Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Halloweenland From Creepsville

Just in time for Halloween, I've decide to repost the entire 5th issue of my Creepsville comic book series.

A few years back I had a website called Monster The site featured articles, comics (including the Creepsville and Agents of Peril online strips), and Roadside Horrors, my spooky online travel guide. One Halloween I got ambitious, scanned Creepsville #5 and post it online... wherein Rat Malone released creatures from an otherdimensional world called Halloweenland into his home town. I had a great time drawing it.

"Halloweenland" was the last story published in the 5 issue run of the Creepsville GoGo Comics run. There are two more issues drawn: a Christmas story that takes a loving jab at the classic The Thing From Another World and the previously mentioned "Dangerous Spooky Theater" story. Both stories will eventually see the light of day... in color.

Okay, never mind my hot air. Read the comic! (click on the image to see the larger version.) Have a great, safe and Happy Halloween.

PS. Creepsville, its logo, this story, and all related characters are (c) & TM 2009 Franklin J. Kurtz. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Agents of Peril 4: Rescan

Here, again, is the fourth Agents of Peril strip, rescanned at a size that allows the artwork to shine. I'm thinking I may remove the posts that had the original, much smaller scans. What do you think?

Regarding my other projects... some time back I showed you all a colored version of the Johnny Ruckus/Monster Patrol comic story from Big Bang Comics. I'm just about done with that. When I do finish, I will be posting the entire full color version here. I'm having a lot of fun with it.
Meanwhile, Secret Project #1 is making large strides. I've been doing lots of inking... and the pages are begging to be colored. All will be revealed soon. Thanks for your patience!

I have to add again that I'm having the most fun I've had in a long time doing comics! The more I do, the faster I seem to be getting.. without a loss of quality.

My biggest fear in the years of my creative "break" had to do with the fact that I have Parkinson's Desease, something I've mentioned before. I feared that my anal craziness in inking, particularly evident on my Agents of Peril work, would no longer be possible. Self doubt is a terrible thing, but my urge to draw plus encouragement by my wife and family made me pick up the brush and pen again. It was a shakey start (literally) but I learned that I really had nothing to fear. I also learned that when I get down to drawing, the shaking stops (not that I shake all that much, really). Even if there's no cure, I'm beating the desease.

Having said that, I wish I could show you all that I've been doing. Of course, I will.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Agents of Peril Rescans 2 & 3

In the midst of all this Aztec-Mummy-Roadside-Horrors stuff I've been posting of late, I haven't forgotten my comics work.

I'm still working hard on the various Secret Projects (numbering about 27 of them... just kidding). I can hardly wait to let 'em loose, but wait I must until I have enough done to breath a little easier... or so I hope.

Meanwhile, here's two more of the larger scans of Agents of Peril that show so much dinky ink details on them that I've just gotta have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder... or I'm just really anal. retentive.

I hope you like them!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Coming Sooner Than I Thought - Pull Over For Some Roadside Horrors

I mentioned the Roadside Horrors section of my old Monster Shindig website earlier today, and then something unusual happened...

It's coming back faster than I expected.

Here's what's up: My brother, Dave, and I were on a long roadtrip this last weekend to help our our folks at their retirement farm in Kentucky. On the way there, we got to talking about Roadside Horrors. Okay, RH was my online travel guide to weird and spooky spots across the USA and Canada, packed with links and, perhaps more importantly, maps to get to these spots. My bro thought it was pretty cool and strongly encouraged me to bring it back with an offer I couldn't refuse.

Based on the website traffic logs I was getting at that time, that section was the most popular part of the Monster Shindig website. It came to an unfortunate temporary end due to my health issues a few years back. But it's coming back. And when it does, I'll post the new URL. In a short amount of time, pages will reappear. Initially, the pages will seem like they're the old ones from before, but I've already done weeks of rewrites, link checking, some slight redesigning and more.
I'm also hoping to get back previous contributors. (Are you up for telling your story of the asylum, Greg?)

Having said that, my plans are to expand the format slightly. This is something I wanted to do before the site fell... something focusing on the readers' own true-life spooky stories. Do you have a really creepy, true story to tell that happened to you? Tell me about it, and it will become a part of RH.

I'm even toying with doing some original (non-fiction) comics for the site.

I hope you enjoy the Roadside Horrors relaunch as much as I think I'll have doing it, again.

And, no, I haven't forgotten Secret Projects 1 & 2 (and 3?). I've been working hard on those as well. To say the least, I'm having a great time!

Just in time for Halloween... Cool.

Kangaroos Invade Illinois - It Really Happened (Or Did It?)

This month is the 35th anniversary of a notably bizarre, if not particularly spooky phenomenon that happened near where I live.

Just for the fun of it, and it being Halloween season, I thought I’d drop this little paranormal tidbit in just for the heck of it. The story turns up again and again on the internet, mainly because of Loren Coleman’s books on cryptozoology and unusual phenomenon, my fave being Mysterious America. This bit was from my late website’s Roadside Horrors section (by far the site’s most popular feature at that time). Roadside Horrors was devoted to telling about and providing directions to paranormal or oddball locations in the US and Canada.

RH, which I’m also working on updating, will be back in the near future (but not for Halloween this year). Here’s what I wrote:

Mystery Kangaroos of Illinois

Plano, IL

October-November of 1974 saw a truly peculiar series of sightings taking place simultaneously from inner city Chicago on out to the far west small town of Plano, IL. On October 18, Chicago police officers encountered an angry kangaroo. Cornered in an alley with a fence in the back, the out of place beast hissed at police officers attempting to subdue it. The animal took flight, easily hopping over the fence and disappearing physically though remaining a part of Chicago’s weird lore.

In subsequent days, the kangaroo, or others of its ilk, popped up around the city and in the suburb of Oak Park.

Finally, in November, a kangaroo was sighted by a local police officer heading home late on a country road outside of Plano, IL. The animal hopped off into the dark woods. In days following, a group of teenagers claimed to have seen it, though the beast(s) turned up simultaneously in Chicago.

By November 6, the kangaroo flap moved over to Indiana, though Plano remained in a strange spotlight with locals trying to figure out what sort of animal it was if it wasn't a kangaroo. I lived in the area at the time and still remember the brouhaha over all this. The local radio station, WSPY, was talking about it all the time, putting forth their opinions (mostly hallucinations) and generally making fun of it.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Creepsville, The Aztec Mummy, and the Comic That Almost Was

While digging through the tombs downstairs last week, looking for my Agents of Peril original artwork, I stumbled upon some interesting artifacts. Appropriately, there were some interesting items related to the Aztec Mummy and Creepsville. Therein lies a story of sorts.

Years ago, Greg Hyland (creator of the great Lethargic Lad comic strip) and I came up with a scheme. We both had an odd affection for a series of ultra low budget horror films made in Mexico about Popoca, the Aztec Mummy. If you haven't seen them... and you have an affection for atmospheric, creeky old black and white horror with some interesting dubbing... they're representative of how much fun Mexi-horror can be. Anyway, the plan was that Greg would have Popoca dragging his crumbly behind through a series of adventures in Lethargic Lad searching for his stolen gold breastplate. Eventually, his adventure there ran its course and at some point, Popoca would appear in the Creepsville strip continuing his search. We actually did this in our individual strips, with my Creepsville portions running for a short time on my now defunct Monster Shindig website.

Creepsville, for those who don't know my stuff that well, was my loving tribute to those great, old, low budget monster movies of the 50s and 60s, featuring the Malone family living in the titular town where all those monster movies really happened. I have a confession to make. For a period of time there, I was tired of drawing the comic, thinking I had run out of ideas, which in turn prompted me to create other comics like Agents of Peril and Monster Patrol. I simply stopped working on the online strip, and that was that.

It's weird how you can turn your back on something and then it comes back and kicks you in the butt. Creepsville did that to me. Years later, I was contemplating taking the Monster Shindig website editorial and doing a print edition one-shot, featuring articles and some comics. An idea popped into my head of doing a few pages of Creepsville, just for fun... and wait a minute... what about that Aztec Mummy story... and, hey, there's an idea that I hadn't thought of... what if Popoca fell in love with Betty Malone... I've gotta draw this. I penciled an 8 page story like that. I have to admit that the inking has gone very slowly, mainly because at the time I was struggling with a number of health issues. It's in the vaults, and I have it... and I'm planning on eventually posting the story here.

In the meantime, I thought I would not only post the old Creepsville strips with Popoca but also some pencil roughs I did for one Monster Shindig cover concept featuring the story. It's actually one of my favorite pieces, because rather than taking a shot at the typical cringing helpless heroine images of this era, my characters are just having fun. All of a sudden, I feel very Footloose.

And if you like the Aztec Mummy, there's more... aw, never mind. You'll see...

PS. After looking at the strips again, I have to mention that I was also doing parodies of Mexican wrestler movies and, in particular, a film called Ship of Monsters. The latter was never dubbed into English and is a monster, sci fi, comedy, western musical. Really!!! Check it out!!!