Monday, September 7, 2009

SMA Sketchbook Profile Week 3: Captain N: The Gamemaster

...aaand, we're back.

This week brings us to our next installment in this (sorta) weekly column. Back at Wizardworld Chicago '08, when this book just got underway I was digging into my brain for characters I needed to have in this book. Initially, I had another artist in mind for this character, but the trouble was, realistically, the price for sketches. Captain N is such a simple character to draw, given that he looks like a regular kid and only wears a Letterman jacket with a "N" on it. I'm not against paying for sketches but, I really want to get a bang for my buck, and a more visually interesting character would be more worthwhile to pay a chunk for.

Thanks to my friend Dave, I soon learned that comic legend Geoff Darrow was at this show and is also a super-nice guy. He was doing sketches to raise funds for a charity and invited anyone who walked up to his table. Darrow is a huge comic legend and incredibly talented, so adding a good cause to the mix, made this even more of a no-brainer for me to add him to the book. As with a few of the characters I choose for this book, Captain N was a little obscure to Geoff, but he did happen to remember the production company that produced the show, called DIC (that was also the reason he included it in his signature).

We had a good chat and literally as soon as Geoff drew the trademark "N" on the jacket, I had the biggest grin on my face.

This book is all about fun, and features tremendous talent, and it was a pleasure to have Mr. Darrow be a part of it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

SMA's Classic Commercial Reviews: That's a Blow Pop!

More than just cartoons, I want to take a look some other classic bits spiraling out of Saturday morning adventures. Specifically the commercials. The advertising in between Voltron and He-Man made some big bucks for your favorite candy/cereal company, and to this day they are still pretty fondly remembered. We'll start with one of my faves: Blow Pop.

No lie. I still remember this commercial pretty much word-for-word, even after not seeing it for years and years. What a concept, right?! It's gum inside of a lollypop! Two ways to rot your teeth!

I really used to hate when the gum would just start to come through the candy coating and it would be like razor sharp and totally cut you if it caught your gums the wrong way. Then the stick would get soggy and then that's all she wrote.

I'm a sour apple kinda guy, and pretty much every bag that I got, it was always the most scarce flavor.

Anyway back to the commercial. We begin with a behind-the-scenes kinda look at the making of the Blow Pop commercial that is not without its hi-jinks of its young cast. There's constant reminders from the director "Stephanie" (who sounds like she's 12) about what to say and when to say it. How this production got funded? Who knows. What's this "Stephanie's" credentials and previous body of work? Who cares, apparently. I really like the kid who name drops the company's name in an awesome super soda-like belch voice at 0:11.

Now flavors:
Cherry: pretty laid back, kinda a mix between Southern comfort-and L.A. laidbackness.
Grape: A female duo collab: much like those girls you see at the mall who are best friends with friendship bracelets and seem to ALWAYS BE THERE.
Strawberry: is apparently for the "Back in my day..." age group whose voices can sound like they need oil and tongues can only detect one flavor.
Sour Apple: To my (and the director's) dismay, he's the dunce of the group with incredibly slow reflexes and poor short-term memory,. (probably causes by a late night mall venture with the grape twins)
Watermelon: The most phenotypically nerd-looking one of the bunch who is on cue and not without the urge to showboat "Ta-daa!"

Just when everyone start's to get in a rhythm and enjoy themselves, they forget the most important mention the advertiser! Amateurs...

Looking back on this now, I would love this have featured some really popular actors of today. If like Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zoe Saldana, etc. were in this, how awesome would that be?!

Monday, August 17, 2009

SMA Sketchbook Profile Week 2: Underdog & Danger Mouse

I know. I already fell behind...but I got good stuff coming!

This week's installment brings two classic cartoon characters that I first met thanks to the Nickelodeon network. Underdog and Danger Mouse lovingly childlike and rendered by the phenomenal Tiny Titans duo of Franco Aureliani and Art Baltazar respectively.

These are two classic characters who I feel should be in a Cartoon Hall of Fame (in such a thing did exist). I feel the Tiny Titans team have brought so much vigor and enthusiasm to All Ages comics, so naturally I wanted them to take that same energy and etch these characters in time for me in my sketchbook.

Underdog is kinda a Superman analogue with similar powers and identity, while Danger Mouse is your cavalier super spy with, of course, a wicked awesome car.

People still get excited when I open up my book to reveal these two.

Friday, July 31, 2009

I'm super Cereal about this, you guys!

Sugar plays an integral part in any Saturday morning. In cereal form, it shouldn't be legal. I was that kid that was eager to try out any new cereal I saw in the supermarket (much to my mom's dismay), and if one of my favorite cartoon character just so happened to have its own brand of sugar bits, was a done deal.

Behold my top Five fave cereals from youth! My teeth haven't seen them in years! Huh, maybe I've matured...


I mentioned before that I was a sucker for any green food thanks to these creatures from the ooze. This cereal was kinda like Chex mixed with Lucky Charms. Not great, but it was a fun experiment to try. I remember there was a recipe on the side to make a pizza using the cereal for the crust or something. It looked disgusting. I'm glad I never tried it.


Particularly the Mario side. I could have sworn the lighter-colored side was the Zelda side, but, oh well. This cereal went away extra fast because they were individually packed, and that just made it seem like it was less. "The Super Mario Brothers Super Show" was really cool featuring the plumber brothers and a horndog Link chasing after Princess Zelda.


We always had to buy at least two boxes of this junk. This cereal made drinking the leftover milk worth it. A smooth maple syrup taste, crispy cereal bits. Thank goodness it had some kind of vitamin in it, otherwise it served no purpose more than cereal lust.


I couldn't choose. Both of these delectable bowls of goodness were constant staples in my household. To this day, they still hold up. No doubt these are in anyone's Cereal Hall of Fame.


Perhaps the greatest cereal ever created by man. Pac-Man cereal was more precious than water to me as a child. It didn't last long, so needless to say we bought tons of boxes when it was out until the sad day my sister and I heard it was to be discontinued and we bought the last box in the store, swearing we'd make it last forever. I'm not even convinced we made it past the next day. Godspeed Pac-Man. Godspeed.

"We run. We jump. We swim and play..."

Ah, yes...Salute Your Shorts.

Circa 1991, Nickelodeon created this show about a bunch of kids at a summer camp who get into comical situations in typical boy vs. girl, jock vs. geek fashion.


My favorite characters were Robert "Bobby" Budnick played by former "Different Strokes" cast member and Montana Max (Tiny Toons) voice actor, Danny Cooksey and, for obvious reasons, this...

Dina Alexander aka Heidi Lucas. Also, very hot. Very.

I can't really recall full episodes of this show, but I do remember random things like: Budnick putting like a 500-piece puzzle together upside-down, Robo-Ug, that D-bag Pinsky replacing Michael, Dina and Budnick's sorta love affair, Zeke the Plumber, and (for hardcore fans) Ug being blue, not sad blue. Toilet bowl blue.

The show lasted two seasons according to Wikipedia, which I didn't even think it was that long. But for any early-90's Nickelodeon fan, this is a cult-classic.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

SMA Sketchbook Profile Week 1: The Green Ranger

Ahh...where do I begin?

Back in 1993 a little show named Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers debuted on the Fox network. Before seeing a single episode, I knew I was probably going to be hooked. It had just what I needed at that age. A colorful team, kung-fu theatrics, and GIANT robots that combine into an EVEN GIANT-er robot.

The breakdown of the original team was pretty archetypal (and kinda racist looking back.)

Red Ranger Jason: Jock-y, but not douchey leader who was a rad martial artist powered by the T-Rex

Blue Ranger Billy: Typical glasses-wearing nerd, who the team relied on to solve their problems, powered by the Triceratops.

Black Ranger Zack: Yes, the Black Ranger was African-American (thanks a lot, Fox Kids!= sarcasm). He was a hip hopper, who had his own martial art style called, ugh, "Hip Hop-kido" Powered by the Mastodon.

Pink Ranger Kimberly: The Valley-girl Cheerleader/gymnast...and pretty much nothing else, powered by the Pterodactyl.

Yellow Ranger Trini: An Asian woman (really progressive, Fox Kids = sarcasm). She really didn't have much of a character other than bring more diversity and another woman onto the cast, powered by the Saber-Toothed Tiger Sadly, the actress who played her died in a tragic accident a few years ago.

These five high-schoolers battled an evil witch who made monsters appear on Earth in an attempt to take it over.

Now for the awesome part.

Beginning with the first season, each generation of Power Rangers had an extra Ranger later join the team. This began with...Green Ranger Tommy.

I don't care who you are or where you are from, if you are any fashion a Power Ranger fan, you know this guy and he is arguably the Greatest Ranger Ever.

As a kid, green was my favorite color. It helped draw me to TMNT, made me taste Pistachio ice cream, and cemented the Green Ranger as my favorite. I did like Jason's character from the show, but he just didn't impress me as much as Tommy.

Tommy kicked ass, beat Jason in a fight and has that crazy awesome, Dragonzord and Dragon Dagger.

Back at Wizard World Chicago '08, I knew I was going to get this sketch and I knew I had to get DC artist, Shane Davis to draw it. Thanks to an assist from my pal Kevin. Shane drew the hell out of this sketch, and literally every time I open my book and see it, I smile.

Origin of The Saturday Morning's Awesome Sketchbook

A bunch of my friends had cool comic-themed convention sketchbooks that they would take to comic conventions and get some rad artist of their choice to contribute--from my friend Sean's David Freakin' Bowie's sketchbook to my friend Ben's Nova sketchbook-they were pretty cool. I was just starting to get into the full swing of going to conventions and the next biggest one on the top of the list was Wizard World Chicago '08. The guest list was packed with a bunch of artists that I've been a fan of for a long time, so, I thought, "What better time to start, right?"

I knew from the start that I didn't want to do a book of just one character right away, mostly because I couldn't bring myself to choose just one guy (although I'm a big Captain Marvel/Shazam fan and will probably have a book of him one day). So I thought, ok, what do I love and what could I stand to look at for years and years to come. 1: Transformers, 2: TMNT, and a bunch of other random cartoon/TV characters.

So instead of choosing one, I chose them all! This book just got dedicated to all of my favorite Saturday morning & afternoon/TV characters of all time. I decided to take a desert island approach to this book, specifically, if i could only choose one artist to draw one character, who would they be and what would they draw.

I wanted to start this book off strong, and the first idea (which is probably still my best) was equally awesome and near impossible (in my mind).

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Welcome to our Program!

Mornin' and welcome to the show!

It doesn't matter if your teeth aren't brushed yet or you haven't washed your face...well...maybe you should wash your face...jeez. Anyway, if you've made it this far, I hope you're as big a fan of Saturday Morning Cartoons and everything that goes with them as I am.

This blog is dedicated to anything dealing with classic cartoons, toys, bedsheets whatever. So expect random reviews of old toy commercials, my ultimate toy wish list, and pretty much anything else that enters my head.

Since this available online, you can take a bathroom break anytime, and you won't miss a thing!