Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Sokol's Playboy Cartoons

These were posted over a year ago at the Cartoonretro forum, the server they were stored in no longer allows remote linking so here they go for archival's sake (and for those who haven't seen them).

Sokol Playboy


Sokol Playboy


Sokol Playboy


Sokol Playboy


Sokol Playboy


Sokol Playboy


Sokol Playboy



Abrazos,
-A

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Erich Sokol

These are some of his caricatures, he was mostly known for his colorful watercolor "Playboy" cartoon vignettes, featuring beautifully drawn ladies.
Zooming on Images 10 & 12 will take you to The Caricature Museum in Krems, Austria the rest of the scans are courtesy of my good friend, John Lurker. Yes, that's his real name.


Sokol


Sokol


Sokol


Sokol


Sokol


Sokol


Sokol


Sokol


Sokol


Sokol

Sokol



Abrazos,
-A

Friday, August 26, 2005

My Friend Barry

Barry


Barry and I go a long way, we met at one of those jobs I told you about, we were both young and full of dreams and determination, trying to make it in the art world, although we came from 2 vastly different worlds, our plans were pretty much the same. We both worked for this lunatic greek embroiderer for a brief period of time. I was already a production artist on my way out when Barry showed up with his kick-ass portfolio, I thought to myself "What in god's name is a fine artist like Barry doing in this dump?", as it turned out he was also a bit of a "guerrillero" he took the job just to learn the computer and move on to bigger and better things, which he did.

James (our boss) was one of the early adopters of the Mac, way before Photoshop was invented; James was, and still is, the most lovable snake oil salesman, one of those guys who's always at the verge of making it big, we all have met a "James" at least once in our lives, always with the "get rich quick scheme".

Barry has the sickest, wittiest sense of humor, we got along great at James' place, comparing notes and making fun of our wacky employer. I owe Barry my first job in the garment industry, he brought me over to "Freeze", the rest is history.

We recently re-united at the San Diego Con, after many years. The following is an email Barry sent to me yesterday regarding my "superhero comics bashing", I'm sharing it here with his permission, enclosed is my expanded and embellished response.

You can see more of Barry's beautiful work at BarryOrkin.com


.......Hope all is well.

Talk soon.

Barry


Oh by the way...


FUCK YOU!!

Don't rag on superheroes! Rag on crappy artists and crappy comic books some more--that's ok. Superheroes may not be your cup of tea, but they had a purpose at their inception and did some good when talented and well intentioned people created them. I haven't read many superhero books recently, but the original superhero books helped cultivate a moral code in youngsters. They often helped raise interest in industry and science. They were food for the imagination just like any other form of literature, though admittedly not as valuable as books. For poor kids, they were a cheap way to escape their daily problems for awhile.

They also often provided a valuable glimpse into popular beliefs and attitudes of the everyday citizens--when they were created thoughtfully.

Never mind that ambiguously gay shit...

They seem a little silly, but they're not that much different than ancient myths, in which gods and beings with special knowledge and abilities move through the world and make decisions that inform the listener/reader.

If you rag on Superheroes, you rag on the Aztec myths...

YOU SELF HATING BASTARD! Well, ok the Aztec thing is a stretch.

Anyway, in general I agree with that whole entry, and of course, it's a free country, so by all means, say whatever the fuck you want. I just wanted to mention that not all the superhero stuff is crap, just most of it. But don't be surprised if I show up at your door one day wearing a red cape and a Batman g-string around my groin, while holding a robin g-string in my hand waiting to be worn by Mr. Deep Fried Candy himself.

Barry


LOL!!!! A very thoughtful, lucid and intelligent load of crap! heh, heh!!! just kidding, great response!

The points you make do have merit and I agree with what you say entirely but....

....You've got me all wrong, I rag on superhero comics as a whole, not on the individual characters -as gay as they are. These are not the same superhero comics of yore, my friend, this is merde for profit, have you visited a comic book store lately? ...zaaaaaahkly!

Maybe superheroes helped babysit lots of kids, whose parents were too busy to teach them real-life values and provide them with the love and moral guidance they were craving, but unfortunately there was a side effect to all those wonderful things, they've also helped create a new breed of human being: The Fucking Fanboy! or as Mike Manley likes to call them: The Babymen, The individuals who worship cartoon characters above everything else, and who -because of their extreme fanaticism- have lost all notion of reality.

The ones who have no meaningful interaction with their fellow human beings and take the cheap way to escape their daily problems, because they can't deal with "real daily problems" such as relationships. The ones whose views on women and human sexuality are as juvenile and twisted, as their fixation with internet porn and the internet porn tracing, which makes up for most of the airbrushed "superheroine" depictions of today's corporate comics. The ones who collect for the sake of collecting, the ones who take this shit so seriously, who become blinded by their unhealthy obsession with both, the comic characters and their creators, that even a hint of an opinion, other than their own, hurls them into uncontrollable fits of rage, lunging at anyone who disagrees with them or with their objects of worship, real or imagined.

The superhero as we knew it, is dead, period. As a "thrill-seeking", "entertain me now!" society, we have no more use for him, maybe he will return as the champion of morality and the American Way sometime in the future but for now let's observe a minute of silence, as we mourn the death of Superman....for just the 256th fucking time. Each new "spidey" (general term, I am not referring to Spideyman in particular) is meaner and more "bad-ass" than the previous, -in fact, it rivals the villain in attitude and design- and as such, more marketable to an increasingly misinformed youth, it promotes greedy consumerism and gluttony, it encourages revenge and brutality, it fuels nearsightedness, isolation and alienation. Where are the values?!

Man!, the drug dealers, pimps and prostitutes of the Vertigo books are more likable, much more appealing and less annoying (unfortunately they are also poorly drawn) There's even a fool out there who would probably send a goon to rough me up because I use the term "Spidey" when referring to "The incredible Spiderman", now, how fucking immature is that? Oh shit! . . . . I fucked up again, . . did I say "incredible"?.. .forgive me, I meant "Amazing". Oh well, goodbye cruel world!

And I haven't mentioned how fucking horribly drawn and garishly colored most of these things are, or even how miserable most of the artists who work on these super books are, Ahá! surprised, aren't you? you're thinking "Why would anybody who draws superheroes be unhappy?" TRUST ME, a lot of them are, they're basketcases, I know plenty myself, hmmm...or maybe they just like to complain a lot, but I doubt it. What do you think is going to happen to them after they're done drawing Superdick Adventures? .....nothing! that's right, they don't own the characters, they have chosen to ignore or put aside their own ideas for stories and original characters in favor of the glamourous superhero shit, and one day they'll regret this, because once the next flavor of the month arrives, the superhero ride is over, you'll see them at the conventions peddling the pages they spent so much effort on, back in their heyday for a fistful of dollars (that was nice!) and even as cheap as they'd sell them, nobody would want to buy them.

Crack whores are treated better by their pimps, at least they get part of their earnings and some level of protection, the comic artist is one of the most exploited, mistreated and poorly compensated human beings, considering the insane workload, extreme deadlines and the stupid mind games of scumbag art directors and soul-sucking editors. You only hear and see the superstar hacks and photo tracers making the big bucks and living the rock star life, but the majority toil in near obscurity hoping to break even at the conventions and hating most of the crap they're forced to put up with. "Corporate Profit" over conscience, what else is news.

I don't hate comics, quite the contrary, I'm not bitter because I haven't been offered a job in comics, I've had a few decent offers, which I've respectfully turned down because they're not what I want to do, sequential work it's not my thing and I'm a firm believer in choice; my bitterness comes from the fact that I love the medium and I hate to see it become a joke, (maybe too late for that) there are plenty of talented people creating great comics, I've made friends with a lot of these guys and girls, they are hurting because there's no support, they are hurting because they have integrity and they want to do things their own way, they refuse to bend over and be fucked by DC/Marvel and whatever opportunistic motherfucker is out there waiting to cash in on their original thoughts by bastardizing it all in the name of licensing. It's sad to watch these amazing artists and writers get ignored while these superhero hacks continue to flood the market with their Photoshop vomit.

This is my last rant on the subject of superhero comix, these tirades are getting old, I haven't said anything new and I'll have nothing new to say in the future, nothing is going to change, it may be entertaining to you but I have plenty of girls to draw. I'll let Don Simpson intellectualize these issues, it doesn't look like he's busy drawing comics these days and he's plenty bitter.

-A

Monday, August 22, 2005

Who You Callin' Stable?

This was written in response to Tad Lambert's question in last post's comments.

"Tell you what, Tad,
I'll do better than that.
I won't email you,
right here I'll tell ya.

(I rhymed "you" with "ya"
How gay is that?)

All kidding aside, I don't think you really want to read how I became a "stable" artist, simply because that never happened. I'm replying to you here, on my blog, because I do get this question asked a lot of times, if anyone else wishes to know, I don't have to type this shit again, so here's my entire true story of how I became a "drawer of nakid women".

I have always wanted to be a cartoonist of some sort but I didn't have the patience required to do things the american way, being a foreigner and all that, I did things in an unorthodox, ghetto fashion, more so because of ignorance than smarts, more on that later. Now, if you pardon the rampant sarcasm, bitterness and poor grammar, I will continue.

See, the american way is as follows, you draw a mean Wolverine, you receive praise from friends and family members, which in turn encourages you and fills you up with the necessary confidence needed to pursue your dream of becoming the next Rob Liefeld, Shag or similarly rich and famous hack...I mean stable artist; you then go to art school, you party hard with your friends and hardly part open a book, neglecting the basics, you don't want to learn from the masters and from cats who know how to draw, "that stuff is ol' school and stale", you want to learn from new, exciting and dynamic stuff, like comics, manga and other trendy and poorly conceived basura, you turn out mediocre (but stylish) pimpwork yourself which gets acclaimed, when confronted about the wonkiness and lack of foundation in your drawings you reply: "it's a Bruce Timm influenced thing", "a Humberto Ramos' thing" (or whoever the current trend setter is) "you wouldn't understand", the uninformed masses love you. Even more mediocre art teachers promote you along 'cause they don't give a fuck, you make connections in the industry; you then put a portfolio together and send it to the many different connections you've collected in the previous step, said portfolio gets trounced about, ridiculed and physically abused by art directors and other human refuse; eventually landing you an unpaid (or if you're lucky, a minimum wage, plus subway tokens) internship, you enter the workforce (insert John Williams' epic fanfare from any movie soundtrack here) and frame your first dollar bill earned as an artist.

But before you gain the insight to recognize that you suck as an artist and come to the stark and brutal realization that you must go back to learn the basics (which you can't at this point because you have too many bills to pay, so you keep pimping and whoring yourself for a quick buck and a pat in the back) you must suck ass, get lots of coffee and be treated as third world toilet scum by half-assed "professionals" in your field of expertise, who in turn, are willing to suck even more ass than you, lie, cheat, steal from you, trip you, back-stab, you and whoever else to climb the proverbial corporate ladder..... I think you know where this is going...soooo there!

I am not a stable artist, I've never been, I understand that's the perception some people have, maybe I give that impression, I don't say this for effect, it's a fact, I am quite possibly, the most inconsistent artist there is (this, I'm proud of). These days I do what I like and pick & choose the projects I want to work on because after years of struggle, life has afforded me such luxury.

Early on I did what I had to do to survive, that meant to work shitty jobs for crap pay and stupid hours, in order to get to do what I really like and learn what makes me happy. Not unlike many of you reading this crap, I worked as an interior demolition/construction guy, newspaper boy, delivery driver, NYC cabbie, busboy, -you name it- during the day, and as a minimum wage production artist for print, film, advertising, animation, newspaper, garment center/fashion etc., etc. all night, I did this from my teens all the way through my thirties, I was hungry for knowledge, I didn't care if the art jobs paid good money or none at all, my master plan was simple: Gorilla Warfare, infiltrate the business, learn the secrets and use them for my personal gain once I became independent.

This is the way I operated: ( I'm not embellishing either) I would get hired or volunteered as an apprentice or low wage production artist, I would stay there long enough to learn the "ins" and "outs" of the trade, I'd quit right after being promoted to staff artist and move on to the next thing, I've never held an art related in-house job for more than 3 months at a time, with the exception of my stay at "Freeze" -a garment design company- which lasted for 5 and one half months, I have worked for many companies for years but only as a freelancer, never in-house.

My fleeting nature was such, that a popular industry head hunter wrote the word "jumper" next to my name. My last known day job -and the position I held for the longest time (3 years) was at Kids Headquarters in NYC where I worked as a (I shit you not) "Macintosh Systems Supervisor", (that would be "computer guy" to you and head of Mac IT to my fellow nerds) my job was to research, purchase, install/deploy, implement and troubleshoot computer equipment and train designers/artists in the use of design technology ei. Computers, Servers, high-end volume printers, Photoshop, Illustrator, Mac software, etc. I did that during the day and freelanced mainly for DC Comics, Lucent Technologies, Nickelodeon and whatever came my way, I never slept, made tons of money and made myself sick (in that particular order).

In retrospect, this all sounds very poetic and adventurous, and for me it was those things and more because I experienced a great deal of personal satisfaction in doing things my way but the sad reality of my dismal financial situation during my "hungry/struggle years" and the virtual hell I put my family through, during my "good fortune years" (I hardly saw my kids and nearly worked myself to death, no joke!) mostly because of my inability to hold a steady job, was anything but romantic. I merely substituted one evil for another.

I hope that answers your questions, I know, I know, a simple "yes or no" would have sufficed, but you know me, I love babbling incoherently for hours on end, you're probably sorry you asked, but don't be.


Abrazos,
-A

Saturday, August 20, 2005

New Book News


My silkscreen cover turned disastrous, so no more fancy stuff for me, at least until I'm able to control the entire process from start to finish. Wyahanga will go on sale on-line tomorrow ( Sunday August 21) without the fancy plastic cover, just the regular one, I will give people who have expressed interest in buying original drawings, the chance to purchase artwork at a symbollic fee, along with the book. Most of you, who have supported my endeavors in the past few years, know that I don't sell my original drawings to the general public, I had made a few exceptions and I have regretted doing so for the most part, I also don't do commissions unless, I either know the person or the project is something I want to do, so if you would like to own an original drawing please take advantage of the book/art offer which will be available for a brief period of time (until I get tired of drawing).

I also would like to express my deep gratitude to those of you who have purchased books from my website in the past, if you wish to buy the new book I will pay for shipping, make sure you click on the "Previous Buyer" link. As always, there will be no extra charge for international orders but be advised that if you reside overseas your order will take a lot longer to arrive since the book will be sent via surface mail.

Abrazos,
-A

Friday, August 12, 2005

God Rules!

My luggage was found! Woohoo!!

Sorry God, I'll never doubt you again, I admit it....you were right and I was wrong, there!...happy?
...sheeeeesh!!.......women!



My Table


Drawings I did for fun at Wheezer World

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

God Sucks!


I just got back from Chicago, phew! What a nightmare!! No, not the convention, Wizard World was OK, although it would have been way better if they did away with all that superhero comics bullshit, man! That DC/Marvel crap is getting more and more difficult to digest with every show, there are probably 50 spiderman titles and equal amount of Batman and Superman rubbish, and the fanboys seem more ignorant and retarded than ever, but you know what? There is a future, I've seen it and it looks promising, more on that later, back to God and her cruel games: I spent nearly 2 full fuckin' days at the God-forsaken airport, not once, not twice, 3 times a ladeeeee...(sorry, I've got a little carried away there for a second, I'm under a lot of stress, please forgive me) I meant, 3 times my flight(s) were cancelled due to electrical storms that were predicted but never really happened and to top it all, my luggage with my artwork, books and drawings I picked up at the WW show, including my newly acquired "Spongebob Squarepants" undergarments, has been lost!! Hopefully not for long, my current calzoncillos are singing Broadway tunes to me. God, please! Give me back my underwear, you can keep the artwork and the books, I promise to behave, this time's for real!


From now on, this is the way my table will be set up at every convention. Easy to spot, ain't it?
click to enlarge

My Table

At any rate, I will tell you this about the show: I shared a table with those Konsequential guys, Kandrix and his fianceé Laurie B., nicest peeps you could ever hope to meet, we stayed up until the wee hours chatting about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we shared a few dinners and we even slept together! That was nice! I also got to see many of the kind people who have supported my efforts in the past and some new appreciative individuals as well. But the highlights of my trip were meeting Geof Darrow, R.C. Harvey and a bunch of incredibly talented individuals, who go collectively by the name of "Enter Void" .

Darrow was sitting directly across from me, and I - like the big dope I am- didn't realize it was him until someone who came over to buy a book from me, showed me an inked drawing of "Nixon The Tax Collector" from "Hard Boiled" he had just bought from GD, I asked the guy where was Mr. Darrow sitting and of course I felt like a total dildo when the guy points and says: " That's him, right in front of you". Now, you all know I am not a big comics guy but Geof Darrow is one of the handful of individuals I respect and admire in this abortion of a business we call comics. I went over there and bought his current books ("The Shaolin Cowboy" series) and left one of my books as a token of my admiration and for being such an inspiration to me all these years, I didn't act like a fanboy (but I wanted to) I kept it in my pants and I went back to my table to mind my own business, the next day he calls me over and he hands me a gorgeous original inked drawing of "Rusty The Boy Robot" something he was selling for 40 or 50 bucks, he says he likes the work, thanks me for the book and shakes my hand like a true gentleman. Enough said!

Next, I meet R. C. Harvey, I stop by his table and see this book with a nice girly on the cover, the style is old school and seems familiar but I'm totally not placing the author, I open the book and read a few things here and there and decide to make a purchase, I scramble for my wallet and realize I have left my money at my table, I promise to come back for the book, the person in charge tells me the author is walking around but assures me he will be back to sign the book upon my return, I says, " 'sokay no need for signing" and I leave, within an hour or so, an older man (in his late sixties/early seventies) stops by my table, on his way to see some other artist I assume, with a big grin on his face he glances over and picks up one of my sketchbooks, I chat with him for a bit and when I look up to see the name on his tag, it hits me! This is the man whose book I was about to purchase, he offers money, I tell him he can have the book free of charge since I felt an immediate connection to his work and writings, he says: "Wait a few minutes" and disappears, only to return with one of his books in hand, he autographs it to me, I return the favor but misspelled his name, and we chat some more. Nice!

Lastly, I meet James and Marley, part of "The Void People" posse, these kids, and I mean that as a term of endearment since they are mostly in their early twenties, (there's nothing kiddy-like about their art, except the disarming honesty and integrity of what they do, James is a brilliant man, he draws better than many a seasoned veteran, comix or otherwise) show up at my table, we chat about DRAW! Magazine, Marley gets me confused with Bret Blevins (which is not a bad thing, it's just that Bret's uglier) I ask to see their work, she says: " I don't have mine with me but James does" reluctantly he agrees to show me his portfolio while we walk, I was floored! I must have seen 3 pages at most, I didn't need to see no more, I later got to meet the rest of the crew and see more of their collective stuff, the zaniest, most humble, respectful and talented bunch, so full of dreams and holes in their pockets, you could cry. This is the future of comics, you better fuckin' believe it. I felt so inspired after chatting with them and somehow I felt my decision to remain independent -despite the hardships- matter more to me now than ever before. I really do hope they stay true to their vision, I'd love to see them make it big, they deserve it. Cheers to you Spikes, you fuckin' rule!!

Photos and more art whenever I get my luggage back.

Abrazos,
-A