Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Adventures Of Kirby Overstreet, Comic Hunter

Yes, it's Kirby Overstreet, Comic Hunter. Able to detect the smell of musty newsprint from two counties over! Master of discerning between Mint and Near Mint!. Arguer of fictional strength levels! Don't get in his way when he's on the hunt, or you'll be brusquely ingnored!

A few days ago, a near mint condition copy of Action Comics #1 (the first appearance of Superman) sold at an auction for 1 million dollars. One million. For a comic book. Supposedly there are only a hundred copies of this particular issue left in existence.

My dad swears to me that he had a copy of Action #1 when he was a kid, but that his mom threw it in the trash one day while he was at school. Thanks a lot, Grandma. I could be the son of a millionaire right now.

I used to buy tons of comics, up until about 2000 or 2001. When they got to $3 each, that was when I said "enough." The last time I looked they were up to $4! That's just too much for a stinkin' comic book.

Drawn in Photoshop on the graphic tablet. The text was hand lettered, based on a real font.

Here's the original sketch of Kirby. I had to change him a bit, because the sketch had some structural problems.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's Morglom The Unconvincible!

Bow in supplication, foolish mortal! Morglom is master of all he surveys! Or is he? He's not convinced.

Don't ask his diminutive assistant anything. He's not even sure if he's awake.

I like doing my usual solid color painterly backgrounds, but I felt like it was time to push it a little further. I'm mostly happy with how it came out, but I still think the background needs something. What, I have no idea. A rocket ship maybe?

Drawn in Photoshop on the graphic tablet.

Here's the original sketch. I didn't change Morglom much at all, but the little fat guy changed quite a bit.

Gillbert von Bogwollow

Gillbert's just your average lizard man, trying to make a living and keep his skin moist in the big city.

Drawn in Photoshop on the graphic tablet.

Here's the original sketch of Gillbert.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Baby Dragon

Hey, that dragon's too young to be smoking!

Yeah, I know, it's a lame title. I'll think of a better one later.

Here's the original sketch. Nothing much changed in the final drawing, except for the length of his horns or ears or whatever they're supposed to be.

Charles McGoonigal

A very quick illustration (about an hour) of a monster/goon.

Charles was inspired by various toys of the 1960s, in particular Creeple Peeple. For those of you not around back then, in 1964 or 1965, Mattel introduced their Thingmaker toy. The Thingmaker basically consisted of an actual hot plate, some metal molds and a liquid polymer that they called Plastigoop.

You selected a mold, poured the Plastigoop into it, then set it on the Thingmaker (or hot plate), then after about 5 or 10 minutes the heat would solidify the Plastigoop and you'd pull the mold out with tongs, giving yourself a second degree burn in the process. When the red hot metal mold finally cooled off enough to touch, you released your figure from the mold and you had a smelly, rubbery toy to play with, one that you made all by yourself.

They had many different varieties of molds, including insects & spiders, disguises (scars & mustaches), flowers (for dumb ol' girls) and Creeple Peeple. I had all the sets except for the flower one. You could make Creeple Peeple heads, arms and feet, and you were supposed to put them on a pencil and make a monster toy out of it. I spent many an hour making Creeple People with my Thingmaker, as the smell of burnt plastic and seared flesh filled my room. They definitely don't make toys like that anymore.

Looking back, Creeple Peeple looked a lot like those little naked troll dolls with the big shock of hair. I didn't notice that when I was a kid.

Sadly, neither my Thingmaker or any of the toys I made survive to this day. Even more sadly, the Thingmaker has long since been taken off the market, branded as a safety hazard. I'm sure it caused quite a few burns to quite a few kids, but that was part of the fun! What better way to learn a healthy respect for electrity and chemistry than by playing with a toy that could burn the holy crap out of you? I bet it was wimpy 1980s kids that cried over their searing burns and got the Thingmaker taken off the market. Tough 1960s and 1970s kids like me suffered our burns in silence like men and kept right on playing.

Drawn in Photoshop on the graphic tablet.

Here's the original sketch of Charles. I decided I didn't like his belly scratching pose, so I drew him holding a 1960s flower power plant.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Martini Martian

Mars may not be the kind of place to raise your kids (in fact it's cold as hell), but man, does it SWING!

Things I learned drawing this illustration: A dinner jacket doesn't have "notches" in the lapels; they're smooth. Because I'm a... oh, what's the word? Um... SLOB! Because I'm a slob, I never knew that until now.

I also had a lot of trouble with his non-martini holding arm. I found a photo of a model wearing a dinner jacket, and he had one had in his pants pocket. I tried drawing the Martian in the same nonchalant pose, but because of his super skinny stylized legs, that just would not work, no matter what I did. I finally stuck his hand in his jacket pocket and that solved the problem.

I also tweaked his expression a little. I wanted him to have a Dean Martin-esque expression of intoxicated bemusement, as if he knows he's the swinginest cat at the party. Instead, his original expression, shown here, made him look bored to death.

Drawn in Photoshop on the graphic tablet.

Here's the original Martian sketch. He was a little too lifeless, so I tried to add some energy into the final drawing.

It Came From The Cineplex: The Wolfman (2010)

Oi, Move along, nothing new to see here!

Universal Studios new Wolfman movie finally made its way into theaters, after several false starts. There were reportedly script problems, reshoots, a complete overhaul of the musical score and even a replacement director, so it's no wonder that the movie feels disjointed and incomplete.

The Wolfman certainly looks like a proper old school Gothic horror movie, but it's yet another case of style over substance.


The story is set in Victorian England (kudos to the studio for not trying to update it to modern times) and opens as Ben Talbot has gone missing from his small village, which is surrounded by misty woods and moors. His dutiful fiance Gwen (Emily Blunt) writes to his brother Lawrence (played unenthusiastically by Benicio del Toro), begging him to help with the search for Ben. Lawrence reluctantly returns to the crumbling and spooky family mansion and his estranged father (played by Anthony Hopkins). There's bad blood between the two; after the death of his mother, Lawrence was placed in a mental institution by his father for several years. I can see how that might drive a wedge between father and son.

Ben's mangled and lifeless body is soon found and before Lawrence can return to London, he's attacked by a werewolf in a gypsy camp (don't ask). He recovers back at the mansion, tended to by Gwen, who gets over the loss of her fiance in record time and starts mooning unconvincingly over Lawrence. Larry heals completely and quickly, but during the next full moon he finds himself turning into a werewolf and ravaging the countryside.

Later he's captured and taken back to his old asylum in London, he turns into a werewolf, he escapes, he runs around the city for a while, mayhem ensues and eventually he comes back to the ancestral mansion and has a duel with his father, who also turns out to be a werewolf. The very werewolf who attacked him earlier in the movie, in fact. Eventually Lawrence (in wolf form) encounters Gwen, who kills him with a silver bullet, thus ending his curse.

Benicio del Toro absolutely snoozes through his role as Lawrence. Reportedly he'd been anxious to play this part for years, but he completely wastes the opportunity. Nary an emotion flickers across his stoic features throughout the entire movie. He wears the same mopey expression in every scene. Upon seeing his brother's bloody corpse, his face registers the same amount of emotion it would as if he discovered that the toast is burnt. To say he sleepwalks through the role is an understatement at best, and an insult to somnambulists the world over.

What's hilarious is that his Lawrence Talbot character is supposed to be a world famous Shakespearean actor (!). I guess audiences weren't very demanding back then. It would have been more believable if they'd said he was a Victorian era astronaut.

Anthony Hopkins isn't much better as Lawrence's father. He speaks loudly and enunciates well, but seems like there's someplace he'd rather be. Emily Blunt plays Gwen and does what she can with an underwritten part. Quite honestly they could have replaced her with any of a number of other current actress halfway through the film and I don't think I would have noticed. There's a nice exchange between her and Lawrence as he teaches her to skip stones, but other than that she's largely forgettable.

I didn't buy Gwen's sudden love for Lawrence either. Here's a woman living in a repressive Victorian society who's just lost her fiance, and we're supposed to believe that in the space of one month (based on the constant shots of the moon) she completely forgets about him and starts lusting after his mopey brother? They'd have tarred and feathered her for even thinking of such a stunt.

Because this is The Wolfman, much has been made of the makeup and the transformations. Honestly I was underwhelmed. Rick Baker is a genius and an awesome makeup artist and his wolfman makeup gets the job done, but it doesn't do anything to push the envelope. We've simply seen it all before. They've been gluing rubber appliances and fake fur to actors since the 1930s, at least. That said, I do applaud the fact that they went with old school makeup instead of an all CGI creation (well, for most of the scenes, that is. Whenever the Wolfman needs to do anything acrobatic, he turns into a CGI cartoon). I just wish they'd done something we hadn't seen a hundred times before.

Unlike the original movie's downright serene change from man to beast, this wolfman's transformations fall squarely into the "painful contortions" camp, as he twitches and seizures his way to into wolfdom. This sort of CGI transformation has also been done many, many times in the past few years, and much better to boot. For my money, I still think the all-time best werewolf change is in An American Werewolf in London.

Another problem (for me, anyway) is that the rules of the movie are pretty vague. Lawrence is bitten by a werewolf, and a few days later turns into one. Sure, we know that the werewolf's bite transfers the curse, but only because we've all seen wolfman movies before. Silver bullets will kill him, but no one ever explains why, they just do. A monster movie needs to set up rules and follow them, not just assume that the audience knows them because they've seen similar films.

The movie is filmed beautifully, with it's foggy moors and crumbling, cobwebbed mansions. It's just been done before, and not only by the original Wolfman movie, either. It gets its pedigree (see what I did there?) from virtually every werewolf movie made since the 1930s. I wanted to like it, but there's simply no new ground covered here.

One thing I've always found amusing about the original Wolfman was how he ran around in a nice dress shirt and slacks. He even managed to keep his starched shirt buttoned up all the way as he roamed the countryside slashing and killing. So when I saw the new Wolfman movie, I thought it was hilarious that not only does this new werewolf keep the traditional shirt and slacks combo, he also adds a smart vest to his ensemble. Hey, just because he's a rampaging supernatural killer, that doesn't mean he can't be a sharp dresser as well!

So should you see it? If you've never, ever seen any kind of werewolf or other monster movie in your life, then sure. Otherwise skip it and wait for the DVD. Better yet, go hunt down a copy of the Lon Chaney original. I give the new Wolfman a C. "C" for "seen it before."

Monday, February 15, 2010


I had the day off for President's Day, and we got an unexpected 6" of snow during the night, so I stayed inside all day and drew this.

Like most kids, I was crazy about dinosaurs. Even though I was only 6 year old, I could rattle off incredibly complicated polysyllable dinosaur names better than most paleontologists. I used to draw them incessantly as well.

Unfortunately, the more science learns about dinosaurs, the less awesome they become. The current theory is that they were very birdlike, and many species even had feathers! Somehow an enormous T-Rex just doesn't seem as awe inspiring when you realize it was just a giant chicken.

Drawn in Photoshop on the graphic tablet. The "Gonk" text was hand-lettered.

Here's the original doodle of Gonk. I doodled him during a meeting. I tried to add a little more energy to the final drawing, especially in his neck and tail.

The Book Of Whaaa?

This past Christmas I gave myself a treat and bought The Book Of Genesis Illustrated, by world famous underground artist R. Crumb. Crumb includes every word of Genesis and lavishly illustrates the entire thing in his unique style. It's painstakingly researched and spectacularly detailed. If you've not yet seen it, I highly recommend it. I'd recommend it even if you're a church-avoiding heathen.

One thing on the cover jumped out at me, however. There's a big ol' "adult supervision" warning label right on the front. Really? A warning. On the Bible. The book you read in church. The book little old ladies carry under their arm as they walk to Sunday services.

OK, I get why they put the warning there. It's one thing to write about Adam and Eve cavorting nude in the Garden of Eden, but another thing altogether to show it. It's the same thing when it says "Cain knew his wife." When you show him "knowing" her then it's no longer G rated.

But that said, it just seems like the Political Correctness gone overboard when you put a content warning on the freakin' Bible. Congratulations, PC Police. You just made the Holy Scripture R-rated. You win.

Gurk Gurkington

Nothing much to say about Gurk. He's just your standard-issue cartoon monster.

Drawn in Photoshop on the graphic tablet.

Here's the original sketch for Gurk. I adjusted a few things in the final drawing, and got rid of the puddle he was standing in.

DVD Doppelgangers: Sin City Vs The Spirit, Max Payne And The Cutoff

Hey kids, it's time for another installment of the feature that's sweeping the internet by storm: "DVD Doppelgangers!" The post in which I call out deceptive studios and lazy designers who mimic more successful DVD covers in hopes of getting you to buy theirs!

First up, we have Sin City. One of the better comic book adaptations to come down the pike in the past few years, and one that proves you don't have to deviate from the source material in order to make a successful movie.

Oh, Sin City, DVD cover designers just lovvvvvve you. What would they do without you? Whenever they need to design a cover for a dark and gritty movie about urban violence and decay, all they have to do is take your cover and plug in a new title and stars.

Take The Spirit for example (please!). Same angled, hand-lettered title, rendered all in blood red. Same black background. Same desaturated, gun toting cast members, standing at an angle (although in a burst of creative originality, here the cast is angled in the opposite direction. Bravo!). And there're those muddy splatters along the bottom again. I guess the designer misheard grindhouse as grimehouse, and thought the layout needed some mud.

Frank Miller wrote the Sin City comics, and here he adapts Will Eisner's excellent The Spirit comic. The Sin City comic was drawn in a minimalist black and white style, while The Spirit was rendered in a more standard style, and in color. Stylistically they couldn't be farther apart. So I find it odd that Miller filmed The Spirit as a virtual clone of Sin City - high contrast, black and white with occasional spot colors. It's almost as if he wants the public to think it's a sequel. But Hollywood wouldn't stoop that low now, would they?

Then we have the cover for Max Payne, based on the popular video game series. Again, it's a violent and gritty urban saga, so of course we have the obligatory black background, tilted red title (typeset this time, instead of hand-lettered), and desaturated hero. This one even throws in some rain or sleet or some kind of weather to further mimic the rain-soaked Sin City cover.

One other thing-- this cover contains a typo. Right there under the title where it says "Unrated?" That should read "Unwatchable." I'm just saying.'

Hey, not so fast, we're not done yet! Next we have Cut Off. I haven't seen this movie and know absolutely nothing about it. The cover's not quite as blatant as the others, but there's an undeniable Sin City-ness about it. Probably something to do with the angled text yet again (yellow this time) and the desaturated, almost black and white femme fatale. This designer actually did get a little bit creative here, as he substituted a horizontal rain of bullets for the vertical downpour of the Sin City cover.

The Cut Off cover's DNA becomes a little more clear if we take a look at one of the alternate Sin City covers (there were five different ones - collect 'em all!), and one of the theatrical posters.

At this rate, I predict that by 2015 (if video stores are still around) a full 85% of all DVD covers will be variations on Sin City's.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

It's Cupid, Stupid!

Wow, Cupid looks like he's really let himself go. Must be all those leftover boxes of chocolate.

Ah, Valentine's Day. What better way to celebrate love than by setting aside a special day honoring a Saint who was executed by the Romans because he wouldn't convert to Paganism? Pretty romantic, huh?

Drawn in Photoshop on the graphic tablet.

Here's the digital sketch I did of Mr. C. Originally I drew him wearing a little diaper, but I erased it because Cupid's usually portrayed as naked, and I thought it would be funnier without it.


In space, no one can hear you pop.

Drawn in Photoshop on the graphic tablet.
Here's the original sketch. Note that here he has spines on his back, not bubble-blowing tubes. I was trying to think of something more for him to do than just stand there, and for some reason bubbles coming out of his back popped into my head.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sneed Snailman

He's slow, clammy and doesn't like his eyes touched. He's Sneed Snailman!

Drawn in Photoshop on the graphic tablet.

Wow, this illustration gave me a world of trouble. Here's the original notebook doodle. It looks so simple, I didn't think I'd have any trouble drawing it. But I just couldn't get it to work. The biggest problem was getting his folded arms to look right. I think the problem is that when you draw a fast and loose doodle, the lines are sloppy but somehow they work. Then when you start drawing it for real, you have to clean up the lines and then you find out that your layout has a serious flaw in it.

Here's the final, tighter sketch. I know, most of you are probably looking at it and thinking, "It looks just like the first one! This guy's off his meds!" Well, you're probably right, but nevertheless I was much happier with this second version.

DVD Doppelgangers: The Collector vs. Blood Creek

Hey, it's time for another installment of "DVD Doppelgangers," in which I search the video store for DVD covers that are a little too similar to be a coincidence.

First up we have the 2009 horror film The Collector. It had a pretty cool premise: a burglar breaks into a home, only to discover someone far worse is already inside, torturing the family who lives there. He too becomes trapped inside the house, and has to rescue himself and the family from... the Collector.

Unfortunately, what could have been an above-average horror movie with a unique plot played out like a lame made for TV Syfy movie that somehow ended up at the cineplex by mistake. Not worth your time.

Next we have the 2009 horror movie Blood Creek. I've not seen this one and I know nothing about it, except that it was directed by Joel Schumacher. He's the guy who put nipples on the Batsuit in Batman Forever and Batman And Robin, so it has to be good, right?

The main font and layout is quite different on this DVD cover, so I'll give the designer credit there. But the big image of the back of the big giant scary head right in the middle-- sorry. I'm calling the Concept Police.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Groundhog Judgement Day

Last week, PETA (which stands for Batsh*t Crazy Animal Organization) claimed that the annual Groundhog Day celebration in Pennsylvania is cruel to real live groundhog "Punxsutawney Phil," and demanded he be replaced with a robotic groundhog.

Oh, PETA, you've done it again!

Seriously, what is up with them lately? First they said fishing is cruel, so they wanted to rename fish as "sea kittens," because according to them, no one wants to hurt an adorable kitty and people will stop fishing. They also demanded that Ben & Jerry's stop using dairy milk in their ice cream and use human breast milk instead. Ew. Then they denounced President Obama because he killed a fly during a speech. Sadly, I'm not making up any of that.

There was a time when PETA was a relevant and effective animal rights organization that achieved admirable results. That time is long past. Now they're like the crazy old aunt that shows up at Thanksgiving wearing her bra on the outside of her blouse.

Anyway, PETA's ridiculous Groundhog Day demand inspired this illustration. It's February 2nd, Judgement Day for humanity. We'd better hope Punxatron 3000 aims his visual receptors at the ground and detects its shadow, or it's lights out for the human race.

I'm sure I probably messed up the program code in the word balloon. It's been a lonnnng time since I took that Basic class in college. If any programmers are out there, feel free to correct me. The red text is hand lettered. It's a good start, but I feel like it needs some refinement.

Drawn in Photoshop on the graphic tablet.

Here's the digital sketch of Phil. Like most of my illustrations, it started as a simple image and quickly got out of control.

Note that in the sketch, there are two vertical lines under his upper "lip." Those lines made it seem like he had giant buck teeth, which caused him to look more like a beaver or a woodchuck than a groundhog. From the reference photos I looked out, groundhogs don't have prominent teeth, so I deleted one of the lines and centered the other. Problem solved!

DVD Doppelgangers: The Dog Who Saved Christmas vs. Marley & Me

Welcome to another installment of "DVD Doppelgangers," in which I search the video store for DVD covers that are a little too similar to be a coincidence.

First we have the cruel and sadistic dog killin' movie, Marley & Me. I love the blurb at the bottom that reads, "The Best Family Film Of The Year." Sure, if you're the Manson family.

I'm all for teaching kids about the circle of life, but did they have to give us a full twenty grueling minutes of Marley being put to sleep? That's right folks, I just spoiled the movie for you. Marley dies. But he doesn't just die quickly or heroically. Here the camera lovingly lingers over every single detail of his drawn out demise. Keep your kids far away from it, unless you want them telling their court appointed psychiatrists about it someday.

Then we have The Dog Who Saved Christmas. Looks just a little familiar, doesn't it? Good Lord, they even used a yellow lab! In fact it wouldn't surprise me if this was the exact same dog they used on the Marley DVD, just a few months older.

They even placed this dog in the same white, formless void as the Marley cover. The font isn't exactly the same, but it's darn close. Half the text is even red here as well.

And would you look at that, there's a broken Xmas ornament on the invisible floor. Why, this dog is just as mischievous and accident prone as poor old dead Marley! Gosh, if I didn't know better, I'd think that this studio was hoping fans of Marley & Me would see this DVD and buy it, thinking it's a sequel. But we all know that no corporation would stoop that low.

By the way, for those who might be thinking that this is somehow a sequel (and who could, since Marley's dead?), I feel I have to point out that Marley was somewhat realistic, while this movie is a fantasy tale. Marley was portrayed as a real dog. Zeus, the canine in The Dog Who Saved Christmas, is a talking dog. Yeah, you heard me. He talks. Except only the audience can hear him, not the characters in the movie. Pretty much like the baby in Look Who's Talking. And he's voiced by Mario Lopez (!). The film makers accomplish this amazing talking effect by showing Zeus staring off into the distance, mouth closed, while Mr. Lopez's voice is dubbed over the soundtrack. It's quite an impressive effect.

Because this is a holiday movie, they Photoshopped a Xmas tree branch in the dog's mouth. Nice touch. Xmas trees are toxic to dogs. They won't kill them, but they can make them really sick if eaten.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Runaway Brain!

Watch your feet everybody! Runaway brain coming through!

Drawn in Photoshop on the graphic tablet.

Here's the original sketch. I like the looseness of the sketch, and tried to preserve that in the final drawing, however, his pose is all wrong here. The guy's all bent over, when his entire body should be leaning forward as if he's running at top speed.

Here's the second sketch. His running pose is better here, conveying movement and speed. I'm not sure what that tail trailing behind the brain is supposed to be. A spinal cord? Nerves? I don't know. I ended up deleting the tail in the final drawing.

It's Not Just The Title, It's How I Feel After Watching

Hey, LOST is back for its final season! Hey, I have no frakkin' clue what's going on!


Well, that was certainly weird. Apparently after the atom bomb went off on the island in 1977 (I think?) there are now two time lines? One in which the Losties were thrown back into the present day, and one in which they never crashed on the island at all, in which the island is under water. Yup, makes perfect sense to me!

I was under the impression that the creators were going to wrap everything up in the final season, but it looks like they just delivered a big package of WTF? to our doorsteps. Two time lines? A temple full of other Others? More new characters to keep track of? The embodiments of Good and Evil possessing the bodies of familiar characters? My head's hurting. Excuse me while I go and lie down in dark room.

I've been a big fan of the show ever since the first episode, but I have to admit that half the time I have no idea what's going on with the plot. That's not a condemnation, by the way. I kind of like that it's convoluted and confusing. It's fun trying to figure out what's going on. I think about each episode long after it's over, as I try to figure out what I just saw. You can't say that about Two And A Half Men.

I have an uneasy feeling that the series finale can't possibly live up to everyone's expectations, but that's OK. To use a hackneyed cliche, this show's more about the journey than the destination.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

DVD Doppelgängers: Zombieland Vs. Vampire Killers

Welcome to another installment of "DVD Doppelgangers," in which I search the video store for DVD covers that are a little too similar to be a coincidence. I've got my eye on you, lazy graphic designers of the world.

Tonight we have the DVD cover of the excellent horror-comedy Zombieland. I really liked this movie a lot, and if you've not yet seen it, I highly recommend it.

Next we have the DVD cover for Vampire Killers. Once again, even though I've not seen this movie, it seems familiar somehow...

Let's examine the cover more closely...
• Muted, almost black and white desaturated color palette? Check!
• Ominous stormy sky? Check!
• Reddish title, set in all caps and angled at 8º? White text above said title? Check and Check!
• Hero dressed in black, holding shotgun against shoulder? Check!
• Ancillary characters arranged behind hero? Check!
• Mud splatters along the bottom to give the cover a grungy "grindhouse" feel? Check!
• Altering the original cover art to mimic a high-grossing recent American release and hopefully ride on its successful coattails? That's a BIG check!

Vampire Killers is actually a recent British release, and just for fun, here's a look at the original DVD cover art. As you can see, if you don't get too distracted by the top of the cover, the title is actually Lesbian Vampire Killers. I'm assuming that it's about killers who eliminate lesbian vampires, and not about vampire killers who happen to be gay. I'm also assuming the title was changed to something less provocative so as not to offend Aunt Bee and her prudish coven of church ladies here in America. Would society really have reverted back to the Bronze Age if a DVD called Lesbian Vampire Killers was released to stores? Sometimes I wonder about the future of this country. But that's a post for another time.

Bugsy McMobster

Here's a lil' gangster flippin' a nickel. If he was any taller he'd be dead.

Drawn in Photoshop on the graphic tablet.

Here's the original sketch of Bugsy. I decided he needed a nickel-flippin' arm while I was drawing the final image, to help give it some visual interest. This is another one of those sketches that looks like it was drawn in pencil, but I drew it with a ball point pen. Somehow my scanner makes pen lines look like pencil.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

DVD Doppelgangers: Inspired By "Burn After Reading"

It's said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. What about a "blatant ripoff?" Is that considered flattering as well?

Here's the DVD/poster art for the movie Burn After Reading. I saw the movie in the theater when it came out and liked it a lot. I was also a big admirer of the poster art, and studied it while waiting in the lobby. Something about that layout and the 1960s hand lettering really spoke to me.

Apparently I wasn't the only one impressed with the poster. Here's the DVD cover of I'll Believe You. Even though I've not seen the movie, something about the cover seems familiar... I just can't put my finger on it. Other than the layout, the number and arrangement of boxes containing actor's faces, the title in the middle, the names listed across the top, the similar font, and the call out quote box on the left, they're totally different.

But this cover has a flying saucer on it, so there's no way it can be swiped from Burn After Reading.

By the way, despite what the designer of this poster would like you to think, that font is not hand-lettered like the Burn After Reading title. It's called "Addled" or "Ad lib," and is freely available all over the internet.

Then we have the DVD cover for The Maiden Heist. It too seems familiar, but again, I can't quite figure out why. As you can see, the boxes containing the actor's faces are separated by colored dots, so it can't possibly be a ripoff.

Once again they've used a free internet font to simulate the hand-lettering of Burn After Reading. The identical Es and Is are a dead giveaway.

Stay tuned for more DVD Dopplegangers!
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