Sunday, November 27, 2022

Beady Eyes And Big Bad Bass

 November 27, 2022

   Kristi Jacobs informs me someone wants to buy "Badass Bass" and I believe this is the version they would like.

Daily Whip Out: "Badass Bass"


   I have done several of the legendaery Oklahoma Lawman, including this whip out.



Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"Black Man In A White Hat"


   And, then there's this cat.

Daily Revised Whip Out:

"Eyes of A Gunfighter: John Ringold's Stare"


   And, speaking of steely stares.


Daily Revised Whip Out:

"Lee Van Cleef Scowls"

   Sergio Leone said, Lee Van Cleef could stare holes in the screen. The actor put it this way:

"Being born with a pair of beady eyes was the best thing that ever happened to me."

—Lee Van Cleef 

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Los Raconteurs & The Pards

 November 26, 2022

   Roger Naylor, in a poignant Thanksgiving post about his love for Arizona, tagged me as a raconteur. You may be asking yourself, what the hell is a raconteur? And, am I one?

Daily Whip Out:
"The Search for The Apache Kid"

   Is there a time and place for history to expire, much less be explained? This is a world I know backwards and forward. And, most importantly, I love history, I just wish more of it was actually true. Can that be explained in a story about storytellers? Would it make sense to have a series of historians dishing out true stories that turn out not to be true? How funny would that be, to anyone but me?
   Here's a guy who would find it funny. . .

"Pards"


   Is there a blaxploitation film to be made about the hunt for the Apache Kid?

"Mucho Booty In The Sierra Madre"
Starring Ricardo Roundtree

   Is it possible, to render characters in a Western in authentic gear?


The Cowboys of Apache Pass, circa 1887

   And is The Day of The Dead a proper setting for an authentic road trip?

"Ay Yi Yi Die"

   It says online a "raconteur" is someone who can regale listeners with riveting stories, usually funny, sometimes dramatic. Raconteur comes from the French word "raconter," meaning "to recount." Note its "eur" ending, signaling its French origin.

Daily Whip Out: "The Street Fighter"

"All stories, honest and dishonest, wise and foolish, faithfully mirror their maker, exposing his humanity, or lack of it. Compared to this terror, writing dialogue is a sweet distraction."

—Robert McKee, "Story: Substance, structure, style, and the principles of screenwriting"

Friday, November 25, 2022

Uno in Purgatory

 November 25, 2022

   At our Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, Uno got banished from the kitchen for being a counter thief, so he sat in the living room like this in Purgatory for some time. 


Uno in Purgatory

   He sure wants someone to believe he is innocent!


"Hey, Man, Lab lives matter!"

—Uno's dog-catcher attorney

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Chariots of Firewater & Rat Rod Logic On Turkey Day

 November 24, 2022

   My artist amigo, Buckeye Blake, sent me this ridiculously photoshopped image which I would call, "Chariots of Firewater," but that would be horribly insensitive to alcoholics everywhere. 

   And so I simply say, "Don't drink too much today, and please, go light on the buffalo wings." 


  File this one under:


Wagon Mound Cowboys Branding

1890, Vinegar Collection


   Jana and I taped a segment on Horizon last night with Ted Simons. If you missed it, I'll post a link when they put it online.


Rat Rod Logic

   Last Sunday Kathy and I motored into the Beast to have a birthday dinner with the Ds. Specifically, Dan The Man, who turned 75 on Saturday. While at their spacious home, Dan took the guys out to his makeshift garage to take a gander at his "Rat Rod" which he has been working and noodling on for at least a decade. One of the choice little zane factors on the Rod is a baseball embedded in the windshield. How did he accomplish that, someone wanted to know. Dan related he took it to a glass shop and told them what he wanted and they said, "Can't be done." So he went home and did it himself. We laughed because, that has been the operating motive on almost everything we have attempted to do in our careers. When we asked a media expert if Arizona needed a humor magazine, the expert huffed, "Can't be done!" and so we printed it ourselves.


The older guy points to the embedded baseball
in Dan The Man's Rat Rod windshield


   So, Vince Murray and I are hot on the trail of doing some faux book covers and movie posters to support a fictitious writer and his popular books, who we have named Glenn Burns, as a composite for a couple writers we know, one legendary the other notorious.

Eggenhoffer Rocks, Deluxe


   Love these old covers.



   Inspired by these, I am revisiting some of my old characters and character studies.

Daily Whip Out: "Bisti Badman"

   Thanks to Mad Coyote Joe, here is our newsstand rack position in the Payson, Arizona Safeway. We fret quite a bit about what exactly to put in that upper left corner, under the masthead, because sometimes, like here, that's all the customer sees.

All The Customer Sees in Payson

   Around the Thanksgiving table today we talked a bit about all of those who we love but are gone. It's a long list and growing longer. Here is one takeaway for me. . .

"Be thankful for all the things you deserve but haven't got, yet."

—Old Vaquero Saying

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Giving Thanks to The Thankless Who Were Essential to My Thankfulness

 November 23, 2022

   This is going to sound counter-thankful, but I really need to thank all the naysayers and critics who predicted doom and gloom at True West.

Our first cover, January 2000

   Without them, I don't think I would have had the strength or the courage to keep going. Several times I wanted to give up (ask Carole Glenn, if you don't believe me), but it would have proved them right. Also, two of my original partners had large nest eggs and bailed when the getting was good. Me, I had no choice but to stay and fight and even that was a blessing. 

   So, here's to all the flaming assholes who made me want to prove them wrong. I am so thankful for each and every one of you.

Meanwhile, The Real Thanks Belongs Here

   And, it must be said once again, that two women saved True West and I am the most thankful to both of them.

Carole Glenn and Kathy Radina

The Moral?

   Funny what you can accomplish when you have no other choice.

"Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway."

—Old Vaquero Saying

Monday, November 21, 2022

Hellraisers Booksigning, Three Who Rode Alone & The Pot Roast Kid Turns 75

 November 21, 2022

   If you need a Hellraisers book signed by Jana and I for the perfect Christmas gift, here is your chance.

Booksigning at Changing Hands

Tomorrow night at Changing Hands, 6 p.m.

   Meanwhile, Kathy and I drove into the Beast yesterday to break bread with this old guy.


The Pot Roast Kid

   The Pot Roast Kid turns 75. Dan The Man got his birthday wish yesterday with a big, ol' pot roast, courtesy of his wife Darlene. It was tasty!

   Also working on some zany movie posters.

Daily Whip Out: "Three Rode Alone"

   Or, perhaps this angle:

Daily Whip Out: "Three Rode Alone, II"

        Daily Whip Out: "Three Rode Alone, III"

   Or, is this a better design to portray three who rode alone?

Daily Whip Out: "Three Rode Alone, IV"

   And, at what point does this all become beating a dead horse who rode alone?

"One of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

—Old Vaquero Saying

Sunday, November 20, 2022

This Just in: Donkeys Are In So Could Mammoth Jacks Be Far Behind?

 November 20, 2022

      I just read a review for a new movie, "EO" about a donkey. No, really. EO is allegedly the sound they make, at least in Polish. The American version is closer to Hee-Haw. Turns out there are two other new movies that feature an ass, I mean burro. One is "The Banshees of Inisherin" where Collin Farrell is trailed throughout the movie by a donkey named Jenny. The other film, "Triangle of Sadness" features a donkey in a more desperate dish mode. So donkeys are having a moment.      

   Apparently, The Top Secret Writer and I were way ahead of the curve when we created a certain mule-riding character many moons ago:


     He, in the above panels, refers to this captivo.

Mickey Free, The Graphic Novel

circa 2010

All true, perhaps that was the problem?

   The main problem being, we never published it, except for this excerpt, above. Are we nuts? Are we lazy? Are we out of touch? Ah, yes, to all three.

“The great tragedy of popular history is the slaying of a beautiful folk hero by an ugly fact.”

—Aldous Huxley

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Uno's Glorious Second Birthday & Gaudy Career Advice From A Major Procrastinator

November 19, 2022

   Well, Uno had a glorious second birthday yesterday, although I don't think he quite understood what all the hoopla was about. He did, however, appreciate the glorious sunset last night over the Seven Sisters.

"Dang that's groovy!"

Uno es Dos


   A crazy old photo of the running of the bulls Sagrada Familia style:

The Sagrada Familia Basicilica, 1906

   We visited this famous Barcelona, Spain basicilica in 2003 and it didn't look like this! In fact, it was pretty gaudy. I believed this had to do with the architect Antoni Gaudi, but that turns out to be not true and a bit ridiculous. The word "gaudy" comes from the 16th century and Gaudi, the architect, lived into the 1920s, so that's a stretch, but both gaudy and gaudi come from the same Latin word 'Gaudere' which means "to enjoy." So that clears that up.

Triple B Inflation Report

   Earlier this week I ran up (actually, I drove) to Circle K for eggs: $9.24 for a dozen eggs. The Little Aussie Bastard wanted two copies of the October issue of True West magazine, since he wrote the cover story, so I added a Hellraisers book and a piece of art and the post office charged me $75 to mail it to Australia, AND I had to fill out a five page customs form and then get back in line. Seesh. Kathy wanted to do Sunday brunch at Manuel's Mexican Food Restaurant so we drove to the Bell location (the road, not my property) and we had a nice brunch for $103.65. True, margaritas were involved, but Dang!


Career Questions I answered for a mentor program in Minnesota

#1. Question: Tell me about your educational background. 

   High school graduation in Kingman, Arizona where I worked on the school paper and the annual; college at the University of Arizona, Fine Arts and Commercial Art, five years, no degree. Created a cartoon strip fo the Arizona Daily Wildcat called Dick Matric. After college I took Specialty classes at Scottsdale Artists School. I still read everything I can on art and storytelling and graphic novels and I study the masters, and that would be van Gogh, Rembrandt, Charlie Russell, Toulouse-Lautrec, Moebius, Frank Frazetta, Chester Gould, Gary Larson.  I could go on. 

#2. Question: What is the best part about your job?

   Work is only work if you'd rather be someplace else and I am exactly where I want to be.

#3. Question: What are the best ways to enter this field? What are the best ways to learn about specific job openings? 

   Your task is to get past the mob standing at the foot of the ladder. With Social Media now it's easier to find an audience, post and publish constantly is the key.

#4. Question: What background is necessary or helpful for this position? For example, are there any particular educational or training programs required or recommended for this position?

   LA Art School was the big dog when I was growing up but my parents didn't have the money to send me there. But so much information is now online it is much easier to find specific information. I am old school and I am currently reading a book, "Action: The Art of Excitement for Screen, Page and Game" by Robert McKee so I can improve my storytelling skills.

#5. Question: What are the most and least satisfying aspects of your work? What would you change?

   To do an article or a book or a painting and have people respond to it is a very wonderful thing. The deadlines are always stressful, and sometimes nerve wracking and life shortening, but I can't change that, I have had to learn to live with it. The best advice I have ever gotten for this is to write everyday, without hope, without despair. It works for art as well.

#6. Question: What are some of the current trends or changes in this field? What about challenges or controversies?

   In any time of upheaval there are always opportunities to do something different. It's a moving target. You need to study people who you admire and want to emulate. You can find interviews with them talking about their craft and you should copy them obsessively.

#7. Question: What are the five most important skills or traits for a person going into this field to have?

   Patience, perseverance, practice, and a good eye

#8. Question: What are your job responsibilities? What do you do in a typical day or week?

   Work on cover ideas, feature packages, write my editorial, create a four-page Classic Gunfight for the issue. Assign projects, write and draw ideas in a sketchbook. Argue with some, encourage others. Stay positive, don't get pessimistic, be grateful you have a flippin' job you like doing!

#9. Question: Can you suggest professional publications and associations related to your field?

   I am not a fan of professional publications or associations. I support them, like our local historical society and our local museum or, even the Phippen Art Museum (I am on the board) but I have never found a job from reading a publication or belonging to an association.

#10. Question: Does this type of position typically involve a lot of team projects, or do you work independently?

   What I love about magazine production is it is very collaborative. I love going into a meeting with one idea and coming out with a better idea because of the creative process. It doesn't get any better than that.

#11. Question: How did you become interested in this field?

   I have always been interested in movies, history, TV shows, comic books, Rock music and some Country music. Anything that gets my heart pumping. Remember: enthusiasm covers most bets.

#12. Question: What experiences in your background have contributed to your success in this career? What would you have done differently?

   Thanks to my Norwegian father I am very stubborn and I rarely give up until I have conquered my own limitations. I have been defeated many times but I keep going. It's the old Viking saying: get knocked down five times, get up six. The only thing I would do differently is I would start earlier, but that is the curse of procrastination speaking, which I am also very good at.

#13. Question: If this job or field were to become obsolete, in what other kinds of jobs could you apply your skills?

   I have watched comic strips, magazines and radio shows atrophy and they all have become more and more obsolete in my lifetime, but storytelling never goes out of style. Now there are podcasts, YouTube videos and graphic novels. The only thing constant in this world is change. Get used to it and figure out what is coming next and get there before everyone else.

#14. Question: Final Question - Who else should I talk to in this field?

   If you want to become a fine artist I would talk to Thom Ross or Ed Mell. If you want to become a cartoonist, I would contact Jerry Scott of Baby Blues fame. If you want to become a writer I would send you to a therapist. Or, Stuart Rosebrook, our editor at True West magazine. Good luck. You'll need it, but if you keep going you'll get your share.


"Avant-garde is French for Bullshit." 

—John Lennon

Friday, November 18, 2022

Uno Es Dos & Fred Nolan Was A Laugh Riot

 November 18, 2022

   Guess who turned two today? 

Uno es Dos!

  Uno is the one, or you could say, he is the two, or you might say Uno es Dos. But any way you slice it, on this day, at least, he can take as many naps as he wants, on any surface he wants. Happy Birthday Unocito!

   Meanwhile, memories from across the pond. . .

Fred & Heidi in their happy home

In 2003 our family visited Frederick Nolan and his wife Heidi at their storybook home in Chalfont St. Giles, England. Fred, who passed earlier this year, was always gracious about sharing everything he knew about Billy the Kid, which was a lot. He was also a laugh riot: "Behind every successful man, is a surprised woman," he told me, looking at my wife with a conspiratorial raised eyebrow. Miss him.

   Found the above photo while looking for something else.

"I can't begin to tell you the things I discovered while I was looking for something else."

—Shelby Foote

   And, here's a bonus quote that hits very close to home for me.

"I do some of my best proofing after I hit send."

—Every person who has ever sent an email

Thursday, November 17, 2022

The Very Best Old West Photographs From the True West Vault

 November 17, 2022

   Most watchdogs don't demand a chair to guard the home turf, but Uno is a little more progressive. 

Chairman of The Bored

   Uno prefers comfort and a little height to see over the bushes. And, by the way, tomorrow is the boy's second birthday and we are going to celebrate with all the things he loves: multiple naps and being fed on time, PLUS a rousing chorus of "He's a good boy!" It doesn't get any better than that, to a dog. Why?

"Because, every day is Christmas Day to a dog."

—Ray Bradbury

   Speaking of having a good attitude, I just finished the second 6-Minute Diary last night and I have to thank my daughter, once again, for being so thoughtful and sweet for gifting it to me. It really changed my life, proving for the umpteenth time that "happiness is a choice that you make and a skill that you develop." I am so grateful for all I have and I'm even more grateful for the stuff I didn't get but thought I wanted when I was her age!

   We're working hard on the January issue and here is a sneak peek behind the curtain. Get ready for: 

The Very Best Old West Photographs

From the True West Vault  


A rare, early photo of Kit Carson

   And, then we will have the scholarship behind it:

"Kit Carson in a beaver hat circa 1860 when he was an Indian Agent for the Mohuache Utes, Jicarilla Apaches, and Pueblos. Carson authority Harvey L. Carter thought this an early daguerreotype made around 1854, but Smith Simpson, who worked with Carson at the Taos agency, claimed it was taken in 1860. Carson's fullness of face is similar to another 1860 photograph of him. Carson was seriously injured in a horse fall in the San Juan Mountains in October 1860 and thereafter appeared  much thinner. The injury resulted in an aneurism of the aorta which pressed against his trachea and caused considerable distress. It finally burst on May 23, 1868 at Fort Lyon, Colorado, killing him."

—Paul Andrew Hutton

   And, of course, some of the scholarship will be rather petty and personal.


 "I have spent way too much time looking at this crappy photograph. One of my historian friends quipped that studying the image is like looking at enraged mud turtles. So much noise—mud!—so little clarity. And, besides, the hat is totally wrong, his jaw is unhinged (a bend in the tin at that point doesn't help) and his sweater is two sizes too big. How could such a bad photo be so good? Beats me, but I do love it in spite of all the flaws. Here's looking at you Kid."
—BBB

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

CGs Galore Plus The Fate of Little Dick Liddil

 November 16, 2022

   I've got a gut feeling we're on to something. All last week and today, my production manager, Robert Ray, and I have been going back thru past issues looking for all the Classic Gunfight articles that have run in the magazine but were not published in our series of books: CG1, CG2 or CG3. So far, we have tabulated 72 new gunfights that all together, run to 230 pages. 

CGs In A Row

   That is a bunch of quality coverage of all the Classic Gunfights in The Old West. I think it's going to stretch to five volumes and maybe even more. I didn't set out to make it my life's work, but I knew it would be fun to do because I love the stories and the characters and the ridiculous things they did.

A CG to Remember

   We taped a new BBB YouTube video today about one of those CGs featuring the "dirty little coward who shot Mr. Howard and laid poor Jesse in his grave." What a bizarre, grotesquely domestic ending to one of the most legendary outlaws of the American West. Robert Ford was in cahoots with his brother Charlie and another member of the James Gang, Dick Liddil who killed Jesse's cousin Wood Hite and quickly buried him, turned himself in and ratted out the gang. When Jesse saw Liddil's name in the newspaper, he smelled a rat and Ford allegedly killed his hero before James could kill him.

So What Happened to Little Dick Liddil?

   After the death of Jesse James, Dick Liddil went west. He and Bob Ford pooled their meager reward money (they got mostly stiffed on the promised $5,000 Reward) opened the Bank Saloon on Bridge Street in Las Vegas, New Mexico, not far from where Doc Holliday had a saloon several years before and cattycorner down the street from where Billy the Kid was incarcerated in December of 1880. Liddil and Ford quickly went bust, but then Liddil leased the billiard room in the new Plaza Hotel and Ford became a city policeman. Liddil later found his true calling and ran a string of horses for J. W. Lynch of Las Vegas and they raced horses on the east coast racetrack circuit. Liddil died of a heart attack at a ractrack in 1901. He was 49.

   Robert Ford opened a tent saloon in Creede, Colorado and a Missourian, "Red" O'Kelley, some say seeking to revenge Jesse, walked in with a shotgun and said, "Hello, Bob," and pulled both triggers. Ford was 30.

   Admit it, you kind of had a gut feeling that karma was going to come back around, didn't you?


 "A gut feeling is actually every cell in your body making a decision."

—Deepak Chopra




Tuesday, November 15, 2022

A Truckload of Honkytonk Sue Guts

 November 15, 2022

   Found two rare photos while looking for something else this morning. They involve the publisher of the Prescott Courier, Charlie Waters, who, back in 1978, printed the guts of my first Honkytonk Sue comic book by running 5,000 copies early in the morning before they ran the Courier newspaper and then he charged me his cost ($800 and change). That's me at left and Charlie, at right, at press check:

Press Check, 1978 at the Prescott Courier

   After the guts were printed, Charlie's crew loaded everything out the back door and into the bed of my F-150 Ford pickup and here I am sitting on the tailgate with a ton of paper.

A Truckload of Honkytonk Sue Guts

   The Courier printing press operation was right across the street from Murphy's (the restaurant) and when I was in Prescott last week prepping the Phippen art show, the memories all came rushing back. I remember on the trip home, I was coming off of Sunset Point and my brakes started to smoke and the truck swerved with the heavy overload. That was a pucker moment!
   I survived the failing brakes moment and drove the guts over to Central Binding who then collated it all with the four-color cover which I had printed at Messinger Graphics in Phoenix.

Honkytonk Sue No. 1 Hot Off The Press

   So what was between the covers, that Charlie printed?

A Taste of the Guts Inside

   What a great memory. What a great friend. Miss you Charles Richard Waters. You were the best.

"Thank you for giving us at last a female counterpart to the Marlboro Man, Dirty Harry, and all the other machismo myths that roam the earth unchallenged."
—Sandy Lovejoy, June 17, 1978


Monday, November 14, 2022

The Casas Colgadas of Cuenca, Spain

 November 14, 2022

    Funny what we find when we're sweeping out the garage to make room for more Hellraisers books.

Tommy & Saddam

   We flew to Spain to visit Thomas Charles in December of 2003. Tommy was attending school in Valencia, and we rented a house on a small lake south of the city and in the morning we were going to a local pub for breakfast paella, when we spied a newspaper rack with this headline. 

   Tipped off by turncoats (and no doubt the $25 million reward), Saddam Hussein was discovered in a "spider hole" in someone's backyard and his captors probed his mouth which is allegedly a major insult in the Arab world? Great shot of Tommy preserved for our family history. Meanwhile. . .

The Hanging Houses of Cuenca

   On this same trip we stumbled across a Moor-founded town called Cuenca.

The Goose, The Deen and The Kid

in front of the Casas Colgadas

   Cuenca is a city set in the mountains of east-central Spain. Founded by Moors, it retains its Historic Walled Town with steep cobbled streets and medieval castle ruins. Perched on a limestone spur high above the Júcar and Huécar rivers, it's most famous for its well-preserved "casas colgadas," or hanging houses. Cantilevered over the Huécar gorge, they seemingly cling to the cliffs’ edges.

T. Charles On A Limestone Spur
with the Cuenca skyline in the background

   We stayed in a monestary with four-foot-thick walls and I was so inspired by the cobbled streets I came home and created our own stone driveway as an homage to the streets in Cuenca, Spain!

Our Cuenca Inspired Driveway

"Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent."

—Adam Smith

Sunday, November 13, 2022

More Bozecards From Out of The Vault

 November 13, 2022

   When Carole Glenn retired last month she gave me a couple boxes full of promotional items she had saved over the last two decades. First up is a gang shot of just a few of the postcards in the boxes that she saved. These cards pretty much sum up what our entire editorial thrust has been, en toto. 

Wow! Thanks Carole. You are the best.

     Here's some more:


      And two more from 2014:

Bozecards for "The 66 Kid"

   Yes, we've churned out the Bozecards in the last two decades and hopefully you have received your share in the mail.

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be."
—Lao Tzu

Saturday, November 12, 2022

The Return of Flat Top, Six Ways to Sunday and Churchill On Painting

 November 12, 2022

   I am still on a journey surrounded by cascading dust and cascading women, and my goal is to do something epic with it all. My goal is to make something that is human and funny but doesn't pull any punches. For example:

   When I was growing up, we had a guy at MCUHS who was known by the name of his haircut.

Daily Whip Out: "Flat Top"

      He was too cool for school, as we used to say, but some of the girls were crazy for him. It's a tragic tale, but you knew that.



   A colorized photo of one of my painting heroes W. Herbert Dunton, painting outside (a la plein air) near Taos, New Mexico, c. 1925. Someone said he could paint "six ways to Sunday."

   Amen.

   

Born Under A Bad Sign


There is an infamous outcropping near Union Pass in Mohave County that was notorious when I was growing up. We called it Finger Rock, but it has a more proper name and apparently it has great significance to the Mojaves.

Sage Advice

   Write the truth about unreal people. Readers should think, "that feels true." Be human, be empathetic, make it as true as you can. Of course, don't hold back on the ridiculous, either. It's out there for the plucking.

     Also, if you're going to San Francisco, don't forget to wear flowers in your headgear.

Fruits of The Loom

   Oh, and don't forget the dust.

Daily Whip Out:

"He Rode Out of A Wall of Dust"

   Obliterated by dust, obfuscaded by darkness. he rode into a bewildered and obscure present.


The Bulldog Weighs In On Painting

"When I get to heaven, I mean to spend a considerable portion of my first million years in painting and so get to the bottom of the subject."

—Winston Churchill, who started painting at age 40 after a disastrous naval attack in World War I. He painted 500 pieces that are quite collectable today.