Dave's house where we attempted to revive it, but we failed. Dave is a big shot tech guy for a rather large very well known company that I will mention only if he calls me and asks me to mention where. The Bad news is that drive, which never had any problems before held a lot of the full color Creepsville pages I've been working on. The Good news is that it didn't hold them all. 

Dave hasn't given them up yet and will place the driver into... well, it's too gruesome to tell here.

Okay, no crying in our corn flakes. This time I begin posting the pages from the second issue of Creepsville featuring 'Party at Horror Beach!"

I wamt to take note here that my good buddy Mark Nelson, (he always calls me Buddy, too) did that gorgeous cover featuring that story's creepy underwater characters on the prowl... under the sea. Mark is probably known best in the comc biz for his Dark Horse Comics Aliens work, but he produces so much more truly incredible pieces, it makes me wonder when he sleeps.

I'd also like to mention that when I was working on the second Creepsville comic series, I did the coloring of those covers at Mark's house in his Mark-cave. while he occasionally would look over my shoulder. He helped me a lot with what was my first computer coloring attempts. Again, after all these years, thanks, Mark.

Let us not forget that Monster Patrol is here, too.

Meanwhile, I'll keep an eye out for living dead hard drives. Brrrrrrrrrrrr