King of the Unknown

Good friend and fellow creative renaissance man Marcus Muller just launched his new webcomic, King of the Unknown. It's a rock, horror, paranormal, action, comedy masterpiece in the vein of Adult Swim's Venture Brothers.

Knowing Marcus as well as I do, the man has put blood, sweat, and tears into this project. Scripting, pencils, coloring, lettering, design, website construction, and marketing all have his talented stamp of approval. And the effort shows in the work. Congrats Marcus.

Season one of the webcomic is up and running now and the site will be updated every Tuesday and Friday. However, you should visit the site on any day ending in "y". You can thank me later. Or you can thank Marcus now by visiting...

...the King of the Unknown website...

...the King of the Unknown Facebook page

...or the King of the Unknown Twitter page.



Orrin Grey’s The Reading Room

Orrin Grey’s short story, “The Reading Room”, is now available on Kindle for .99 cents (it’s free if you’re an Amazon Prime member). The story will be reprinted in Orrin’s upcoming anthology, Never Bet the Devil and Other Warnings. The collection is being published by Evileye Books.

I was fortunate enough to contribute a title illustration for each of the stories in Orrin’s collection. If you download the story you also get one of my illustrations. But honestly, Orrin’s words are worth (the incredibly reasonable) price of admission alone.

You can purchase “The Reading Room” here.



Once Upon A Time Machine

If you have a few minutes, check out the interview with friend and fellow artist extraordinaire Jason Copland over at the Once Upon A Time Machine Facebook page.

You can read the interview here.

I had the privilege of coloring Jason's pages for the story The Last Leaf, adapted from O. Henry by writer Jason Mulkin. The story is part of an unpublished anthology featuring future fairy tales for all ages.

Along with the official Facebook page, BleedingCool.com also put together a recent article about the anthology with tons of amazing artwork from the collection.

You can read the BleedingCool.com article here.



Never Bet The Devil - Diamonds

Here is some pre-production promo art for Orrin Grey's upcoming book, Never Bet the Devil, published by Evileye Books.

More to follow so stay tuned.


Deconstructing the Devil

Almost exactly a year ago, I was working on a project and was in need of a collaborator. I needed another creative soul to add a little magic to the mix. That’s when the enigmatic A. Ommus put me in contact with Orrin Grey.

After some search engine stalking, I discovered Orrin’s website. More importantly, I discovered his short story for Innsmouth Free Press, “Nature vs. Nurture”.

I read it twice. In one sitting, back to back.

Orrin had me at Lovecraftian fiction. His writing was creepy clean and honest. I knew I had to work with him. So I drafted an introductory email, letting Orrin know why he was getting random email from a stranger. Orrin was kind enough to respond.

We talked about my project. We talked about other projects. We did a lot of talking. Lovecraft. Hellboy. Hammer films. Pulp era heroes. Frog men. Apocalyptic future landscapes. We share a great deal of inspirations and, one year later, we’re still talking. When everything shakes out, don’t say you weren’t warned.

Speaking of warnings…

Somewhere along the way, Orrin mentioned he was working on a collection of his stories, titled Never Bet the Devil and Other Warnings. While we planned our inevitable world domination, I had to get in on the collection in some way or another. I volunteered my artistic services and began illustrating spot illustrations to accompany each of the stories in the collection.

Being a fan of Orrin’s writing, I devoured each tale. It’s easy to get lost in his narrative. Orrin leads you down a road, using human emotion and conviction for breadcrumbs. But then you find yourself in a dark corner of the forest shivering for dear life. Informed by the primal nuances and grisly details of each story, I went on a tear and put brush to paper. When the smoke finally cleared, I created a handful of drawings to compliment Orrin’s prose.

The devil had guts. Now he needed a face.

A book cover is a daunting task to create. On first glance it has to draw attention while suggesting more. It has to make you want to open the book and read. That’s not easy. And being a fan of Orrin’s work, I couldn’t fathom working on the cover for his collection. I didn’t want to be the weak link. The spot illustrations are trimmings. But the cover is, well, the cover.

Evileye Books eventually picked up the collection. They have good taste, considering they’re also publishing my upcoming crime series and a graphic novel. I’m not sure if the conversation happened at gunpoint, and if it did I’m legally bound to say it didn’t, but Ommus convinced me to give the cover a shot. I hesitated. I wavered. Ultimately, the competitor in me reared its ugly head and, once again, I put brush to paper.

A title as rich as Never Bet the Devil and Other Warnings evokes a myriad of ideas. But when you get to the crux of the cautionary assertion, I imagine a desperate soul facing off against Old Scratch himself in a life-changing game of poker. And we both know the poor guy doesn’t have a chance in, ahem, hell.

So the creative wheels did some spinning…

The late nights piled up…

After some editorial back and forth with Evileye, the devil took a pleasing shape…

It was an honor to work on this cover. Orrin is one hell of a storyteller and I’m glad to be a small part of this collection. If the cover acts as the catalyst for someone to discover Orrin’s work, then I did my job. Just don’t blame me when you wake up in a dark corner of the forest shivering for your life.

That’s all Orrin.


Never Bet The Devil

I had the priviledge of working on Orrin Grey's upcoming anthology, Never Bet The Devil and Other Warnings. The collection is being published by the good folks at Evileye Books. More news forthcoming but in the meantime here's the preproduction cover. Also, make sure to visit the Evileye Books blog.



Some old artwork I found in a pile while cleaning. At least a decade old but there's something there. Maybe.


Drink & Draw Chicago 1

A few weeks ago, I went to 42 N. Latitude for my first Drink and Draw Chicago. Met lots of talented artists. Good people, too. Pics over here if you're interested.

There wasn't a theme for the night so I gave myself one: The Shadow...

And after some Photoshop-ing...


Charity Artwork

Friend, artist, and fellow Chicagoan Andrew Kudelka asked me to contribute artwork for a fundraiser benefiting his son's school, Academy of Global Citizenship (AGC).

The Art Auction is being held at the National Museum Of Mexican Art in Pilsen on Saturday, April 30th. Here's a little diddy about the school...

AGC is an amazing place that serves organic meals, teaches daily yoga, gardening, wellness instruction and ecologically sustainable practices. They also are an International Baccalaureate (IB) candidate school, and they employ an inquiry-based philosophy.

Here are all the details:

Saturday, April 30
12:00pm - 3:30pm

National Museum Of Mexican Art
1852 West 19th Street
Chicago, IL

FB Event Page

And here's my contribution to the fundraiser...

The scan didn't do it justice. But after some Photoshop contrast adjustmenting it actually looks something like this...

You can also view all the artwork up for auction here.


Samurai Jack...No More? Page Seven

Page Seven

Panel One: Panel one is a shot of Samurai Jack standing strong with sword in hand as he looks to the top of the fortress. Jack’s kimono is torn and all that remains is a skirt. His body a few bruises and cuts, indicating that he has gone through quite an ordeal. The beetle robot’s halves are on the ground, bleeding oil on the ground.

Panel Two: Panel two is a close-up shot of Jack’s eyes. He has a serious expression as he tells the captain and the fortress’ soldiers that Aku’s robots are no longer a threat to their city.

Samurai Jack: Your city is safe. Aku will not pass.

Panel Three: The third panel is a shot of a random soldier raising his sword into the air as he yells in victory.

Soldier: Long live the samurai!

Panel Four: Panel four is a widescreen shot of a group of soldiers raising their weapons into the air and yelling victoriously now that Aku’s beetle robots have been defeated.

Soldiers: Samurai! Samurai!

Panel Five: The last panel of the page has three elements. On of the left side of the panel, the captain is in the foreground of the shot, talking to the screen and concluding the story. On the right side of the shot, we see Samurai Jack walking away from the battlefield and towards the horizon. He is battle weary and bruised. In the middle of the shot, we can see a blurry image of Aku. Aku is angry that he has been defeated yet again by Jack.

Captain: We will never give up! Never surrender! If Aku and his armies return, we will remember the stranger! The samurai who saved our city!


Samurai Jack...No More? Page Six

Page Six

Panel One: the first panel on page six is a shot of the captain and 2-3 soldiers standing on top of the fortress and looking out towards the approaching beetle robot. The beetle robot is standing within attacking distance of the fortress and has an ominous shadow set behind it to make the scene much more threatening.

Panel Two: The second panel is a shot of the left-side of the beetle robot facing the camera.

Panel Three: The third panel is a shot of the captain’s right-side face as he stares at the camera. He is staring at the oncoming beetle robot. Behind the captain and to his side we can see 3-4 soldiers with weapons in hand, prepared to fight against Aku’s robotic minions.

Captain: Remember the samurai! Remember his sacrifice!

Panel Four: Panels four, five, and six are all the same size and are meant to feel similar to the Jack-slicing-the-beetle-robot panels on page three. In panel four, the beetle robot is facing the fortress, seemingly preparing to attack.

Panel Five: In panel five, the beetle robot is beginning to split cleanly in half.

Sound effect: Slash!

Panel Six: In panel six, the beetle robot has split cleanly right down the middle. The halves are lying on the ground. There are sparks coming out of the robot, indicating that it has been destroyed.

Panel Seven: The last shot is a widescreen panel with the beetle robot’s halves split and on the ground. Between the halves we can see Samurai jack standing in heroic fashion with sword in hand.

Sound effect: Crackle! Pop! Snap! (Coming from the slashed beetle robot)


Samurai Jack...No More? Page Five

Page Five

Panel One: The story now returns to the fortress. The first panel of page five is a shot of Rufus as he is kneeling down on the ground in front of the captain. He is looking to his side, contemplating his story and the likely demise of Samurai Jack.

Rufus: I barely survived the explosion and the long journey back to the city.

Rufus: With his last breath, the samurai saved our city…

Panel Two: In panel two, we have a close-up shot of Rufus as he finishes his tale. He is looking down towards the ground, saddened by Jack’s demise.

Rufus: …and he saved me.

Panel Three: Panel three is a shot of the captain of the guard standing in full heroic fashion. He is addressing his soldiers after hearing Rufus’ sad story. He is rallying them together, reminding them that Aku’s forces have failed to defeat them and reach their city. In the background of the panel, we can see an ominous shot of Aku.

Captain: Over and over again, Aku has sent his armies to try and take our city!

Captain: Each and every time he has failed!

Panel Four: Panel four is a shot of Samurai Jack looking at the camera as he holds his sword. Within the sword’s reflection we can see Aku’s face.

Captain: With the help of a brave stranger, we live to fight tomorrow.

Panel Five: This panel is a shot of the captain, having taken off his helmet, and looking towards the sky. He is taking a moment to honor Samurai Jack and his brave efforts in fighting Aku.

Captain: But today, we will remember the samurai who saved our people.

Panel Six: The last panel of the page is a shot of a few soldiers reacting to something off screen. They can hear a beetle robot approaching the fortress’ entrance.

Soldier 1: Captain!

Soldier 2: One of Aku’s mechanical beetles is approaching the city!

Soldier 3: Everyone! To arms!


Samurai Jack...No More? Page Four

Page Four

Panel One: Panel one is a shot of Samurai Jack as he fights alongside the soldiers.

Rufus (narrating): We fought Aku’s beetles with everything we had!

Panel Two: This is a panel of Samurai Jack fighting solo to showcase his skills.

Rufus (narrating): The samurai was amazing! I’ve never seen such courage and intensity!

Panel Three: Panel three is a widescreen shot of Jack and Rufus fighting back to back against the attacking beetle robots.

Rufus (narrating): With his heart and his steel, he gave us a second chance. But it came at a great price.

Panel Four: Panel four is a shot of Rufus as he guards himself from a beetle robot attack. Rufus is looking away towards Jack who is being overwhelmed by the beetle robots.

Rufus: Samurai!

Panel Five: Panel five is a shot of Jack’s hand being drowned in a sea of attacking beetle robots. Jack continues to hold his sword firmly in hand.

Rufus (narrating): Before I could reach him, the samurai had disappeared under an army of beetles.

Panel Six: The last panel of page four is a widescreen shot of a large explosion in the middle of the battlefield. When Jack was swallowed by the beetle robots, he must’ve triggered an explosion. Most of the beetle robots have been destroyed by the explosion. Outside of the explosion/mushroom cloud, a few beetle robots are being torn apart. A few of the soldiers are hiding their shields up to protect themselves from the blast.

Rufus (narrating): I’m not sure what happened, but the samurai must have destroyed the robot leader, causing the other beetles to explode.


Samurai Jack...No More? Page Three

Page Three

Panel One: The story now goes away from the fortress and to a battlefield located not too far from the fortress. The first panel of page three is a shot of six soldiers completely surrounded and outnumbered by Aku’s beetle robots. The soldiers are armed and prepared for the oncoming attack. Through the beetle bots numbers and the way the beetle bots are positioned, it should give the reader the impression that the soldiers do not have a very good chance of surviving this battle.

Rufus (narrating): When we first reached the battlefield, our forces were two legions strong. We were ready for anything! But Aku’s mechanical beasts quickly overwhelmed our soldiers.

Rufus: Before the sun could go down, those of us still standing were exhausted…and surrounded.

Panel Two: Panel two is a middle-to-close-up shot of one of the soldiers. The soldier is telling he fellow comrades to remain firm.

Soldier: Stand steady, boys! Don’t let these things take you prisoner without a fight!

Panel Three: This is a shot of one of the beetle bots as it prepares to attack the soldiers.

Rufus (narrating): The odds were against us.

Panel Four: This is a dramatic shot of Samurai Jack flying through the sky, silhouetted behind the scorching sun. Jack has his sword up above his head, about to strike downward.

Rufus (narrating): But then the samurai appeared!

Panel Five: The next three panels are a progression of Jack’s sword strike through the beetle robot. In panel five, we can see Jack’s sword having already sliced through half of the beetle robot.

Rufus (narrating): In the blink of an eye…

Sound effect: Slash!

Panel Six: In this panel, we see Jack’s sword having almost sliced completely through the beetle robot. Between the beetle’s halves, we can see Jack’s silhouette.

Rufus (narrating): …the samurai had shown us that defeat…

Sound effect: Slash!

Panel Seven: In the last panel of the page, the beetle robot has been completely sliced in half by Jack. Between the beetle’s halves, we can jack’s silhouette as he raises his sword into the air.

Rufus (narrating): …was not an option!


Samurai Jack...No More? Page Two

Page Two

Panel One: The first panel of the second page is a dramatic shot of the captain of the guard as he stands in full heroic fashion on top of the fortress. He is staring into the distance at the unknown approaching figure. The captain has his spear in hand as he prepares for battle. In the background, in the fortress’ interior, we can see a few soldiers looking up towards the captain as they listen to his words.

Captain: Aku will not pass! We must protect the city!

Panel Two: This is a shot of the mysterious oncoming figure. He remains blurry amidst the rolling dust clouds. The figure should be slightly clearer than he was when we first saw him in the binoculars’ lens.

Panel Three: In this panel, we discover that the mysterious figure is not one of Aku’s robots or Samurai Jack. Instead, the figure is one of the soldiers that survived the last battle against Aku’s beetle bots outside of the fortress. He is battle weary, tired, and dragging one of his legs. His body has a few visible bruises and cuts, indicating that he has been through quite an ordeal. He is using a broken lance to hold himself up.

Rufus: Please…open the city gates!

Panel Four: This is a close-up shot of a random soldier yelling to his comrades inside the fortress. He is letting them know that the mysterious figure approaching the fortress is not one of Aku’s soldiers but rather one of their own men.

Yelling soldier: It’s Rufus! Rufus has returned from the battlefield!

Panel Five: This is a widescreen shot of the fortress gates being opened. Soldiers are pushing open the large tree trunks that reinforce the fortress’ entry way. The surviving soldier is framed in the center of the panel as he is about to enter the fortress.

Sound effect: Creak! (On both sides of the entrance as the tree trunks are pushed open)

Panel Six: This is a side shot of the surviving soldier having entered the fortress. The surviving soldier is on his knees, indicating that he has been through quite an ordeal. He is battle weary and tired. He is kneeling in front of the captain with a broken spear lying on the ground before him. The captain is standing in heroic fashion, holding his spear at his side as his cape flows in the wind. In the background of the panel, a number of soldiers have assembled. They are interested to hear what the surviving soldier is going to say.

Captain: What say you, Rufus?! Where are the other soldiers? Where are-

Rufus: Captain, they’re all gone. Everyone is gone, including the samurai.

Panel Seven: The last panel of page two is a close-up shot of the surviving soldier as he tells the captain that Samurai Jack is gone. His face has a few bruises and cuts, indicating that he has been through quite an ordeal. He is looking down at the ground, obviously saddened by the loss.

Rufus: Samurai Jack…is no more.


Samurai Jack...No More? Page One

Page One

Panel One: The first panel is an establishing shot of a small fortress. The fortress is located in the middle of a valley/pass and acts as the last line of defense for a small city deeper in the valley. For the most part, they have maintained out of Aku’s sight. As of late, Aku’s scouts have discovered the city and wish to exploit its resources. However, the only way to reach the city is through the valley pass and the fortress. In order to demonstrate that a number of battles have taken place around the fortress, we can see arrows, swords, and shields in the ground. Some of the shields are cracked, some of the swords are broken, and the arrows are embedded into the ground. All of these suggest that the skirmishes have been destructive without being unnecessarily graphic (ex. Skeletons, skulls, etc). At the top of the fortress, we can see a small figure standing guard. There are waving flags also on the top of the fortress.

Credits go in the upper right-hand corner

Panel Two: This is a shot of a blurry, indistinct figure walking towards the fortress. The figure is difficult to make out due to the rolling dust clouds. The figure looks slightly like the silhouette of Samurai Jack. The outline/border for the panel should be like a pair of binoculars. On the binoculars’ lens, there are bits of data. There is a crosshairs targeting the mysterious figure.

Panel Three: This is a shot of a soldier holding a pair of binoculars and looking out into the distance. He is staring at the camera. In the binoculars’ lens we can see the small figure seen in panel two. The soldier is the captain of the guard for the fortress.

Panel Four: This panel is the same shot from panel three but now the soldier has lowered the binoculars. We can see his eyes as he looks into the camera.

Captain: Something approaches.

Panel Five: The last panel of the page is a shot of the soldiers inside the fortress as they raise their weapons into the air. They are reacting to the captain of the guard as he calls to his men, letting them now that something is approaching and they should prepare for battle.

Captain: Men! Take hold of your weapons and prepare for battle!


Samurai Jack...No More?

In early 2010, Marcus Muller, Michael Roanhaus, and myself put together a seven page Samurai Jack story. We tried pitching it to DC for their Cartoon Network comic but things didn't work out. Their loss. So here's your gain.

Below are some preliminary sketches Marcus and I worked on before digging into the sequential pages...

I'll post the script and pages over the next week.