Sunday, September 30, 2012

Review: Wollybear Festival 2012

I’ve been working on some comic and sculpture projects over the last week, but I haven’t gotten anything finished enough to talk about here.  I even took a day off away from the drawing board today.  I went to the 40th annual Wollybear Festival in Vermillion, Ohio today.  The Wollybear Festival is held every fall, sponsored by Fox 8 Cleveland and hosted by meteorologist and animal lover extraordinaire Dick Goddard, a local legend.  It is Ohio’s biggest one-day festival.  I don’t know the exact numbers, of course, but I’d estimate about 8 million or so people were in the small town of Vermillion today.
Dick Goddard onstage at the Wollybear Festival

If you didn’t know, a wollybear is a brown and orange caterpillar.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a wollybear when I wasn’t at the festival, but I’ve learned a few things from hearing about them at the festival and on Fox 8 News over the years.  For example, there is a legend that the width of the wollybear’s stripes predicts how severe the winter will be.  I don’t remember exactly the details, but I figure it doesn’t matter.  Winter is always severe around here.  (Except last year, of course.)  I also think the wollybear caterpillar eventually turns into a wollybear cocoon and then a wollybear butterfly.  But the butterfly waits to come out after Ohio’s harsh winter, of course.  The festival features a wollybear race, so they must be fast I’d guess.  There’s also a costume contest where people and animals try to look like wollybears.

Like all festivals, there are crafts and live entertainment at wollybear.  The highlight for me, though, is the food.  You know, that great fried-everything fair food?  Yeah!  Great stuff!!  Though I didn’t have the fried stuff this year, but rather some spicy grilled chicken with rice and beans.  Excellent!!  I had an apple dumpling with ice cream for dessert.  Also excellent!!  I also bought some T-shirts and donated some money to animal causes.  To get a little serious here, the festival does a wonderful job promoting pro-animal causes and I encourage everyone to donate something at the festival or to a local cause.  There’s no reason for people to treat animals inhumanely.
Now I’m back to the drawing board.  Maybe I’ll sketch a wollybear

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Phantom Girl and Mutant Elf

I’ve just had the Legion of Super-Heroes on my mind almost constantly since my LOSH post a couple weeks ago, so I had to do some sketching to ease my mind a bit.  Phantom Girl is my current favorite Legion member, so I drew her.  You may be remembering my mention of Wildfire being my favorite Legionnaire, but he’s not currently with the team.  (He’s appearing in the Legion Lost series monthly, however!  Great book!)  Tinya Wazzo is from a world in another dimension and she has a rather scientific mind and a bubbly personality.  Her super power is the ability to turn herself intangible, so matter passes through her body.  It’s not a great offensive power, but it does make her tough to defeat.  Tinya does have a romantic relationship with the incredibly powerful Ultra Boy, so she usually has great offensive force nearby!

While I’m typing, I wanted to take this opportunity to announce the Mutant Elf comic. Not the webcomic (found here), but a print copy of the first webcomic storyline.  I am putting it together to premiere at Detroit Fanfare next month.  It will be a mini-comic printed in color containing 8 story pages and other art.  Copies I don’t sell at the convention will be available for mail order.  I think it’s a nice way to own a little Mutant Elf!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pre-Detroit Fanfare

I will have a table at the Detroit Fanfare comic convention next month.  The show dates are October 26, 27, and 28 and you can find out more information here.  I am posting this message because often at shows people ask me about having certain statues, and I will be making some statues specifically for the Fanfare show in the next week.  Therefore, if you are going to attend and you are interested in a particular design, please tell me now and I can have it ready for you at the show! 

You can e-mail me (, contact me on Facebook, or leave a message on this post if you wish.  Ask me for what you want and I’ll be sure to reply to you!  The small statues depicted on this post are $5 each at the show and I can do larger pieces upon request.

I also draw original sketches in color or black and white, and I take requests for these, too.  Cost depends on the complexity.

I’m really looking forward to the show and hope some people stop by and mention reading this blog when they do!!  Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Legion of Super-Heroes

When I really got into reading comic books, I was a Marvel Comics fan first and foremost.  The adventures of the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and Spider-Man were so amazing and, to my mind, more sophisticated than the Superman and Batman comics and cartoons I’d read and seen as a small child.  It took me a while to try and read some DC Comics after I had been exposed to Marvel goodness, and I still find the Marvel characters more compelling.  But there is one group that has become my favorite organization in super-hero fiction, and that group comes from DC!  The group of which I speak is the Legion of Super-Heroes!

The Legion of Super-Heroes vs the Legion of Super-Villains!  By Levitz and Giffen!
The Legion of Super-Heroes (LoSH) is a group of young (originally teen) heroes in the far future of the DC universe.  I think one of the things about the Legion that appeals to me is that they are mostly separate from the rest of the DC comics.  This means they aren’t burdened with keeping up with current situations in other comics.  Plus, they “get away” with things other heroes don’t.  For example, in the Legion death is a possibility, and character have grown up enough to marry and have children.  Another appealing aspect of the Legion is their large roster.  The Legion usually maintains an active roster between 20 and 30 members, and there are many supporting characters that appear regularly.
The Legion is an interesting mix of heroes.  They vary in planet of birth and physical makeup for instance.  Though most of the team is humanoid, and the Legion headquarters is on Earth, there are some very colorful members and some very non-human members.

Another interesting aspect of the team is the great variety powers within the group.  Some characters, such as Mon-El, Element Lad, and sometimes-members Superboy and Supergirl, are extremely powerful.  Some, such as Timber Wolf, Saturn Girl, and Star Boy, are of average power.  Still other characters, such as Phantom Girl, Dream Girl, or the Invisible Kid, have rather weak, or very specific powers.  Despite these extreme differences in power, the team works great together.  In fact, strength in diversity is certainly one of the Legion’s themes.

The greatest thing about the Legion, though, is how they interact.  It’s the interpersonal relationships of the characters that mostly carry the plots.  The romances, the break-ups, the feuds, the friendships, and how, in the end, they are all heroes.  This is what keeps me coming back to the future every month to see what will happen next.

Of all the Legionnaires, and I like all of them, my favorite character is Wildfire.  Wildfire, real name Drake Burroughs, is incredibly powerful, with the ability to project intense energy bursts.  Plus, because Wildfire’s body is composed of pure energy, he’s virtually invincible. However, all his power comes at a steep cost.  Drake doesn’t have a physical body, which keeps him from doing many normal, human things, such as having a physical relationship with the love of his life, Dawnstar.  Wildfire is also the emotional hothead of the group.  He doesn’t pretend to be happy about his predicament, and he’s not afraid to express his feelings about anything!

I started reading the Legion when they were being chronicled by the team of Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen.  Many, including me, would consider this team the best writer/artist duo the Legion ever had.  Paul, in particular, by far writes the best Legion adventures, and has done so with many great artists over the years.  My second favorite Legion artist is Steve Lightle, who had a long run as artist in the 1980s.  There have been a few reboots of the Legion over the years, but none seemed like the “real” Legion to me, and I’m glad that Paul has returned to begin a new era of Legion greatness!

Long live the Legion!!

Monday, September 3, 2012


I recently finished my part in a crossover between one of my characters and another creator’s character (I’m keeping the details secret for now.) and it got me thinking about how the stories I’ve done in the past connect, or sometimes don’t.  For example, if you’ve read any of my strips in OH, Comics or the SPACE anthology, you might wonder if they connect at all to the F.E.D.s.  So here’s the deal!

I’m currently working on issue 17 of the F.E.D.s mini-comic.  Some of the characters in the F.E.D.s have appeared in other comics that I’ve done for publishing in other formats.

My webcomic, Mutant Elf, stands totally on its own.  This is the first comic project I’ve done, other than some short joke strips, that does not connect in any way to the F.E.D.s and my other super-powered-people comics.

My 2012 SPACE anthology strip was the Mutant Elf introduction.  In the previous two volumes, I did a story of the group the “Fearless Force” and a story of the hero the “First Lady”.  These stories are firmly set in the F.E.D.s universe, however, they have no specific time frame in comparison to the events in the F.E.D.s. Though there is one pretty big crossover character between the Fearless Force and the F.E.D.s, but it’s a secret I haven’t revealed and I don’t think there’s any obvious hints as to who it is.

I started contributing to OH, Comics with issue 10, the “Luck” issue.  The story in that issue (written by my brother), about a lucky fan at the World Series, does not connect to the F.E.D.s.  Issue #11 is the Science Fiction issue.  My brother wrote a plot about sentient rocks, and I finished it with scripting and art.  This does not connect to the F.E.D.s.  It does, however, mention a story called “Trip into Space” which is a Sci-Fi series my brother and I thought about doing at the time.  And it’s an idea I revisit mentally from time to time, also.

Issue #12 of OH, Comics includes the tale of Lizard Man’s origin, with an appearance by Arcurius.  This is in-continuity with the F.E.D.s.  It also includes a demon that is also found in Lizard Man Special #1, a mini-comic I put together.  Allow me to digress at this time.  “Lizard Man vs the Car Salesman” was a story my brother wrote and I drew for an anthology title called “Lyceum”.  It was to have appeared in the 3rd issue of Lyceum, but that issues never materialized.  Therefore, the story (which is too long to run in OH, Comics) is only available directly through me.

OH, Comics #13, 14 , and 15 all include super-hero tales of Lizard Man and Arcurius, and include such F.E.D.s characters as Oceanus and the first appearances of Bloodbeast, Shockhard, and Force of Mind!

I then wrote and drew a story of a group called the “Next Wing” for OH, Comics #16, but the issue was delayed a few years, so I published it as a mini comic.  Next Wing #1 is only available from me, and does not include any F.E.D.s characters although it does sit in the same world.

When OH, Comics #16 finally was published I did a new story, this time about the Fearless Force.  As I said above, they definitely exists with the F.E.D.s.

OH, Comics 17 and 18 are special cases.  They are comics about F.E.D.s characters done in a “younger readers” style.  They are the types of comics you would find if you were in the world of the F.E.D.s.  They include some jokes and references you should only get if you read some of the F.E.D.s stuff, also.

OH, Comics 19, with Oceanus and Furie, and 20, with the First Lady and She-Eagle, connect to the F.E.D.s.

Hope that all makes sense, if you are interested.  If you’ve never read any of the above, I recommend my newer stuff.  But then again, most people like to read the F.E.D.s starting at issue #1.

The F.E.D.s, Lizard Man Special, and Next Wing are available by e-mailing me

OH, Comics is available through me or through Bob Corby at

The SPACE anthology is available as a download at Bob’s site above. The 2012 SPACE Anthology is also available in softcover from me or Bob.

Mutant Elf is, of course, free on the web: