Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Father's Day Week

Hey friends!

Father's Day weekend was awesome! I got to spend time with two of my little buggers and then I got some nice presents from everyone! D got me a SLIMER Pop and METROPOLIS complete on Blu-ray and a neat little pop up Beatles card. Her parents got me a large coffee table book on the making of RETURN OF THE JEDI. My oldest son got me this really cool metal STAR TREK display that I will hang in my collection. James and Scotty got me hand made cards and paintings. It was all very lovely. And I got to spend time with them over the weekend.




James laid on me while we watched Cars 3. Some nice cuddle time. I got Scotty some discs and James some candy. Scott also played a bit of an old Family Guy video game I got for him. That is a very old and frustrating game!

Speaking of video games, I got this:


Its been on my radar for a while to have one, so I got a Nintendo Switch! So far I have played MARIO ODYSSEY. I haven't plugged in ZELDA yet. I got a couple other games that are out that I want to get but I've been too busy to go out and get them. I guess this was a Father's Day treat for myself. Its been a rough go of things as of late. Needed a nice pick me up.

But don't think for a minute that I am just playing video games and ignoring my creative duties! I finished the VAMPIRELLA card set. Here's a look at some of them:


 In comic news: I've got about 15 pages on STARSLAM to ink. Here's a couple teaser images, no spoilers!



Plus also I got hired to do an 8 page horror comic for a nice dude. I gotta shoot pencils to him this week sometime so no video gaming until I finish that! But, I got a sore left thumb right now, so video gaming is off the table until that is healed. Just sore from biting my nails too much. Stupid me, but no biggie.

I also got some commissions that are overdue so I am not taking on anything else until these are done and out. I also shipped out all the books from LATE NIGHT SHORTS, so that is done. Just gotta finish a couple things for the bigger reward level people, as understanding and supportive as they always are! And then its my job to color all the completed PATREON stories... of which I am done and scanned in all the way to November, with a couple more in the pencil stage. I just want to get them all done and off my plate so I can finish these other things. So much to do. I feel guilty even getting a new movie or game system to distract me sometimes... but I know you need to take a break or else I go mad.

Coming up this fall are some great Switch games like Dragon Quest 11 (Where you can switch back and forth between regular modern and SUPER NINTENDO style graphics). Also a new LEGO STAR WARS game next year. A couple other ones I am forgetting too as I type this. But what is also coming out this fall is something I must get:


Look at that beauty! She's gonna cost a bit... like $500 but it should be out in November. This game and GALAGA are my two favorite arcade video games of all time. To have that in my kids' room along with all my toys might make me the biggest nerd... but perhaps the best dad ever! If I had this in my room as a kid? Oh man...

Not that my childhood wasn't great already, its just that now in this modern age we can get cheaper versions of these nostalgic things and I can share them with my boys. (But they gotta wait til daddy is done with them first!)

Thanks for reading!

--T

Monday, June 10, 2019

Solo Nerdity

Thanks for coming back, friends.

Been working solid for the last good while, so a vacation was needed. I did a big one last year and can't afford another this year. Not in money but mostly in time off. I had to plan my days off sparingly around things and not just use a whole week for myself. But that is okay. I try to take breaks where I can. My girl had this last weekend off and she went up north to a lake with her friend, leaving me from Friday til today (She will arrive later tonight). I figured I would take an extra day off myself to get some things done around the house that I need to do. Cleaning/organizing to actual production on art/writing that I need to catch up on. I've been so busy.

But first it was a day of play on Saturday as I went to Dearborn to see the STAR TREK EXHIBIT at the Henry Ford. I have a ton of pics on my Facebook and instagram. Instagram is HERE - But here are a few that I shot:






Believe me, I have a TON more on the Facebook and Instagram. It was deeply cool to see. I haven't been to the Henry Ford in over 20 years, so it was good to go back and see their collection again.

Afterward, I hit DEARBORN MUSIC for the first time and I lost my shit at how cool that place was. I walked out with a bag of vinyl, cds, patches and stickers. I also got a new coffee mug, necessary. Later in the weekend I hit disc traders for a few discs. Then Saturday night my friends Dean and Mjit came over for some much needed drunken fun and movies. I missed them. Overall, my kind of Saturday!

Sunday I did some administrative and online stuff, as well as cleaned the house. Today I have to do laundry. I'm up early every single day because my pattern is off. I miss my girl, a lot. I'm glad she got away for a sorely needed vacation but I never sleep well when she isn't here. Sometimes when you spend every day with someone you do wish for a few hours or even a day or two apart. I'm no picnic to spend time with either at times. But its good to know that the heart does grow fond and that being away from someone throws your patterns off. It means we miss and love each other too much. But hey, she will be back later tonight and life will return to normal. Back to work tomorrow with me. But at least I know she will be home waiting for me. :)

I feel bad that I have a ton to do art and writing-wise... and I didn't use much of the time doing those things. I read and watched STAR TREK. I guess I needed some days off too. I have the rest of today to get some things done... and hell, I'm up early enough today to make some real progress. But on three hours sleep, I don't think its going to go well. But I shall try.

Download the new episodes of the IDIOTHEAD MORNING SHOW wherever you get your podcasts. I talk in depth about the STAR TREK EXHIBIT, new movies and music and many other things. Now I'm off to hopefully make some progress. I'm hoping anyway.

Thanks for reading!
-T

Saturday, June 01, 2019

In the Thick of it All

Hey friends.

I used to be more prolific at my writing/blogging. I am going to try to ramp it up like I used to. I usually write the most on my PATREON PAGE, but I try to give some love everywhere I am located online. I hope you missed me.

Life has been busy. Constant working. Weekends busy with this or that or family. I got my proof back for my new book: LATE NIGHT SHORTS. So the green light is on to print the rest. I should have the books back here at the ranch in a couple weeks and they will be mailed straight to those who ordered them. I don't sell them online anymore, but you can get digital copies of that and my other books on my gumroad page right HERE.

Also did you know I still do the IDIOTHEAD MORNING SHOW PODCAST? Free to download wherever you get your podcasts. Log in and download em. And please if you get them on the Apple Podcast app, rate me 5 stars and drop a review in there. Helps with my numbers, gets eyes on what I am doing. I appreciate it.

I took the time to watch my favorite movie this week, that being HIGH FIDELITY.


Yes, that is my favorite movie of all time, for several reasons. Perhaps its worth a podcast discussion in the future, but I feel so at home when that movie is on. I discovered it back in college and was so connected with it, that it quickly shot up to the top spot of my favorite movie of all time. Number One with a bullet. I'm glad to see that every time I revisit it, it still holds the same magic.

There's a lot of cool new stuff coming out all the time but always take time to revisit your favorites!

College was a great time for me. I was more into painting back then too. That all stopped when I graduated 15 years ago. Recently I got into some acrylics to paint mini paintings for an art show. It was a lot of fun to do! I desire to paint even more and push myself to go more abstract in painting and in drawing. I watched a documentary on Basquiat the other day (I'm such a fan of his). It inspires me to chase the whimsy to paint more. Maybe they will be shit and derivative of this or that person and most likely never sell. But I don't care about that. I just want to express myself before I croak. Maybe my kids will want to toss one of them on their future home's walls. Who knows?

Also back in college, I used to read myself to sleep almost every night. That changed in my thirties. But lately, it I have been developing an addiction to buying even more used and new books than I have carried with me over my 41 years. I began my obsession with Harlan Ellison about five years ago and it really ramped up last year after he died.



A dear friend of mine bought me a couple more of his books as a gift and slowly I've been picking up more and more of his stuff. I've become addicted to him, essentially. I've watched a ton of his stuff on Youtube and I keep collecting and reading. I finished HORNBOOK and MEMOS FROM PURGATORY this week, as well as a bio book on him called A LIT FUSE. Now I am busy reading his book, GENTLEMEN JUNKIE and HARLAN ELLISON'S WATCHING at night. After that I have about eight more of his books lined up next. Yeah, obsessed.

All this has me thinking a lot about finally finishing these little personal projects I'd like to do. Like the novels I keep talking about finishing. I have three about 75% done, and a ton of notes on a new fiction one. I want to publish them. I am really planning to have one of them done and out by the end of the year, in addition to the two comic graphic novels I want to release. STARSLAM 4 and PLEASANT LIFE 2. I have plans even beyond that... including continuing the monthly erotica stories at the PATREON, including two new erotica comics I will sporadically post there. I have no shortage of ideas.

What I am short on mostly is time. Time to do what and to pick what to do. I have my usual online doings and things I do for the business, also freelance work, commissions, etc to consider as well. I have desires to write more, paint more, do model kits again and go beyond these things. I guess depending on the day you ask me, I would gladly say that I do see an end to me doing illustration work. Not today, but sometime. But then its on to another form of creating and expression. I will never stop doing that. That is who I am.

Music, movies, writers, art... it all inspires me so much.

Since discovering CBD oil, my depression issues have been held at bay. I've cleared a lot of toxicity out of my life. I have a bad day once in a while, but not near as bad as I used to. Things are better and I have great things to look forward to. I'm happy with how things are going. Even while I'm still in the thick of it all, lots of stuff to juggle still, lots of things around to make me angry... I'm still making it happen.

Here's to us all continuing to chase the whimsies. Stay sane, my friends.

--T

(Side note: I read that they are doing a HIGH FIDELITY remake/reboot with an all female cast. I'm not sure I will connect with it like I did this one, due to the times changing. But hey, hope springs eternal. Maybe it will be good. Who knows.)


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Bettie Page Kickstarter and other goings on

Yesterday was Harlan Ellison's birthday, so I am inspired to write. I wrote a blog back at the PATREON page I run, but very few see that. I try to still provide some content here at my trusty old website for those who still trickle in. Thank you for coming back. Either on your own or prompted by me posting of its existence on social media. Lots of things bombarding your brain and demanding your attention everyday. I'm glad you took a minute to listen to me.

I did some cards for a BETTIE PAGE card set through Dynamite comics. The set is currently on Kickstarter with just over two days left in the campaign. I want to tug on your coat right quick to talk about it. I did 100 cards for the set and I am very proud of the work I did. Here are a few to wet your whistle: 


The packs of cards are now on Kickstarter, with various options to get multiple packs, a resin statue, signed wrestler Jerry Lawler card, additional promo cards and "choose your own sketch card artist" option... where you can even choose me! And all packs come with sketch cards inside! The packs are a tad expensive, but for the bang for the buck, its a great deal... especially if  you are a fan of the pinup queen like I am! I think I am going to even get in on this one and choose myself as the artist if I can. But I'd also love to see that resin statue sitting on my shelf! To work on Bettie Page in a official capacity was a dream come true. Might be my favorite set I ever worked on! If you are a fan like me, check it out here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dynamiteent/bettie-page-deluxe-ultra-premium-trading-cards/description

Also you can get my new book: LATE NIGHT SHORTS vol 1 on Gumroad via digital download! Click here:

https://gumroad.com/phymns

The month of May was crazy. Appearances, hard work, hitting a comic con, and playing catch up the whole month. Politically things have gone insane. Things are ramping up and people are more divided than ever. I voiced my opinion on some things and lost a friend out of it. I suppose I am not alone in this. But I can't help how I feel about things going on. This whole thing in Georgia, Alabama and other places is scary beyond reason. Feels like we are slipping backward so much, that I don't know if we can pull out of it again. They say the economy is booming, but that is simply because everyone is angry and depressed about it all. So what happens when people are angry and depressed? They buy things. I know I have bought things. Thus, boom! Economy booms. Everyone is distracted and stupidly happy with their new gizmos. I don't blame them. You can't take it with you. And we are so powerless to stop the big chess match in Washington. So we try to stay focused at home and locally, keeping our own back porches swept off. The struggle continues.

I got a lot of things on my TO DO list. I got the Vampirella cards due next month. I got Patreon stories to get caught up on. Starslam 4 is almost 80 pages in and I want to have that done by the end of summer. Pleasant Life 2 is still being worked on. I want to finish the Porn Store tell all book by Christmas. (Perfect gift for Xmas don't you think?) I have a few side stuff I gotta get done for myself and others that I have promised. I have monthly commission work and three very loyal clients outside of all that to do pages for. Then to keep up on blogs, podcasts, etc... So yeah, its a busy time. But isn't it always? I wouldn't know what else to do with myself if I didn't have these forms of expression. I'm glad when anyone takes a listen. Thank you!

So far this year I finished the KISS card set for Dynamite, as well as a BETTIE PAGE card set I mentioned above. Both are either out or close to being out. I do have return cards available for these sets, I just haven't had the chance to promote them or sell them. I also am waiting for my proof back from the printer for my new erotica collection: LATE NIGHT SHORTS vol 1. Once approved, I'll get the books a week or two later. Then gotta mail out all the copies. This week I gotta finish some commissions for the Kickstarter and finish up others that are long overdue. I'm not the workhorse I used to be. Dragging my ass across the finish line. But I'll make it! I always do.

Thanks for reading, friends. Check out that Bettie Page Kickstarter above! It expires in a couple days. Jump on it, son!

Luvs, T




Friday, May 03, 2019

STARSLAM 4 is coming!

Hey friends,

The world is going buck wild right now for AVENGERS: ENDGAME. I saw it last weekend before my work shift. It was amazing, of course. I'm glad everyone is mostly digging it out there. I'm more of a DC guy honestly, but they've kind of shit the bed on their movies as of late. Over 22 films they have really built up something unique and wonderful.

Brings me to some thoughts. This year I've been doing comics for 25 years and I have no plans to stop for the moment. I've created characters and worlds for people to dwell in and its been an honor. I have people email and message me often saying that they've re-read this or that story or did a binge of my stuff and really get into the ins and outs of it. I've even had a couple tell me they counted how many times certain characters did this or that in STARSLAM! Wow! Its strange to see people get into what I do with the same zeal and excitement that I do with the stuff I like. Its an incredible feeling.

With these comics, I have built my own worlds. In re-reading STARSLAM, I have created so many characters over three books and a few short story expansions. I already promised a stand alone DEFENDERS OF EARTH comic. I've been working on a sequel to my own PLEASANT LIFE comic during the downtime.

But I am now going to publicly say this:

I miss STARSLAM. I wonder what she's up to. So much so that a few months ago I pulled out the story idea I had and started working. I am 70 pages into it. Its hard to ignore the pull that character and her world has for me. So I'm happy to say that yes, I am working on "STARSLAM 4" and PLEASANT LIFE 2 at the same time. I hope to release both within the next year!

To tease:




No spoilers. Out of context. Assume nothing. But this new book will be awesome. I'm enjoying the fuck out of drawing it. STARSLAM will rise again. How? That's the fun part!

The future is bright my friends. Onward!

--T

Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Tale of A Tooth

This is a deep writing. Bare with me.

I honestly don't even know how to begin. I just have the feels tonight and I want to let it out somehow. I guess it started with my oldest son, Cody. He grew up with his mother, two.. sometimes four hours away from where I was living. While I did see him when I could, I missed out on a lot of the little things. He seems okay about it today. He's in college up at Michigan Tech making his dreams a reality. I really regret that I couldn't be there for the little things, but it was the nature of the situation we were in. So it goes.

I have two more children, Scott and James. When their mother and I divorced, Scott was five. James was one. Scott may remember, but James will never remember what it was like to have me around everyday.

In the beginning I was there always. Now, I am only there on weekends. Our weekends together consist of mostly play and me trying to squeeze in housework and my other job's needs around it. Sometimes the regular day job calls me away and I have to work, missing one of the precious few days I get to see them in a month. I wish I could do more. But I work so much. 40 hours and overtime. Plus the second job. And lately, I'm having to do even more work and time on the jobs to make ends meet. It will be like that for a while. I've tried to prepare myself mentally for the days where I might have to work instead of being home with them.

Again, I miss out. So it goes.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining about having a good job and a great fanbase that supports my work so that I can continue to make art and use my actual degree and lifelong training to draw and make worlds and art for people to enjoy. But I have to work double hard to make ends meet for my home and for my kids. And in that, when the little things come, they come out of nowhere and I have to pause and look. Usually its already passed me by. Scott would be talking and I would look into his mouth. There is a tooth missing. He'd be like "oh yeah! I lost a tooth!" And I'm on the floor sobbing. I miss so much.

I never have been there for any of my kids to loose a tooth. (Note: After I just typed that last sentence, I had to stop and cry for a bit. Its now ten minutes later as I finish.) And that is where the anger and the pain of separation from my kids comes in. All these little things most parents take for granted, I miss out on. By design, it is so. Over time, I've slowly learned to accept that. It is what it is. I miss every milestone that comes. They arrive and look older. They speak better, write better. I stay the same. So it goes.

You know the worst phrase I hear in my life? "Goodbye dad, I love you. See you next weekend." Its like a fucking knife, every time I hear it. Every time.

This weekend my youngest son James came to me and said, "I lost a tooth!" His first tooth. I of course am now biting my lip not to cry again. Just let it go. Just let it go. Bury it for now, deal with it later. Get alone after the weekend and cry it out. Talk it out. Write it out. Scream it out. Just get through it. Because this is just the way it is.

But this time was different...

James had a second tooth that was loose. I got kind of excited about it. Maybe, he might lose it this weekend! Nah, won't happen on my watch. I'm not that lucky.

Tonight, his tooth came out. His second baby tooth that was in every picture I took when he was young. He was happy to be rid of it but worried that the tooth fairy might not find him at daddy's house. I assured him that she likely would and I would put it in a plastic baggie to keep it safe for her. I wrote on a note inside: JAMES TOOTH. 9-14-19. Its in my lock box now. I'm keeping it forever. After all this time, I finally earned a moment. I earned a tooth.

When you are the father of kids who live in a separated home, its a tough battle. You feel like you have a lot to explain for. You have major obligations. You cannot afford time to feel or remember. You just have to keep going. Ignore that empty baby seat in the back of your car. Fold their clothes and put them away in quiet. Don't let the pain and loneliness trickle down to them. Its your cross to bare. Get them groceries, things to do and make plans for the coming weekend. Keep hoping you will actually get the day off with them and the sun will come out so you can walk outside or go to the park. Watch the other mommies and daddies together there as you stick out as a single parent there with your boys. Just be there. Hope for one day in the future that you can truly be there for them in a way you know how and that the pain is long gone. Hope for the days when it doesn't even matter anymore. You did your job and you will continue to be the rock for them. Keep trying to turn them on to things you like. Maybe the seeds you plant will grow? Who knows.

So much to do and get through. Tough times ahead. But the one thing I know right now is that I got a tooth. James said the tooth fairy brought him one dollar for his tooth at his house. At daddy's house tonight, the fairy left two.

--T

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Hey friends! I got some big news...


I finally have a place to celebrate my 25th year doing comics and its a really special one. I will be a guest at the FANTASTICON in my hometown of Mt. Pleasant, MI on Oct 19-20th! I'm actually making a weekend of it by going in early and checking out my old stomping grounds for a bit. I am really excited about the show. I can think of no better place to celebrate what has been a long and very rewarding run at doing indie comics. I am HOPING to have Pleasant Life 2 there but its not looking likely as I have many things in front of it. (Pleasant Life takes place in my home town!) We have a few months before that comes along and so much to do before then. I'm sure I will whip up something by then. 
 
I do have feelers out for something smaller and more local to Lansing in May possibly, but I haven't confirmed it yet. We shall see what happens. All I do is chase the whimsies and see what I can do.
This week will be a busy one. I got about six commissions to finish and I gotta get ahead on some artworking for Patreon and the big project. Plus I gotta finalize LATE NIGHT SHORTS, which is still on Kickstarter until April 20th. Check that out right here:

 
Thanks for reading. And if you are in the mid-Michigan area in October, consider coming out and celebrating with me! 
 
Cheers, T