Attending New York Comic Con is an annual tradition for me. I’ve been attending the second biggest comic con in the U.S. since it’s inception on Feb 2006. Back in 2010, I had even had a table in Artist Alley.
This year brought back so many memories. I had a table in Artist Alley back in 2010. Doubt that will ever happen again, but at least I can say I sold my comics in NYCC.
Comic book artist Kim Jung Gi was slated to have a table at Artist Alley this year, when he passed away suddendly. Fans dropped by what was supposed to be his table, leaving flowers in his tribute instead.
One of the highlights of my NYCC experience 2022 was the George Perez panel. The artist passed away on May 6, 2022. Colleages and friends gathered on the panel to pay tribute to the well respected penciler who was known for his work on Wonder Woman, The Avengers, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Teen Titans, and many others. Perez not only had a long career in the comic book industry, but also much beloved in his personal life. At the panel it was discussed how he took in friends, making them honorary ‘family’ members and his dedication to his wife Carol. After the panel, free enamel pins bearing his signature were given out to the panel attendees.
It’s pretty late in the holiday season, but here’s an Etsy update.
Since trying Etsy again second time around, I’ve gotten encouragement and support. Sold out of Psycho Bunny issue 3.5. Thanks to Covid19, it’s going to be a while before I can reprint that comic again. Instead I focused on making Christmas tree ornaments. All the illustrations were drawn by me, Michele Witchipoo. Below are a few examples.
It’s been a while. I’ve been busy with assorted offline activities.
Good news, I have brand new work to upload. In the next few days, most likely the weekend, I’ll post some new comic/sequential content. Late December I’ll begin updating on this blog again.
In the meantime, I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to my Patreon, brought from my re-opened Etsy shop, purchased from RedBubble, and supported my webcomic. I don’t promote my Patreon or my other channels as much as I should. Thanks to offline responsibilities, I had to put my WEBTOON series on the side. In a week I’m going to pick up where I left off.
Other news. Was pleasantly surprised by a positive review of my last printed comic, The Temptation of Squeaky, which I published last year.
Two of my illustrations were published in a local zine, simply titled Ridgewood Zine. Available locally. Details in another blog post.
Today is International Cat Day, as well as Caturday.
In memoriam, I did a quick free hand watercolor sketch of a stray kitten I had for a week.
The little boy was the runt of the litter, abandoned by his mother. The kitten was infested with fleas, ticks and who knows that else, why he was basically skin and bones. The little bugger also had nasty eye infections. Found in my back yard, I tried to save him, along with Ben, and another friend. In her spare time, the friend does TNR, and rescues cats in need. She’s the one that found Mr. Jet Alister in the street on a cold, rainy night.
I’ve rescued animals before. Way back, I saved a pregnant mama cat, raised her kittens, and placed the kittens in homes. That’s where I got my cats Tabitha and Champ. Took in another grey cat a year later from a car repair business, that was Leo. Saved another cat off the street, which turned out to the birth mother of one of my present cats, Netzach Wondercat, aka Nettie. Welcomed another kitty from neglect, that was the infamous Squeaky Squeakums. Saved a dog off the street, and returned him back to his humans.
We took him to two vets. The first vet said he had a fighting chance, which was my first thought. At first he was doing well. The little bugger was even eating on his own the second day I had him. The rest of the time was spent taking out his fleas and giving him good care. Meanwhile, I had contacted a local animal rescue, in hopes of finding him a good home.
Then within twenty four hours, the kitten took a turn for the worse. We all rushed him to a second vet. The second vet worked in an emergency animal clinic. An ER for pets, as you will. Let me tell you, the second vet tried. He really tried. Did EVERYTHING he could to save him – alas, he couldn’t. Turns out the kitten had FLV, which overtook his immune system. If 2020 was a kitten, this was it. In end, the fella passed away in the vet office. We all started to cry. Even the vet had a tear.
This kitten was the only animal I couldn’t save.
I tried. We all tried.
After his death, I went into mourning for over two weeks.
This is a reminder that spay and neuter is very important. If you have a pet, and don’t have your pet fixed, you’re part of the problem.
He was named Baby Yoda, due to his appearance. R.I.P. little guy. Despite your short time on earth, you were loved.
A good way to test your drawing skills is to pick a character from the Star Wars universe.
In this case, I picked Ahsoka Tano.
Ahsoka Tano was first introduced in the 2008 animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the television series that followed afterwards. Ahsoka is best known in Star Wars Rebels, which was another animated television series. She also has a voice over cameo in the last Star Wars theatrical release, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Originally voiced by Ashley Eckstein, it’s heavily rumored that Ahsoka will be portrayed by Rosario Dawnson in the next season of The Mandalorian. If true, the Dawnson casting has not been officially confirmed by Disney as of yet.
Since 2008, a whole new generation grew up with the Ahsoka character, and renegade Jedi character has grown along with them.
Haven’t really watched Rebels myself, as I’m more familiar with the film trilogies. So the detail in this sketch might be slightly off. I can always do another rendition of Ahsoka down the road. Ever since I was told of these casting rumors, figured, might as well try to draw her. Besides, I finally had a chance to watch The Mandalorian thanks to the quarantine. Oh, and there’s also rumors of Boba Fett being featured in the Mandalorian second season. Anyway, the sketch was done in pen, ink, and watercolor.
In other news, next episode of my webcomic will be up shortly.
Later in my teen years, I brought a later pressing of Kings of The Wild Frontier. By then Adam Ant’s star was slightly beginning to fade. Didn’t matter, still loved the album. In fact, I brought the album again, later on CD format. There were other classics too. Who can forget such songs, like Stand And Deliver. There’s countless others, but I went and illustrated Adam from his Prince Charming days.
Before Adam went solo, it should be noted that his band used two drummers, otherwise known as Burundi Beat. Burundi Beat was taken from African musicians. Discovered by French anthropologists, the original Burundi musicians recorded, and had musical careers of their own. Later on, Adam and The Ants, and later Bow Wow Wow used this method, incorporating double drumming. It should be noted that the British New Wave concept of Burundi Beat came from none other than the notorious Malcolm McLaren himself. Speaking of Bow Wow Wow, McLaren ever the opportunist, swiped drummers from the original Ants line-up and threw in a thirteen year old Annabella Lwin to front a new band. That’s okay – Adam hooked up with Marco Pirroni, to form the classic Ants line-up that found world domination.
Two other curious tidbits from Ant history. Pirroni was one of the first ever guitarists for Siouxsie and The Banshees. Meanwhile, before Jon Moss found success with Culture Club, he beat the skins for the Ants, as well as The Damned.
It wasn’t until years later I FINALLY had the chance to see Adam Ant live. After decades Adam Ant put his old pirate gear on, and performed the classics. It was winter of 2017. Unfortunately in my opinion, I was slightly disappointed. It felt like he rushed through the set of old Ant ditties, rushing through songs. Guess he must be tired of performing them, and you could sense he was doing it for the money. Hey; everyone has to eat, right? I had another chance to rectify the situation when I won free tickets to see Adam Ant live yet again. However, Test Dept was playing the same night at Brooklyn Bazaar. I gave my Adam Ant tickets to a friend and headed to Brooklyn for the Test Dept gig. Perhaps third time will be a charm.
Without further ado, here’s my Adam Ant sketch. Done in pen, ink, watercolor, shimmer watercolor, and a tiny bit of digital enhancement. During his Prince Charming period. Btw. The promo video had one of the last appearances by British actress Diana Dors.
Ever had a song you’ve heard your whole life stuck in your head?
This was the case maybe around two years ago. I was in my local neighborhood, doing some shopping. The store radio was tuned to the local NY oldies station, WCBS.FM. Suddenly a song I’ve been hearing in the background which dates all the way back to my childhood comes on. Afterwards the DJ states the song title and the artist. Finally after all these years, I found out who did this exact song. The singer was Benny Mardones, and the song was titled “Into The Night.”
I go home, hit Google and Spotify. Then I mosey on over to YouTube.
Hmmm…yeah. In the promo video, he stalks a teenage girl after her father clearly says “NO!“, and it’s so obvious that he’s like, way older than his intended. In the post-Jeffery Epstien era of the year 2020, this would not work at all. But apparently some people got together, smoked some really good weed, and thought the plot for this video was a fantastic idea. Thus it was made, and the tune became a huge hit.
If you’re of the the Millennial or Zoomer mindset, you might find this video offensive. You know, being Woke and all that. If it was made today, the Cancel Culture would’ve been all over this on Twitter. But chill out, cause remember – this video was done around 1979 or 1980. A year prior was the film Pretty Baby, staring Brooke Shields. So maybe the poor judgement gets blamed on the drugs. You know, like how they say LSD was the best during the 1960s? You might want to keep that in mind.
I kid, I kid. Since I’m from the Gen X crowd, I don’t get offended. Instead, I become snarky. Watch the video a few more times, and I’m roasting on it as if I was Beavis and Butthead, but without the brain damage. I know unintentional humor when I see it.
Luckily the song was such a big hit, it transcended the video. The video wasn’t even controversial then. Into The Night was not only a hit once, but twice; 1980, and 1989.
What is not too known is the story behind the music. Into The Night sounds like a love song, but it was written about a teen girl going through a rough time. It was the year 1979. Living in Spanish Harlem, the girl’s father left the wife and kids for another woman. Sympathetic, Mardones started helping the family out. One day, as Mardones and his song writing partner Robert Tepper was working, the 16 year old teen comes by to walk Mardones’ dog. Tepper appreciates the teen beauty, but Mardones stepped in saying “leave her along, she’s just 16 years old…” The light bulb switched on above his head, and the rest is history. Years afterwards, the teen muse and Benny kept in touch. Therefore the song was not sexual in the least.
The song propelled Benny Mardones into stardom, but it didn’t last too long. After a few years, Mardones developed a drug addiction. In an attempt to begin his life anew, he moved to Syracuse, NY. From 1985 onward, he became a favorite son in his adopted hometown. In 2017, he played one final concert before settling in California to receive treatment for Parkinson’s Disease. Recently I read that Benny Mardones’ wife was requesting correspondence. Parkinson’s Disease was taking over. His wife said any letters, cards, etc., would mean the world to him. So I thought I should send him something. Alas, I never got around to it – he died a few weeks soon after I read the online article. Found out about his death through a Facebook post.
Hearing about Mardones’ passing broke my heart. Despite me busting on the original promo video, the song itself will always be a classic.
In honor of Benny Mardones, and for the song I’ve been hearing since childhood, I did a quick watercolor sketch. In a few days this sketch will be mailed to his wife. I understand his wife might be taking donations to Parkinson’s Research at USC.
MAILING ADDRESS FOR CARDS/LETTERS:
Benny & Jane Mardones
28039 Scott Rd, D397
Murrieta, CA 92563
Here’s a very quick sketch done only in watercolor, with some digital enhancements. Since this Saturday is not only Caturday, but also the Fourth of July. What better way to start the weekend than to post art of a patriotic cat mermaid. Here’s the Caturday sketch of the week, featuring one of my cats, Netzach Wondercat. She’s more known as simply Nettie.
The past few years, I’ve been doing historic renditions of the American Revolution featuring my cartoon characters. The original intention was to get the focus away from mindlessly blowing up fireworks. In 2020 though, that might not be such a good idea.
Given the current political climate in the United States, I decided to switch it up. Instead of doing something based in the Colonial era, I give you a kitty sea siren.
Regardless of what your political beliefs are, enjoy the weekend.