Saturday, May 25, 2024

Earl Norem Was Old Then

Earl Norem did his first Savage Sword of Conan cover in 1976 with issue 14. He went on to do 48 covers for that comic up through issue 218 (that's when I stopped counting). The only other artist to even come close to that many covers for SSoC was Joe Jusko (he did 33 in the same run).

Earl Norem was 53 years old when he did his first SSoC cover. I'm 53 RIGHT NOW. I guess the message here is life does not stop until you're dead. So don't buy into any bullshit about being out of touch or too old to do awesome things.

I really only know Norem for his Conan covers, though he was well-established as a respected and popular artist long before then. It's some old school sweaty barbarian and women lying around kind of shit but I'm into that stuff. Like a guy who goes to model airplane shows. He gets a lot of strange looks, but it's fine.

Aside: Here are the top 10 SSoC cover artists from issues 1-218, based only on number of covers they did.

Earl Norem 48

Joe Jusko 33

Bob Larkin 14

Ovi Hondru 13

Joe Chiodo 11

Doug Beekman 9

Boris Vallejo 8

Dorian 7

Michael Golden 7

Nestor Redondo 7

Poor ole Ernie Chan is just out of the top 10 with 6 covers. But he did a TON of comics pages for that book.

File the rest of this post under "was avoiding doing anything useful, distracted by the pretty shiny things".

While we're on the subject, here's a list of all the artists who did SSoC covers up through issue 218. Issue number on left, artist on right.

1 Boris

2 Neal Adams

3 Michael Kaluta

4 Boris

5 Boris

6 Alex Nino & Frank Magsino

7 Boris

8 Frank Brunner & Bob Larkin

9 Boris

10 Boris

11 Ken Barr

12 Boris

13 Richard Hescox

14 Earl Norem

15 Boris

16 Earl Norem

17 Ernie Chan & Earl Norem

18 Dan Adkins

19 Kenneth Morris

20 Earl Norem

21 Earl Norem

22 Val Mayerik

23 Earl Norem

24 Earl Norem

25 Steve Gan & Dino Castrillo

26 Jim Starlin

27 Bob Larkin

28 Earl Norem

29 Ernie Chan

30 Frank Brunner

31 Howard Chaykin

32 Val Mayerik

33 Earl Norem

34 Ernie Chan

35 Ernie Chan

36 Earl Norem

37 Earl Norem

38 Earl Norem

39 Earl Norem

40 John Buscema

41 Earl Norem

42 Bob Larkin

43 Bob Larkin

44 Bob Larkin

45 Nestor Redondo

46 Earl Norem

47 Earl Norem

48 Nestor Redondo

49 Nestor Redondo

50 Nestor Redondo

51 Earl Norem

52 Nestor Redondo

53 Earl Norem

54 Earl Norem

55 Earl Norem

56 Nestor Redondo

57 Nestor Redondo

58 Earl Norem

59 Clyde Caldwell

60 Earl Norem

61 Joe Chiodo

62 David Mattingly

63 Joe Jusko

64 Joe Jusko

65 Joe Chiodo

66 Joe Chiodo

67 Romas Kukalis

68 Joe Jusko

69 Joe Jusko

70 Earl Norem

71 Joe Chiodo

72 Joe Jusko

73 Joe Chiodo

74 Joe Jusko

75 Earl Norem

76 Joe Chiodo

77 Joe Jusko

78 Earl Norem

79 Joe Chiodo

80 Earl Norem

81 Joe Chiodo

82 Bob Larkin

83 Jeff Easley

84 Joe Chiodo

85 Joe Chiodo

86 Earl Norem

87 John Pound

88 Steve Hickman

89 Bob Larkin

90 Earl Norem

91 Michael Kaluta

92 Bob Larkin

93 Michael Kaluta

94 Val Mayerik

95 Earl Norem

96 Joe Jusko

97 Gaetano Liberatore

98 Michael Golden

99 Joe Jusko

100 Joe Jusko

101 Michael Golden

102 Bill Sienkiewicz

103 Bob Larkin

104 Joe Jusko

105 Michael Golden

106 Michael Golden

107 Earl Norem

108 Joe Jusko

109 Steve Hickman

110 Earl Norem

111 Steve Hickman

112 Joe Jusko

113 Earl Norem

114 Steve Hickman

115 Joe Jusko

116 Bill Sienkiewicz

117 Michael Golden

118 Joe Jusko

119 Ernie Chan

120 Bob Larkin

121 Joe Jusko

122 Ernie Chan

123 Ernie Chan

124 Michael Golden

125 Thomas Kidd

126 Doug Beekman

127 Peter Manko

128 David Mattingly

129 Doug Beekman

130 Joe Jusko

131 Joe Jusko

132 Joe Jusko

133 Doug Beekman

134 Joe Jusko

135 Doug Beekman

136 Doug Beekman

137 Bob Larkin

138 Joe Jusko

139 Joe Jusko

140 Joe Jusko

141 Bob Larkin

142 Joe Jusko

143 Joe Jusko

144 Joe Jusko

145 Roger Stine

146 Daniel Horne

147 Joe Jusko

148 Doug Beekman

149 Doug Beekman

150 Michael Golden

151 Earl Norem

152 Doug Beekman

153 Earl Norem

154 Joe Jusko

155 Dorian

156 Joe Jusko

157 Dorian

158 OVI

159 Joe Jusko

160 Dorian

161 OVI

162 Dorian

163 Mark Caparosa

164 Earl Norem

165 Dorian

166 Earl Norem

167 Earl Norem

168 Earl Norem

169 OVI

170 Joe Jusko

171 Earl Norem

172 OVI

173 Nick Jainschigg

174 Earl Norem

175 Dorian

176 Earl Norem

177 OVI

178 Joe Chiodo

179 Earl Norem

180 OVI

181 Dorian

182 OVI

183 Doug Beekman

184 Lou Harrison

185 OVI

186 Lou Harrison

187 OVI

188 Earl Norem

189 OVI

190 Earl Norem

191 Joe Jusko

192 Bob Larkin

193 Earl Norem

194 Earl Norem

195 OVI

196 Earl Norem

197 OVI

198 Bob Larkin

199 OVI

200 Joe Jusko

201 Vince Evans

202 Earl Norem

203 Vince Evans

204 Alan Rabinowitz

205 John Watkiss

206 Bob Larkin

207 Michael Kaluta

208 George Pratt

209 John Watkiss

210 Vince Evans

211 George Pratt

212 Julie Bell

213 Jim Hoston

214 Julie Bell

215 Tim Conrad

216 Toni Taylor

217 Tim Conrad

218 Earl Norem

And here's how many covers each of these artists did for the comic. Name on left, number of covers on the right.

Alan Rabinowitz 1

Alex Nino & Frank Magsino 1

Bill Sienkiewicz 2

Bob Larkin 14

Bob Larkin & Frank Brunner 1

Boris Vallejo 8

Clyde Caldwell 1

Dan Adkins 1

Daniel Horne 1

David Mattingly 2

Dino Castrillo & Steve Gan 1

Dorian 7

Doug Beekman 9

Earl Norem 48

Earl Norem & Ernie Chan 1

Ernie Chan 6

Frank Brunner 1

Gaetano Liberatore 1

George Pratt 2

Howard Chaykin 1

Jeff Easley 1

Jim Hoston 1

Jim Starlin 1

Joe Chiodo 11

Joe Jusko 33

John Buscema 1

John Pound 1

John Watkiss 2

Julie Bell 2

Ken Barr 1

Kenneth Morris 1

Lou Harrison 2

Mark Caparosa 1

Michael Golden 7

Michael Kaluta 4

Neal Adams 1

Nestor Redondo 7

Nick Jainschigg 1

OVI 13

Peter Manko 1

Richard Hescox 1

Roger Stine 1

Romas Kukalis 1

Steve Hickman 4

Thomas Kidd 1

Tim Conrad 2

Toni Taylor 1

Val Mayerik 3

Vince Evans 3

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Swords & Lasers

Sometimes you have an idea for a barbarian king on a throne with his badass skull sword but he's also been a space captain. And you think "How do I square this circle? How can a barbarian king with a sword also have a laser gun?"

Well, you only ask that question because you've been brain-doped by pop culture into thinking laser guns and badass skull swords are artifacts of completely different genres. But what the actual fuck is a "genre" anyway?

Ok, I don't want to get into that.

Look, you don't have to mix lasers and swords. I certainly don't do it all the time. I completely understand the desire to have a setting or story in which the technology is distinctly "ancient" or in which it is distinctly "futuristic". But if you want your barbarian king to have a laser pistol you damn sure can and you damn sure don't have to explain it to anyone.

"Why do your feudal warlords carry phaser rifles??"

Because they do. They live in a world where there are phaser rifles and feudal warlords with broadswords. What part of this reality don't you understand?

Artists I Like: Chuck Whelon

Another great artist for the list!

Also, I need to stress that these artist entries are not meant to be comprehensive. I dash these out on a whim on Saturdays or Sundays and schedule them to post on some future Sunday. I sometimes only say a few words and I sometimes talk too much. But the point is to shine a light on artists who I think do fantastic work.

That being said...

Chuck Whelon... I first encountered Chuck's work way back in the early 2000s with his classic comic Pewfell Porfingles. In those days there seemed to be a lot of cool comics being made online. Boy oh boy we had no idea just how many artists and comics would emerge as the years went on! Back then... it was a smaller group, and Chuck was a prominent name among them.

Pewfell is a wizard. Well... he SAYS he's a wizard. He's part of the wizard community. But he's a wizard who can't, doesn't, and basically won't make any magic. I mean, who wants to do that kind of labor, right? He's much happier being a wizard who hangs out at the pub while his very hot wife Tina goes out every day to slay goblins and earn coins. Oh, and he has an annoying gnome house mate who gives him a lot of hell.

Pewfell was co-written quite a bit by Adam Prosser.

Anyway... Chuck's work is, as many are wont to say, "very cartoony". I love "very cartoony" art. I love Chuck's art. I'm particularly a fan of his lovely weight-varied ink strokes. But he's also no slouch at doing pen and ink work with steady lines. He did a whole series of Where's Waldo-style pieces where you search for items and stuff. Very fun.

A funny coincidence and a testament to what was once the small world of online artists: Chuck started doing work for Goodman Games way back in the early 2000s when I had no idea who GG was nor any concept of the growing "OSR" movement, where gamers were recreating the magic of early D&D. I discovered Chuck through comics, then later realized we were both swimming in the same waters by doing work-for-hire for small TTRPG publishers. We both do work for Goodman Games, for example. Very cool.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

GOZR Sketch Character Sheets

GOZR is a science-fantasy post-apocalyptic tabletop roleplaying game that I wrote and drew by hand in 2020-2021... a pandemic project, for sure.

The game uses a very simple d20 vs. target system. To do an action, a player rolls 1d20 vs. their character's appropriate Action Class (AC): Prowess for all things action and fighty, Magic for all things mental and weird, and Cunning for all things social and sneaky. There's a lot of other bells and whistles, but that's kind of the core of it.

While the game has an official character sheet, I also like to doodle new ones in my various sketchbooks just for fun. Here's a collection of them.

Saturday Morning Art Rumble 9

Let's get ready to... well, y'know.

This is the DEATH GORE RING OF DEATH for my own art! Randomly selected drawings... which will take the prize??







And it's a vicious rumble as nosering warrior gets blasted by giant robot who gets insulted by the wizard Max Dobo! But in the end, none can stand before the power of the giant robot, which was also the alternative cover to Mike Evans' Barbarians of the Ruined Earth. WINNER.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Random Order Comics Revisited

Way way back in 2002 I did a whole series of comic strips called Random Order Comics. I did them in this big ass 11x14 hardback sketchbook, which I only filled by about 20%. So I dragged it back out recently and started drawing new strips. For giggles.


Sunday, May 12, 2024

Artists I Like: Hodag RPG

Another brilliant creator!

Hodag RPG! He draws, he makes funky games, he's a great guy.

His work is DIY as it comes. Crude? Yeah. Fun? Yeah. Black and white? Yeah. This is the kind of art that you would hope to find in any small scale DIY book you dig out of some weird box in some weird book store. When you find it, you squeal with joy "HODAG!!".


Saturday, May 11, 2024

Saturday Morning Art Rumble 8

Aaaaaaaaand FIGHT!

Welcome back to the PIT OF BLOOD! I randomly select some of my drawings and give them ♥ symbols and see which one I like best. Ties are resolved by d20 vs. d20 roll off!









This week's fight was a tough one because there are two pieces here I really do love. That dwarf picture is one of my favorites! But I cannot allow the Infantry Bot to lose. He's one of my favorite drawings of all time. Very simple, but I felt great about it. Infantry Bot wins. Support the robot troops.