Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Tony Salmons, circa 1982.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


The PULPHOPE blog is one year old this week, hard to believe but true.

I still haven't thought of a better word for these things other than "blog". Blog-- an ugly, truncated word, a contraction, something sounding like the burp of a frog or the bursting of a tar bubble. Is it an onomonopea? Is this what it sounds like to blog?

Blogging to me sounds like quiet clicking in a dark, lonely room.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007



Franco Grignani (Italian, 1908-1999)

"Experimental work in structural tensions." 

Thursday, November 8, 2007


One of the nicest suprises I discovered in Amsterdam recently is a daily Dutch cartoon strip called "Nicky Saxx", written by Willem Ritstier, and illustrated by Minck Oosterveer. This strip appears daily in De Telegraaf, Holland's largest newspaper, something like a cross between USA Today (splashy color covers, large sports/entertainment section with a lean toward the lurid) and the New York Times (world events/business news/editorials). I kept tearsheets of the Saxx strip for the days I was there, and regretted that I couldn't find it on weekends.

De Telegraaf runs their cartoon strips in a rather large format in the first folio-- about 7 inches wide, which is notably large by most American daily cartoon standards. Most of the Dutch dailies are woefully mediocre, featuring the usual laconic, big bagette-footed blobs with half-lidded eyes, all of them "C" level graduates of the lazy post-Garfield school of cartoon humor. Garfield itself can be found there too, as a matter of fact, like some undying dead horse of a joke. I have to admit, I'll never understand the ongoing European popular fascination with Garfield. If you ever do a book signing in Europe involving children, you'll invariably wind up drawing Garfield and/or the slobbering dog. Montezuma has his revenge, and I guess Jim Davis does too. He must be out on the course right now, swinging his nine irons, laughing and laughing.

Ritstier and Oosterveer's sexy, leggy adventurer Nicky Saxx stands out amongst her daily running mates, towers over them infact. While the others are looking into empty dog dishes and blandly warbling to other bagette-footed blobs, Nicky Saxx is dodging bullets, jumping between moving motorcycles, wrestling sharks, piloting yachts and sipping dry champagne. A true adventure strip in the Modesty Blaise/Cap'n Easy tradition, I can't believe I've never heard of her before. In Oosterveer's work, there is a sense of the characteristically tight inking we see in other Dutch cartoonists, such as Joost Swarte and Dick Mategna, yet the subtle abandon in Oosterveer's brush gives his drawings a slightly more international feel. His art is like a suprising blend of the Italian cartoonist Magnus (whom Americans will remember for the erotic strip Necron), and France's Jean-Claude Forrest (Barbarella). His panel compositions are excellent, the story is communicated briefly and with force. His work is brushy and a bit simple, perfectly suited for daily adventures.

Oosterveer writes of Nicky Saxx on his personal website:

"The Nicky Saxx strip has been running for some years now as a daily in Holland's largest-selling newspaper, "De Telegraaf". Nicky and her friend, Elsa Steiner, are globe-trotting adventurers with a taste for danger, hiring themselves out as troubleshooters and investigators of the paranormal via their organisation, Room 666, which is located in a disused lighthouse on the East Coast of America. Aided by computer expert and technical wizard, Ben Folds, the duo specialise in helping all those people the conventional law-enforcement bodies cannot assist."

I enthusiastically recommend Oosterveer's work to people interested in good European cartooning.


A religious fanatic goes overseas to fight for his God and then returns home to attempt a bloody act of terrorism. As Britons celebrate the capture of Guy Fawkes, a Catholic jihadist who attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605, they might reflect how dismally modern the Gunpowder Plot and Europe's wars of religion now seem in 2007.

Back in the 20th century, most Western politicans and intellectuals (and even some clerics) assumed religion was becoming marginal to public life; faith was largely treated as an irrelevance in foreign policy. Symptomatically, State Department diaries ignored Muslim holidays until the 1990s. In the 21st century, by contrast, religion is playing a central role. From Nigeria to Sri Lanka, from Chechnya to Bagdad, people are being slain in God's name; and money and volunteers are pouring into these religions. Once again, one of the world's great religions has a bloody divide (this time it is Sunnis and Shias, not Catholics and Protestants). And once again, zealotry seems all too relevant to foreign policy.

It does not stop there. Outside Western Europe, religion has forced itself dramatically into the public square. In 1960 John Kennedy pleaded with Americans to treat his Catholicism as irrelevant; now a born-again Christian sits in the White House and his most likely Democrat replacement wants voters to know she prays. An Islamist party rules once-secular Turkey; Hindu nationalists may return to power in India's next election; even more children in Israel and Palestine are attending religious schools that tell them that God granted them the whole Holy Land. On present trends, China, the world's largest Communist dictatorship, will also become the world's largest Christian country-- and perhaps the largest Muslim one too. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, not usually a reliable authority on current affairs, got it right in an open letter to George Bush: "Whether we like it or not," he wrote, "the world is gravitating toward faith in the Almightly."

How frightening is this prospect? The idea that religion has "re-emerged" in pubic life is to some extent an illusion. It never really went away-- certainly not to the extend that French politicans and American college professors imagined. Its new power is mostly the consequence of two changes. The first is the failure of secular creeds; religion's political comeback began in the 1970s, when faith in government everywhere was crumbling. Second, although some theocracies survive in the Islamic world, religion has returned to the stage as a much more democratic, individualistic affair; a bottom-up marketing success, suprisingly in tune with globalisation. Secularism was not as modern as many intellectuals hoped, but pluralism is. Free up religion and ardent believers and ardent atheists both do well.

From a classical liberal point of view, this multiplicity of sects is a good thing. Freedom of conscience is an axiom of liberal thought. If man is, after all, a theotropic beast, inclined to believe in a hereafter, it is surely better that he choses his own faith, rather than follow one his government orders. But this also makes religion a politically difficult force to deal with. In domestic policy, adults who choose to become Pentecostals, Orthodox Jews or Muslim fundamentalists are far less likely to forget those beliefs when it comes to the ballot box. The "culture wars" that America has grown used to may become a global phenomenon. We can expect fierce battles over science, in particular.

Abroad, yes, there is a chance of a full-blown war of religion between states. A conflagration between Iran and Israel would, alas, be seen as a faith-based conflict by millions; so would a war between India and Pakistan. But compared with Guy Fawkes's time, when wars sprang from monarchs throwing their military might at other monarchs of different faiths, religious conflict today is the result as much of popular will as of state sponsorship: it is bottom-up, driven by volunteers not conscripts, their activities blessed by rogue preachers not popes, their fury mostly directed at apostates, not competing civilisations. Ironically, America, the model for much choice-based religion, has often seemed stuck in the secular era, declaring war on state-sponsored terror, only to discover the main weapon of militant Islamism is often the ballot box.

-From "The New Wars Of Religion," lead story in the Nov. 3rd edition of The Economist.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007


Thanks to Stebbi at Armchair for the photo.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007


I just finished another large limited edition 12 color silkscreen for Italian clothing company Diesel Industries, which will be on display at their new Hollywood store on Melrose Avenue, along with a showcase of my book Pulphope. The screenprints will be exclusively on display for about a month, starting Thursday Oct. 18th. We'll be framing the various process prints from the edition as well, demonstrating how the various layers of color are placed one on top of the other in order to arrive at a final image. This Pulphope installation is Diesel's big fashion week event for the fall season, and also the first big event they've done at the Hollywood store, outside of the opening party. The final screenprint is 30x35 inches, printed on archival paper. I'm also doing a smaller full color print which will be an exclusive gift to anyone purchasing one of the new line of designer time frames at the Diesel Hollywood store. It's been a lot of work, but worth it.

A small number of the silkscreen prints will also be available online through my art dealer, The Beguiling. The Beguiling also has a brand-new shipment of original art from me, at a wide range of prices.

See the entire list here.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


The other day, while putting on an overcoat, I tried to imagine this coat to be made of meat (veal, to be precise). I was very pleased about the old powers of imagination, about the way I could feel the wetcoldsoft disgusting edible collar around my neck. Two weeks later I saw a photograph of a girl in a meat coat in an Amsterdam shop window.

Commercial imagination is communal, not personal.

A person's imagination is not commercial.

--Heinz Edelmann, from Graphic Designers in Europe No. 4. Universe Books, 1973, New York.

Monday, September 24, 2007


The paired words "black and white" express an infinite richness in aesthetic, artistic and symbollic terms.
In illustration, they immediately evoke engraving and the paired concepts dropout/relief, in photography negative/positive, in printing ink/paper, as well as empty and full, shadow and light.
The white surface of the paper is empty until a line or a point brings it to life. Then the emptiness becomes white and light in contrast to the black. In drawing, the artist eliminates the light the way a sculptor cuts away the unwanted parts of a block of stone. Emptiness and fullness, like black and white, are ambivalent.
The artist is a demiurge whose hand makes reality emerge from abstraction, organizes the space of a piece of paper and gives it meaning. The line becomes a sign, a form of communication.

--Rejane Bargiel, from RENE GRUAU-- The Art Of Advertising, Le Cherche Midi Editeur, 1999.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Once Upon A Time In The West.

A memory-sketch of the scene where Chyenne bursts into the stable/bar to find Mr. Harmonica licking his wounds in the corner. Harmonica plays his morbid tune while the lantern waves on its wire.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


The ten year period that, as if reluctant to die outmoded in its bed, leaped to a spectacular death in October, 1929, began about the time of the May Day riots in 1919. When the police rode down the demobilized country boys gaping at the orators in Madison Square, it was a sort of measure bound to alienate the more intelligent young men from the prevailing order. We didn't remember anything about the Bill of Rights until Mencken began plugging it, but we did know that such tyranny belonged in the jittery little countries of South Europe. If goose-livered businessmen had this effect on the government, then maybe we had gone to war for J.P. Morgan's loans afterall.

But, because we were tired of Great Causes, there was no more than a short outbreak of moral indignation, typified by Dos Passos' book, Three Soliders. Presently we began to have slices of the national cake and our idealism only flared up when the newspapers made melodrama out of stories such as Harding and the Ohio Gang or Sacco and Vanzetti. The events of 1919 left us cynical rather than revolutionary, in spite of the fact that now we are all rummaging around in our trunks wondering where in the hell we left the liberty cap-- "I KNOW I had it..."-- and the moujik blouse.

It was characteristic of the Jazz Age that it had no interest in politics at all.

--F. Scott Fitgerald, from Echoes Of The Jazz Age (Nov. 1931), from his book, THE CRACK-UP.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


A recent Ranxerox ramp-up, drawn while on the tail-end of Batman Year 100.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Pablo Picasso's preserved child drawings are now housed at the Musee Picasso in Barcelona, and are available for view upon appointment. Above is one he did in 1893 (aged 12), which we could arguably classify as yet another example of "proto-comics".

In this picture, as Natasha Staller points of in her book A SUM OF DESTRUCTIONS, the young Picasso made a series of sequential images-- his version of a then-popular comic-strip-like format known as an 'aleluya'. The drawing dramatizes the cutting in two of a lion's body, and demonstrates how the act of drawing could fragment and alter objects protrayed.

The bottom-half of the page features a scene depicting a religious procession, with 'imagenes' of a Christ and Virgin. Above this, in this seemingly-unreated sequence moving backwards, right to left, bottom to top-- a hero pulls open a drawer, only to be terrified by an enormous lion's head popping out of the second image. He retaliates in the third, by slicing the lion (as a bowler-hatted gent in the top area pisses obliviously into a corner). In the next sketch, the lion tumbles downward as it splits in two, the front and back halves apparently still alive. In the last, the formerly threatening lion's body parts are reduced to rugs-- to trophies-- upon which women dance, as the hero lords over the scene. Pablo numbered only two of the scenes, the last two of mastery and triumph, with a giant 5 over the hero's head. ('Aleluyas' --like comic strips-- themselves are divided: many parts, taken together, comprising a whole).

--A SUM OF DESTRUCTIONS: PICASSO'S CULTURES & THE CREATION OF CUBISM, by Natasha Staller, Yale University Press, 2001.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


"We were on sabbatical, except the kids, who went to the local school and got a splendid education and a Cockney accent. We lived in a drab old North London borough called Islington, long rows of high houses like dirty toffees all stuck together staring at the row of dirty toffees opposite. By the time we left, we found these street very beautiful, and inhaled the exhaust gas of a double-decker red London bus deeply, like sea air. This was essentially a result of the kindliness of the English (including Pakistani Indian Greek Italian, etc.) among whom we lived in Islington. It was the Spirit we were breathing in. London air causes causes asthma in many, but it is worth it. The English are slightly more civilized than anyone else has yet been. Also England is a good country for introverts; they have a place in society for the introvert, which the United States does not. In fact there is a place in London for everything; you can find what you want there, from organized diobolical perversity a la Baron Charlus, to the kinds of lollipops that change color as you proceed inwards...

You know, London buses have 2 storeys with a sort of half-circular staircase, smoking allowed on the top deck-- in winter, between Woodbines & Bronchitis, it's like an advanced T.B. Ward crossed with a Sauna Bath on fire, all lurching through dark Dickensian alleys jammed with Minicars and Miniskirts. Well, you never get up these stairs before the bus plunges off again, so the conductor/tress shouts, 'Eol pridi daeneow!' or 'Eoldon toit luv!'-- or, if West Indian, sings out in a picaresque native dialect (English), 'Hold on pretty tight now!' And if you don't, you've had it. There's no door."

--Ursula Le Guin, from a 1968 letter to Harlan Ellison, as quoted in Ellison's introduction to her story "The Word For World Is Forest", from his anthology of science fiction stories, AGAIN DANGEROUS VISIONS. Doubleday & Co., 1972. He calls her, "the most elegant writer in the science fiction world."

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


George Lucas' hit movie Star Wars came out that year (1977). The film was shocking to me, for all the similarities between it and my father's book, Dune. Both featured an evil galactic empire, a desolate desert planet, hooded natives, strong religious elements, and a messianic hero with an aged mentor. Star Wars' Princess Leah had a name with a haunting similarity to Dune's Lady Alia of the noble house Atreides. The movie also had spice mines and a Dune Sea.

I phoned my father and said, "You better see it. The similarities are unbelievable."

When Dad saw the movie, he picked out sixteen points of what he called "absolute identity" between his book and the movie, enough to make him livid. He thought he saw the ideas of other science ficiton writers on the screen as well, including those of Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Ted Sturgeon, Barry Malzberg, and Jerry Pournelle.

Still, Frank Herbert tried to be upbeat. He and the other science fiction writers who thought they saw their work in Lucas' movie formed a loose organization that my father called, with his tongue firmly placed in his cheek, the We're Too Big To Sue George Lucas Society. Through humor, dad tried to mask the pain.

--Brian Herbert, from his biography of Frank Herbert, "Dreamer Of Dune".

Monday, August 6, 2007


Lee Hazlewood, a singer and songwriter best known for writing and producing "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" for Nancy Sinatra, has died. He was 78.

Barton Lee Hazlewood died at his home in Henderson of kidney cancer on Saturday evening, the Clark County coroner's office said.

Hazlewood was most famous for his work with the daughter of Frank Sinatra, including writing and producing such hits as "Sugartown" and "Some Velvet Morning." He also produced "Something Stupid," a duet Nancy recorded with her father in 1967.

He also produced for Duane Eddy and Gram Parsons, and performed on a number of solo albums and with Nancy Sinatra in three "Nancy & Lee" albums.

Hazlewood was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2005 and released his final album, "Cake or Death" in 2006.

He was survived by his third wife, Jeane, his son Mark and daughters Debbie and Samantha.

Friday, August 3, 2007


I'm in Hollywood. I'm sitting at a gorgeous old hotel bar where Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart used to drink. I'm sipping a twelve dollar Belevedere/rocks, listening to the bartender tell me about some of the hotel's secrets-- they built a secret table in the back of the place for when couples like Brad and Angelina want to come for a fabulous steak dinner and some quiet candlelight. The place looks like an unused set from Citizen Kane--all faded Spanish castle majesty shot through with WiFi and LED lamps. Outside and down the street, a line forms in the heat. It snakes around the block. It's a line waiting to get into some film premiere. Next to the theater is a wax museum full of life-sized replicas of famous dead movie stars--Elvis, Marilyn, Brando, etc.

Meanwhile, in the back of the hotel, under palm trees and fading afternoon sunlight, nearly naked women swim in the pool while Secret Machines, Interpol, Led Zeppelin, Blondie, and other bands are piped in over the sound system. It feels good. Jose Villarrubia comes over, we drink a drink out there. Something big and alive is twilling and croaking in one of the trees as we pass under it, miniature jungle sounds in a tree in Hollywood. Everything here seems to refer to movies--my hotel room looks like the set for the last two minutes of 2001, but in dark wood, without an illuminated floor. There is a strange glass sphere of a lamp on the table which looks like a prop for some sci-fi film which I can't figure out how to work. It looks like it shouldn't be invented for another ten years or so.

The sun sets. A long ride in the back of somebody's sports car and we're downtown. Good food. One of the guys has a margarita and a big slab of bread pudding for dinner. Later we go up to this guy's loft-- a huge 2000 square foot place, nearly empty except for a couch in front of a huge flatscreen TV and a Wii gamestation. It turns out the guy photographs sex toys for some company, retouches them and assembles the photos for the mail order sex toy catalogue, that's his day job.

I hear a weird story--this guy, two weeks back, he shoots a family portrait for some film producer, for the producer's mom. In the family portrait we get the producer and the wife and the two or three kids-- only problem is, the kids are all full grown and won't/can't come home. One's in Africa, the other one's in wherever. So this film guy gets photos of the kids and has the sex toy photographer superimpose the kids back into the photo, as if they were always there to begin with. Perfect simulation.

"So?" I ask, "Do you tell the old lady?"

"Are you kidding?" he says, annoyed.

So the film producer gets a fake family portrait for his mother, artifically assembled by the guy who shoots pictures of sex toys for a living. The film producer's mother gets the portrait and is pleased to have a picture of her happy family on the wall.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Sam Hiti's take on HR Watson, from THB. I think Sam is one of the best new American cartoonists to emerge in the past few years, when I look at his drawings I get excited--they have what I call "new comics energy".

The last issue of THB to appear in print was in 2003. Since then, I've been steadily working on it in private, without any concern for a publishing format or schedual-- just doing it in the old style, for myself first and foremost, to amuse myself, to make myself happy--as if I were still a kid in my bedroom, drawing after school and on the weekends, which is how any of us begin.

There will be a big announcement later this week at the San Diego Comics Convention, regarding the future of THB. Something exciting.

See more of Sam's work here and here.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


I just found out from Ruben Procopio that the new film SIMPLICITY: THE LIFE AND ART OF ALEX TOTH will be premiering at the San Diego Comic Con this week! If you have the time--and even a slight interest in the history of cartooning, you really MUST see this film.

SIMPLICITY is a great film, certainly one of the best bio-pics about a cartoonist to date. I've had the good fortune of seeing the entire final cut and was completely bowled over by the production and the narrative thread. It is not only an excellent feature on the life of one of comics' greatest artists-- it is an excellent bio-documentary about the life and times of an incredible, influential artist in its own right, and could easily be shown on PBS, A&E, or the History Channel and not seem at all out of place.

I was able to see the final cut because I am in it-- and so is Ruben. We were interviewed along with a handful of other artists, editors, and friends of Toth, including DC Comics' Art Director, Mark Chiarello, as were Toth's four children. Informative, amusing, emotional, stimulating...this is an excellent film. Please catch it if you can.

Here's the news item as it runs on

Simplicity: The Life and Art of Alex Toth Documentary at Comic-con

Just Announced! At this year's San Diego Comic-Con International on Saturday, July 28 @ 3:30-4:30pm see "Simplicity: The Life and Art of Alex Toth".

"Featured for the first time will be the exclusive screening of the documentary Simplicity: The Life and Art of Alex Toth. The documentary will show what made Alex such a unique and beloved artist. Following the screening will be a brief panel discussion featuring the appearance of Mark Chiarello, Ruben Procopio, Toth’s children as well as documentary producers Alex Gray and Jon Mefford. Room 3"

Eric Toth has let us know that in addition to Mark Chiarello, Rubén Procopio and Jon Mefford, he and his Brother Damon will be there representing the Toth Family.

Eric also mentioned, "I have seen a rough cut (of the documentary) and it will be very good".

Sunday, July 15, 2007


HYPE DEPT: A first look at Battling Boy-- this image is being run as a promo card for the big San Diego Comic Con. So if you're going ask for one.

Variously around Battling Boy, we see a bunch of the monsters whose asses he kicks-- Sadisto, the Wolfman, Muckmouth, Rubber Lips, The Grimmick, Egg Man, The War Pig, and maybe a couple others. There are many other monsters in the story--some of the classics, some new ones. They do what monsters always do--steal things, break things, kill people, kidnap children and eat them. Behind them looming on the epic horizon is Battling Boy's dad.

I started scripting this during the last year I was working on Batman Year 100 and began the principal drawing in September 2006, alongside La Bionica, my upcoming book for Dargaud. The bad news is both won't hit til mid-2008 at the soonest.

PULPHOPE should be in stores this week though.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practive resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdy and Spartan-like as to put a rout to all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."

--HD Thoreau, from Walden, 1854

Friday, July 13, 2007


Download the free LVHRD magazine here-- it has an article by me on 3 of my artist/heroes (Tadanori Yokoo, Guido Crepax, and Rene Gruau). MGZN 3 also has the 2 minute animated 100% film trailer embedded in it:


There's also an interview with the inscruitable Mr. Murray Hil.

MGZN amazingly hits half a milion readers worldwide already, and this is the first time the 100% film trailer has ever been shown anywhere--so that's cool. Sometime next week I'll publish the full draft of the article about Yokoo/Crepax/Gruau--it reads well in the magazine, but it did get severely truncated due to space restrictions. The original draft has a lot more information on each artists' life and work.

Hats off to Liz Tan of LVHRD, for the heavy lifting. She's pretty, she's petite, she's tougher than Popeye. And to Lee Lowridge of Xylanol Studios, who's not so petite but he is tougher than Bluto. His team constructed the 100% film using frames from the comic. Lee also did the greytone separations for the 100% graphic novel (which, unlike its "sister" book, Heavy Liquid, is still in print).

LVHRD is a members-only organization based here in NYC, made up of all kinds of people from different creative fields--learn more about them here:

Thursday, July 12, 2007


"Mr. Adams went out swimming the other day into the Potomac, and went near to a boat which was coming down the river. Some rude blackguards were in it, who, not knowing the character of the swimmer, amused themselves with laughing at his bald head as it popped up and down in the water, and, as they drew nearer, threatened to crack open his round pate if he came nigh them. The President of the United States was, I believe, compelled to waive the point of honour and seek a more retired bathing-place."

--RW Emerson, from his journals, May 18th 1828. Emerson was only 23 at the time, visiting Alexandria, Va.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Watching my friend Spangler the other night over drinks at the Pegu Club as something occurred to me. We were talking about stuff and all the while he was checking his new iPhone at casual, periodic intervals. While we were sitting there talking, I could tell he was carrying on at least two other conversations via text. It didn't interrupt our flow of conversation at all, and it didn't strike either of us as particularly rude or inappropriate. In my pocket my own phone was vibrating every few minutes, telling me I had a text or two myself. I knew at least one of them was a text from somebody with an address to a place Spangler and I would be hitting later that night. As we talked, I reached into my pocket and tapped the button on the side of the phone-- it wasn't important to read the address yet, or even to reply to it. It could wait. Looking around the room, I noticed there were various people texting, checking their iPhones or Blackberry screens, looking busy or actually being busy. Some of them were streaming video or watching some moving images of some kind. With the possible exception of the bartenders, and even of that I'm not sure, everyone in the room was wired, floating between worlds, half there and half someplace else.

"Texting" is a new word. A handful of years ago no one "texted", the act didn't exist even if the concept did. People didn't text until they had celphones, and celphones with keypads at that. For most of my life, walls and applicances were "wired" but people weren't (and now they aren't either, they're "wireless"). The only wired person was Frankenstein's monster, and he wasn't even real.

Certainly, one of the best possible forms of human activity is the invention of new words-- creating names to contain new ideas. Words are thought-objects, they frame ideas and give them intellectual girth, they define the boundaries of the conceptual forms we hold in the mind. They provide the framework through which we perceive --and grasp-- reality and consider the possible (this is why it's always seemed to me a compliment when somebody says "you have your head in the clouds"). Since the advent of the computer--and our resultant, gradual, sloppy, ongoing process of morphing into machine-men, the need for building new thought-objects is more crucial than ever. Thanks to our thinking machines, the conceptual edges of what is real and what is possible are constantly blurring. Yet it seems to me there are far more people truncating existing words than there are people inventing new ones.

It's entirely possible Webster's English has become an outmoded technology. Maybe it's become a highly specialized tool required only of communications technicians and educators. Maybe it is grammar's diminishing fate to vanish with the generations of people who actually made a practice of sending handwritten letters to one another. I don't know.

I can't even remember the last time I wrote someone an actual letter on a piece of paper, stuck a stamp on it and placed it in a mailbox. I used to do it all the time. Now the only time I ever write using a pen and paper is when I am scripting something or taking notes toward a script. And the only time I ever write something legibly using pen and paper is when I am lettering a page of comics. It's the only time I ever need to.

Is there a word for that unsettling experience of walking by some street corner you've walked by a thousand times before and noticing the building that was always there had been torn down, replaced by some shiny new thing--and now that the old thing is gone, you realize you can't really remember what was there before? I feel like that's happening around us all the time.


Another early piece which didn't make the final cut for PULPHOPE. With the exception of the kid art, I believe this is the only other work considered which didn't fall into the 1996-2006 timeframe. This is an acrylic painting with photo collage, done in 1992.

Sunday, July 8, 2007


Composed of various tin-type clip art from the Victorian days. The fish-face on top of her head is lifted from a William Blake etching.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


French photographer Cedric Delsaux has a remarkable series of Star Wars inspired photos on his site--see them here.

Saturday, June 30, 2007


We smashed the champaign bottle off the hull of HMS THB:COMICS FROM MARS n.v.1 this morning and sent her on her merry way. And that means it'll be in print for the SDCC show, phew.

Adhouse will have some online for sale after the convention too, for those who can't make it.

All brand new material!


I was walking down Prince Street from the NR train stop the other day, which is always a drag since there are so many people down there, looking in the windows, ambling around like well-heeled extras from Dawn Of The Dead--it's impossible to get across quickly. Over by the Apple store, there were loads of people camped out on stools and little seats, umbrellas and water bottles in hand. They looked a bit like patient refugees waiting for their boat to dock. I figured it must've been some kind of protest or some sort of political campaign--you see that all the time.

Fast-forward--last night I went to a farewell party at The Happy Corp--the place was packed, it felt like a club. The beautiful old brick building where The Happy Corp currently resides is being torn down in order to put up yet another glistening, sterile condo, and that means more slow walkers on Prince Street, more khaki-panted jerks with bad manners who just make you want to leave SoHo. At the party, the Happy Corp's bosses -- Doug and Matt-- both showed me their new phones-- they looked a lot like the usual handheld cel phone, but a little bit larger. There was a little track-ball in the center of the keypad which Doug was caressing with his thumb. "The new iPhone," Doug tells me, and I nod in instant comprehension. I suddenly realized what that line at the Apple store was all about--oh yes, of course. I heard something about this... you're allowed to buy two of them on opening day-- Doug and Matt each had friends picking theirs up for them.

I had a strange sense of seeing a foreign object, realizing I couldn't fully grasp it's significance to my future-self, but knowing one day in the future it would be significant. One day, the iPhone will return to me. One day I would be holding one of my own, never knowing how I ever got along without it before.

Over at the table sits Dean Haspiel, chilling with Heidi MacDonald and JahFurry. Dean and I start talking about Jack Kirby (not the first time). We talk about comics, the glory of them, making them, inventing them, loving them. We talk about science fiction in comics, about Jack Kirby and his particular type of science fiction. "In comics, there's no budget," I hear myself saying, "just your paper and your brush and your imagination."

"Look at all that stuff Kirby came up with, " he says. "Kirby just INVENTED on paper, he didn't bother to build any of it. He already thought of it. It was enough to just think of it -- he was just blueprinting the future..."

"Sometimes I feel like all science is doing now is reverse-engeneering Jack Kirby," I say.

And we sit there in silence a bit. The thought of Jack Kirby's imagination tends to make cartoonists' conversations taper off into quiet introspection. The place was full of people but the noise of Jack Kirby in my head drowned it all out--exploding, psychedelic Kirby visions, weird twisting pipes on Orion's cycle, the chrome curves and jet-exhaust vents on the underbelly of the Fantasticar, Darkseid's Omega Beams, with all their strange, Cubist trajectories, Seriphan and his collapsing Super Cycle, the silent corridors of the Red Ghost's lunar hideaway, High Father's staff, Machine Man's extending arms and dismantleable magenta body parts, his bug-like red eyes, his impassive stare-- the images paraded along an infinite mobius strip of their own, like the marching red ants in the MC Escher print.

"All the iPhone is is a retarded Mother Box," I declare. Dean nods, knowing.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


"More than a decade after the Internet went mainstream, the world's richest information source hasn't necessarily made its users any more informed. A new study from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press shows that Americans, on average, are less able to correctly answer questions about current events than they were in 1989. Citizens who call the Internet their primary news source know slightly less than fans of TV and radio news. Hmmm...maybe a little less Paris Hilton and a little more Jim Lehrer."

--Patrick Di Justo, in the July 2007 issue of WIRED magazine.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Another "rarebit fiend" from my ongoing dream-comic project PSYCHENAUT. When I have 40 or 50 of them completed, they'll be published--there's about 25 now, all real dreams.

One is my earliest dream-memory and there's a few from my teens. One is a sort of freeform essay about lucid dreaming.

Friday, June 15, 2007


Ravi Shankar, circa 1968.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


The PULPHOPE book is in print, I have a copy here in my hand. Chris and I are both still too close to it to be objective, but it's good to see the year and a half we put into it didn't **entirely** go to waste...

Above is a depiction of the cup-wining save from the Zoo-Ball championships, 8973, MMC-26/27... The MVP from the game is Number 71. The original is 19x56, and probably took 30 hours to draw, all told. It will be appearing in the next THB.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Thursday, May 31, 2007


Electrawoman And Dyna-Girl-- oh man, how we loved this show.

The last thing in the world we'd want to do now is sit in front of a TV for hours and hours, hair sticking straight up, eating sugary cereal in nothing but a pair of floppy pyjamas.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Mark Twain learned how to tell a story by listening to verbal masters of the art, around campfires, in wooden huts, and in stores and bars. Then he transformed this knowledge into print. Twain was not, strictly, speaking, a novelist, philosopher, seer, or travel writer, though he was a bit of all of these. Essentially he was a teller of stories-- a teller of genius-- because he was ruthless.

Twain grasped, even as a child, the essential immortality of storytelling. A man telling a tale is not under oath. He must insist, indeed he must insist, that his story is true. But this does not mean that it is true, or that it needs to be. The storyteller's audience may expect him to proclaim his veracity because that is one of the conventions of the art. But what the readers or listeners actually want from him is not verisimilitude or authenticity but entertainment and laughter. They know it, he knows it.

When he says, "What I am going to tell you is strictly true," he is merely pronouncing a formula of the genre like, "Once upon a time." A storyteller is a licensed liar, though he must never say so.

When confronted with Thomas Carlyle's assertion, "The truth will always out at last," Twain replied: "That's because he did not know how to lie properly."

Paul Johnson, from his essay "Mark Twain: How To Tell A Joke" (Published in The Creators, Harper Collins, 2006).

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


The final art for the PULPHOPE tip-in plate-- a 3 color letterpress edition limited to 100 prints. These will be exclusive to the PH hardcover edition. See the Adhouse site for further details, not sure of the actual release dates yet, but we will have copies of PULPHOPE at the MoCCA comics festival in NYC in June.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Berlin-based photographer Michael Hughes is working on a photo-book project called Souvenirs. The pictures are self-explanatory-- and really interesting. See more here.

Friday, May 18, 2007


So we got this house. We got lucky and got this beautiful white house. It was a big old beautiful white farmhouse with twelve rooms that had been built by this old man named Mr. Baylis--Farmer Baylis-- built with his own hands the foundations and the furniture.

The farmhouse was on three or four acres with a beautiful long garden and a tree-lined driveway. He had already gotten very rich by selling bits of his huge farm, first to public school for an elementary school, then to a couple of people for single house dwellings and later a trailer camp. It was just an exquistie house. I loved it so. It was almost hand-crafted-- the paneling inside and the floors, parquet floors, a huge picture window, such a beautiful setting, beautiful trees in the garden. His garden was lovely. Quite inspiring what one man, who worked with his heart, could do.

I lived in the attic of the house and it was one of the most beautiful times anybody could have-- up in the attic, high in the air with beautiful trees, two windows that made a cross-breeze. The attic was cedar wood, and I had a huge-- they called them ship beds-- which he had built himself with thin mattresses, and I had no sheets or pillow slips. I just had a pillow, and I had my guitar and a Marshall fifty-watt amplifier, not huge, but big for your room. It could really blast out. In the room was a big commode with a really nice mirror that he built himself-- he was quite a nice carpenter-- and I sort of trashed that too, and, you know, by the third week the bathrooms didn't work anymore.

Any the guy would come over. I'll never forget the way he would come over. He loved his home. It was as if he felt somehow he was forced to leave his house, even though he was willfully dismembering it for money. It probably no longer made sense for him to live there because he wasn't a farmer anymore and he wasn't young. It was all his wife's doing. She had the most horrible hairdresser. She led this poor old noble bear straight down the lifeless path to the joyless gate. Goodbye sunshine, hello zoo. He probably moved to some ranch style thing, with no stairs, on doctor's advice. He loved his house so much. The house outlasted the man.

He would turn up at the oddest times, as if he were a ghost hanging around the home. And he'd say, "Hey, fellows, would you like some carrots or something I grew?" But we weren't as nice to him as we should have been. Everybody was a bit paranoid because we smoked grass, right, and at that time it was a heavy deal in Michigan. So that was a shame, that grass should get in the way of being nice to him. He never did kick us out of the house, old man farmer Baylis.

Then, shortly after we broke up in 1970, the house was torn down. It's now an expressway-- Eisnenhower Parkway. So there lies his life somehow. The farm is gone, but I was there to bear witness.

"We Got Lucky", by Iggy Pop, from his autobiography, I Need More.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


"Japan is a culture of wrappers, of postcards and books, of concealed jealousies and desires. Layer upon layer to peel through, only to get to more wrappers. As well as creating privacy, this creates a curious mystery. Nothing is spelled out; it must be discovered. There is an unseen drama in the shadows which hide as well as describe. It is important in Japanese to talk around the subject; something is lost in being direct. If the area around the subject is described and defined, then what you have left is the thing intact; not broken down, but as it actually exists..."

--Barbra Esher on Japan, as quoted in The Visionary Pinhole, by Lauren Smith, Peregrine Smith Books, 1985.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I was lucky enough to see Sumo wrestling in Japan when I was there. These are panels from a travel guide for Tokyo I am doing which will appear in GQ magazine-- on stands in July 2007.

Sunday, May 6, 2007


...I overheard a kid say this on the street today.

Friday, May 4, 2007


Apollo 17 Astronauts Eugene Cernan and Jack Schmitt on the Moon, watercolor sketches forming a quasi-cartoon strip by the great space artist Robert McCall, Dec. 1972. McCall was sitting with NASA engineers at the Johnson Space Center, Houston Texas, sketching the event live off the TV monitors in Mission Control.



Hugo Pratt, 1989, from the Italian newspaper Il Messagero, commemorating the 20th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's historic 1969 Moon walk.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


Been fascinated with symmetry lately. This is art for the tip-in bookplate we are doing for the PULPHOPE hardcover. The final image will be a 3 color letterpress print, orchestrated through Secret Headquarters in LA. I'll be doing a separate, larger letter press print this summer for SHQ as well.

The image is a conscious nod to The Push-Pin group, designers who had a tremendous influence on virtually every graphic artist and art movement from the 1950s onward. They produced a souvenier booklet for impressarior Florenz Ziegfeld which included lots of radio-age photos, matchbooks, ticket stubs, and other memorabelia from a bygone era, lovely nostalgic stuff lost in time. The vibrant resurgance of Art Nouveau which is associated with the '60s youth culture (the paisley patterns, the peacock feathers, the old Victorian type treatments and velvet suits) developed in no small part out of this small handful of artists' aesthetic rejection of the strict rigidity of International Modernism, which they viewed to be a visually limited, inflexible set of design rules unable to express a lot of the ideas they wished to convey. Wherever possible, the Push-Pins favored low-fi printing techniques (including woodcuts, letter pressing, and rubber stamping) and re-appropriated old Victorian typefaces and other pre-WW2 visual cliches (at the time considered horribly out of fashion, virtually unredeemable) for use in their designs.

Milton Glaiser is probably the most famous of the Push-Pin artists, if only for the ubiquitous "I HEART NY" design you see all over the place, from the side of a coffee cup to a decal on the window of a taxicab to a t shirt to a billboard.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


A study of a page composition from Guido Crepax's 1971 book JUSTINE.

Ever since I first saw Crepax, I was attracted/repelled to his style, his subject matter, and page inventions. I puzzled over his work in Heavy Metal magazine, then forgot it, only to return to it years later. I now consider him one of my favorites-- especially his late 60s/early 70s work, when the brushwork was more prevalent and his scratchy croquil lines hadn't overwhelmed the images.

Gradually, as I've struggled more and more to get good at this, and step-by-step moved further into the field, I must admit don't look at or enjoy many comics-- I horde up my favorites and focus on them, my picture family. It is almost as if there is only so much room in your heart for the things you love. Naturally curious, I am open to new material, but that's still the way it is.

As a kid I was visually omnivorous, I read everything and anything I could get my hands on. If it had words and pictures I wanted to see it-- especially anything involving comics or illustrated books-- anything and everything, ranging from Herge's TinTin to John Byrne's run on X Men to Dr. Seuss to Kurtzman's Little Annie Fanny. It's impossible to say if this is normal behavior for most young comics readers, since for me, unlike the other kids I knew who eventually outgrew the passtime, an avid interest became an overriding obsession, and eventually a daily practice.

There could be a million different reasons why a million different people do the same thing.


John Milton (1609-1674) wrote Paradise Lost, long considered one of the great works of English literature. The book was first published in 1667.

Milton came from a middle class family. According to biographer Gordon Teskey, as a youth, Milton routinely studied and churned over homework until midnight. By the time he was college age, Milton was fluent in English, Latin, and Greek, and further had a proficient understanding of Italian, Hebrew, and French. After years of failing eyesight, in 1652, this man who devoted so much of his life to reading and writing became totally blind. In the same year his first wife died, leaving Milton a widower with three daughters, the oldest of whom was not even six. Milton remarried four years later to a woman who died soon after in childbirth, along with the child.

To write Paradise Lost, Milton had to dictate the entire epic poem to a transcriber. In those days, punctuation was more a concern of copyists and printers, and the person doing his dicatation did not know how to use commas, quotation marks, or other tools of grammar, forcing the blind poet to dictate the poem's punctuation as well. The book's first printing was considered a success. The edition sold barely 1300 copies in just under two years.

It is said that to achieve the standard of living an average American enjoys today, a person in 1667 would have required 200 servants.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


It has been demonstrated that the first properly costumed super-villains appeared in French pulp fiction. Decades before Lex Luthor, The Joker, Diabolik, Satanik, Catwoman, Fu Manchu, Doctor Mabuse and all the rest, there was Fantomas, arguably the first costumed super-criminal ever, who terrorized Paris in his monthly magazine appearances. Fantomas' stories were written by Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre, debuting February 1911 to immediate success. Fantomas was a gruesome figure who killed and maimed the good and bad alike. His goal was chaotic, destructive anarchism, and he bled malace with every act. He wasn't above committing petty terrors either-- in one peculiar episode, he places razor blades inside all the shoes in a department store, and puts acid inside the various perfume spray bottles. French film and fiction soon spawned a number of other colorful super-criminals along the same lines, including Belphagor and Irma Vep, eventually offerring a costumed hero called Judex (Latin for "the Judge"), the direct precedent to costumed crimefighters such as The Shadow and Batman.

Jean-Marc and Randy L'Officier have written an excellent book called The Shadowmen, a definative history of French pulp crime fiction, which I would recommend to anyone interested in the topic.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


The Colibri-- a character from my forthcoming book for Dargaud, LA BIONICA.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Wired magazine asked me to do an illustration for them for the June 2007 issue, which I finished last week. They were pretty much open to whatever I wanted to do, so long as the image somehow incorporated the number of the month of publication (June in my case, or the number "6") and the number "15", corresponding to Wired's 15th year of publication. And they wanted this combination of numbers-- "15-06" --to be integral to the image, not tacked on as an afterthought.

When I found out the magazine would likely be featuring the long-anticipated Transformers film on the cover (it's either that or an image corresponding to the other big article from the issue, a feature on rocket science), I proposed doing my own version of the Transformer robots. Now, I love drawing robots. In my case, I imagined a sort of lurid sci-fi pulp paperback version from the 1940s or something, all bug-eyed-monster and paranoid vision. At first, the girl Optimus Alpha is holding was a Jayne Mansfield-type blonde bombshell with a skimpy tin foil bikini, curves galore, and cones-titties, but once she was drawn in pencil, it seemed to make the whole image too macho, too male-power-fantasy-trip. That's fine but not what I wanted for this picture. I think The Transformers are a lttle bit silly, so I wanted something more with a sense of play, of fun, rather than somehting all blown-up and sexy. I went for a more universal teenage girl, something more adolescent and innocent, more like the tone and feeling of my series THB.

There is an extensive history of the original Transformers toys, which grew out of the Microman line of toys in Japan (and which we here is the US knew as The Micronauts), at the microforever website:


Friday, April 13, 2007


"Science fiction writers worry about trends, worry about possible dystopias growing out of the present, and this is a cardinal virtue of the field. Admittedly, there was a time when science and progress were assumed to be identical. If we worry now we have cause to...

Viewpoint and concern in science fiction are a transaction among author, editor, and reader, to which the critic is a spectator. If the reader enjoys what I write, there you have it. If he does not enjoy it, there you have nothing. 'Important' is a rule for another game that I am not playing. I did not begin to read or write SF for reasons dealing with importance. When I sat in highschool geometry class secretly reading a copy of Astounding hidden within a textbook I was not seeking importance. I was seeking, probably, intellectual excitement. Mental stimulation."

Philip K Dick, from a review of The Cybernetic Imagination In Science Fiction, a book published by M.I.T. Press, 1980.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Third round-- The Die-ities are still in, but, man, it's looking pretty rough. Follow the link and vote for your favorites!


Monday, April 9, 2007


The Die-ities have made it to the 2nd Round in the Fist-A-Cuffs Tagteam Tournament. This is gonna be brutal.


Thursday, April 5, 2007


Fist-a-Cuffs is an ingeniously simple art-game invented by my friend Sam Hiti, and it might be the most fun to be had with a piece of paper since Exquisite Corpse.

Check it out here-- for as simple as the game is, it is just too hard to explain in a sentence or two. You'll get the idea when you see for yourself:


Friday, March 30, 2007


Bullet sticker design for the (shrinkwrapped) cover of PULPHOPE. The book legally avoids an "adults only" tag because we made a late-stage editorial decision to remove all images of sexual penetration and depictions of XXX sex acts (there were more than a few). Shrinkwrapping is the most ethical way to deal with the content/community standards issue (the book is NOT for little kids), giving bookstore-owners the power of presentation depending on their own tastes and the different local markets.

Also, because the book's dimentions are almost perfectly square, we thought it'd be cool to have the book presented like the old LPs were, a "graphic album".

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Tadanori Yokoo's curious animated film KISS KISS KISS, from 1964.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


The incredibly life-like "insect portraits" of French artist Bernard Durin (1940-1988) are collected in an edition called BEETLES AND OTHER INSECTS, from Schimer Art Books. Featuring 48 different insects, each color plate is accompanied by a thorough commentary by Gerhard Schere, former Curator of the Zoologische Staatssammlung in Munich. Pub'ed 1998.


Saturday, March 24, 2007


It has become virtually impossible to replentish my stash of Charpak greytone dot-pattern sheets. Sadly, in this day and age, the old analogue dotscreen sheets have increasingly gone the way of the polariod, the compass circle, duotone paper, and other outmoded 20th c. graphic arts tools. Charpak's are the best since the dots are printed on TOP of the sheet, allowing you to scrape off or otherwise remove portions of the print and when done well, you can get a lot of tone and texture out of a uniform greytone pattern. While working in Japan, I purchased literally thousands of these sheets, and have only recently run out.

Now it is a bit absurd to reflect on the hours upon hours of backaching work we used to do to place these dotscreen patterns literally on top of finished drawings, but it was a requirement for almost all of the series Kodansha published. At the time (1995-2000), the only manga to escape this edict was the wildly popular GON, a series about a baby dinosaur and all the strange creatures it encountered in its Pre-historic ramblings.

This test is done over pre-existing line art. I scanned the 10% greytone from a remaining scrap and built a digital dotscreen pattern from an analogue greytone pattern sheet. Purely digital screens are perfectly adequate and good, although a little lacking in warmth I think- a little too uniform. And I hate the filter>>halftone function, never use it (it is an obvious visual gimmick when and wherever you see it used, looks tired, and has been so since circa 1997 or so...).

And so a simple test with the newly built halftone pattern, posted to see how the moire effect works onscreen at this particular resolution (reduced from 400 dpi to 72 dpi)...

Friday, March 23, 2007


I am happy to report that this week, Chris Pitzer and I sent the final edits for PULPHOPE to our printer in Singapore. The book is late and in retrospect, we should've waited to send out advance solicitations, however we sincerely hope the fans and retailers will be more than satisfied with the end results. I can honestly say PULPHOPE is the single most ambitious project I have ever undertaken, and also Adhouse's biggest, longest, and most labor intensive publication to date. Clocking in at nearly 250 pages with an almost square 9.5x10 format, PULPHOPE features page after page of never-before-seen full color artwork, including new comics, samples of my various design and illustration projects, and two large gatefold poster images. There are eight essays, covering a wide body of topics including erotica, science fiction, and child drawings, for a total word count clocking in at just over 30,000 words.

The book is shipping by freighter and it looks like it will likely leave Singapore in late May. Chris and I will have copies of the book for sale at MOCCA in NYC, the San Diego Comic Con (where I will be a feature guest this year, doing a signing with James Jean for his new PROCESS/RECESS book, also from Adhouse Books), and at TCAF in Toronto. Adhouse Books will also be at the Heroes Con show in Charolette NC. We are in the early stages of planning a sensational book release party for the week of MOCCA in NYC, and it will hopefully be something to top the legendary Batman/X Men release party John Cassaday and I threw last year.

The book has been a labor of love and a deep passion of mine for well over a year of creative work. We've put a lot of time and energy into this production, and we went through ten drafts before arriving at the final edit for the book. This is a true graphic album, unlike any other cartoonist's art book out there today. My big inspiration for PULPHOPE is the 1977 release of THE COMPLETE TADANORI YOKOO, an exhuberant catalogue of works by my artist-hero, Tadanori Yokoo. PULPHOPE includes an essay about Yokoo and the legacy of the traditional Japanese woodblock print, as well as over a dozen of my own contemporary Ukiyo-E inspired images, in a section called "Ukiyo-E-Pope".

Also included in the book are a number of images from the various projects I have done for the Italian fashion label Diesel, including some photos and pictures documenting the process used for the 12 color silkscreen I did for Renzo Rosso's 51st birthday this year. Thanks to everyone for having patience-- the wait will be worth it.