Thursday, October 28, 2010

J. Gnashington Hornswoggle

I drew this illustration back in August of 2009, but for some reason it never got posted to my blog. So here's J. Gnashington Hornswoggle, better late than never.

Drawn in Photoshop on the graphic tablet.

Here's the original sketch. As always I usually sketch with a ball point pen, but when I scan them they look for all the world like I did them in pencil. Weird.

DVD Doppelgangers: Riverworld vs. Avatar

Hey, it's been a while since we played DVD Doppelgangers, where I call out art directors who deliberately copy DVD covers of popular movies, hoping to fool the public into buying their knock-off version.

Tonight we have two very blue covers. On the left is the cover for the 2010 SyFy Channel made-for-TV Riverworld, based on the series of novels by Philip Jose Farmer. On the right is the cover for the highest grossing movie in the history of Earth, 2009's Avatar.

Let's see, the Riverworld cover features a big blue alien face, big colorful eyes and glowing facial markings. They even managed to copy the pouty lips! The Riverworld font is pretty similar to Avatar's as well. On the Doppelscale, I give this one an 85%!

This is actually SyFy Channel's second attempt at filming Riverworld. They first tried it back in 2003. Neither version managed to find much of an audience. I think the problem is that the premise is just too complicated. There are four very thick novels that comprise the Riverworld series, full of pages and pages of explanation and exposition. It's just too much info to try to shoehorn into a TV movie.

I have to admit I've never seen either TV movie, but I did read the novels back in college. Basically the story opens as every human being who ever lived on Earth, from cavemen to 21st century man, is simultaneously resurrected along the shores of a single 20 million mile long river on an alien planet. The story concerns a group of historical figures who band together to find out who built the Riverworld, and more importantly, why.

In the fourth book it's finally revealed that an alien race built the Riverworld to give humanity a second chance at discovering the good inside them and redeeming themselves, in order to move on to the next plane of existence. I remember finding this explanation extremely unsatisfying. I slogged my way through these books, eager to find out the secret behind the Riverworld, and it turned out to be some kind of anti-climactic New Age bushwah.

The aliens who built the Riverworld were called Ethicals, and although they didn't look human, I sure don't remember them being described in the books as blue Avatar-looking people. As I said, it's been a long time since I read them, so I supposed it's possible. The 2010 movie depicts them as blue, so I guess that was all the DVD cover designer needed to copy the cover of the highest grossing movie ever.

Gillborg vs. Minion

I recently saw a trailer for the upcoming movie Megamind, and noticed something familiar about the "Minion" character in the film. He bears more than a passing resemblance to my "Gillborg" character.

Please understand that I'm not suggesting Dreamworks Studios copied my "fish inside a robotic body" idea; by this point in time there are very few new ideas under the sun. I just don't want people seeing my character and thinking I copied from them.

For the record, your honor, I drew and posted Gillborg way back in July of 2009. Here's the sketch I made of him from around that time.

And let the record show that I drew the very first sketch of him waaaay back in November of 1997, back when there were two alien looking fish inside the robotic suit.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Tenth Doctor

I'm a big fan of Doctor Who, so I thought I'd start a series of vector drawings of the eleven (!) different Doctors (so far).

David Tennant played the Tenth Doctor from 2005 to 2010. He starred in three seasons and eight specials, including three special longer Christmas episodes. The Christmas specials are some of my favorite Tennant episodes, and are more like movies than TV shows-- they could easily have been shown theatrically, in my opinion.

David Tennant was my absolute favorite Doctor, hands down, beating out even Tom Baker (sorry, Tom). Tennant reportedly decided he wanted to become an actor while watching Doctor Who as a child. In fact, while attending Paisley Grammar School, he wrote an essay on how his greatest desire was to play the Doctor on TV! Little did he know he'd get his wish 30 years later!

Tennant played the Doctor as sort of a cool yet geeky college professor, who could be funny, sentimental and terrifying all in the same episode. It was a sad day when he announced he was leaving the series; I was honestly depressed about it for a week. That's the nature of Doctor Who though. If you don't like change, then this isn't the show for you. Fortunately Matt Smith, the Eleventh Doctor, has done an incredible job and won me over after just one episode.

Unlike previous incarnations of the Doctor who had platonic relationships with his companions, #10 was most definitely in love with Rose Tyler and never quite got over her after she left the series. 

Rose was OK, but my favorite companion of the Tennant era was Martha Jones. Too bad she only stayed around for one season.

Many of the Doctor's former friends and companions returned during #10's era, including Sarah Jane Smith, and the robotic dog K-9. He even had a run-in with the Fifth Doctor in the special Time Crash mini-episode.

Speaking of the Fifth Doctor (played by Peter Davison), Tennant is dating actress Georgia Moffett, Davison's daughter. Moffett also starred in the episode The Doctor's Daughter as, what else, the cloned daughter of the Tenth Doctor! Confused yet?

Many of his old foes returned to plague him as well, including Davros, creator of the Dalek race, and his eternal nemesis (and fellow Time Lord) the Master. The Sontarans also returned to battle the Tenth Doctor.

The Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver continued to gain new abilities and functions in just about every episode. The versatility of the Sonic has become something of a running joke in the series.

One thing I've always liked about Doctor Who as a show is that it usually plays it fast and loose with science and doesn't get bogged down in technobabble the way Star Trek always does. No "We need to generate a reverse ion vertiron pulse to re-initialize the warp cascade" here. The first time the Doctor takes Martha Jones to the past, she worries that if she steps outside the Tardis she might accidentally kill her grandfather and alter history. The Doctor asks her if she plans on killing her grandfather? When she replies "of course not," he says, "Right then! Let's go!" No worrying about changing history, just having a fun romp through time.

Doctor #10 had two main outfits, a blue pin-striped suit and a brown pin-striped one. His main trademark were his Chuck Taylor tennis shoes (or "trainers," as they're known to the Brits). He almost always wore a brown overcoat as well. On a couple of occasions he traded in his pin-striped suit for a black tuxedo. He would also occasionally wear glasses. Seems like a gyp to get a brand new regenerated body that needs glasses, but what do I know?

The Tenth Doctor continued the new series' tradition of utilizing the city of Cardiff, Wales, as a sort of home base. Many episodes of the new series have taken place in or around there. Coincidentally, the series is filmed at one of the BBC's studios in Cardiff. Imagine that!

Please forgive the ugly watermark on the illustration. I swore I would never add one to my art, because I know that 99.99% of my readers would never even think of stealing it. But earlier this year I had a run-in with an art thief who was not only stealing my work, but selling it as her own! Hence the watermarks. This is why we can't have nice things.

Doctor #10 is a vector drawing, drawn all in InDesign.

Stay tuned for Doctor #11! I'm almost done!

Here's the original sketch of the Tenth Doctor.

Ookla! Ariel! We Ride!

I recently picked up the complete Thundarr The Barbarian series on DVD. It's available now at

I saw the series a few times back when it first aired in 1980, but I was never a regular viewer. I was in college at the time and tended to sleep until noonish most Saturdays, so most of these episodes are brand new to me.

For those not in the know, in the far off year of 1994 a "runaway planet" flies between Earth and the Moon. It breaks the moon in half and wreaks untold havoc on the Earth and human civilization. 2000 years later, Thundarr, Princess Ariel and Chewbacca, er, I mean Ookla the Mok, wander the changed Earth, battling evil wizards and mutants.

It's an enjoyable series, and is pretty well-made for shows of that era. I highly recommend it.

The always amazing Alex Toth, who designed Space Ghost and many other Hanna Barbara super hero characters, created the look of the three main characters. He was unavailable once the series went into production, so the even more amazing Jack Kirby contributed character designs for the rest of the show.

Thundarr's weapon of choice was his "fabulous sun sword," which was basically just a lightsaber with a flaming blade. I naturally assumed that the sun sword was just a ripoff of Star Wars, and it probably was to an extent. The real reason for the sun sword though was that due to the overzealous standards and practices restrictions at the time, cartoons couldn't depict any sort of bladed weapons. Apparently a sword with a blade made of out of freakin' fire was OK though.

The creator of the series, Steve Gerber (who created the Howard the Duck comic for Marvel), originally didn't want the character of Ookla in the show, but bowed to network pressure to include him. For once network interference paid off. I doubt the show would be as beloved today without everyone's favorite Mok. Supposedly the name "Ookla" originated when the writer walked past the front gate of the UCLA campus, saw the sign and read it as a word rather than an acronym.

If you're interested, you won't find it in any brick and mortar stores or even on Amazon. Right now the only place to find this DVD set is at the WBShop (keep that in mind if you're balking at the price-- it's unlikely to ever be cheaper). For a while now they've been quietly selling obscure, non-mainstream titles on their site. They print them on demand, meaning they only produce the discs when they receive an order. I assume this is done to save money and warehouse space.

One caveat: because these are DVD-R discs, they may not play in all players. For example, they won't play in my DVD player or on my computer, but they will play in my old PlayStation 2. Go figure.

Morose May

I've got this daily journal (it's not a diary!) that contains calendar pages at the beginning of every month. Since I do the exact same thing every single day of my life, I have little use for the calendar pages, so I've been filling each day's square with a doodle.

Here are the calendar pages for May. I don't know why I'm posting them out of order like this. I started with August, then started working backwards. Who needs order?

I guess that's supposed to be Tough Soldier Beetle Baily on the 2st, with Steven Seagal on the 7th. The guy on the 27th looks like those weird half dog, half men that were always in Carl Bark's Duck comics.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Doctor Creepmare

Halloween's coming up soon, so I thought it was time to post a seasonal illustration. It's everyone's favorite fictional TV horror host, Doctor Creepmare!

I'm not real crazy about that name, but it'll do until my addled brain can think of a better one.

This is a vector drawing, drawn all in InDesign.
Here's the original very rough and tiny sketch of the Doctor.

I Find Your Lack Of Posts Disturbing...

Sorry for the lack of posts here lately, everyone! Don't worry, I haven't abandoned my blog, I'm just really busy these days. I'm working 60 hours a week, I'm both housekeeper and groundsman here at Stately Canada Manor, and I've been helping out a sick friend as much as I can during their recovery. I barely have time to sleep anymore, much less blog. The illustration above isn't much of an exaggeration.

I'll do my best to keep posting regularly, but bear with me for a while.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Henri du Saturn, The French Courtier Alien

People are always asking me, "Bob! Where do you get your ideas?" I always have to give them the same unsatisfactory answer that I don't think they believe: I honestly don't know.

Take this illustration for example. Last week I was doodling, as I very often do, and this came out. An alien wearing the costume of a 16th Century French courtier. Why did I doodle this? I have no idea, your honor. Where did the idea come from? Again, I have no idea. I know as much about French Noblemen as I do cotton gins: a big fat nothing.

So where did such an idea come from? Maybe I saw an image of someone wearing such a costume on TV or the internet, and my subconscious mind remembered it. Maybe I was trying to come up with a weird character design, and my mind put "alien" and "costumed historical drama" together, and this came out. Or maybe my suspicions are true, and there's someone else living in my head who comes up with all this stuff.

Drawn in Photoshop on the graphic tablet.

Here's the original sketch of Henri, looking bored and privileged, as usual.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Gap? Crap!

This week the graphic design world (yes, there really is one) was all in a kerfuffle over the news of the Gap's newly redesigned logo:

Here's the old logo alongside the new one. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the old one; it had a certain class, was well designed and balanced, and best of all, it was instantly recognizable, which is pretty much a logo's only job.

The new one looks like the ad agency had three weeks to design it, so they blew it off and played XBox until the day of the presentation, then drew it up at a stop light on the way to the meeting. It's bland at best, and looks like a hundred other uninspired logos out there.

Some have suggested that this was all a carefully engineered plan on the Gap's part to generate publicity. Personally I don't believe it, but if it's true then they are the Lex Luthor of the design world. Pure evil genius.

There may be some truth to the "planned out" rumor though, as the Gap is now saying they've listened to the public's outrage and are encouraging designers to submit their own re-designs... for free, of course. Could this all have been an elaborately planned, Machiavellian scheme to get a free new logo?

Whatever the truth, I've decided that what's good for the Gap is good enough for me. Behold, the new logo for Bob Canada's BlogWorld!

By the way, this may be a stupid question, but does "Gap" actually mean anything? Is it a shortening of "generation gap?" An acronym perhaps, such as Great Apparel, Pronto? Anyone have any idea?

To no one's surprise, the Gap announced today (10/12/10) that "due to overwhelming public response," they're going back to the classic box logo. 

To me this is pretty much iron-clad evidence that the whole thing was nothing more than a ham-handed publicity stunt. Why would any sane company spend millions on a new corporate identity and then use it for less than a week? Supposedly the Gap's sales are way down this year, so what better way to draw attention to themselves (and hopefully generate sales) than with a highly publicized debacle such as this?

Get Your Red Hot Brains Here!

The annual Fall Festival is going on this week in my city of Evansville. You can get pretty much any kind of food there that you can think of, as long as it’s fried.

The most popular item, and one of Evansville’s few claims to fame, is the Fried Brain Sandwich. They’re pork brains, by the way, not human. People will stand in line for hours for one of these sandwiches, as you can see above. Why, I have no idea. I’ve never tried one. And I never will.

I know what you’re thinking. “But Bob, you spent two weeks in China. You ate octopus and cow stomach! Why are you balking at a simple pig brain patty?” You’re right. I did eat octopus and cow stomach in China. But I’ve got to draw the line somewhere, and pig brains on a bun is it. There’s just something about the idea of eating the brain of a once-living creature that makes me queasy. Maybe it’s something to do with all the zombie movies I’ve seen over the years.   

There’s also the matter of the smell. You can smell the brains frying as you walk through the Festival. It’s a horrible, gag-inducing smell. Imagine a wet dog wearing moldy gym socks, rolled in batter, dipped in mushrooms and then fried in hot oil and you’ll have an idea of what they smell like.

Fans of the sandwich will defend it with their lives, and that’s fine. Diversity is what made this country great before it fell apart. Just keep your brain sandwich as far away from me as possible. Downwind, too.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Jerkish June

I've got this daily journal (it's not a diary!) that contains calendar pages at the beginning of every month. Since I do the exact same thing every single day of my life, I have little use for the calendar pages, so I've been filling each day's square with a doodle.

Here are the calendar pages for June. I don't know why I'm posting them out of order like this. I started with August, then went to September, then July. Who needs order?

I think that was an attempt at Frankenstein's Monster on the 28th. The 9th and 29th look like 1950s advertising characters (minus the prehensile tongue on the 29th). It looks like the 24th was the inspiration for this.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Crosses Don't Bother Jewish Dracula

Today's Tip: When choosing supernatural defenses, know the religion of the vampire you may encounter.

This is a vector drawing, drawn all in InDesign.

Here's the original sketch. As you can see, Jewish Dracula didn't change much at in in the final, but I reworked the victim quite a bit.

3D, Or Not 3D

I've been a big fan of all things Star Wars since I first saw the movie in the theater back in 1977 (Yeah, I'm old), but Lord help me, George Lucas isn't making it easy these days.

I started having a problem with him after he released the Special Editions of the Original Trilogy, then announced that the theatrical versions "no longer existed." In addition to that, he wrote and directed the lackluster Prequels, he re-released the Original Trilogy on home video more times than I can count, and he threatened Verizon with legal action for naming their smart phone the "Droid," a word that he claims he owns. Like I said, he's not making it easy to be a fan these days.

This week King George announced that he's going to re-release ALL SIX Star Wars movies in glorious, unasked for, after-the-fact 3D. Oy. Lucas is already worth a reported 3.5 BILLION dollars. I guess that's not enough in these hard times and he's gunning for TRILLIONAIRE.

He plans to release The Phantom Menace in 3D in 2012, then release the rest of the movies, one per year, finishing up with Return Of The Jedi in 2017.

That's a long time from now. Does he really think 3D will still be going strong by then? Lordy, I hope not. Personally I don't see it lasting much past 2011. People are getting bored with it already, and the box office shows it. I know I'm tired of it, and tired of being asked to pay $3 more to see crap poking out of the screen at me.

Sorry George, I've been a loyal fan for three decades now, but you can count me out this time. I have no desire to ever watch The Phantom Menace again, in ANY dimension.
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