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“The Game is Afoot!” Limited Edition Print

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

gamesafoot_bigClicky to embiggen…

It’s here! Debuting this weekend at C2E2 in Chicago, my new limited edition print: “The Game is Afoot!”

Sherlock Holmes is one of literature’s greatest characters, and holds the Guinness World Book of Records title of “most portrayed literary human character in film & TV”, having been depicted onscreen 254 plus times by over different 75 actors. This limited edition print caricatures a selection of eight of the most recognizable of these portrayals, spanning over 90 years of Holmes on the big and small screens.

I did a lot of thinking as to which of the many portrayals of Holmes I wanted to include in this artwork. I had a few criteria that I felt was important to impose on any choices:

  1. Had to be representative of a particular decade (or two)
  2. Had to be of a recognizable and famous actor outside their Holmes role, OR
  3. Someone who was a ‘definitive’ Holmes if famous mainly for that role
  4. Someone whose portrayal or the show/movie they did it in I didn’t personally hate

In light of those criteria, I came up with the following eight Holmeses:

  • John Barrymore (1920s)- Arguably the first “big budget” portrayal of Holmes in commercial film, Barrymore was a high profile silent film actor cast as the Great Detective in the 1922 silent film “Sherlock Holmes”. He had to be the first in my lineup.
  • Basil Rathbone (1930s-40s)- For many the definitive Holmes in film, Rathbone was also an accomplished actor in swashbuckler films where he often played the villain. Still, he’s probably best know for playing Sherlock in 14 Holmes films from 1939-1946… including some rather bizarre ones set in more modern times (meaning the 1940s), but a couple of Victorian era pieces. I consider him physically to be the closest to the Conan Doyle character and Sidney Paget‘s original illustrated depictions.
  • Peter Cushing (1950s-60s)- Cushing was a very high profile actor as well, and his portrayal of Holmes in the 1959 film “The Hound of the Baskervilles” is notable for being the first Holmes film in color. He was also cast as the Great Detective in a BBC series in 1968 (actually he took over the role from Douglas Wilmer). Plus he was Grand Moff Tarkin in “Star Wars”… it doesn’t get any bigger than that!
  • Christopher Plummer (1970s)- Plummer was another famous actor from many roles, and played Holmes in the 1979 film “Murder by Decree”. I chose him for the 1970′s decade because he’s got so many notable roles outside Holmes including “The Sound of Music” and “The Thornbirds”, plus the man has won a Oscar, two Emmys, two Tonys and a ton of other awards.
  • Michael Caine (1980s)- This will doubtless be the most controversial of my choices. Caine is famous for countless film roles and played a comedic Holmes in the 1988 film “Without a Clue” opposite Ben Kingsley as Watson. It’s controversial because it’s the one non-serious Holmes in this group, and many Sherlockians hate the spoofs. I like spoofs (obviously) and I wanted at least one goofy Holmes in the group… and this is my favorite of that genre.
  • Jeremy Brett (1990s)- Brett played other roles, but for many he is the definitive Sherlock Holmes in all of media adaption. It is hard to argue with that—he was brilliant in the Granada TV series which ran from 1984-1994, even though his health problems and some weird scripts in the later episodes didn’t end the show in the best way.
  • Robert Downey Jr (2000s).- I’m not a really big fan of his casting as the Great Detective in the big-budget films “Sherlock Holmes” (2009) and “A Game of Shadows” (2011), but I did enjoy the movies as fun action flicks. I didn’t mind the playing up of the physical aspects of Holmes so much as I thought casting a Holmes who is almost a head SHORTER than Watson was ridiculous. Plus Downey Jr. seems to play one character these days… his Homes was Tony Stark with an English accent. Still, this one had to be in there.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch (2010s)- The one non-Victorian era portrayal of Holmes in my group, Cumberbatch is so good in the role and the updated version is so clever and well done, there was no question I had to end the lineup with him from the “Sherlock” BBC series, 2009 to present.

I am sure many will be unhappy I didn’t include their favorite Sherlock in the print, but I had to limit them somehow and I thought eight to be a good number. Those that almost, but didn’t quite, make the cut were Nicol Williamson from “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution”, Douglas Wilmer from the 60′s TV series and John Neville from “A Study in Terror”. These shows were all pretty good but the actors aren’t really recognizable other than as Homes. I know other very recognizable actors have portrayed Holmes at one time or another, like Christopher Lee, Charlton Heston, Peter O’Toole, Peter Cook, Roger Moore, John Cleese (sort of), George C. Scott (sort of) and others, but I felt their portrayals to be minor and not very notable in and of themselves… mostly noted because of the actor’s themselves and not their portrayal of Sherlock. I also didn’t consider Nicholas Rowe from “Young Sherlock Holmes” just because I don’t think much of that movie and a didn’t want to do a kid in the group. Finally, I didn’t include Jonny Lee Miller from the recent updated Holmes TV show “Elementary” because that show SUCKS big time.

The little background elements are things from different stories in the Holmes canon. If you don’t know what they are, get busy reading the original stories!

So, I know what you are all thinking… how much will one of these prints set me back? Well, here you go:

“The Game is Afoot” Limited Edition Print

  • 450 signed and numbered prints
  • 11″ x 24″, elegant matte finish professional print
  • Only $25.00 (cheap) plus shipping

Now, if you REALLY have a lot of dough burning a hole in your pocket, you could splurge and get one of only eight Special Editions, with include not just one of the prints, but the original inked artwork of one of the Sherlock Holmes caricatures, like this one:

Downey_org11″ x 17″ original inked artwork included with Special Edition Print!

“The Game is Afoot” Special Edition Print

  • 8 signed and numbered prints, designated “Special Edition”
  • 11″ x 24″, elegant matte finish professional print
  • One of the eight pieces of original inked artwork of the caricatures of Sherlock! 11″ x 17″ pen/brush and ink
  • Only $125.00 (not-so-cheap) plus shipping

Studio Store

Here’s a gallery of the different Holmes caricatures from the print:

More Sakai Benefit Auction Items!

Friday, April 11th, 2014

The Comic Art Professional Society has added their weekly fresh items to their ongoing auction benefiting the Sakai family. As usual they have a mix of fun fan art and mind-boggling work from well-known comics pros. This week’s update includes originals from Paul Chadwick, Richard Corben, Lar deSouza, Jan Duursema, Troy Nixey, Paolo Rivera, Dean Yeagle and a whole lot more. Worthy cause, great original art available, win win for all involved.

Sakai Benefit Auction Going MAD!

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Jack Davis!

The Comic Art Professional Society‘s auction to benefit Stan and Sharon Sakai took a real MAD turn with their latest batch of listings. Included are originals from MAD legends  Jack Davis (see above) and Al Jaffee (see below).

$_57-1Sergio had a fantastic piece up earlier but that auction must have ended as it’s gone. There are lots of other great pieces up for auction for a very worthy cause. New pieces are added every Thursday or Friday.

Visit Me at C2E2 in Chicago!

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014


Later this month I will be in Chicago for the big C2E2 Comic Expo at the McCormick Place event center. The show dates are April 25-27th, and I will be at table #P-17 in Artist’s Alley. As I understand this is sort of an unofficial DC Comics area, so I will be sitting with a bunch of real comics artists trying desperately to look like I belong there.

What will I be doing? I will have a big stack of original MAD artwork and sketches available for sale as well as copies of my book. I’ll also be debuting my 2014 limited edition print entitled “The Game is Afoot!” (I’ll leave you to figure out the subject matter) and will be doing sketches and caricatures on demand. I’ll also be existing solely on protein bars and Monster Lo-carb.

So, come by and say hello if you will be at C2E2!

Doctor Who Print Almost Gone!

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

The 11 Doctors!Clicky to embiggen…

Have you been procrastinating on buying your copy of my print “The Doctor Is In?” Well, you might be too late. As of this morning I have exactly 3 prints left, with or without the 12th doctor option where I draw Peter Capaldi on the side. Whenever I do one of these “only X number left” posts, I tend to sell those X number immediately, so even as your read this they might be gone.

Doctor No. 12 hand drawn in!Clicky to embiggen…

If you missed out, my apologies. Buck up, though! I will be debuting a brand new print this spring and it will of course be available in the Studio Store.

Disclaimer: This is NOT an April Fools joke.

The New NCS Website and More!

Friday, March 28th, 2014

NCS Website

I just wanted to say a few more things about the fantastic new National Cartoonists Society website that just went live in the wee hours this morning. The design and programming were done by the very talented Joe McGarry, and alone with the new look comes a lot of news about the NCS and it’s continuing foray into cyberspace.

New Design- The look and feel of the new site is really terrific, and Joe deserves a huge congratulations for his vision and hard work. Little touches like the dynamic sizing of the full-width windows, the “word balloon” inserted teaser and link in the slideshow, the responsive changing of the cartoon character “saying” our most recent tweet with each visit/refresh… those are really fun, cool features.

Smartphone/Tablet Friendly- The new NCS website changes dynamically to be optimized for smartphones and tablet. Open the website on your favorite device and see what we mean!

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter- The NCS has quietly had Facebook, Instragram and Twitter accounts, but the website now has the latest content therein front and center, with links to follow us on the upper right of each page.

Video Channel- This project has been in the works for some time, and it’s officially announced with the new website release. In conjunction with the National Cartoonists Society Foundation, the NCS is launching what will be called the “NCS Master Series”, an ongoing series of documentaries profiling the greatest names in cartooning made freely available online. The first one is in the final editing phase, and should be available in the next few months, followed by many others already in the works. Once again, these will be available free to members and non-members alike.

Other cool stuff- We have other technological fun coming soon, including an NCS app!

So, check in with the NCS website often for lots of news and features!

More Auction Items for the Sakais

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

I should have mentioned Friday that a new batch of original art and other goodies got posted on the benefit auction for the Sakai family last week. Every Thursday they add new items, so if nothing strikes your fancy check back every week. The new batch includes some pretty awesome originals from the likes of Bruce Timm, Eddie Campbell, Dave Berg (an original “The Lighter Side of…”), Sergio, and lots more. My piece is not up for auction yet but I will let everybody know when it is.

Go. Bid. Now. Help the Sakais.


New Jack Davis Album Cover Art!

Friday, March 14th, 2014


Remember back in August some idiot started a rumor online that MAD Magazine legend Jack Davis had passed away? Well, not only is Jack happily still among the living, the guy is still doing work! The image above is his art for the cover of a new Sex Clark Five CD!

I know what you are thinking… they still make CDs?

Well they DO, smartass. According to the press release this is Jack’s first album cover art in 24 years, and back then they still made ALBUMS. It appears the people behind the band understand the significance of having Jack Davis do your album cover art:

From their press release:

The legendary visual artist who created the front cover art for this project, the great Jack Davis, happens to be one of the best in the business. His monster caricatures are without equal.  He was a founding artist of Mad magazine and has inspired practically anyone who has ever picked up a pencil to draw a cartoon during the last 60-plus years.  His movie posters, record covers, advertising art and designs are visually ingrained in pop culture.

So how do you get your hands on a copy? Well, that’s not easy. You have to make a substantial pledge on a fundraising drive for a radio show while the broadcast is live. The show airs from 9pm to Midnight (EDT) tonight. It’s kind of confusing because the actual pledge page says nothing about a CD, but here’s a link with more info.

I just think it’s pretty cool to see an album CD cover with Jack Davis art on it again.

Minnesota SpringCon May 17-18th

Friday, March 14th, 2014


I have been remiss in not promoting the wonderful SpringCon Comic Book “Celebration” taking place this year on May 17th and 18th in St. Paul, MN. I’ll be there, along with 250 comics creators, lots of dealers, panels and other fun stuff. For those who lament the comics conventions of today are much more about movies and other media than actual comics, this one has a truly classic feel like the cons of old. Plus, Minnesotans are so glad the %*&$^# winter is over by then that we are all unusually cheerful and fun to be around.

This volunteer group has been putting on Minnesota SpringCon and/or FallCon for 25 years now, and is suddenly competing with a Wizard World Con that not only is coming to the same market but (oddly enough) also chose a date only two weeks from the MCBA’s event dates. If you want to go to the Wizard World Con then by all means do so, but not at the expense of missing this one. If you love comics and have any interest in supporting the local industry, don’t miss SpringCon!

Visit www.midwestcomicbook.com for more information!

New Stuff in the Studio Store!

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Buy Buscemi

We interrupt the sharing of potentially useful or entertaining content on this blog for some shameless huckstering!

This past weekend I added a bunch of original art for sale in The Studio Store. Included are some not so cheap original pages from MAD, but also a few relatively cheap sketches. Well… okay… it’s ALL overpriced but that goes without saying.

The MAD pages are from the parody of “The Avengers”, and this pencil drawing that was then digitally colored for the “MAD 20″ piece “Abysmal House”:

Among those sketches for sale are both my recent “sketch o’the week” drawings of:

John Hurt

Peter Capaldi

Meryl Streep

And a few more. If you don’t find anything you like, don’t fret. I’ll be adding originals to the Studio Store regularly. I’m trading one college kid’s tuition for another one this fall…



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