sketchbook sundays

camera man 5x7 - Copy

Camera Man
Micron fine-point pens and Sharpie marker

Buy a huge acrylic wall hanging of it for no particular reason.

Mantis and Cactus Flowers

mantis and cactus flower 1 - zoomed

Today is the first day we’ve seen the cactus in the front yard burst into bloom overnight. Perhaps it liked the rain we got yesterday. To make the event more rare, we have never seen a preying mantis here in the urban desert either. But this morning, when we stopped to admire the flowers, one tiny mantis had already staked a claim to them.

mantis and cactus flower 1

We suppose if the flowers attract ants, bees, and other pollinators, then this is the mantis version of a hunting shanty or hidden fishing hole. Maybe the mantis will chop the heads off little bugs and stick them on the cactus spikes like trophies. How awesome would that be? We’ll check in on mantis later and see how the hunt goes.

mantis and cactus flower 2

Oops, we disturbed the mantis. See how it moves down into the spikes? Smart thinking, mantis. Now sit still!

mantis and cactus flower 3

mantis and cactus flower 4

mantis and cactus flower 5

Indie Spotlight: Dead Girls Graphic Novel!

dead girls  punch

The UK trembled with fear last Saturday as runaway cyber-vampire girls descended upon it to spread their robotic mutation to the general populace. Author Richard Calder launched his Dead Girls Graphic Novel on August 16 at the World Science Fiction Convention. Though we could not attend, we do have some pages for you to preview!

Dead Girls Cover

Reviewers are praising Leonardo M. Giron’s manga-inspired renditions of characters based on Calder’s 1995 cyper-punk novel, Dead Girls. Giron’s style perfectly fits a story that takes the reader from the UK to Bangkok on an adventure involving the mutated descendents of robotic sex dolls who infected their masters with a nano-virus. Did that sentence just blow your mind? Then check out these socks on the title page, and a four-page sample.

dead girls title page

dead girls sample four pages

The Dead Girls Graphic Novel began with a serialization, expanded into eight full-length comic books, and has now grown to a 208-page full-color book. You can still score a signed copy of the book, with a cover by Jim Burns, at, with the signed copies currently available on the pre-launch page.

SFX called the Dead Girls Graphic Novel “a fiendish futuristic fairy tale full of style and invention. A thrilling tale told at a breakneck pace with beautiful manga-inspired artwork. Highly recommended.”

dead girls 08 panel

dead girls Page 8 panel 1

sketchbook sundays?

Sketchbook Sundays has not really gone extinct. It has evolved. We are indulging our lifelong obsessions with animal illustration, science fiction, and the Lane Bryant catalog in a little project called Meteor Mags. We make the drawings available as prints, and then use them for adventure stories.

Yes, we would love to be making full comic books from them. But, we will probably not master sequential art in our lifetime. So, let’s just take this thing one illustration at a time. We’re about 13,000 words and a dozen illustrations into a novella so far this summer.

Meteor may be imaginary, but she has her own blog. There you can follow her adventures and development as we build her world from the ground up.

meteor mags character sketches_mags14

Meteor Mags 14
Micron 05 fine-point pen and Sharpie marker

Buy it as a framed, canvas, or metal print.

Dan Dare

Dan Dare 2000AD 1-20 (29)

For years, we passed up UK science fiction hero Dan Dare because of his utterly terrible name. Big mistake! But, some scans of his early adventures in 2000AD really floored us. Fantastic space art full of raging aliens cranks the awesome-meter into the red. Dan Dare has the interesting points-of-view and dramatic panel layouts chock-full of action that typify the 2000AD classics.

Dan Dare 2000AD 1-20 (10)

If you know of a collected edition that features these 2000AD tales, we would love to hear from you. We can’t find one! Many artists and writers, including Pat Mills, Dave Gibbons, and Massimo Bellardinelli worked on Dan at 2000AD. We will share with you a few of the scans we found from these late 1970s stories.

Dan Dare 2000AD 1-20 (19)

A more vintage take on Dan Dare “The Pilot of the Future” awaits readers in a series of Titan Books reprints collecting early Frank Hampson tales in the 1950s and 60s. Readers wanting a more contemporary take on Dan might enjoy the Dan Dare by Garth Ennis Omnibus, Ennis being well-known for his work on Preacher, The Boys, and Punisher.

Tiki Lives!

tiki on the road

In the misty dawn of the 21st century, a young human purchased an incredible vessel. Carved from glass in the likeness of the great Tiki gods, this sacred vessel cost merely twenty-five cents. First it served as a planter for small cuttings of succulent plants. Tiki served in this capacity on his second but not final cross-country journey.

tiki lives

Of his many travels and ill-advised drinking adventures, Tiki remains silent. He offers no more explanation than a frightful but strangely ecstatic smile. These days, Tiki’s brains are full of Sharpie markers and paint pens.

Please Select Your Offering of Praise to the Great Tiki:

I Refuse!


Itto Ogami refuses in this panel by Goseki Kojima from Lone Wolf and Cub.


Kojima’s use of vertical lines as a midtone in this black and white rendering of the moon seen through leaves inspired us to approach midtones similarly.


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