Categories
Drawings Sally Forth

Manga Sally

Just for kicks, here’s a drawing of Sally Forth with a slight manga flavor.

Granted, the brush lines are kinda thick in regards to really mimicking the style, but a fun trial run.

-Jim Keefe

Categories
Artist Spotlight

Tom Gianni 1960-2020

C2E2 2017

Tom Gianni was a fantastic illustrator. He was also a courtroom artist for WGN, NBC, and WTTW in Chicago.

I knew Tom through C2E2 and I made sure to stop by his table every year I went back. He was always up for talking shop.

Here’s a quick video from 2011 where he let me take a little video of a commission he was working on. (Sorry for the sound quality, but Artist Alley gets kinda noisy).

And here’s a few pics from over the years…

C2E2 2011
C2E2 2012
C2E2 2016
C2E2 2018

My favorite work of Tom’s was his illustrations of pulp fiction heroes like the Shadow and from Robert E. Howard stories.

©Lars Leonhard Drachmann

Fun side note – His work was awarded the Rankin Award for Artistic Achievement from the Robert E. Howard Foundation.

Best of all, his self-published Mechanic Anna.

An original Tom Gianni sketch on the Title page.

The last time I saw him at C2E2 in Chicago he had to leave abruptly as he was called to do some courtroom sketches. To see him take off harkened back to newsmen of the 1940s racing off to catch a story. And that’s how I’ll remember him…

He’ll be sorely missed…

My business card holder – purchased from Tom.
Categories
Ramblings & Reviews

COVID-109 Info at CDC.gov

For comprehensive info go to CDC.gov

Also the New York Times has free coverage at
The Coronavirus Outbreak.

Wishing you and yours all the best during these difficult times.

-Jim Keefe

Categories
Ramblings & Reviews

Healthcare Professionals on the Front Lines

Editorial Cartoon by Mike Luckovich

I had to make a run to an Extended Care facility recently (I was scheduled to pick up meds for someone – not an unessential visit). Upon entering I had my temperature taken and had use of surgical gloves before bing admitted. While I was waiting an unnamed incident happened on the floor above us so the unit was put into lockdown – no one could come in or out unless it was deemed absolutely necessary by staff. Residents who wanted to get a smoke started to congregate. Very quickly some started getting impatient – then indignant.

One heavyset man in a motorized wheelchair started yelling at the staff, “I’m 70 years old – you can’t tell me what to do! They don’t tell us nothin’ here! What is this – a PRISON?!

Tensions in the room kept getting higher as the lockdown continued. The yelling continued. Throughout it the staff stayed calm, obviously accustomed to such behavior and refusing to escalate the situation by echoing the patient’s aggravation.

Eventually the lockdown ended and the residents/patients got their smokes – crisis averted.

A very small reminder to me of the countless number of doctors and staff who are on the front lines dealing with the endless ramifications/repercussions of this pandemic head on – day in and day out in. The work being done on our behalf by the medical profession right now is incalculable and I am in awe of their dedication and sacrifice. And the inconvenience of self isolating on my part seems pretty small in comparison.

and that’s my two cents…

-Jim Keefe

Categories
Artist Spotlight Bernie Wrightson

Bernie Wrightson – Inspiration

Back in the mid 1980s I tried out classes at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design for a semester. Currently at MCAD you can major in Comic Art, but back then comic art was not a thing. In fact it was generally frowned upon.

I was in a film class, and the assignment was to bring in something of interest to us and then talk about it while being filmed (something about getting comfortable in front of a camera I guess). I brought in the recently released Cycle of the Werewolf novella by Stephen King – with beautiful illustrations by the one and only Bernie Wrightson​.

Wrightson’s magnum opus Frankenstein had been released just prior and he was (and still is) a god of illustration to me.

While I talked about my admiration for Wrightson’s work, fellow students off camera started talking within earshot. The gist of it was, a hack writer hired a hack comic book artist – and it’ll be an instant hit to the mindless masses – but it was far from ART.

Hearing this I started talking into the camera a little louder how great an artist Wrightson was and how he was not the “hack” some people thought.

This bias against comic book art was mirrored by the teachers in those years, and as the vibe at MCAD wasn’t right for me I left. Within a year I had found out about and enrolled at the Joe Kubert​ School, so a win-win for me. Suffice it to say most of my new classmates were big fans of Wrightson as well.

In my experience, animation and cartooning has always been looked down on by the fine arts community, or at best given a condescending pat on the back. To me, sequential art is the best way to tell a story – and the artists who excel in the field are Masters. With the rise in popularity of “graphic novels” here in the US there’s been more mainstream acceptance of sequential art, but for the rank and file in the arts community I don’t see that much has changed.

That said, I don’t care. I’ve been working in this field for over 30 years now and am surrounded by people that have the same love of cartooning/comics/anime/manga that I have. Ends up there’s no need to waste time banging heads with people who unfortunately are limited in their thinking of what constitutes Art.

And that’s my two cents.


That said… Here’s to Bernie Wrightson (1948-2017). A master of pen and ink who’s work still remains an inspiration to me. The gold standard to shoot for every time you pick up a Series 7 Winsor & Newton brush.


Here’s a quick video of Bernie Wrightson from 1987, with an intro by Harlan Ellison. Wrightson talks about his work on Swamp Thing and Frankenstein among other highlights – Enjoy!


Last but not least, a poignant tweet from Neil Gaiman from when Wrightson died…


Addendum: Bernie Wrightson’s work on Frankenstein has since toured Art museums across the country as part of the Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters exhibit. They are truly breathtaking to see in person.

To see so many different comic book artists on display in this show was just phenomenal. A shout out to Guillermo del Toro for providing a worthy showcase of these extraordinary masters of comic art – Vive la résistance!