Mr. Blob is at it again

Mr. Blob has been busy this holiday season.  He has been hard at work entertaining the Root Beer Party crew on Twitter.  Hope you like the new batch of sketches.  Until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

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The First Ever Root Beer Party “Toon Off”

Today marks the end of the first ever “Toon Off” on Twitter between two of the elite members of the Root Beer Party.  In this corner we have me, with the Root Beer Party Mascot Mr. Blob and in the opposing corner we have Kim Belding of Picpak Dog Comics. (Here: http://www.picpak.net/ )

Jon Esparza of Bubblefox and Peppertown fame, hosted the event and assigned the challenges.  (Here: http://bubblefox.thecomicseries.com/ and http://peppertown.thecomicseries.com/ )

Round 1: Pie to the Face

While I went for the more traditional gag, Kim stepped it up with bring a math joke into the mix.  It’s a sign of a pro to step up your game and deliver the goods and Kim did just that in this round.

Winner round 1: Kim Belding

Round 2: Delayed Reaction, Falling Off A Cliff

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I choose to go with the classic Loony Tunes style, with a math joke thrown in,  but fortune was against me and Jon choose Kim’s toon.

Winner Round 2: Kim Belding

This Toon off was for 3 out of 5 so I had to bring my A game now or it was all over.  Sudden death overtime and Jon came at us with another challenge:

Round 3: Eating a Spicy Hot Chili Pepper

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This time Justice was served and so was Kim who was doing some serious trash talking at this point.  It was so vicious that Jon penalized Kim one point for unnecessary roughness.

Winner Round 3: Me + Bonus Point

Round 4 was now anybody’s game.  it was all even at 2 points each.  Then Jon threw out the next challenge:

Round 4: Anvil Falling

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I went with a fast conservative classic gag, but Kim (who took all night and most of the next morning) came back with a double barreled pun.

Winner round 4: Kim Belding

Now I still had a chance to tie and bring about a sudden death overtime finish and Jon brought out his signature move for round 5.

Round 5: Inflation

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Now I submitted mine quick and once again Kim took his time, he said his pad crashed, but when my markers were running out, I just switched to pencils in round 4 without requesting more time.  I’m just saying, a real artist works with what they have.  But his extension was granted and Kim delivered with an inflation of his entire cast and Mr. Blob.

Round 5 Winner: Kim Belding

So in 5 rounds I only won once and got a penalty point for Kim’s unnecessary roughness call.  One out of five was no where near good enough to win the day in any competition, much less a “toon off.”  Kim wins this one hands down, but as my art mentor said at the end of every show:

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So I hope you enjoy the toons True Believers, and as always, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

 

 

Comic Strip Collection Review: Archie the complete newspaper comics 1946-1948 by Bob Montana

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This collection is a great historical collection of the first 2 years of Archie comics by Bob Montana.  This is where the legend started, based on his own experiences from life in the 1930’s era Haverhill, New Hampshire.  While Bob did introduce Archie in Pep comics a little before the publishing of the newspaper strip, it is in the original strips that we see the creation of Archie’s gang and the little town called Riverdale.

It was from these humble beginnings that the most successful independent comic company was born.  Archie became a mainstay in the industry with weekly digests and all sorts of comics highlighting Bob’s iconic characters.

Bob Montana remained in control of the newspaper strip up until his passing in 1975.  Many other artists took the reigns and evolved Montana’s characters in the countless titles and cartoons and movies as well as musical bands that followed.

Archie comics celebrates small town American life, an idyllic version of a world where all your problems can be resolved over a sundae and a plate of hamburgers at Pop Tate’s Chocolate Shoppe.

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Montana incorporated slapstick humor and topical ideas into his work, but he never lost sight of the uniquely American ideal of a simple life of leisure.  Archie was the iconic teenager long before the fifties and sixties made it the template of American idealism that it has become.

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This is the first in the collection put out by IDW as part of their Library of American Comics series, the next 2 volumes in the series skip ahead to the 1960’s when Archie’s popularity really became cemented in the American conscious.  Even people who have not read Archie can recognize his redheaded dimpled face as well as the ever growing army of friends that surround him.

This collection may seem a little strange to someone who has only known the more modern versions of Archie and his gang.  In recent years the comic company has jumped on every passing fad trying to redefine itself 75 plus years after it was created, with some success, but mostly a lot of failure.  I think it would be better for the series to go back to it’s roots and study the character work that Bob Montana brought to each of his distinctive characters, this is the essence of Archie comics, not the stories or the comedy or the crazy adventures, but the archetypical characters that Montana brought to life.

So if you ever want to have a look back at one of the best drawn as well as entertaining comic strips which broke away from the static norm of talking heads, then check out this collection and realize what made Archie comics the institution that it is today.  Until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

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Comic Strip Collections Review: Spy Vs. Spy: The Complete Casebook by Antonio Prohias

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This collection was printed to honor one of MAD Magazines most famous and consistently funny gag strips Spy vs. Spy by Antonio Prohias.  Antonio escaped from Cuba during the communist uprising and worked as an independent editorial cartoonist until he found his place as part of Mad Magazines “Usual Gang of Idiots,” with his humorous take on the cold war in Spy vs. Spy.

Having actually been accused of being a spy by Castro’s regime, Prohias took the accusation to heart and formed one of the greatest pantomime duos in cartoon history.  Spy vs. Spy is a relatively simple concept, but it was brought to hilarious heights with the crazy imagination of Prohias.

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It is a simple idea in it’s conception, but his imagination and art brought Spy vs. Spy to become a hallmark of American pop culture and are as famous or even more famous than Mad Magazines own mascot Alfred E. Newman.  In the television show based on Mad Magazine, Spy vs. Spy was the intermission cartoon special which tied the show to it’s original source material.  The skit comedy owed more to Saturday Night Live than the parody comedy magazine, but Prohias’ beloved characters brought the magazines brand of comedy to the show and anchored it so it didn’t fall into the usual anonymity of the usual sketch comedy shows.

Prohias passed away in 1998 and this collection is the complete work of his famous Spy vs. Spy comic.  It even includes some of the new ones which were done after his passing, as the popularity of the strip has outlived it’s creator.  Antonio Prohias has created an archetype which has cemented his reputation as a master of the comic genre and his creations live on to this day.  If you ever loved Mad Magazine or even if you didn’t, this is the cream of the crop.  Mad Magazine has gone through countless ups and downs in it’s career, but one constant was that every month the Black Spy and the White Spy would always be at each other in their never ending quest of one up-man-ship.

What more could you ask for in a collection than a complete work?  Check it out, you can get it pretty cheap off Amazon or E-bay, and it is well worth the cost.  This is one of the best pantomime comics in the business and if you want to study drawing and how to tell a story in movement, Prohias was one of the masters in the field.

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So until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

Webcomic Spotlight: Evan Yeti by Mat Washburn

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Evan Yeti Web Site: http://www.evanyeti.com/

Evan Yeti is an amazing action adventure web comic.  it is more in the graphic novel style rather than the gag a day comics.  It is one of the most fun and exciting web comics out there right now and well worth your time to binge read the several chapters that are already up on the site.  Once you start following the adventures of Evan and his motley crew, you will be hooked.

The story begins as Evan and his parents are set upon by the mercenary Trashmen who search the planet for rare species of animals which are sought by the eccentric Stromlock.  The story follows Evan, who escapes in his quest to find and free his parents from his evil clutches.

The story has amazing art and the detail and draftsmanship are flawless, the perfect combination of design and form really lend to the story and draw the reader along in the series.

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Mat’s creative use of draftsmanship is reminiscent of Eisner in execution.  He challenges the comic standards where he see fit and really entertains the reader visually as well as intellectually.

The comic includes all sorts of creative characters from a living snowman to walrus kings and alien dinosaurs, Mat has all the bases covered in the creation of his world.

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Evan is the fearless and brave crusader who challenges danger and yet he is also the charismatic buffoon who often lets luck pull him out of situations which are beyond his comprehension.  This is a fun, energetic comic which really highlights the storytelling abilities of Mat Washburn as well his ingenious artistic designs.  I highly recommend this comic to everyone.  It is a fun, all ages comic which can be enjoyed by adults and children alike.

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Mat also has a blog in which he addresses his creative process and highlights some of his own favorite webcomics.   http://evanyeti.blogspot.com/

So check out Evan yeti and enjoy one of the best webcomics online today.  Until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

Comic collections review: Flash Gordon, On the Planet Mongo by Alex Raymond

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This is the first collection of Alex Raymond’s and Don Moore’s collaboration on Flash Gordon.  This collection is all of the Sunday strips from 1934-1937 and published by Titan Books.  This collection is the first of a series of books collecting all of their work and is lavishly printed in full color and restored to their original gloss.  It is a great collection for any fan of Alex Raymond’s artwork and the beginning origin and storyline of one of the greatest science fiction icons in history.

This is the series that launched Raymond’s career as one of the best comic artists to ever grace the newspaper page.  His detailed work is unparalleled to this day and the story line by Don Moore is fast and exciting, it really keeps the reader turning the pages.  This is the best edition of Raymond’s Flash Gordon work that I have ever seen printed.  I have several of his other collections printed over the years, but this one is by far the best quality.  If you want Flash Gordon, this is the set of books you need to get.  There are 3 volume already out that collect all of Raymond’s work,  The 4th volume which will be released soon begins with the work of a new artist.

This collection is Flash Gordon at his best, all of the excitement and action which became the stuff of legend.  It has spawned movies, serials, cartoons, novels, toys and comic books.  This collection is where it all began, and it holds up really well even today.  It is a fun read to anyone who likes science fiction, and the artwork is arguably the best in the business.  So I highly recommend this set and this edition of the comic strip, they can be gotten off Amazon, or in  your local book store, if they carry any real selection of comic strips.

So treat yourself to one of the best action and science fiction comics ever made, and until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.