Frank Cummings 1959-2014


Sad news, Cracked and Blondie artist Frank Cummings has passed away.

From John Marshall’s Facebok page (Blondie’s head artist):

    It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our dear friend and colleague Frank Cummings. Frank has been a working commercial artist for over 30 years. His early career was spent working in newspaper and advertising agency art departments. In 1992, he self-published JAB, a regional (southeast) illustrated satire/humor magazine. By 1995, the magazine had caught the eye of exercise guru Richard Simmons and national humor mag, Cracked. Frank spent the next nine years producing Richard’s monthly newsletter, Richard Simmons & Friends, and illustrating monthly movie parodies for Cracked. In 2004, Frank was hired by King Features Syndicate and Blondie, to be the assistant artist (to head artist John Marshall) on Blondie. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.
The Blondie team: Frank Cummings, Dean Young and John Marshall.

The Blondie team: Frank Cummings, Dean Young and John Marshall.

Posted in Frank Cummings, John Marshall | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Sally Forth: The Beach House – Day 1

Prepare yourself for the HORROR!

Posted in Francesco Marciuliano, Sally Forth | Tagged | Comments Off

Sally Forth Drop Panel Party

Time for more Sally Forth drop panels!

Note: Comic Strips are formatted different ways for different size requirements. The “drop panel” is a panel or tier of the strip that can be omitted because of size restrictions without affecting the gag or storyline.

For example, Here’s the Sunday strip for April 6, 2014 with the drop panel…


And without…


This time the drop panels are from April to June of 2014.
To see the previous batch, just go to my previous post.

April 6, 2014

April 6, 2014

April 13, 2014

April 13, 2014

April 20, 2014

April 20, 2014

April 27, 2014

April 27, 2014

May 4, 2014

May 4, 2014

May 11, 2014

May 11, 2014

May 18, 2014

May 18, 2014

May 25, 2014

May 25, 2014

June 1, 2014

June 1, 2014

June 8, 2014

June 8, 2014

June 15, 2014

June 15, 2014

June 22, 2014

June 22, 2014

June 29, 2014

June 29, 2014


Unabashed plug time!

If Sally Forth isn’t in your local paper you can check it out online at…


A yearlong subscription to all of King Features’ comics (new and vintage) plus two years worth of archives for every single strip is a pittance at $19.99 a year. Unsure? Try a 7 day trial subscription for free.

Posted in Francesco Marciuliano, Sally Forth | Tagged , | Comments Off

Mark McMurray – Zombie War

In 1991 Kevin Eastman, Tom Skulan and Eric Talbot came out with the comic book mini-series Zombie War – and in October of 2013, the series was re-released by IDW.


Friend and fellow Kubert School alumnus Mark McMurray provided the original stellar cover pencils for the series (over Eastman layouts).

20-year-old Xerox copies from Mark's files. Click on image to see larger.

20-year-old Xerox copies from Mark’s files.
Click on image to see larger.

Unfortunately, Mark was never given credit for his work for the reissue.

IDW's info on their website as of June 2014.

IDW’s info on their website as of June 2014.

I had been in contact with IDW in hopes of clearing this up, but enough time has passed without any resolution that I’m posting it here so proper credit can be given.


To see more of Mark’s work, check out this Flash Gordon Sunday page, or his website at:

Posted in Mark McMurray | Tagged | Comments Off

Comics – Tools of the Trade

Addendum to Jim Keefe’s lecture for the Graphic Novel Illustration class
at the University of Minnesota – 6/24/2014.
Class Instructors: Rowan and Bly Pope

Can’t stress enough that this is the equipment I currently have that works for me
(and my budget).

I love pen and ink so I personally don’t see the need to invest in a cintiq at the moment, but that’s not to say I don’t use digital (as seen by the intuous5 shown below) or that I wouldn’t down the line.

Find what what works best for you, but don’t get mired down in the familiar. Try new tools (cutting edge and old school) and keep experimenting.

15″ MacBookPro and intuous5 Touch Medium pen tablet.

Artograph Lightpad A940.

Mustek A3 2400S flatbed scanner.
Nice and big so it fits the pages I’m working on.


Side note: Recently got the Epson Work Force 7520.
Scans 11″ x 17″, plus it prints up to 13″ x 19″. I’ll give more info on performance once I’ve had it awhile.

Drawing and Inking Materials:
One of the better books out there regarding this subject is Drawing Words and Writing Pictures by Jessica Abel & Matt Madden.


Chapter 8, Inking with a nib pen, is worth the price of admission in and of itself. If you want a world of knowledge go buy it. I’m going to concern myself here with the tools I’m presently using.

Side note: There’s a number of other books I could recommend – but that’s for another post…



From left to right…

3h for light sketching and blocking in shapes.
2b for tightening up drawing.
Pental Twist Erase with HB lead for a clean line.

Kneaded eraser.
white drafting eraser.
X-acto knife (for removing ink by cutting away layer of bristol paper).
Whetstone for sharpening X-acto blades.

Triangle, ruler and T-square.
Tape to hold art in place.
And above tape, piece of paper to have under your hand when penciling or inking.

I also have a larger T-square and ruler – but the smaller size comes in pretty handy.

From left to right…

B6 and C5 lettering nibs.
Japanese G NG-3.
Hunt 513 EF.

Winsor & Newton (In partnership with Blick) Round #1.
Winsor & Newton Series 7 #2.


From left to right…

Kohinoor Rapidograph 2/.60.
Kohinoor Rapidograph 1/.50.
Presto fine point correction pen.

Inks, Paper and Odds & Ends
Ink Paper

For inks I love FW’s black acrylic for how dark it goes down, but lately I have been using Speedball super black as it’s comparable and comes in a big bottle (thus saving me money).

For Flash Gordon I used both 1-ply and 2-ply vellum. Of late I’ve been using 2-ply smooth (or plate).

Underneath is an Alvin green cutting mat – very handy for not only cutting, but for tacking things up as well.


Last but not least…
Inking templates: Circle, oval and a set of french curves.
Erasing shield (bottom right hand corner).
Ames guide for lettering (to the left of erasing shield).

Not pictured.
For inking, a water jar, rag, paper towels and some scrap bristol are also a necessity.

I can’t stress enough that the items listed above are not the only ones I own or use. For instance, I have a number of different inking and lettering nibs, the ones pictured are just the nibs I am currently using the most. Check back in a year and you’d probably see some slight variations in what’s shown above.


Parting Thought: Getting the Work Done
Colleen Doran has a great blog post in regards to time management which I found essential reading. Check it out.

My two cents worth can be found on my post regarding procrastination.

I’ll end with a few words from Zak Sally. I first met Zak while teaching at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He’s a great teacher in that he has the rare ability to make lightbulbs go off in your head where you didn’t even know you were in the dark in the first place. Here he talks about one of his favorite artists, Kim Deitch.

Kim Deitch at his drawing board.

Kim Deitch at his drawing board.

Kim Deitch, he puts in 40 hours a week. He doesn’t put in 40 hours dicking around… Not time thinking about drawing. Not time thinking about when you’re going to draw. Not time drawing but then you get up and look for reference. It’s straight up time sitting there working on it is what he marks down. That’s huge for comics people. It’s putting your ass in the seat and keeping it there. It’s amazing the stuff you can do in an hour if you’re working the whole hour.”

– Zak Sally from Documenting the History of Minnesota Comics
by Britt Aamodt and Barbara Schulz.

All for now – deadlines looming…

Posted in Business of Cartooning | Comments Off

John Buscema Inking

John Buscema inking tips from How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way.

Posted in John Buscema | Comments Off

The Two Page Spread Interview

Here’s link to a recent interview I did at C2E2 for Guy Thomas’ blog,
The Two Page Spread.

Jim Keefe Interview

My daughter Tessa and I manning the table.

My daughter Tessa and I manning the table.

Posted in Conventions | Comments Off