Saturday, January 31, 2015

01/30/2015 -- Enter Rugface

Way back on a planet called the 80s, I was a much younger person, who just happened to own a comic book store and went to school at Northern Illinois University, where my major was Comprehensive Design. This was before we had computers, so whatever I created was almost always by hand. I had always intended to learn about the comics biz in my shop, because I had an ambition to become a publisher.

I found that actually getting a comic book out was very expensive. Fortunately, there was something unuusal happening in the comics biz related to others who wanted to do their own comics. They found a way to do their comics cheaply in what would be called minicomics.

Minicomics are definitely alive and well to this day. Basically, you drew your comic to the size of a quarter of a sheet of 8 1/2 by 11 paper. You figured out how to draw the whole thing on a single sheet of paper and put a cheap price on it, like 25 cents.

I was intrigued by the possibilities of what I saw, which were mostly humor comics. I sat down and drew one of them, which I called Crazy Larry. He was a mostly annoying character, who was obsessed with a woman named Zelda. They lived in a surrealistic world, suggested in part by Zelda's single cyclopian eye and her hulking, jealous boyfriend, Rugface. Rugface had what looked like a piece of carpet on his face, over his nose.

I drew a few issues of Crazy Larry until I stumbled into Creepsville. In creating this comic book, I decided to pilfer my minicomic series. Larry would be the best friend of Specs Malone in the comic series. I also took Zelda and Rugface and made them friends of Betty Malone. I chose to have Zelda look a lot more normal... and though his proportions were somewhat closer to a normal human being, I kept the rug on Rugface.

The first issue, most of which I drew while working in my comic store, sold pretty well. Later, there were people who came up and asked something along the lines of, "What's with this Rugface guy?" Honestly, I never much thought about him... and only recently while looking at some Creepsville art did it strike me how weird Rugface was. Yes, the town is strange, with all those cheesy monsters, but what is Rugface? How did he come to have what he has on his face... or was that a mustache gone bad?

As luck would have it, it was while talking to a group of my customers about the series when one of them suggested the best solution for Rugface. "I've always thought that Rugface was a person who got mixed up in another monster movie and found himself with a rug on his face." It a small and very unusual example of the dangers of living in Creepsville. And that was that.

As for what Rugface's real name is or how exactly he came to have that on his face, I do know the answers. I even know what his face looks like before the rug. Oh, and I'm not talking.

What is posted here is not his first appearance. That was in Crazy Larry #1, which you can read by clicking on the Crazy Larry link at the right side of this page. Here then is the first appearance of Rugface in Creepsville, with a very Archie-inspired Zelda.

See you Wednesday, when the stories of the Monster Patrol members are brought to light.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

1/29/2015 -- A Bit Late, but Here's This Week's Monster Patrol

I've been very busy of late, working on projects that I've mentioned here.. and another that is very big and I will wait until later to tell you about it.

Nevertheless, here's this week's Monster Patrol, which will kick in to the back stories about the Patrol members, next week.

Also, this Saturday will see Rugface appear for the first time in a Creepsville comic story. It's going to be time to explain the unexplainable. Be there, true believers!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

01/24/2015 -- This Morning's Creepsville...

Just in case you think it's a running gag in this Blog, I must tell you that I am, in fact, really up early on Saturdays to write this rambling babble, scan the artwork and post it all, befor the sun comes up. Besides enjoying producing the Blog, I usually get up this early on weekdays to be at work by 7 a.m. I do work in an office, and must be there just in case.

After awhile, Moneypenny lets me in to see the "Old Man." I must be careful to not let him hear me calling him "Old Man." How amusing...

Next week: I warned you about him, but next Saturday, the strangest character in Creepsville will finally make his debut (from Creepsville #1, where this story came from). Wake the kids, call the National Guard, smoke 'em if you've got 'em... here comes Rugface. More on this amusing creature next week.

Meanwhile, click on and read this week's comic page and ask yourself, "What in hell happened to my roller skates?!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

If This is Wednesday, This Must Be Belgium... Or a New Monster Patrol Posting

That title for this Wednesday's post reminds me, sadly, that I have done only a small amount of travel outside of the US of A. The one place I did go was a doozy: The British Virgin Islands. We stayed on Virgin Gorda, the second largest island in that group. It was February, but you wouldn't know it. It was sunny and warm throughout the time we were there. We explored our island thoroughly and went to many of the other islands.

Having said that, my mind goes back to the moment when we got to the airport there. We got in a line to present our passports to the inspections folks. I handed mine to a gentleman who looked them over with dead seriousness. Then, he looked at me and asked if I had ever been to the Islands before. I told him hadn't and hoped I didn't look like a pot dealer. He paused and then he put a huge smile on his face, "Welcome to the Virgin Islands!" After that greeting, I knew I was in the right place.

Someday I'll have to tell you about my adventure at a place called the Last Resort and a game of Name That Tune with the place's evening entertainment and shotglasses of tequila.

While you wait for that tale of terror, you mght as well look at the Monster Patrol page below.

Oh, and though this winter here has been pretty mild, so far, the beach is calling to me. I'm the pale guy under an umbrella with a sketchbook. (Colette had me go to a tanning salon to get a tan. All I got was bored.) See you Saturday... I hope.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

01/17/2015 -- Your Morning Cup of Creepsville

At the crack of dawn (actually earlier when there isn't a hint that the sun will be coming up today) small creatures called cats come into our bedroom, throw up on the floor and joyfully meow that it's time to get up and do this morning's Creepsville comic for the Laughing Reindeer Blog.

After putting the cats in a potatoe sack and hanging them in the attic, I sit at the computer and stare at the screen... and there's not a single idea in my head.

A moment later, I reawaken with my head on my desk, the papers pushed off on the side and onto the floor. Some of the papers that I made a pillow out of are still stuck to my face courtesy of that special power we all have: drool. Those papers are stuck, so I wait to tear them off while I scan the artwork and drink some water. I don't drink coffee or I would never sleep.

Is that the sun? Then, this scan must be this week's Creepsville. If it's actually not Creepsville, please enjoy it anyway. So, click on whatever it is to see the text.

See you on Wednesday for Monster Patrol.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

01/14/2015 -- This Week's Monster Patrol

As I said I would do, here's the next page from our exciting Monster Patrol comic.

I've mentioned that I was inspired by some of those goofy monster comics from Marvel and DC in creating the comic, but it wasn't just those influences that made me draw it. It was actually just an absurd image that I had in my head of giant monsters fighting crime, carefully tiptoeing over buildings and people.

Then, a buddy of mine from high school invited me out for a week in Portland to stay with him and his wife. During that stay, I actually created each of the monsters during breaks when we weren't enjoying the craft beers of Portland. It was a great trip and a great city.

When I returned, I started working on the comic, and... it took me years to get it done. Every now and then, the monster bug starting buzzing in my head and I would sit down and and pencil some panels and dig out a brush to ink it.

So, the comic you see here was a marathon project. I'm very proud of it. There are definitely more of them to come, too.

But for now, click on the image below to see this week's page. Of course, Creepsville comes back this weekend. Beyond this, there's a whole lotta stuff just dying to get out of their cages in my office and make nests of your brain cavities. Sounds like fun!

Oh, and, Eric and Linda , if I haven't said it before, thanks for the trip!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

01/10/2015 -- This Week's Creepsville

Whenever I am working on a big project, I find it's best not to focus on the "big" part. That big part can be scary. Having said that, I admit I have a full plate, but I'm also having the time of my life.. in other words: fun! Here at the Laughing Reindeer ranch, the cold weather outside serves to fuel my creativity. I don't want to go out into subzero hell. I think I'll do some artwork and look out the window at all the nice looking white stuff.

Meanwhile, just in case you hadn't noticed, starting last Wednesday and until... beats me how long to... I started posting a second comic on this Blog, called Monster Patrol. Check it out if you haven't yet. It does have a solid connection to Creepsville (some of you will likely catch it quickly in the upcoming pages). Longtime readers of this Blog may have seen a Monster Patrol story I did in Big Bang Comics quite some time ago.

Meanwhile, While doing this and other comics stuff, I'm also thinking of making some design changes to this Blog page. I'm not moving the site. Blogspot's set up is very easy, though I'm thinking of making the design changes so that seeing the comics will be much easier and (hopefully) understood, at a glance. So, if you come here and it looks wrong, look for the Laughing Reindeer name to make sure you are safely tucked into the warmth of the ranch.

Click into the image below to see the larger, easier to read version. See you on Wednesday!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

01/08/2015 -- Monster Patrol Returns!

Quite sometime ago in this very Blog, I posted a story of Monster Patrol, my homage to those old giant monster comics created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko for Marvel pre-Fantastic Four, as well as DC Comics' original Metal Men series from co-creators Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru.

That first full Monster Patrol was published in Big Bang Comics, published by Image in black and white. So, I colored it and put it up here. To find that story and read it for yourself, go through the subject column at the right and click on Monster Patrol. All the details are there.

Please note than when you go back, the search mechanism will bring up this new story as well.

This story, which I will be serializing, was actually the first story of the MP I worked on. I plan on coloring it in full and publishing on good old fashioned paper some day. As usual, please click on the images below to see the larger version.

This will be a regular feature with pages posted every Wednesday. Also, additional strips, comics and other ephemera will appear here will be posted alongside Creepsville and MP. Let me know what you think!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

1/3/2015 -- A New Year With Creepsville -- and Mysterious Pictures

Usually I'm much earlier posting new stuff here... but I made it despite having fun with my scanner (FUN with a scanner?).

The smattering of snow outside actually looks nice, too.

The new year seems to have set off all kinds of creative urges in me. Here's 2 visual teases to show a hint of one of these mad projects. Click on the images to see them enlarged.

Oh, and do the same with this week's Creepsville page, of course.

Sorry to be so quick this week, but my art supplies are screaming for me. Until Wednesday, Adios!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

01/01/2015 -- Godzilla Vs. Megalon, the Comic

I'm late a day getting this little item up on the Blog, but like a lot of you I was out at a New Year's Party. Fortunately, my days of being a party monster are well behind me, alowing me to get up way too early with no problem or brain pain and start the new year with this bit of strangeness.

Now, I have to admit that I don't know a lot about this item, but I can make a few educated guesses on what it was.

First of all, I see the name Cinema Shares, which was a movie distribution company back in the 70s. They did release one of the lesser movies of a series: Godzilla Vs. Megalon. Okay, it is pretty awful, but this picture had more legs than most of the films created by Toho Studios in Japan. Shortly after this flick hit the few screens it got, the NBC TV network bought the rights to it to show on network television. When the film hit small screens, NBC gave it only an hour slot.

To fit an hour long slot, the network had to do some heavy cutting to make it fit along with the commercials... and John Belushi. You may ask what John Belushi had to do with it. Belushi was coming into his own with the attention of the public. Taking advantage of having a contract with the network, NBC asked Belushi to host the program. Not only was Belushi doing jokes about the movie, but he was doing it in a Godzilla suit.

I recall at that time I liked Belushi and was glad to see a new Godzilla movie. Cutting into that flick probably didn't hurt it either.

As for what I posted here, it's a mess with bad artwork and a few bits of odd details. Besides a barebones explanation of the film's story with nary a mention of its human participants, the writer gave incorrect names to the film's two supporting giant battling characters, Jet Jaguar and Gigan. Here they were called, respectively, Robotman and Borodan.

Regardless of its errors, this little bit of printed pain was probably something intended to be sold to theaters showing this film to be given out to customers in advance of its release.

I mentioned that this film had legs. Beyond the one showing on NBC, Godzilla Vs. Megalon was shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Years later, that episode of the series was released with a few other episodes on DVD. Toho did a cease and desist, because the MST3K guys hadn't acquired the home video rights to the movie. That disc was pulled from any further releases of that set of discs, making it highly demanded by Misties who had missed it. Apparently, the folks at Toho were so difficult and unpleasant that the MST3K guys just let it be known that the film could be found online for free. That reacton was highly unusual but was still in keeping with the MST3K credit line that suggested fans keep circulating the tapes (or episodes).

So, hoping that you're heads are clear after a night of merrymaking for the New Year, here is the very short Godzilla Vs. Megalon comic. Click on the images to see the larger, legible versions.