There's Barbie and there's Barbis -- we'll get to that in a minute.
With the coming of the blockbuster Barbie film, we rejoice at all
things Barbie, and -- like the rest of the known universe -- absorb them into our very being.
1111111111111111111111111111111111111111It's Barbie Movie II: Pink Inferno! You're welcome, Hollywood!
The movie's Weird Barbie character was made
available as a limited edition doll, and it sold out immediately. Since
all roads lead to merchandising here at F&L World HQ, we were thinking maybe Weird Barbie has an even weirder sister...?
Let the cease and desist orders begin!
Speaking of all things Barbi(e)...
foray into comics publishing in the early to mid nineties was
formidable, and also kind of all over the place. On the one hand, for
example, there was Mignola's way good adaptation of Coppola's way less
good Bram Stoker's Dracula.
On the other, there was this:
Barbi Twins were real life twin sisters, Playboy models and, for about
ten seconds in 1995, comic book heroes. We'll save the story of our
participation in The Barbi Twins Adventures for another time, but if
you happen to have a copy of the first (and only) issue, and you've
figured out what was going on there, maybe you'd be willing to explain
it to us. We did enjoy portraying the (then figurative, now literal)
hellscape that is NYC.
That same year, Topps also published the Barbi Twins 16-Month Swimsuit
Comic Art Calendar, which featured the work of such luminaries as Adam
Hughes, Julie Bell and Joseph Linsner. We provided one of the Octobers.
So the bottom line, if you're willing to distort reality beyond
recognizability -- and we are -- is that once again we were ahead of
the curve, anticipating
Barbi(e) fever years before the masses caught it! Way back in 1995, our Barbi Twins imagery
gave discerning esthetes a double-shot of Barbiosity. Or was it a
quadruple shot? We'll leave that for the art historians of the future
Those irresistably lurid men's adventure magazine covers of the 50's-70's
left their indelible mark on countless half-clad
damsels, the clench-jawed caucasians who would rescue them, the Mothers of Invention and, of
Hell in camo heels!
We eventually created our own version, replete with sweaty captives and
brutal babe-on-lizard violence. Pretty much a dream F&L scenario,
and now the original (and five additional new pieces) are available here.
were hoping against hope this whole artificial intelligence deal would
turn out to be the next 3D television, but no such luck. If you're
wondering what could possibly go wrong, cyberbrain-vs-humanity-wise,
you haven't been exposed to enough pulp
SF. Bad machines and their futuristically yet also somehow minimally
clad victims were everywhere, and will be again we tell you! Absent the
charming little outfits, of course -- because we can't have anything nice.
Luckily, you can brush up on the revolting ramifications of sentient
silicon in a couple of weeks at the latest edition of the Windy City Pulp and
Lurid (well, for 1930) depictions of
janky robot behavior will fairly fly off the dealer tables, and as a
bonus, Rich will be there to offer up the F&L version of our soon
to be unending A.I. nightmare, plus other indispensible fantasy
babe-related material. Think and spend freely while you can!
If the whole robots-take-over-the universe scenario is a bit too
dystopian for your liking, we invite you to bask in the warm glow of
our previous homepage. It's all puppies and picnics:
not being waylaid by a globe-spanning contagion, DeCONgestant and
Arcana are a couple of pretty neat little conventions. The former is mnstf's fall relaxacon (low key fannishness, no Stranger Things panel) and the latter is a convention of the dark fantastic (all-hallows-adjacent, sans Minions.)
They're teaming up this weekend (Oct.7-9) to offer a little sf, a
little horror, and a bit of agreeably geekish discourse. Also some
gaming, movies, consuite folderol, and snacks. And Blackula.
If you're up for a spot of pre-Halloween socializing, we invite you to join in -- everything you need to know is here and here.
Grab these while the grabbing's good, art fans!
They say timing is everything, and of course there are two kinds of it,
with "bad" being the version we seem to lean toward. We've promised
repeatedly over the last couple of years to put some new originals up
for purchase, and have continuously failed to do so. "Sloth" is no
excuse for anything, but that's what we're going with here. Anyway,
it's become clear that everybody's disposable income is about to head straight
into their gas tanks, and yet we've somehow concluded that now would be a dandy
time to see if we can separate F&Ldom from their few remaining
coppers. So if you're not intimidated by the looming economic abyss,
you'll find nine new, totally fungible F&L artworks here.
Someone has to craft those eye-catching website home
pages that say, "Hey, it's Halloween" or "Time to Put on Your Con
Pants" or "Get Out Those Wallets, Kids", and here at F&L World HQ, that
someone is Steve.
We've made reference to many of these designs when
they appear via links on our News page, but as soon as a new home
page goes up, the links to full size versions of the previous ones go away. Now, in the interest of home page
and digital collage posterity, we've gathered Steve's favorite past home pages into one easily
accessible archive -- and here it is.
F&L's longtime involvement with maximum rock 'n roll continues with
our album cover for Midnite Hellion's latest, Kingdom Immortal.
We had a blast doing the art, and can confirm that the tunes shred most
excellently. Look for MH to tour the US this summer with Anvil and
White Wizzard. More info is here, and the videos for Phantomland and Speed Demon are here and here.
Our new art book Devil's Playground
is flying off the makeshift shelving units at F&L World HQ with a
speed unmatched by any of our previous opuses, and the DP Original Color Sketch offer is a big reason why.
As the above example should confirm, each
sketch is a fully realized, tightly rendered gem-like artifact that
subtracts hours from our precious time left on this planet. Why do we
do it? Like the t-shirt says:
Also, we plan to use many of these in a future collection of our work,
so if you'd care to help us help you help us in that endeavour, head on
over to our Books page for details.
Here at F&L World HQ, fantasy babe-centricity does not preclude
frequent ventures back into the superhero abyss from which we came, as
evidenced by this recent private commission...
And this one, for a Micronauts fan with a stunning collection of reimagined covers...
We love this kind of stuff, so if you find yourself in a commissioning
mood, feel free to send us your pre-printed pages, your blank cover
comics, your sketchbooks yearning to breathe free --- you get the idea.
Get in touch anytime here.
If you're going to steal, steal from the best, right? Our latest
homepage is one of our many tributes to / ripoffs from the greatest
fantasy artist of the 20th century.
(We've also added a link to our previous home page (1/19/22), here. It's a killer -- and all ours.)
If you happen to find yourself in the Chicago area this coming weekend (May 6th through the 8th) and you're a fan of
pulp and paperback art, head on over to the Westin Hotel just
outside the City of Big Pork Shoulders in beautiful downtown Lombard for the Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention.
This edition of WCP&P celebrates the 100th anniversary of Fiction House, the publishers who brought you Sheena, The Spirit, and the immortal Planet Comics. There'll be pulp-centric movies, dealers, an auction, an art show, and
knowledgeable fans (as well as a writer and publisher or three)
immersing themselves rapturously in everybody's favorite civilization-undermining
We don't call it new pulp art for nothing!
Rich will be dropping by with the F&L traveling fun show, a choice selection of our books, prints, t-shirts and
original art, all lurid and disreputable enough to fit right in with the real deal.
Much like the old order, our mailing address changeth (yet again).
Send your hopes, dreams and most importantly, fungible assets to:
Fastner & Larson
c/o Steve Fastner
110 Main St. S. Apt.1
Stillwater, MN 55082-5161
Present reality not withstanding,
the new year puts us in mind of parties and partying -- subjects we
can't fully do justice to without referencing those halcyon evenings of
yore when bars were packed, new music was everywhere, and
three-for-one beverages were an actual thing.
There were several years here on the frozen tundra when it was all just
too good to pass up, and Rich didn't. And when he didn't, he often
interfaced with his good friend, the John -- a living, breathing
embodiment of over-the-top, cartoon-level good times.
So much so that Rich felt compelled to pay appropriate tribute with this one pager, from 1992.
[As mentioned above (5/29/22,) sometimes our previous homepage
thumbnails no longer link to larger versions. In the case of this
post's beauty, we neglected to even include the thumbnail -- so here it
is, with a link to a larger version -- enjoy!]
One F&L News page glitch that
may have you wondering if we have a small amount of brain damage is
this: once we've uploaded one of Steve's meticulously designed new home
pages, the thumbnails of his previous home page designs here on the News page
cease to link to a larger, more resplendent version of same, but rather
link, without any explanation, to the latest home page.
Here's an example. Click on that thumb and prepare to be disoriented!
you scroll down (pack a lunch; it's a lengthy journey), you'll see
there are many more such thumbs, all of which currently link to the
present homepage. There's an explanation for why it's this way, and we
don't blame you for not being particularly curious about what it is.
We'll just say that we're preparing an update which collects all the
thumbs in one place and links them to their full size versions. Then
design students, home page historians and Steve will be able to marvel
at Steve's intricate handiwork without squinting themselves into
Examples of how the new improved home page linkage will work are here, here and here.
(Thumbs further down will continue to link to the present home page, just to keep you wondering about our cognitive situation.)
The view from in front of the
signature F&L cardboard backdrop (not available in stores) was
that Fall Con XL 2021 was a resounding success, with fans and friends old
and new stopping by to remind us that both our selves and our careers
are still not dead.
While "touching" is not how we usually describe
longtime Minneapolis comics fixture/z movie actor Joel Thingvall
(except in reference to his stomach), it was undeniably great of him to
dedicate his table space at the con to memorializing our pal,
benefactor and one of the founding fathers of Minnesota comics fandom, Dave Mruz.
Joel's display chronicled Dave's decades long involvement with local
comics, cartooning and fandom, including his contributions to the first
Minnesota comic collectors club and cartoonist's league, the earliest
local comic conventions, the comics fanzine Morpheus, and his editing and publishing ventures, the long-running
cartoon/animation zines Mindrot and Animania. In the spirit of Dave's
generosity, there were free copies of everything, including some of his
Steve and another Minnesota comics legend, Bob Selvig, at the Dave Mruz memorial table.
A tip of the F&L fedora to
Joel and the great people behind Fall Con XL for helping to bring the
Dave Mruz story to a new generation of comics fans.
FCXL 2021 also marked the spot where a new collection of imagery clawed its way up from the stygian depths of the F&L id.
As if things weren't hellish enough!
Devil's Playground presents the
viewer with an all new assemblage of netherworldly nubiles, cavorting
about in monochromatic disarray as if these were the end times --
because they probably are!
Drawings by Rich, paintings by Steve, scenarios inspired by 50s horror
comics and a gaggle of our most demented commissioners -- DP truly is
art at its most sulphurously irredeemable. We think you'll like it.
We're almost certain you'll appreciate the opportunity to get in once
again on one of our most popular special offers. Head on over to our Books page for the details.
Unfortunately, Rich won't be bringing the F&L experience to the Windy City Pulp and Paper Show
this week. However, he's been allowed to roll his membership over to
the show next spring. Fingers crossed that things will be looking up in
Illinois by then.
We're getting ready to get our con on! Here's
hoping we don't pull a hamstring!
On a (tentatively) brighter note, Steve & Rich are still planning to have a table at Fall Con XL,
the one day supersized State Fair Grandstand comics extravaganza. The
all-volunteer staff is gearing up, the creator and vendor lists are up,
and we look forward to seeing everyone there on Saturday, September 25th.
Steve has a new update on his page titled In Search of the Lost Nightmare. Read it if you dare!
Please note -- our mailing address has changed:
As of immediately, please
direct those handwritten esthetic observations, philosophical musings,
mash notes and remuneration-related correspondence to our new USPS
Fastner & Larson
c/o Steve Fastner
10664 10th Street CT N
Lake Elmo, MN 55042-9582
Our email addresses remain the same. (And remember, it's Lake Elmo, not Lake Cookie Monster.) Thank you.
Who better to deliver encouraging
news these days than the girl who never fails to find a dark cloud
behind every silver lining? At present it
appears as though (all things being otherwise equal, God willing and
the creek don't rise, etc.) a couple of long-delayed conventions --
somewhat modified, but with actual people in attendence -- will be
happening in September.
Is that enough qualifiers for you? Bear with us as we maintain a Wednesdayesque level of scepticism for the time being.
Fall Con XL 2021
is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 25, at the Minnesota State Fair
grandstand. Details are understandably a bit sketchy at this point, but
we're planning on being there. Look for our signature F&L cardboard
backdrop (never imitated, never duplicated) in the sky.
If you're champing at the bit right now, the MCBF is
hosting One Crazy Summer Con on Saturday, July 25, at the Mermaid
Convention Center in Mounds View, MN.
All proceeds from the One Crazy Summer Con will go to funding Fall Con XL, which remains an entirely fan/volunteer run event.
Windy City Pulp & Paper
is scheduled for Sept. 10-12, 2021 at the Westin Lombard Yorktown in
Lombard, IL, just west of Chicago. Rich, assuming everything goes as
planned, will be there with the entire F&L experience.
Dave Mruz: Cartoon Champion
The Minnesota comics community lost its most influential instigator on
12/20/20 when David Mruz departed this planet into the cartoon cosmos.
Dave was our good friend and, also known as the Sparkplug, was
responsible for many comics firsts in the Twin Cities. He sparked the
first comic book club in Minnesota: the MCFA, jump-started the first
local comic book conventions, and found a storefront for the first
Minneapolis comic book store: Comic City. He was also responsible for
bringing Steve and Rich into the same orbit, but we won't hold that
His good cheer and mega-enthusiasm for the four-color art form inspires us to this day.
Look! Up in the sky! It's SuperDave.
In the wayback machine
department, the main image in our new home page was inspired by art we
did for an American Comic Book Company catalogue cover in 1977.
A more innocent time, where an alien sorceress,
her trollish henchmen, and a luckless spaceman
could briefly coexist in the same image. Sigh.
Note the utter blasphemy that was our signature at the very dawn of our collaborative efforts.
scientists, our crack team of uncredentialed professionals are
collaborating like crazy, experimenting enthusiastically on their
courageous "volunteers", and hoping against hope not to be brought up
on charges. Godspeed, you plucky little madmen!
Be careful what you sign up for, college kids!
And speaking of uncredentialed:
even in these challenging times, some things never change. We here at
F&L World HQ remain committed to churning out our usual assemblage
of synapse-anihilating imagery.
We're all on the Devil's Carousel now. A recent private
Have you taken the pledge? Place your hand on your wallet and repeat after us...
We appreciate your continued
interest in whatever this is, and remain ready to supply your F&L
artbook, print, original art and decorative garment needs.
Achieve instant social distancing from women with one
of our unenlightened F&L t-shirts!
And speaking of garments, you may
want to add another layer of protection from decent people with one of
our thought-provoking 100% cotton F&L t-shirts. Details are here.
All shirts are size XL to make things as simple as possible for our
Inventory Control Department, but cotton being what it is, we can
confirm that a trip or two through your wash on the hot cycle will
yield a reasonable facimile of size L.
Update: MSP FallCon 2020 has been cancelled. Details are here.
Windy City Pulp & Paper has been rescheduled to April 16-18, 2021. Details are here.
We fully intend to bring the F&L experience to both shows next year, as well as MSP SpringCon in 2021.
We'll pass along any scheduling news about the latter when we hear it.
Update: As you've probably heard by now, MSP SpringCon 2020 has been cancelled.
You can find the details here.
MSP FallCon is still scheduled for October; we'll absolutely be there, and we're looking forward to see you there as well!
Update: The Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention has been rescheduled to September
Details are here.
Rich will definitely bring the F&L traveling flea circus to the rescheduled show in September. We hope you can make it!
All else being equal, epidemiologically speaking, we'll be seeing you at SpringCon 2020!
Mark it down on whatever it is you kids use for calendars these days:
May 16th & 17th at the Grandstand on the Minnesota State
Fairgrounds. Over 200 guest creators, dozens of vendors, panels, demos,
cosplay, a charity auction, and the kind of expert all-volunteer staff
whose brand of casually hip conviviality you can only find right here in Minnesota! We never miss it, and you shouldn't either!
is the one to do when you're only doing one -- but we feel compelled to
remind you that April in Chicago can be magical -- at least for fans of
pulps and paperbacks, and the artwork that accompanies them...
We don't call it new pulp art for nothing!
Which is why we invite you to join up with Rich as he brings the F&L traveling fun show to the Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention,
this coming April 17th through the19th, at the Westin hotel just
outside the City of Big Pork Shoulders in beautiful downtown Lombard.
There'll be pulp-centric movies, dealers, an auction, an art show, and
knowledgeable fans (as well as a writer and publisher or three)
immersing themselves rapturously in everybody's favorite civilization-undermining
Rich will have a choice selection of our books, prints, t-shirts and
original art, all lurid and disreputable enough to fit right in with the real deal.
This brings the F&L itinerary to October, and the second annual
mash-up of a couple of venerable local conventions, DeCONgestant and
Plasmos rides and digests again!
We're guessing everybody's going
to need a nice little relaxacon along about then, and here you'll be
getting two helpings of nonchalant nerdery for the price of one. A
little programming, a well-stocked con suite, some gaming, a few choice
movies, and the opportunity to decompress with like-minded fans who
just want three laid back days of retro scary SF-inspired fun. You'll
find the particulars here.
so often here at
F&L World HQ, something comes flying through the transom (or
"arrives via email" for the analog challenged among you) that, as Steve
puts it, "Pulls back the misty Dr. Martin's stained curtains of time."
The latest example being this ancient ink (!) and (yep!) Dr. Martin's drawing by Rich.
"Just like the total stranger who shows up at your door
one day with outstretched arms and shouts, 'Daddy!!!'"
We have art collector and F&L fan Todd Faulkner to thank for the
jpeg. He wrote:
"You did a commission for me several years ago of Spidey and Morbius in
a Warren-type haunted house which hangs in a place of honor on my
wall. I picked up an old piece a while back by Rich from another
collector and I have been meaning to email you a shot of it for a while
-- I thought Rich would get a kick out of it, so here it is, all the
way from 1977!"
Rich doesn't remember doing this
particular piece (or where he parked his car, for that matter)
but guesses he might have created it to display at an early local
convention (Minicon? Microcon?) art show. Subject matter-wise,
what can we say? The song remains the same.
Minneapolis' inaugural GalaxyCon was a biggun in every way: acreage,
guests, vendors, programming, attendance, money flying around -- we
Our booth at GalaxyCon. Steve stands ready to accept your insights/cash.
Extra table space = choice artifacts from our less than illustrious past.
Headbanging illustration at its very finest.
Still life with orange and airbrush artist. Mark Bode was our neighbor to the left.
We're not sure how they top last
year, but we want to be there to watch them try. Here's hoping they
make it back to the frozen tundra in 2020!
Steve & Rich will be at GalaxyCon Minneapolis 2019, which is coming your way November 8-10 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
After spending three days checking out the veritable constellation of top flight talent
from every corner of the entertainment industry, you may find yourself
(a) exhausted, and (2) entirely bereft of cash -- but that's okay!
We'll be ready to stop eating convention center hot dogs long enough to
bid you a hearty hello if you stop by! Look for the dilapidated
cardboard F&L backdrop in the sky!
Attention, Eisner Award Committee, Mom & Dad, and anyone else who might want to get in touch: please note our new email address!
For all inquiries, commercial, artistic and/or philosophical:
Our USPS address remains the same, and can be found on our Contact page.
If anyone were actually reading this, they'd probably be completely unsurprised to know that in a couple of weeks we'll be heading over to the State Fairgrounds in St. Paul for the two glorious days that are MSP SpringCon 2019.
How about that Thanos guy?
Thanks to the continuing tireless efforts of the superlative all-volunteer Con staff, these bi-yearly MCBA events (FallCon is equally essential!) have been and remain well-oiled machines of
continuous delight. And if you've ever felt the full brunt of any big
deal national show at any time in your con-going adventures, you know
how trivially easy it is for that not to be the case.
The best deal in comics con-dom!
Therefore, we say to attendees past,
present and future: whether you've just blown all your cash on the latest
edition featuring Alan Moore's vital fluids mixed in with the ink, or you're
just toying with the idea of cosplaying Brie Larson on Twitter --
there's a place for you and free parking for your vehicle at Springcon!
And while you're there, we invite you to look
for the dilapidated cardboard backdrop in the sky -- and follow it to
the F&L table, where four decades of comics and fantasy
monkey business will unspool raucously before your callow eyeballs.
Stay with us now: Arcana, the long-running Halloween-adjacent Convention of the Dark Fantastic, has always been undead (in its way)...but for a year (2018) it actually was dead -- and this year, it looks to return from the dead, as a programming track of MNStf's fall sf, fantasy and relaxation convention, Decongestant 4.
Decongestant is scheduled for Sept
27–29, 2019 at the Hilton Bloomington. In its own words: "Decongestant 4 is a small science fiction and fantasy convention geared
primarily towards relaxation. There will be good food, music, gaming, a teen
room, a bit of programming, and whatever else
you bring to it."
This amalgam puts us in mind of the dog with a guy's head in John Carpenter's remake of The Thing
for some reason, but we're hoping it comes together, because we missed
hanging with our fellow near-corpses last year. More info should be
available at the above links as details are finalized.
In just two days, Steve & Rich will pack up the traveling fun show and return to the can't miss extravaganza that is MCBA Fall ComicCon.
This Saturday (October 6th) marks the 30th anniversary of our favorite
one day show, and we intend to pull out all the stops, not only
hot-dog-consumption-wise, but also in the F&L art, print and
t-shirt vending department. You never know when the Attorney General
might turn his attention to the disgraceful half-clad heroine epidemic,
so look for the laughably archaic cardboard backdrop, and get that
Barbi Twins Calendar signed before it's too late.
We're lucky enough to be among Fall ComicCon's featured guests this year, and we're returning the favor: our entire home page is a currently a lovingly crafted plug for the show (featuring the aforementioned Some Enchanted Evening!) We have no shame!
Big doings in the F&L publication
department, which we can't speak of in detail just yet. Steve has been
working on paintings for the project over the last several months, and
let's just say it should bring bring our long, disreputable career
around full circle. We'll let you know more when we do.
You know how every so often you mosey over to Grandpa's recliner, just to see if he's still breathing?
Similarly, it's not a bad idea to pay us a visit every now and again -- you
never know when we'll be wandering around the grounds, demanding to speak to the Kaiser.
Even though we have this disheartening tendency to only update every three to nine
months (a newly configured home page would be the tipoff that we've crawled out of
the woodwork once again,) rest assured we're still busy behind the scenes with our
various continuing contributions to the Decline of Western
Meanwhile, although you may not have heard from us here lately, we stand ever
ready to fulfill your ongoing F&L requests, whether they be for
mechandise, art, or answers to the questions of life, the universe and
The 30th anniversary of our nationally recognized, locally treasured institution, MSP ComicCon, is coming up this weekend (May 19th and 20th.)
Everything you need to know about this life-changing event is right here and also here.
always, we'll happily affix our signatures to as many F&L items
as you can horse over to our table, no purchase required. We'll have a
couple of nice items
in the charity auction, and we'll be drawing up an unholy storm right
there in front of everybody (look for the near-unanimous expressions of disapproval.)
As a bonus for those of you who aren't afraid of being
abused for your sartorial choices, we'll be debuting two new F&L
t-shirts at the show!
Steve hangs out the latest in a long line of dirty laundry by F&L.
These 100% cotton, XL-only, fully screen
printed counterpoints to whatever the nearest Bon Iver fan is
wearing will have your parents wondering all over again just where it
was they went so terribly wrong.
If you won't be joining us at the con but still crave the credibility boost only an F&L t-shirt can provide, please direct your attention to this page.
Alas, the merchandise gods giveth, and the merchandise gods taketh away,
We're sorry to report that our popular Tricks & Treats Hardcover
Special offer has to come to an end. We're sold out of the book, and
publisher SQP has informed us that there are no more to be had from
their warehouses, either.
Of course, if you can put your hands on a copy and want to send it to
us, we'll be happy to personalize it with one of our original color
sketches. Get in touch for details.
Jim Steranko's S.H.I.E.L.D covers were among the cleverest and most visually arresting of the 70's, and Steve's latest home page design is a tribute to one of our favorites.
Steve reveals here for the
first time that the spy girl from our Lady Avengers painting (second
from the left) is Nana Peel. The rest of these guys hail from various
corners of the F&L and, of course, Marvel universes.
Here's Steve, on the saga of "Head's Up," a nice painting from our Aliens Tormenting Spacebabes period:
Alienmania strikes, circa 1979!
This painting was done in
September 1979 for Bob Selvig, a local comics dealer who moved to
California to work at the American Comic Book Company. This was a few
weeks before we started working on the Marvel Super Heroes Portfolios
I had a photo taken of the
painting before I sent it to Bob, and that version appeared in our
Little Black Book Vol.2.
A few years later, Bob contacted us and said the painting had gotten
some water damage, mostly on the foreground girl's legs. I think Bob
came up with the idea of painting the girl's legs as if she were
wearing black leggings, and Rich added some details to a few other
Bob thought the retouched version was an improvement.
I saw the painting appear
in an ad in Comic Book Price Guide for the American Comic Book Company
some time later, but I can't recall which year, and I've been looking
for that book ever since.
We titled it "Heads Up"
for the book, but it's unofficial title is Penis Monster, which I came
up with in a moment of inspiration.
We forgot to photograph the repaired version before sending it back out
into the world (or maybe we did, but misplaced the film; it was 40
years ago -- we can't remember what we had for lunch yesterday.) So the
reconstituted "Head's Up" has remained one of a handful of our images
that we have no digital record of.
Then, just a few weeks ago, the most recent owner of
the painting got in touch via email, to ask about the publishing
history of the image, and included a jpeg.
Steve did some additional adjustments to that image in Photoshop:
Here's a side by side of the two versions. Yet another example of restorative magic by Surgical Steve!
If this tale of resurrection and rediscovery has piqued your interest in the art, it's currently being offered for your consideration on eBay.
These guys really do cram an entire weekend of high level con insanity into
one glorious Fall plenty-of-free-parking Saturday. Admission is $9;
advance tickets should be on sale even as we speak.
If you have any doubts about the extent or authenticity of the F&L
empire, observe the cornucopia that is our table at SpringCon 2017.
Photo by Arcana bigwig/ace auctioneer Dwayne Olson. Thanks for making the F&L
experience look something akin to legitimate, Dwayne!
Note the tools of our trade scattered about the table like
bolts of lightning from Zeus' forehead! We're regretfully taking the
briefest of pauses from our never-ending commitment to the creative
process to accomodate the camera-happy masses! Or this one guy! Isn't
that the kind of dedication to what passes for craft in our world that
you want to support by throwing money at it? Also, t-shirts are only
Fallcon is October 7th this year, and we may be a bit more disoriented
than usual by then, because a week earlier, we'll be in St. Paul at Arcana 47.
That's Steve's own hand there in the background,
after deft manipulation in Photoshop. (At least, we
hope it's after deft manipulation in Photoshop.)
William F. Nolan -- of Logan's Run fame -- will be GoH at this convocation of all things dark, omnious and off-kilter.
Steve will take part in a panel discussion on horror in the comics, and
we'll be in the movie room on Saturday afternoon with a presentation on
the horror comic work of one of our very favorite artists, Steve Ditko.
Speaking of the surreal, which you may not have realized we were, our
Steve has an interesting update on what's happening with the still dead
but apparently not entirely buried Salvador Dali on Steve's Page.
People are always asking us, "Hey,
oldsters, is it really worth $75 plus shipping to avail ourselves of
the original color interior sketch that's part and parcel of the Tricks & Treats Hardcover Special?" And our response is, of course it is, you callow youth!
Wednesday started out as a sketch in a lucky customer's T&T Hardcover
Special. Background collage effects added later by Steve in Photoshop.
Not only do you get a carefully crafted
artifact of our four decade long collaboration, but there's a very good
chance your sketch will end up a) in, or as the cover of, one of our
books, b) as the main attraction in one of Steve's glorious F&L
homepage collages (as with Wednesday, above,) or c) both. This is
without question the most cost effective way to play a significant role
in our continuing contribution to the Decline of Western Civilization.
A cursory examination (which is the only kind we have the attention span for these days) reveals that we haven't updated our Comics page for five years. We're surprised somebody isn't running a Bitcoin exchange out of it.
Some time ago we promised to put up some early stuff,
and now that anyone who may have been interested has probably gone
away, that time has come. Here's Rich's first published story for Charlton comics, from 1976.
art wasn't exactly -- what's the word? -- good, but the script was. It
was what probably got the unsolicited story submission accepted.
The script was by local writer, artist and fan Charlie Smith.
Cel from a Charlie Smith slide show (google it, youngsters!)
Charlie was an early member of the
Minneapolis Comics & Fantasy Association, and a regular contributor
of art and articles to its flagship publication, Wise Up!
Charlie Smith cover for Wise-Up!
#10, December 1974
He also provided literate commentary on the state of the comics industry in his dittozine (google!) Pan-Galactic Cornucopia (1978,) and in The Saturday Visitor (2000.)
Charlie channels his inner Crumb for
the cover of P-GC #2
Charlie continued to attend monthly meetings of the local Cartoonists' Society until earlier this year. He passed away in July.
Charlie Smith art, fanzines and
photo from the archives of
original Minneapolis fandom
sparkplug and longtime Smith
fellow traveller David Mruz.
The local SF convention Minicon goes way back, and Steve & Rich go quite a ways back with it.
From a modest (50 or so fans) gathering on the U of M campus in 1968, Minicon grew into a monumental, annual 3,000 attendee Geekfest That Ate Easter Weekend.
The immortal Ken Fletcher captures the essence of
crazy Minneapolis Fandom
Commentary from Commies from Mars' Tim Boxell on Minicon 8
Our t-shirt design for Minicon 28 (now in color!)
It was wild and crazy fun while it
lasted, which was close to thirty years (we were art show and con suite
regulars, because free bheer!)
Then everybody calmed down, and Minicon became once again the smallish, fannish gathering it was probably always destined to be.
After the madness. Our Pratchett-inspired cover for the
Minicon 40 program book. Minicon Floundering
Father Jim Young was fan guest of honor.
Which is all by way of noting that we'll be back at Minicon 52,
this April 14-16 at the Doubletree Bloomington. If you're attending,
stop by our table in the dealer's room and say hi. To the extent that
our remaining brain cells allow, we'll be ready to reminisce. Or join
us in the film room for a viewing of our Trailer Park of Horror.
About a month later (May 20 & 21, to
be exact,) we'll gird our drawing hands and ensconce ourselves in the
Grandstand at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds (plenty of free parking!)
for two days of MSP ComiCon madness.
The creator lineup at MSP ComiCon is always first rate, so it will come
as no surprise that the likes of Keith Pollard, Joseph Linsner and
Angel Medina will be there -- as well as a host of top notch young guns
we're regrettably not familiar with because we haven't been able to
afford comics for the last thirty years.
And that's another thing -- this is unquestionably the place to fill
out your collection and, in fact, all your comic art needs. We always find items we had to pass on when they first came out at wonderfully realistic prices.
There's also a terrific original art show, a great auction, costumes
galore, and enough panels and presentations to keep your brain occupied
when you just have to rest your barking dogs. Which you will, because
there's a lot to see, do, buy and generally absorb.
We're especially interested this year in the guest appearance of
author/publisher Craig Yoe, who's responsible for three of our favorite
coffee table books: The Art of Ditko, The Creativity of Ditko, and Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Joe Schuster. His
entire body of work is well worth checking out, and we'd be surprised
if he's anything less than a font of knowledge and a ton of fun in
Looking ahead to the season of the witch (Sept 29 - Oct 1, to be exact) we'll once again manifest ourselves in St Paul for Arcana 47, which continues against all odds to be not just a convention of the dark fantastic, but the Convention of the Dark Fantastic -- at least as far as at the Best Western Bandana Square is concerned. William F. Nolan (of Logan's Run and Trilogy of Terror
fame, as well as countless works of fiction and scholarship) is the
Guest of Honor. Steve once again produced a nifty poster for the show
(visit the Arcana website to see the Land of the Giants version.)
The backdrop for this image has an appropriately Arcana-ish origin story. Steve recently had the opportunity to collaborate with one of the great illustrators of the dark fantastic, Lee Brown Coye.
Coye's inspired, unsettling covers and interior drawings helped define
the golden age of pulp horror. He won the World Fantasy Award for best
is no longer with us, but Arcana stalwart and collector of all
things artfully bizarre Scott Wyatt had recently acquired one of his
hard-to-find pencil drawings (on vellum, and apparently stored in a
mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnalls' porch -- hence the somewhat
disheveled appearance,) and he asked Steve to use it as
the basis for a fully rendered painting.
The drawing was titled "The House on the End of Verndale Street," and
was made into scratchboard illustration for Hugh B. Cave's
Steve cleaned up the sketch in Photoshop, and turned it into a full-blown greyscale marker & airbrush painting.
(Gareth the undead bibliophile from our Book People painting
makes a guest appearance in the Arcana 47 flier version.)
Rich wanted to add an ectoplasmic F&L babe in the window, but Scott
-- and this is unusual for him -- preferred not to have the piece thus
defiled. We're going along with his wishes...for now...
Attention, material participants in all things F&L: Sexy Dreams has arrived.
SQP's limited edition version is sold out, but you can obtain the exact
same cover-to-cover coeterie of demented damsels in scurrilous
situations directly from us.
Once again, Steve & Rich plumb the depths of their collective
unconscious to serve up a plenteous potlach of poisonous pulchritude.
Herein, as lasciviously limned by your creepyesque co-creators, are ogle-able old fiends and nuzzleworthy new nubiles. But have a care -- these girls bite.
Years in the making, and torn from the pages of today's headlines in some other, kinkier dimension, Sexy Dreams is a nightgowned nightmare in which your innocence and your fifteen dollars will be lost forever.
Although we said it couldn't be done and still aren't sure it can be, we're happy to present the sixth iteration of our severely
limited (in print run, not magnificent flights of fancy,) highly coveted Pocket Pal series.
In case you've forgotten about Sexy Dreams already, Pocket Pal 6's
covers shamelessly shill for the scintillating six-pager therein, which
ties said volume together thematically. (If you like horror hostesses
in general, there's seven of them for you!)
As always, PP6 showcases a hefty portion of Steve's ridiculously meticulous studies.
You'll find something old, something new, something borrowed, and something community standards types would definitely
characterize as blue.
Ready to engage in commerce, or something? Details are on our Books page.
Although we love the hubbub, comraderie
and being asked, "Can we see some identification?," we don't do many
national conventions these days, do to the dearth of $150 round-trip
flights and $75 hotel rooms. Yes, we can possibly be that old.
Nevertheless, if you happen to be in the Twin Cities for some ungodly
reason, we can always be found at a couple of dandy local shows.
Creators from all over flock to the Fairgrounds in St. Paul for the
MCBA's Spring and Fall Cons for the smartest, friendliest, and most
supportive fans in the country.
Rich, Steve and
comics historian, sparkplug and legend, Dave Mruz at FallCon 2015. Have
you ever seen elderly gentlemen so rejuvinated by an event? Except
maybe the Republican National Convention? Photo by Don Stenberg
Attendees, in turn, can expect artists.
exhibitors and vendors as approachable as happy puppies with
moneybelts. The conversation is easy, the deals are plentiful, and
there's never a dull moment.
FallCon is October 8, 2016. Details are here.
Stop by and watch us try to maintain our elder statesman facades while
screaming at each other about characters nobody else remembers.
Before you get your standard Halloween
on, you could do worse than revisit the roots of dark fantasy with a
select group of dedicated horror aficionados at Arcana 46.
It's a cozy (what tomb isn't?) show, so there's plenty of time to grab
a snack and a beverage, take in a guest panel, watch an obsuro film or
three, and touch base with like-minded fans about your particular dark
peccadilos. The auction on Saturday evening is not only highly entertaining, it's chockablock with
ridiculous bargains. Like, books and dvds for a dollar. Many of them.
We'll be screening another clutch of rarely seen trailers in a
follow-up to our semi-well-received review of SF and horror that
influenced the twisted F&L psyche. This time, our focus will be on
the disturbing, disquieting, often criminally overlooked films that --
years later -- still make us quake in fear. It should be a lot of
Arcana 46 is October 21-23, 2016, at the Best Western Hotel, Bandana Square, St. Paul, MN. More info is here.
PHou get your Halloween on, you could do worse than
Perhaps you're familiar with The Manster,
a great 50s horror flick in which an American reporter in Japan wakes up one day to find an
eye growing out of his shoulder. Gradually, the eye becomes a
none-too-engaging miniature head. It keeps evolving, and eventually is
able to separate itself from the host as a fully-formed creature, ready
to run around wreaking havoc on its own.
Above and here: suggestive snippets from
the cover of F&L's latest
This has more or less been the trajectory of our Girl Trouble project, which started
out as a b&w paean to some obscuro over-the-top horror comic
covers, grew some extra eyes and claws in the fullness of time, and, thanks to the whim of the publishing gods, ultimately
resolved itself (with much rending of garments) into two entirely
So the first book, reportedly coming our way this summer, will be a full color 48 page
collection in the vein of Tricks & Treats. It features Steve's
meticulous renditions of some of the original Girl Trouble images, as
well as the fully painted 6 page story which inspired the project in
the first place. And, as they say, a whole lot more.
book will be more in line with how Girl Trouble was originally
envisioned: a 68 page black & white sketchbooky type deal. (Since
it will showcase some of his fully rendered grayscale paintings, Steve
prefers that we refer to this as the "artbook" format.) More details
when we're sure SQP has survived the first book -- because publishing
is ever a cruel mistress. Sneak peaks are here and here.
Our relationship with the X-Men goes all the way back to the Marvel portfolios of the eighties (see here and here, for a trip down memory lane) and we've been involved with some interesting private commissions along the way (like this.)
latest home page has him revisiting the always personable Sentinels,
and incorporates a recent commission we did depicting a "one
minute later" adaptation of the revered Neal Adams cover for X-Men #57
(but sans Larry Trask, and in the airbrush style of the portfolios,
And here's the art in all its type-free glory.
Speaking of the X-Men: Steve has updated his page
with news about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own an important
piece of comic art history. X-men collectors, get out your checkbooks!
If you're borderline pathological about your F&L completism, you may be aware of the Be An Interplanetary Spy
series of gamebooks from the '80s, illustrated adventures wherein the
reader/hero determined the course of the story by solving a series of
video game-like visual puzzles.
Video games on paper -- the
and Rich produced the cover and interior art for one of these (The Star
Crystal, above,) and teamed up on the cover for another (Space
Steve doesn't need Rich! He
doesn't need anybody!
turned out an additional eight covers for the series by himself, each,
Rich grudgingly admits, a colorful little gem of design and execution
in its own right.
Now, the enterprising folks at Crossfade Interactive
want to bring the series to a whole new audience by redesigning the
books for the digital age and releasing them for both Android and iOS.
The first book in the series, Find the Kirillian, is being Kickstarted
even as we speak, and from the looks of the demo, it's a worthy project
indeed. Signed F&L prints are among the available rewards.
Here's our local convention schedule for 2016:
MSP ComicCon 2016 -- Saturday & Sunday, May 14 & 15, MN State fair Grandstand, St Paul. MN
Fall ComicCon 2016 -- Saturday, October 8, MN State Fair Education Building, St Paul, MN
Arcana 46 -- Friday - Sunday, October 21-23, Best Western Hotel, Bandana Square, St Paul, MN
You want minions? We got the Costco version of minions!
it doesn't look like it from this Fallcon 2014 photo -- wherein we take
a brief break to explain one of our more salacious images to a confused Flaming Carrot fan -- we spend the majority of most
conventions drawing our eyeballs out.
What would world domination be without
hem-caressing lackeys? We prefer never
to find out.
These sketches are from recent Fallcon or Springcon events here in the Twin Cities. Note that, subject-matter-wise,
the babes, bizarre situations and babes in bizarre situations for which
we're known are welcome, but never mandatory. We run a big tent
here at the F&L revival show.
Remember Thor vs. the Destroyer? What a
great battle! This particular scene never
Since he only has about four costumes
committed to memory, Rich often must ask for
reference material. Yes, he feels shame. Amazingly, most
people have the appropriate samples on their person, or can obtain them straightaway. The
future is safe in these youngsters' well-prepared hands!
The Hulk is one of the few characters Rich can
draw from memory. It's okay to feel a little sorry
for him (Rich, not the Hulk.)
a discreet, emotionally charged (for us) exchange of funds, Rich
lovingly crafts a pencil drawing in a sketchbook, or on our own special
8 1/2" X 11" cardstock, and Steve adds an additional layer of
awesomeness with color pencil. We often spend two or three hours each
on these, which is why we've never been seen driving new cars.
if commissioned art isn't your bag, we cordially invite you to swing
by our table at any of three upcoming cons this year, and watch
us try to torture it into existence for someone else. We can draw and
talk simultaneously, so feel free to engage us in spirited banter.
Speaking of babes in bizarre situations, we're particularly jacked about next month's MSP ComicCon (May 14th & 15th at the Fairgrounds,) where Dawn's
J.M. Linsner will be a featured guest. Fans, aspiring artists and pros
alike will be crowding around his table, because, yes, the babes are
hot...but also because any one of his works is a master class in
composition, color and costume design.
(previously known as Fallcon) 2016 will take place at the Fairgrounds
Education Building on Saturday, October 8th. Details to follow, but
since it's never been anything less than great, we'd be fools to miss
it. So we won't.
Arcana 46 will be October 21-23, and its Guest of Honor is Kathe Koja, about whom Wikipedia says, "Koja's novels and short stories frequently concern characters who have
been in some way marginalized by society, often focusing on the
transcendence and/or disintegration which proceeds from this social
isolation (as in The Cipher, Bad Brains, "Teratisms," The Blue Mirror, etc.). Koja won the Bram Stoker Award and the Locus Award for her first novel The Cipher, and a Deathrealm Award for Strange Angels. Koja is founding director of nerve, a Detroit-based immersive theatre company."
takes its dark art, literature, and history seriously, features
knowledgeable netherworlders, and presents a Cthuluriffic auction on
Saturday night. About the size of a smallish funeral, it would be the perfect tune-up for whatever you have in mind, Halloween-wise.
Just to follow up with additional minutiae from the World's Worst Comics saga, here's Rich's original cover idea.
Apparently Comics from Hell was a little too over the top for the folks who brought you Bizarre Sex.
in the Brush with Greatness Department: enclosed with one of their
communications, Kitchen Sink included an envelope with stats (remember
those, old timers?) of some of their standard logos so we could create
the "Pop Art Productions" version for the World's Worst covers...
Can there be any doubt that this is absolutely the closest Rich will ever come to comics immortality? No, no there can't.
Speaking of Hell, it's apparently frozen over: Steve has updated his page
with news about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own an important
piece of comic art history. X-men collectors, get out your checkbooks!
Wondering about the other gents muscling their way into the above
photo? In 1978, we had just started working with the Batman & Robin
of independent publishing, Sal and Bob at SQ Productions. Our first
painting for them was this cover
for issue 6 of their celebrated prozine Hot Stuf''. Is that a great
logo or what? We still love it, even moreso because it was created 20
years before digital typesetting came along and made title design a
comparative springtime walk in the park on soft grass before global
warming. If you've ever worked with Letraset, you
know what we're talking about. Or just ask Bob (but keep your fingers away from his mouth.)
Our second painting for the boys, and the first done to their exacting specifications, was this poster
for the '78-'79 convention season. All four of us were among the 6,000
attendees (and able to swing a cat without hitting someone, if we
wanted to and had brought one along!) at San Diego Comic-Con in '79. So
if you were there, and suddenly felt a disreputable disturbance in the comic art force, that was probably why.
At any rate, the three guys in the photo are somewhere in this
realistic depiction of hectic dealer-area hub-bub. Doesn't it make you
want to wade in and haggle over a VG copy of Devil Dinosaur #3?
(Rich was thinking about putting actual, highly-detailed covers on the comics, until Steve threatened him with an X-acto knife.)
Speaking of conventions with an F&L warning on the label, we're
morally obligated to remind you about two that will descend on the Twin
Cities in about a month.
returns to the Education Building on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in
Saint Paul on October 10. Foremost among the special guests this year
is Ron Wilson,
who started with Marvel in 1973 (!) and has since done covers and stories
featuring nearly all of their classic characters, including the
Thing (teamed with everybody) in Marvel Two-In-One, and Marvel UK's
Captain Britain. If you've ever wanted to hear authentic tales from the
Bronze Age trenches, this would be your guy.
A fitting apéritif for whatever Halloween hijinx you may be planning would most certainly be Arcana 45,
which transpires October 23-25 at Bandana Square in Saint Paul. Special
guests this year include The Dead Lands author Benjamin Percy, and award
winning editor and author Catherine Lundoff. Steve & Rich will
reprise their Trailer Park presentation from last year's Britcon, in
which they'll show trailers from and discuss the unsavory B movies that
forever twisted their youthful psyches.
Steve just got his beauteous contributor copies of Back Issue #83, which has an F&L cover and interview, and he insists we remind you to seek it out. Seek it out now.
As always with Two Morrows publications, the presentation is first
class...and we don't even sound all that much like doddering oldsters!
We do a fair number of Vampis and similarly much-beloved maidens for our Tricks & Treats Hardcover Special,
but we also get quite a few requests for bodacious demoiselles of
relatively obscure, marginal or bizarre origin. Which, as guys who can
spend 20 minutes extolling the virtues of Barbara Steele in An Angel for Satan, we couldn't be happier about.
In 1990, Rich teamed with the late, great Bill Fugate to illustrate Levy's Law creator James Schumeister's World's Worst Comics Awards
for Kitchen Sink. The story took the form of an Academy Awards like
program hosted by Siskel & Ebert-esque critics Jean-Paul Frommage
and Robert Whitelump, and their comely Woo-Woo Award presenter, Berri
(as depicted in all her sparkly-gowned splendor on the cover and
interior page above.)
Now, 25 years later, Berri
-- personable though she may be -- is probably remembered by about six
people worldwide (two of whom are Jim and Rich,) so we were tickled
when someone requested her as an T&T hc interior sketch. And check
out Steve's expert handling of her evening wear! Woo-woo, indeed!
Steve's latest homepage design features our very first animated gif. Wait for it...wait for it...there it is! Spooky!
We have 15 new originals for your perusal (12 here, and one each here, here and here)
-- including four with plenty of ersatz Egyptian hijinx going on, in
case you're as big a fan of complete historical inaccuracy as we are.
up: In case the economy really is improving and you're swimming in
excess cash, we've added a bunch of new original art pieces (32 to be
exact) to all four of our originals pages. Begin your fundage
divestment process here.
Next, a few more teasers from our Girl Trouble project...
Observant viewers will note that, like Jeff Goldblum in The Fly, this new collection appears to be morphing into something...better.
Originally designed to showcase B&W paintings and pencil art, the new book is currently shaping up as a perverse potpourri of color paintings
and drawings, pencil art, and a duotoney six page story, all in the wildly popular Tricks & Treats format.
We'll keep you updated, but whatever form this thing ends up taking, you can be sure one aspect won't change...
Which would be, you know, the girl thing.
It's that time of year here in the frozen tundra, when a young person's
fancy lightly turns to thoughts of comic conventions.
Here's our con schedule for 2015. Steve would like you to print this out and carry a copy in your wallet:
May 1-3, 2015, Friday, Saturday, Sunday -- Wizard World Minneapolis, Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis, MN
May 16-17, 2015, Saturday & Sunday -- MSP Comicon, State Fairgrounds Grandstand, St. Paul, MN
October 10, 2015, Saturday -- FallCON 2015 State Fairgrounds Education Building, St. Paul, MN
October 23-25, 2015, Friday, Saturday, Sunday -- Arcana, A Convention of the Dark Fantastic, Best Western Hotel, Bandana Square, St Paul, MN
forward to lowering the class quotient with our presence at not one,
but two highly anticipated shows next month.
As you probably know, Wizard World
throws a massive comics wingding every summer in Chicago. Over the
years, they've brought shows to a number of other cities throughout the
US, and in 2014, they arrived in our hometown, Minneapolis. This year,
they were kind enough to invite us to appear, so we'll be packing up
the F&L flea circus and heading over to the Convention Center for
the first three days of May.
Together with our usual hefty sampling of F&L product, original art and all-around joie de vivre, we're
also bringing as our guest Minneapolis' own Dave Mruz, sparkplug,
nucleus and living legend of local fandom and comics history. Look for
the big guy in the porkpie hat, engage him in casual conversation, and
be astounded by the breadth, depth and minute detail of his comics and
pop culture knowledge. Or ability to BS. We'll let you decide.
And feel free to stop by and say hello to us (probably in Artist Alley,
in front of the lowest-tech backdrop you'll ever encounter) at your
convenience. We'll be there (as the standup comedians say) all weekend.
May would be a good month to just hang out in the Twin Cities and soak
up some Minnesota Nice. Before you realize what's happening, it'll be
the 16th, and you'll find yourself at the Fairgrounds for our favorite
con of the year...
MCBA's Springcon is now MSP Comicon, and as their nifty new website will attest, our favorite local con is reaching for even greater levels of sheer fantasticness.
Creators, dealers, exhibitors and comics fans of every stripe come from
the four corners of the earth to attend the (no longer particularly)
little convention that could, did and does!
cordially invite you to bring any and all F&L stuff you may have
accidently acquired over the years to our table for our invaluable (in
the sense that they have no value) signatures. Plus -- as we're the
most approachable humans on the planet -- you can engage Steve in a
Q&A about the finer points of airbrushing, while trying not to
stare as Rich attempts to simultaneously draw Captain America and
consume a chili dog.
Steve's latest home page design incorporates one of four paintings we
did for an unpublished c.1980 Fantastic Four art portfolio. The others
featured Dr. Doom, the Fantasti-car, and the Skrulls (invading a Baxter
Building rooftop black tie soirée!)
Speaking of portfolios, the September 2015 number of Back Issue,
from the fine folks at TwoMorrows, spotlights international heroes, and
features an F&L cover and interview. The cover image is our
painting of The X-Men vs. Alpha Flight at the Edmonton Mall, for the
second X-Men portfolio.
All of TwoMorrows' publications are essential reading for comics and comic art fans, and right now, all digital editions are 15% off.
And speaking of interviews, the very excellent international online art magazine TAZ The Art Zine has a brief but insightful interview with us, and nice big images of some of our favorite work.
TAZ covers a wide range of art, artists and
art happenings, and you could easily spend a couple of hours there. We
encourage you to do so, and become, like, hip to what's going on in the
wider, wilder world of illustration, sculpture, street art,
photography, and more. (We highly recommend the NSFW area. Of course.)
Junk Robot has completed their F&L-inspired Damsels of Darkmyre mini collection! Have a look at the full set here!
Even geezers such as ourselves have a spring in our step when we head over to St. Paul for an MCBA convention; we're not kidding when we say they've always been just the best. Complimentary tables. Lunch. The best volunteers on the planet.
Like a lot of creator-types, we've
benefited many times over from Nick Post's generosity. He provided the
vision and the follow-through for Springcon and Fallcon, and we were
crushed to hear of his passing.
this Saturday, and if you've ever enjoyed one of Nick's shows, you may
want to don a Superman tee (Nick's favorite character) and head over to
the Education Building at the Fairgrounds, where you'll find yourself
among several thousand like-minded folk. There'll be a community
memorial booth, and a silent auction in Nick's memory, with all
proceeds going to set up a scholarship in the Minneapolis College of
Art and Design's Comic Art program.
Earlier this year, word came down from Above
(Sal & Bob at SQP) that it might be time for another compendium of
never-before-seen F&L content. Contrary to what you may think if
you've ever heard us talking about Bob behind his back, we take their
suggestions very seriously, and so we're currently putting the
finishing touches on our first all-new artbook since ZombieSexual.
We're tentatively calling this one, for reasons that should manifest themselves momentarily, Girl Trouble.
Inspired by some of the most over-the-top and
hopefully entirely-copyright-free horror comics covers of the fifties,
it's 64 pages of drawings by Rich, paintings by Steve, a new six page
story, and lots and lots of gratuitous nudity. Bonus for you
Spider-Woman fans: all of the anatomy is completely inaccurate!
We'll make our second annual pilgrimage to St. Paul on Oct.17 for Arcana 44...
...a cozy convention of all things altogether ooky. Pulp art is near
and dear to our hearts, and this year's guest is publisher, historian,
and long-time Shadow impersonator Anthony Tollin.
Tony's brain is a vast storehouse of arcane knowledge, and we've always
found him way beyond eager to share its contents with anyone in the general
vicinity. Plus, the Saturday night auction always offers at least a small clawful of jaw-dropping bargains.
Steve is borderline psychotic about having
some aspect of each new post reflect the season and its major events,
so our latest home page (collect them all) reflects the essential
pagan-y Halloweeniness of the weeks to come.
If memory serves, this painting was created during our Eye-Dye t-shirt
art period, when the guys with the money gently pointed us in the
direction of elves, fairies, dragons, winged steeds, and similar
uncharacteristically inoffensive subject matter. Steve has always excelled at
rendering the moon, and look at how flat-out gorgeous this one is.
Although you'd never know by the way 99.9% of the
internet chugs along, it's extraordinarily difficult to shill with
enthusiasm at -20°F. We've been off the grid (as the
youngsters say) for several months because while we're used to not
feeling anything in our
hearts, when we can't feel anything in our extremities, the F&L
propaganda machine grinds to a halt.
is not to say things aren't happening, as these latest various and
sundry bulletins from the World HQ should attest...
Our new home page features Steve's re-configuring of his painting based
on a Haunted House of Lingerie sketch...
On the original artwork front, while fantasy babes have been our main
deal for many years, we started our careers as superhero fans, and learned a lot about art from the comics. Recent comic book inspired commissions have
allowed us to get back into the subject matter that made us want to
draw and paint
in the first place. With the advantage of kind of knowing what we're
doing this time.
As artists with a small "a" (and
bank accounts with a small "b"), we have no problem with commissioners
who want to see us rework a classic cover (like X-Men #1)...
Oh, how we love the non-Dave-Cockrum X-Men!
...or recreate a favorite cover with a
slightly different cast
of characters (not too long ago, we recreated the cover of Marvel Team-Up #11 with Black Bolt vs. the FF,
of Spidey and the Inhumans.)
More recently we completed a reworking of the
cover of Avengers #71...
Copyright 2014 Marvel
with a few comely but
invaders from the DC universe and the Scarlet Witch replacing
Sub-Mariner, Yellowjacket and the Panther...
(which is a pretty good trade-off, if you ask us...)
Before the present Mini Ice Age set in, we were discussing recent
Spider-Man commissions, and alluded to Rich's favorite single Spidey
all time, which, no, doesn't turn out to feature the Rampaging Rhino, smart guys.
It's the very first 72-Page
Annual, with Ditko's spellbinding,
full-page, mano-a-mano confrontations between Spidey and Dr. Octopus'
apocalyptic Sinister Six.
You'll recall that in this supremely riveting story, Doc Ock kidnaps
Brant and Aunt May, and arranges for Spidey -- in order to save them --
to have to fight and
defeat the Six indvidually and in a prescribed order, because each
holds a card containing the location of the next, with Doc himself
waiting to finish off a theoretically depleted wall-crawler, should he
make it to the end of the line.
Spidey ultimately wins out, the Six are incarcerated, and Rich is left
drained. From behind bars Doc concludes that next time they should
probably attack Spidey as a unit.
Having previously commissioned a
remake of the Green
Goblin painting from our 1982 Spidey Portfolio, Joe Miritello decided
would be interesting to see the F&L version of the Six piling on en masse, and, still riding a
Goblin high, he suggested we throw in GG for good measure.
You-know-who vs. the Sinister Seven!
Which we did with a mixture
of relish and dread, since in our book eight major characters in close
combat is kind of a recipe for compositional disaster. But we more or
less pulled it off, we're pretty sure, and even managed to reference
the billboard from the portfolio painting.
Speaking of our 80's
portfolios, here are
the originals from a few plates in our X-Men sets. All have recently
changed hands for amounts in the mid four figures, which by us is
serious walking-around money. So while we have no idea what it was, we
must have partially known what we were doing lo, those many years
Here's The Savage Land, from the first portfolio and Rich's too much coffee period...
Move over, Henri Rousseau...
Chaotic, ain't it? Thirty years later, we're
still pretty happy
with the eternally pissed-off Wolverine clawing his way through the
pterodactl's wing. However, while Rich has always had permission to
add a few finishing touches to our paintings, this was probably the
last time he was allowed anywhere near hair.
speaking of compositions that walk the fine line between unsuccessful
yeah, we meant to do that, here, from the second portfolio, is The
Rich: "I was working too large, and the
got away from me. Happy?"
They say that since the
viewer's eye is naturally drawn roughly to the center of a composition,
the artist should be positioning significant elements -- or at least something
worth looking at -- there. Which, you can argue, we failed to do in
this case. Unless you consider Kitty Pryde's feet significant, which
we're pretty sure one or two of you do. But the point is, all the
action here takes place around the perimeter. Where your eye wants to
go, there's not a whole lot going on. Which is kind of zen, if you ask
Here's our painting of the Wolverine, also from the second X-man
See how much better Rich's compositional
skills are when he isn't doing a zillion
characters all up in each other's grille?
seems to enjoy this one. We think we managed to
capture in his expresion the essence of the character, which would be
interest in killing stuff until it's significantly beyond the point of
Also -- although he's unquestionably aces at dramatic lighting -- this
may have been the last painting Steve was
allowed to sign.
In convention news, here we
are having a whee of a time at the last Fallcon...
Note the bleeding edge technical sophistication of our display. No
expense was spared in finding a big sheet of cardboard and a couple of
telescoping tripods. Steve is working furiously on a commission, while
Rich, if his expression is any indication, gets ready to put an entire
sandwich in his face.
We can't stress enough how much fun these Spring and Fall MCBA
conventions are, so if you find yourself in Minneapolis at the
appropriate time, eschew the Edward Hopper exhibit at the Walker (he
won't be doing $40 con sketches, we're pretty sure) and join us at the
Fairgrounds, where there'll be plenty of free parking and an equal
number of free F&L signatures, bon mots, and insights into the
Just a week or so after Springcon, we'll be
the artist guests at the second edition of
a celebration of SF, fantasy and
folklore in British movies, media and literature, with special emphasis
this year on Magic & Mystery, two things nobody does better than
our pale and reserved compatriots across the water.
We probably won't be discussing our version
of the British version of the Avengers...
Spirited discussions of Holmes,
Hammer and Hobbits, as well as Daleks out the wazoo, will be the order
of the day.
Painting & miraculous
Beatles LP inspired
layout by Steve -- wouldn't this look better
on your chest than that Bangerz Tour tee?
We'll be talking about our
British movie and comics influences, and
defiling the huckster area with our colonist wares. We also provided
the Beatles-inspired art for what will likely be the biggest challenge
any local t-shirt printing facility has faced in a while; F&L
completists take note!
Due to overwhelming demand and the arrival of a fresh stack
of minty copies from our long-suffering publisher,
the Tricks & Treats Harcover
wherein Steve & Rich add an original signed color pencil sketch to
the front endpaper of this already-beyond-nifty volume -- is available
These aren't five minute doodles of
Batman's head -- we spend a couple
of hours on each one, and they're buffed to a high enough sheen that
we've used two (with minor Photoshopping) as covers in our Pocket
Pal series (including the latest issue).
If you've ever hankered to own an F&L original (signed
by both F and L), this is the most economical -- and interactive, since
you choose the character -- way to do it. At conventions, we do a lot
of these right at our table, and since that season doth approach, it
may not be long
before we're sold out again. If you've ever wanted to see our version
of Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld,
here, once again, is your chance.
Attention F&L correspondents: our postal address has changed.
Please update your Rolodexes!
We're now on Deviant Art,
where we'll have the opportunity to interact with other like-minded
humans, if we can remember how.
While the depiction of babes is never far from what's left of our
minds, we recently revisited a few of the classic Marvel superheroes
that got us excited about
comics and fantasy art in the first place, thanks to some like-minded
Casual observers of the F&L saga may not remember that in the early
80's we produced several sets of Marvel portfolio plates for SQP (40 years in the biz and still kicking --
happy anniversary, boys!), including Spider-Man, X-Men and the
(The Avengers and Fantastic Four were on deck, and we did paintings for
the FF featuring the Skrulls, Dr. Doom, Galactus, and, no kidding, a
Sunday spin in the Fantasti-Car with Franklin Richards. Those
portfolios were never printed, but aside from the gigantic size of the
originals and the nearly unsolvable mystery (to Rich) of how the
Thing's lumpy surface worked, it was a great experience.)
A few months ago, Joseph Miritello commissioned us to recreate the Green Goblin
plate from the Spidey portfolio -- which we enjoyed and got all misty
about. (Or would have, if we were capable of human emotion.)
Then he suggested the really interesting idea of depicting the
immediate aftermath of the scene, which we figured would play out
Moving a NYC borough or so over...
The cover of Marvel Team-Up #11 made a lasting
impression on another of our recent commissioners...
...who asked us to recreate it with Black Bolt's sonic havoc being
visited on the FF instead of Spidey and the Inhumans...
...giving Rich another shot at Ben's plate-like epidermis, and allowing
Steve to revisit one of his favorite effects, concentric circles. We're
big fans of the Inhumans, and hope to get around to the rest of them
eventually (especially the delectible Medusa, and the even more
The loveable Kong in our latest homepage design was originally done for
our good friend Ed (thanks again for helping us move the World HQ twice,
Eddie -- unfortunately, neither check is in the mail), for a
corporate event he was running in Las Vegas in February of 1993...
In the midst of preparing for the project, Steve went to get a
photocopy of Rich's pencils (no scanners. printers or
computer at the HQ in '93) at the nearest xerox machine -- in the art
downstairs from our studio, slipped on the ice and broke his
drawing arm. This did not stop him
from completing the painting.
The art was done at his usual 11" X 17" size, but since the booth
design required Kong to "appear" at a 10' X 15' second story window of a
full-size "house" right there on the convention floor (corporateland
must have been a lot more fun in the 90's), it was blown up somewhere
around here into a giant vinyl wall
hanging, rolled, and shipped to LV (no sending electronic files across
country for us, remember.)
was supposed to be delivered to the convention center, but somehow
ended up at
a warehouse near the airport. Ed and Rich drove out in a rental car,
threaded the giant rolled up vinyl monkey through the rear driver side
window, over the front seat and up against the windshield. Since there
was still a few feet of Kong protruding from the car, they drove the
side streets as fast as possible back into town. Fun
times in the pre-digital era!
It's time to remind everyone about the one fall comics convention to do
when you're only doing one, which would be FallCon 2013, on October
5th, from 10am to 5pm in the Education Building on the storied
courtesy Charles Dam
Here we are at the
iteration of said event. Have you ever seen two guys having more fun in
your life? That's because we're not there so much to coax the last
fiver out of your wallet (although, coincidentally, we do have
items that could be acquired just
as we are to offer the total immersive F&L experience, including
free signatures, snappy banter, and the opportunity to feign
interest in artists who were born right around the same time as your
Oh, the holding-forth that will transpire, assuming we've had enough
Among the guests -- and there's always a metric ton of extremely
talented, offbeat creators -- this year's special guest is Mark Waid,
whose work we personally are especially fond of because it isn't by a
And then there are the comics, graphic novels and assorted related
materials, which are not only legion, but priced more-than-fairly by
friendly, knowledgeable (and at FallCon, this
isn't a contradiction in terms!) dealers.
Admission is only $8, $7 with a non-perishable food item, and kids 9
and under get in free.
Also coming up shortly (Oct. 18-20) is the one show of the year we
attend mostly as fans: Arcana 43,
the Twin Cities' laid back, always entertaining convention for fans of
the dark fantastic in fiction and film.
Arcana's Guest of Honor this year is artist Tim
whose fantasy art credentials are far flung and weighty. His drawings
instrumental in shaping the golden age of fantasy and SF fandom, his
master's thesis became the first Tolkien calendar, he's done extensive
design work for Disney, and he's won five fricking Hugo awards. He'll
be displaying original art and discussing his work in this rare
appearance, and we urge you to take the opportunity to get up close
and personal with a towering figure in the realm of imaginative
Arcana's host hotel is the Best Western located in Bandana Square (trains!),
just off Energy Park Drive in St Paul. Admission, which includes the
riotous Saturday night auction, panels, interviews and presentations,
food- and beverage-like items and undying (or at least, undead)
comraderie, is $35 through Oct. 1, and $40 at the door.
And, guess what? We're not quite
through flogging stuff! The fifth edition of Pocket Pal is now
...as well as the
first ever F&L mini, based on our painting Cold Chill.
Remember: ars longa, vita brevis
(to say nothing of carus...)
these and other must-have items here.
Steve's latest spooky TV homepage pays tribute to Rod Serling's Night Gallery,
which we always enjoyed for the surreal introductory paintings, if not
the leisure-suited thespians in the segments themselves.
is finally back on its meds here at F&L World HQ, after having
been a snow-and-ice spewing psychotic bitch for much of the last month.
And none too soon, since it's almost time for
the latest iteration of SpringCon.
It's their 25th anniversary, so lucky attendees should look not only
for Steve and Rich at the F&L table, but also an unholy mess of
extra-special events, surprise guests and one-of-a-kind giveaways to
supercharge the already almost unbearably lively proceedings...
...not the least of which will be a passel of randomly distributed
original sketch cards, including several
Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Howard Chaykin are on the guest list, and
those guys alone are worth the price of admission. So stop by, worship
briefly at their feet, and then swing by our modest setup, where you
observe signing, sketching and fighting to the death over who gets the
of Solitude doughnut.
they're careful, SpringCon attendees will witness the world premiere of
the latest volume in our continuing series of little baby sketchbooks,
Pocket Pal 5.
PP5 is another disquieting excursion through the brain cells of Steve,
where busty nose art babes, mighty (but not -- so far -- "Mighty")
heroes and mythical entities of all types are rendered with frightening
conviction and meticulous attention to detail.
This ain't the hastily thrown together booklet you paid more than you
wanted to for at that other convention that one time.
This is Pocket Pal V, the latest in an illustrious line of carefully
assembled miniature sketchbooks you've been more than happy to pay
more than you wanted to for!
As always, each copy is signed in glittering gold-colored ink by
both Steve and (for some reason) Rich, and is one of a strictly limited
edition of 500.
You absolutely cannot go wrong with
purchasing a copy, unless you
immediately thereafter (as so often happens at conventions) come across
something else for $10 that you'd rather have.
Here's another reason to fall by the F&L nerve center at SpringCon:
we'll be displaying the first mini from Junk Robot's Damsels of
That would be "Allison", inspired by our painting,
She's tiny (32mm, or about 1.5"), pewter, and nicely
detailed enough to capture your heart, if you're sufficiently weird in
the relationship department.
Comics lost a great cartoonist and true Southern Gent a few weeks ago
Bill may ahve been best known for his C.C.
Beck invoking rendition of Thunder Girl, for
Big Bang Comics
Bill had a polished, immediately engaging style that snapped like a
whip; we would have sold a set of grandparents to
be able to ink like him.
He created, wrote and drew Super Frankenstein,
synthesizing his love for classic monsters, heroes,
and general weirdness, also for Big Bang
And any remaining relatives
for his lettering abilities, which were far beyond those of mortal
One of a series of three legendary classic comic
bag art images Bill created for the College of
Comic Book Knowledge
Bill had a refreshingly irony-free take on heroes, funny animals,
robots -- even horror. His zombie strip, Some of My Best Friends are Dead, was suitable for undeadophiles of
You can see more of Bill's
comics work here,
get a sense of his pithy observational style on this Youtube comments page.
Mini inspired by
our Barbarian Babes portfolio plate...
Robot's Damsels of Darkmyre Kickstarter project has wrapped, and --
to put this modestly, since we didn't do any of the real work -- it did
pretty gosh darn well.
Lil' demons run
amok in this sculpted reimagining of our Tricks & Treats cover
Over the last month, the
tireless bots at
JR posted continuous design and sculpt updates on their Kickstarter
page, as an enthusiastic (1,500+ comments and counting) cohort
of backers watched the minis being developed and refined in real
Now it can be told:
she's wearing pants (at least, the mini version is...)! Based on our
"Cold Chill" painting
They ended up meeting their
original funding goal more than ten
times over, and what was originally envisioned as a set of three
miniatures inspired by F&L babe imagery has blown up into more than
20 minis, a limited garage kit, t-shirts, shot glasses, and
an off-Broadway play.
Our bounty hunter
babe get the full-length treatment in this mini sculpt.
We're kidding about the play,
but the rest is for real. Head on over to the KS
page and have a look.
*...here's a look at Junk Robot's interpretation of Steve's dragon babe
from the top of the page...
lot of artists would be smart enough not to try to recreate a painting
they'd originally done thirty years earlier -- but not us, of course.
collector and Spidey aficionado Joseph Miritello recently acquired two
the four originals we did for the 1981 Spider-Man portfolio, and
got in touch to ask if we'd be interested in recreating a third --
Spidey vs. Green Goblin.
rarely (which is to say, never) work as large these days as we did back
then, and of course our style has changed considerably -- so there
was some apprehension, wailing, teeth-gnashing, and a special sacrifice
to the dark gods of successful frisketing -- but at the end of the day,
everyone (especially us) was floored by how well the painting turned
requested a couple of small detail changes to the original 80's design
-- so small that we wonder if you can spot them. (Hint: the color
difference isn't one of them -- remember the top image above is the
original printed plate.) There's a no-prize in it for you if you can...
you're like us, you not only have our sympathy, but you've probably
also occasionally wondered how our stuff might fare in the transition
from two to three dimensions (beyond, of course, Steve's
senses-shattering Demon Baby and Harryhausen-influenced sculpture).
Now, even as we speak, the industrious entrepreneurs at Junk Robot
are developing and funding a set of 32mm gaming miniatures inspired by
babe imagery, and are letting everybody watch the process in real time.
mini inspired by our "Dark Over Light" painting
licensed a number of our images for their Damsels of Darkmyre project,
and are in the middle of raising the necessary fundage via Kickstarter,
where they're also posting regular model, sculpting and painting
Darkmyre mini inspired by our "Catspaw" painting
we're not materially participating (as the IRS calls it) in the
endeavor, we're hoping -- amateur Egyptologists that we are -- they'll
get funded to the level that unlocks these
guys (and we bet you wouldn't mind that happening, either!)
the help of an increasingly annoyed and rapidly shrinking coterie of
close personal friends who can be taken advantage of (thanks, guys; as
always, the check's not in the mail...), we've just moved our studio
across town again, which means we're more than ready to chill at the
2012 editions of two of the relaxingest local cons you'll ever come
across, Fallcon 24, and Arcana 42.
From the people who make it happen, here's the straight dope on
Minnesota's folkiest comic convention:
Event Name: FallCon Comic
Event Description: A New
Fashioned Comic Book Convention – 150 Comic Book Creators In
Date/Time of Event:
Saturday, October 6, 2012 – 10AM to 5PM
Location of Event: MN.
State Fairgrounds, Education Building, 1265 Snelling Ave North, St.
Paul, MN. 55108
per adult. Children 9 & Under Free. Get $1.00 off with a canned
food shelf donation.
If you're coming, be sure to stop by the F&L table and watch us
scream at each other about Car 54
Where Are You? and Family
Guy until we're separated by Security.
Just a couple of weeks later, we'll
be lurking around the snack table and bidding on obscure and possibly
haunted auction artifacts at the latest iteration of our favorite Convention of the Dark Fantastic.
We hope you'll consider joining not only us, but also the erudite and
posssibly undead regulars of Arcana
for a vaguely unsettling weekend in St. Paul (not that they all aren't)
just before Halloween.
Arcana's Guest of Honor this year is the redoubtable S. T. Joshi. From
T. Joshi is a leading authority on H. P. Lovecraft, Ambrose Bierce, H.
L. Mencken, and other writers, mostly in the realms of supernatural and
fantasy fiction. He has edited corrected editions of the works of
Lovecraft, several annotated editions of Bierce and Mencken, and has
written such critical studies as The Weird Tale (1990) and The Modern
Weird Tale (2001). His award-winning biography, H. P. Lovecraft: A Life
(1996), has already become a collector's item. An expanded and updated
version, I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H. P. Lovecraft, was
published in 2 volumes in 2010.
In sum, fans of ookiness both literary and visual
will not fail to be entertained and probably not dismembered.
Pocket Pal Volume 4!
From the Preface:
of mildly disturbing fantasy scenarios -- and the F&L girls who
inhabit them -- will find plenty to pore over in this latest archive of
studies and preliminaries by Steve, whose eye for detail compels him to
render even something as pedestrian as beans minutely...
legumes, in this instance, adorn our rendition of Ann-Marget, as she
appears in a typically distasteful scene from the Ken Russell film,
Tommy. And this particular image (done at the request of a particpant
in our ongoing Tricks & Treats hardcover special offer -- we're
not kidding when we say, "Your choice of subject"), is only one of 32
F&L compositions herein, of which several are equally off kilter,
many reassuringly recognizable, and all realized according to Steve's
loving and strict standards of fit and finish.
of costumed adventurers, as we used to call them, will find, among
others, our versions of Magnus, Dawn and everybody's favorite Catholic
avenger, the Huntress.
in the unlikely event anyone remotely familiar with our work is
wondering about nudity, rest assured: there's plenty of it. And
even where there isn't, there often might as well be, if you get
Pal 4, as well as volumes 1-3, are signed, numbered and limited to 500
copies each. Order all four and get free shipping. Details on our Books
Media mogul and pal David Watkins is
slowly but surely assembling a comics lineup
with a genre for everyone, including heroes (past, present and future),
crime, western, funny animals, and a soap opera, Whispering Hearts, for
which we supplied a scene-setting image.
We also put our comic book hats back on to write and draw a two-page
intro for his sci-fi heroine Sadie Lyte.
there's one question we get more than any other (except maybe "When are
you guys going to retire?"), it's "Where can I find the first volume of
House of Lingerie?"
was published in 1997, sold out fairly quickly, and has been well nigh
impossible to find at anything remotely like a reasonable price
for quite a while.
now, the publishing maniacs at SQP are commemorating the 15th
anniversary of HHL Vol.1 with a spanking-new edition. Digital overlord
Bob Keenan -- bringing to bear all the technological advances
of the last decade and a half -- has lovingly remastered, moistened and
each individual image to its peak of quease-inducing vibrancy. The
ghouls have never been more moldering, nor the damsels more
We're pleased to be able to offer HHL Vol.1 again, at the original 1997
price of $10. Details on our Books page.
spent the Fourth of July weekend at the always-entertaining local
all-purpose-sci-fi-and-fantasy convention, Convergence 2012. He was in
Artist Alley on Friday and Saturday, and displayed F&L art in the
also contributed the grand prize (a signed copy of Beauties &
Beasts) to the fiercely contested Spacegirls Trivia Contest, and
generally had a swell time.
Speaking of Steve, he continues to
revisit the TV shows of our youth with his latest reconfiguration of
our home page.
Theater was less fantasy-oriented than other scary shows, but still had
a profound affect on our delicate psyches. And the opening titles
As promised, we're debuting Steve's Page,
wherein Monsieur F discusses the importance of Ray Harryhausen, and
shows some scupture influenced by the stop-motion master's work.
So, per the presumptuous yet somehow still extinct Mayans and their
tiresome calendar, we have a little less than a
year to wrap this whole song and dance up -- and since it's pretty much
an Always-Sunny-in-Philadelphia world anyway, there's not much
point in arguing.
We know it's not
Mayan; you get the idea...
Contributing to the
Decline of Western Civilization since 1976 is what it would say
on our business cards if we had remembered to reorder them, and we're
not about to stop now, so we invite you to look forward to at least
another year's worth of F&L hijinks -- although we'll understand if
you're at least partially distracted by non-fantasy-babe related
events. We guess. Not really, though.
had its moments, The Outer Limits sure didn't do itself any favors with
the talky, angsty stories and the bargain basement monsters.
The opening titles, however, were great, and Steve -- who's been
watching a lot of the reruns lately -- has paid tribute
to them with the fourth installment of the F&L
collector's series home page. Our bargain basement monster is an
original full head latex mask Steve crafted from a clay sculpture by
Rich, circa 1985.
You'll find twelve
new/vintage images in our latest Gallery
In recognition of it being, aside from the end times, the Year of the
Dragon, two of our newly listed originals
Arcana, that estimable
convention of all things creaturey, crawly and Cthulhu-y (and the place
be if you want to hang with real October People come Halloween time)
lost a charter member this summer in Philip Rahman, Fedogan &
Bremer publisher and
raconteur of the dark fantastic.
While literary horror was his stock in trade, Philip was also a fan of,
for example, Uncle Creepy, so we designed this Creepyesque portrait
-- featuring a couple of his ookier Arcana cohorts and a typical
F&B reader -- as a memorial.
A couple of items from the Coming
Be on the lookout for Steve's Page,
in which our beloved resident airbrush wizard will hold forth on his
secret history, influences (hint: Harryhausen; Corben), favorite
illustrators, philosophy of art, work outside of F&L, and whatever
else crosses his marker-fume enhanced mind.
Also under contruction as we speak is the fourth iteration of our
popular digest-sized convention sketchbook, Pocket Pal...
...wherein we will continue to submit for your perusal 32 pages worth
of rare, interesting, otherwise unlikely-to-be-seen non-color F&L
material. While other convention-type sketchbooks may mostly be hastily
conceived montages of loosely realized noodlings, Pocket Pal continues
to present Steve's patented brand of carefully rendered, minutely
detailed layouts, roughs and studies for finished paintings (of which
the Gorillas, Girls & Nazis image above is an example). Each editon
also contains a sampling of our most cherished vintage material, just
for laughs. So keep an eye out, if you will, and remember: only the
covers are in color.
The latest issue of Spectrum
is out, and -- as usual -- features a mind boggling selection of high
class fantasy art...
...as well as our beloved cover image for Beauties & Beasts (about
which more here). We believe the phrase is
"There goes the neighborhood..."
Wary as we are of art, pain and no-turning-back all happening at the
same time, we nevertheless always get a kick out of seeing our work as
tattoos, and feel honored by those who make an F&L-inspired image a
permanent part of their bad selves.
Based on an
image from Zombiesexual...
the cover of Zombiesexual...
on an image from Bed & Bondage 2...
The above inkage is from our neighbors to the (Great White) North at
Evening Shade Tattoo and Body Piercing in Grande Prairie, Alberta. Our
thanks to Ed for sending these along; have a look at more of his and
his cohorts' work here.
Greetings from Art Hell!
Consider this, if you
will, our personal postcard to you from the deepest depths of graphic
purgatory! It's number three in Steve's far out series of alternative
universe F&L home pages. Visit them all!
We're gearing up, as we hope you
are, for the 2011 edition of the always endearing Fallcon Comic Book
Rather than gushing yet again over the enjoyablity of this hometown
extravaganza, we briefly yield the floor to the vaunted crew who makes
it all happen:
Things are moving fast and furious
and we’re rapidly approaching critical mass as we accelerate
towards this weekend’s big whoop dee do!
As expected, the geometric
progression we call our Guest Creator list
has multiplied yet again! The total number of Guest Creators looks to
somewhere north of 125 and there’s no doubt we’ll be
squeezing in a few more in before all is said and done!
The legion of FallCon dealers,
from around the country, are reporting in that they are fully armed and
operational comic book FallConeers! They offer good will and cheer and
will be buying, selling & trading a gargantuan selection way cool
Other nefarious goings on will
include costumed characters, hundreds of door prizes, a few special
surprise Guest Creators, portfolio reviews, sketching, charity work,
networking, hucksterisms and special emphasis is placed on everyone
having a good time! Oh…and by the way, the first 500
attendees will get a free MCBA grab bag!
Now is the time and FallCon is the
place where there’s something for everyone and everyone
We really hope that
you’ll be able to make it! As always, there’ll be
a lot to see and do at FallCon! It’s a great way to spend a Fall
day! 360 minutes of extreme comic book action! So
please plan to come early and stay late!
We can only add that we -- who typically manage to blow off many, many
major life-related events without batting an eye -- try our darndest
not to miss Fallcon. It's just that much fun. And year after year (as
creators from all over the country will confirm) the free lunch really
seals the deal.
This year you can meet Stephan
Pastis, creator of the fairly irreverent Pearls Before Swine, and possibly
thank him for making your parents' mainstream media comics page a
little less annoying.
Local media critic/independent comics impresario/F&L buddy David
Watkins is taking a break from eviscerating whatever the big boys are
offering in order to publish up a storm of pulpy,
-- and it looks like we'll be a modest part of the proceedings. Give
the page a few minutes to load, and look for this crazy stuff in the
months that ensue.
Next week Rich will trundle his
magic carpetbag of F&L thingamabobs to the storied Donald E.
Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL for Wizard
World's Chicago Comic Con 2011.
This year's edition of the Midwest's most frenzied pop culture wingding
features so many guests from every conceivable corner of the modern
entertainment universe, the entire fannish population of flyoverland
(and that's a ton of people who don't wear little fedoras) is likely to
show up, screaming in unison, "Take my money and autograph my face, you
We here at F&L, as it so happens, are not so much about the money
as we are about...something that sounds less greedy than money, so feel
free to stop by Mr. Larson's table any time, day or night, say hi, get
a thing or two signed, and pick up a free 2012 calendar.
We've temporarily surrealized our home page
into something that looks somewhat
Twilight Zoney, but which was in fact inspired by one
of the many iconic Steranko S.H.I.E.L.D. covers -- and by the
melty goodness of Salvador Dali.
"Curiosity Box", a cautionary tale of three wayward sisters who place
their noses (and other parts) where they don't belong, originally
appeared in Little Black Book 3 -- but you can read it (and other short
F&L comic stories) right now on our Comics
Pocket Pal 3 is now officially available from us via mail and at
And speaking of cons...
The summer convention season is underway,
and Steve and Rich are girding their drawing hands (and what passes for their personalities)
in anticipation of mixing and mingling with fellow comics and fantasy
fans at Convergence, Comic-Con International, and Dragon*Con.
Crazy Minneapolis Fandom lives on at CONvergence
(June 30-July 3). There's an eclectic consuite
and a really, really, really good
coffee bar, Charlie Horne's stuffed-to-the gills art show, a 24 hour
cinema, dealer's room, mainstage with dances and concerts, guests of
honor and programming with and without same -- and perhaps most
importantly -- no fewer than forty
officially registered party suites which run the length of the con. If
you can't [fill in whatever it is you're trying to achieve in life]
here, you may as well move to [fill in wherever it is people resign
themselves to moving to when all is lost -- probably France]. F&L
merch and signed, matted prints will comprise the most miniscule
portion of the vast, always impressive art show, and Steve his own self
will be found hanging out there and wandering the halls. Don't hesitate
to walk up to everyone you run into and ask, "Are you Steve Fastner?"
until you find him.
Comic-Con International (July 21-24; preview night July 20) has
become a bit unwieldy these days -- however, it remains
the one to do when you're doing only one. Everything runs more or less
with a practiced efficiency, a bunch of content is debuted there, and
attendee-wise, it's almost impossible not to get your money's worth at
the show itself (things like lodging, parking and the overall SD
attitude, which is, "Why aren't you spending like proctologists?" are
In an era where independent publishers fold like cheap greeting cards,
F&L's buds at SQP (now in their 38th year) keep chugging right
along. How do they do it? Especially since they continue to publish us
on a regular basis? Rich is thrilled to be back at Sal & Bob's
giganto booth this year, where he'll hobnob with fellow fans, sketch, and show and sell
F&L originals, signed prints and other ordinarily-unavailable
material. If your're at all interested in fantasy girl art with an
international flair, you'll find yourself inexorably drawn to the big
SQP banner in Hall "C" (and Bob's come-hither stare).
(September 2-5) asks the musical question: how many slavegirl
Princess Leias do you need? Because it's based in four
more-or-less interconnected hotels, and is attended by 40,000 fannish
lunatics, D*C offers the kind of crazed, non-stop, all-hours
interactive frenzy you'll wish you could put yourself through all over
again right away as soon as it's over.
Comics-and-fantasy-art related guests this year include a pantheon of
immortals: Jim Steranko, Bil Stout, Jim Starlin, Berni Wrightson,
George Perez, and many more. There's a spacious, centrally-located
Artist Alley where you'll find Rich and a ton of his betters showcasing
their work. The art show, parade, performances, and panels are the
stuff of legend. They have their own television
station. This is the con that brought Shatner and Nimoy together
two years ago, and put Stan Lee back in the spotlight last year. The
MST3K guys are frequent guests. Jefferson Starship is scheduled to play
(don't ask -- we have no idea). And then there are the costumes. Yikes.
Trust us, it will all make perfect sense when you're in the middle of
everything, using one hand to keep your cape on and the other to keep
your jaw off the ground. Get a feeling for it all here
That's right: our home page is now a single
honking jpeg -- our apologies if you're on dial-up (we are as well, so
no sympathy or soup for you). We know there's a more appropriate (if
not faster-loading) way to do this, and we don't care. The concept of
"web standards" makes us chortle.
In other news, we've added a seventh gallery
page, wherein you'll discover a couple of images from the murky
dawn of F&L, as well as some just-out-the-door stuff.
Spring is just around a couple of
painfully cold corners here on the frozen
tundra, and so a young fan's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of the
Minnesota State Fairgrounds and the MCBA's Springcon 2011.
The guest list this year includes the supremely prescient (American Flagg!) Howard Chaykin,
and the flat-out terrific Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. If you've ever seen
their miniseries Twilight,
you know why these two guys alone are worth the price of admission.
As always, there'll be a metric ton of other creators, dealers, an art
show, panels discussions, and the kind of happy vibe you only find at
cons without San Diego, Chicago or New York in front of their names.
It will be our pleasure to show, sign and try to hawk stuff as well.
Look for the table with the two elderly guys stuffing their faces with
Speaking of hawking stuff, we've been asked by our creditors to remind
you that the long-awaited Pocket Pal III is scheduled to debut at
sample pages below have been updated as of 6/5/11.
Those of you familiar with previous editions know we pack a
well-rounded sampling of fully-rendered studies, sketches and rarely
seen paintings into each one of these babies.
Then we sign them, limit them to 500 copies per volume, and send them
into the world exclusively via conventions and our website.
People often ask us, "Steve and Rich, where do your ideas come from?",
and we tell them, "Usually from the realization that we need to fill
several pages in the next edition of Pocket Pal."
We're hastily (but with the utmost of discerning care and
consideration) assembling Pocket Pal III as we write this, so keep an
eye peeled for it among the many other gaudy, tawdry -- but equally
cashworthy -- items at the F&L table at Springcon.
We've added a new gallery page, and six
new originals, which may be acquired, if
you're feeling flush. And even if you're not, we can now accept
payment via Paypal, which, according to Rich, feels almost like not
being aware of spending money at all.
Since we're fairly afraid of having what passes for our souls stolen,
and since Rich inevitably looks like he's been on a three day vodka
binge, we try not to have our pictures taken all that often.
This one, by F&L corporate attorney/Bollywood historian/former
syndicated newspaper cartoonist James Schumeister, shows us in the
midst of the commercial whirlwind at this year's MCBA Springcon. Note
our many wares and immediate accessibility! Holding forth immediately
to Steve's left is comics legend Jim Shooter, whom we found to be just
great to be next to.
Mayfair Games has released Lords
of Vegas, featuring a box cover art contribution by us.
The idea here is that the guy in the fez just lost the deed to his
casino to the girl, and is being encouraged to hand over the keys.
While this may not be immediately obvious here, it's probably even less
so in our finished painting...
But we had a lot of fun with it, and we're sure the game -- brought to
you by the folks who publish Settlers of Catan -- will be a blast to
All thirteen episodes of the Lord of the Rings spoof Edward the Less
are now viewable on YouTube.
Edward was produced by the MST3K guys as a serial for the (then) SciFi
Channel's website; we provided the art...
There's also an interview
about the Edward project with the always vivacious Kevin Murphy.
We remember being thoroughly unable to watch the series online at the
time on our steam-powered computer, so we're looking forward to
downloading the whole thing and trying to figure out if it's funnier
than the movie trilogy..
After the reconnecting with fans, friends and the wonderful
complimentary sandwich bar, our favorite part of the local Spring
and Fall cons is probably getting hold of the latest hard copy edition
of David Watkins' vituperous broadside, Abandon Comics.
AC is a journal of critical analysis
in the same
way that the Howard Stern show is a meditation on interpersonal
relationships, but it's dollars to donuts you won't find another pop
culture observer who uses the words "Jodie
Foster" and "flan" in the same sentence.
Check out especially the early
material, which is heavier on the bilious commentary, lighter on
the photos of naked starlets.
We've feng shuied our home page into
something a little less unwieldy. Our old home page has been archived,
can still be found here. If you
want to know what's been going on with F&L since the beginning of
time, our old news page has been archived here.
The softcover edition of F&L's Beauties
& Beasts is now available directly from us.
Our latest girlie grimoire is 64 pages of pulchritudinous pandemonium
in the endearing manner of Tricks & Treats -- with a little less cute
and a litlle more brute.
Steve & Rich's crude but earnest scrawls will be affixed to your
copy upon request. Or even upon no request.
In keeping with our standard practice of hopping on trends about two
and a half years after everybody else wishes they'd just die a horrible
death, our newly minted, soon-to-be-available sketchbook (in the
time-honored tradition of the Haunted House of Lingerie and Bed &
Bondage series) is Rich Larson's ZombieSexual,
a sensitive portrayal of the oft-overlooked emotional relationship
between the walking dead and the non-brain parts of their screaming,
flushed-with-fear (or is that...excitement?) victims. With several
paintings and a gloriously sleazetastic faux movie poster by Steve, ZS
might be the perfect stocking stuffer for the necro-nutballs on your
Back from the end-of-the-Mayan-calendar hysteria
at Comic-Con International, Rich is ready to immerse himself in the
infinitely more temperate and relaxing milieu of our local autumn convention scene. And -- more
importantly for those who are interested in the concept of "talent" --
he'll be joined at the 2010 editions of FallCon and Arcana
by Steve, who will unchain himself from his giant drafting table of
unearthly delights just long enough to hobnob with the savvy,
mildly skewed attendees thereof.
Fallcon and Arcana take place on the same weekend this year (another
sign of the Apocalypse!) -- but Steve and Rich will eschew healthful
sleep, and make their mildly confused presence felt at both shows.
Plus, we'll have copies of not only Beauties & Beasts, but also
ZombieSexual available for your perusal and -- if we're lucky --
purchase. To say nothing of an arresting assortment of F&L
originals and assorted concomitant material. We'll be risking our
well-being, so feel free to stop by, observe our likely incoherence,
and enjoy a chuckle at our expense.
Check out some old and new images on our new
Gallery page, won't you?
Desperate times, our leaders appears to be
telling us, call for
completely unjustifiable distractions, and so we're excited almost to
the point of incontinence to be kicking off this last year of a truly
wretched decade with news of our brand
new art book:
...in which you'll find an outsized selection of our patented
minimally-attired swordsbabes and victimettes matching wits, weapons
and come-hither looks with the ooky -- and yet somehow timelessly loveable monsters who
would make them theirs.
Not only does F&L's Bs&Bs
unveil 40 new paintings on the general theme of: monsters-insistent,
...but we've also assembled -- especially for this
volume -- a collection of our favorite greyscale pieces, many
of which Steve has lovingly repainted in digital color...
...as well as never-before-seen commissioned pieces (you think we're twisted), a choice assortment
of Steve's delightful color pencil studies, and an introduction that
does nothing to advance humanity in its quest for knowledge. What more
could you ask for? How about a quality hardcover binding? All this and
more will be made available to you in scant weeks, exclusively through
the Science Fiction Book Club.
Flood their website with so many page views that Amazon is compelled to
take them over!
It might not seem so if you're currently trying to slap some feeling
back into your frozen forehead -- but May is just around the corner,
and as attending guests, we're compelled to remind you to plan your
very existence around the upcoming MCBA SpringCon.
Everyone and his brother will tell you the twice yearly MCBA affairs
are the friendliest, funnest and most comicky conventions around, and
if you've ever been chewed up and spit out by any of their planet-sized
competitors (cough-Comicon-cough), you'll be kissing the
concrete floor of the State Fair Grandstand in gratitude for the
breatheable air and ability to move from Terry Beatty's table to Nadja
Baer's table without being brought down by an elbow to the kidney.
Steve will be making one of his very rare public appearances, and he's
limbering up his signing hand even as we write this. Get his extremely
rare signature on stuff you've brought along, or on one of the many top
quality, not-made-in-China items we'll have with us.
And if all this isn't enough to convince you to show up, we have two
words for you: Jim Shooter.
Dig out those copies of Star Brand!
We've just put the finishing touches on a top-secret project for Mayfair Games, publishers of
the wildly popular Settlers of Catan series. We can say no more at this
time, other than that it does involve a character of a babeish nature.
Rest assured, we'll be flogging the pants off it, if not her, as soon
as we're able.
Hey, kids, comics!
herewith introducing the F&L Virtual Storytime
Comics Corner, a quiet place where you can kick back with a cigarillo
and, hopefully, really low expectations, and revisit some lighthearted,
lightweight F&L sequential graphic type content without getting powdered sugar donut all over
your hard copy. (Or something like that, but less suggestive-sounding.)
kicking things off with a couple of stories from our Little Black Book
series ("Alienated", from Vol.1, and "Cursed Kiss", from Vol.2), and
"Haunted House of Lingerie", from HHL Vol.3.
"HHL" in a combination of warm and cool grayscale markers and airbrush,
achieving a subtle multi-color effect that was lost when the story was
printed in black & white in the book. We're reproducing it here as
the original art looked, and the difference is quite striking.)
stories every now and again, so check back for updates.
Ally Fell and Duddlebug, the swell guys who brought F&L and an
international host of others to you with Erotic Fantasy Art, have done
it again with Fantasy Art Now 2
and/or The Future of Fantasy Art.
We're about 98% sure that The Future of Fantasy Art is the US edition
of Fantasy Art Now 2, since the authors, page count and dimensions are
the same. But you never know. We hope you'll do your part to keep the
worldwide economic spinning plates in the air, and order a copy of
each. FAN 2/FFA is a 192pp. hardcover, approx. 10" X 10", available here and here.
(The Future of Fantasy Art is also available from
uber-comic-and-fantasy-art-book guy Bud
Details (as they say) are
sketchy at this point, but we're currently assembling new material and
reconfiguring some vintage stuff for our next book, a hardcover
compilation scheduled for release early in 2010. More info and images
to follow shortly, we hope.
We've added seven new originals to our Originals
pages, plus five new studies and pencil drawings to our Pencils page. View (and buy) away, if you're
Also new are 24 additional prints,
including Uncle Creepy, Cousin Eerie, Vampirella, Valkyrie and
Enchantress as you've never seen them before (alas, not in the same
We believe in striking while the iron is colder than the
far side of Pluto, which is why we've waited a mind-homogeninizing two
and a half years to release the second
volume in our Pocket Pal convention-style sketchbook series.
Vol.2 collects tonal studies, private commissions, rare and unseen
early (as in late '70's) paintings and drawings, heroes, babes,
monsters, and all nine images from our Fallcon 20th Anniversary sketch
card set. Signed, limited to 500, and easily stashable in your
manpurse, there's (at least) a girl on every page, and color on every
cover -- and it's available right here, right now.
thanks to everyone who stopped by and said hi at CONvergence's newly
minted Artist Alley, and to the extremely tasteful buyers who helped us
sell out our little corner of the Art Show.
Next week, Rich dons
his protective exoskeleton and heads out to Comic-Con International,
where he, the F&L experience, and enough international erotic
fantasy art to make your eyeballs boil in your skull will be found at
the SQP Publishing Emporium, just inside the Main Entrance to the
Exhibitors Hall at SDCC. Look for the cloud of steam rising from
first-time visitors' pants.
SQP's venerable place in the history of erotic publishing is nicely
highlighted in Tim Pilcher's Erotic Comics: A Graphic History Volume 2.
We're in there as well...
Note: Pay no attention to Rich's thumb.
art that runs the gamut from soft "R" to hard "X", extended notes on
the creators, and a foreword by the ever-insightful Alan Moore, EC: AGH V2 is a an
indispensible reference, as well as libidinous
inspiration, and fans of sequential-porn will
find themselves revisiting it again and again. I mean, you can only
pretend to go back to Understanding
Comics so many times.
We're running around bumping into stuff at CONvergence this weekend.
a pretty big, really entertaining show -- but we harbor few illusions
about the likelyhood of someone both happening to be attending and happening to
be reading this.
we're nothing if not ridiculously over-optimistic. So if you're in the
bar at the Sheraton South, enjoying a Grain Belt, on your notebook (or
whatever it is the kids are calling it these days), and here, for some
reason, please note that they're trying out an Artist Alley this year.
It's on the second floor, across from the Dealer's Room, and we'll be
there from noon until three on Friday and Saturday. Look for the big
Barb Wire poster.
Here's an oil painting, "All Hell", that
Steve did in 1980. We published a b&w version of it in our Pocket
Pal Vol.I, and thought you might like to see a Fastner color palette
from the early days. This was scanned from a Polaroid, since the
original has changed hands a couple of times, and we weren't yet making
transparencies (look it up, digital-agers) of our work when we sold it.
We've finally made good on our promise
to add more images to our Prints page. (This
only took several years.)
Here's our summer convention schedule --
we hope to run into you somewhere!
July 2-5 -- Steve (and possibly Rich)
will be at the local sf/comics/media/all-around-good-time-get-together CONvergence, with prints
and books in the art show, and sketches and originals in the newly
minted (hopefully) artist alley.
July 22-26 -- Rich will be at the SQP
booth at Comic-Con
International, which -- like it wasn't an incalculably vast crush
of seething wetware in years past -- is already totally sold out.
August 13-16 -- We'll hang F&L
originals in the art show, and Rich will have a table with books,
signed prints and additional originals at the best four days in gaming,
September 4-7 -- Rich will sketch, and
show and sell stuff in Artist Alley (which has moved to the Hyatt,
probably near the Art Show, this year) at Dragon*Con. Stop by in costume
and get a free sketch of your bad self!
October 10 & 11 -- F&L will
have a table at Fallcon, on
the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Get the elusive Steve signature on
your various Marvel Superhero Portfolio plates! (The Fallcon page has
yet to be updated from 2008, but we're sure it will be soon.)
October 16-18 -- Steve and Rich will
join fellow fans of the dark fantastic for the intimate, not at all
sinister Arcana 39 in St. Paul.
Slither on by if you can.
Jonathan Ross: In Search
of Steve Ditko
Thanks to fans we met at a recent convention, we
were able to get a look at the 2007 BBC documentary,
of Steve Ditko. It's
a very decent introduction to the artist and the impact he's had on
fellow pros. Jonathan Ross is without question a
fan, and clearly believes Ditko has gotten far less than his due.
Stan Lee admits that while he's "willing to say"
co-created Spider-Man, he still thinks of himself as the actual
creator, because he "came up with the idea". Jerry Robinson, who taught
Ditko early on, remembers him as very serious about his work, and
determined to become a comic book storyteller. Alan Moore and Neil
Ditko fans) weigh in on, among other things, Ditko's moral philosophy
(as represented in The Question and Mr. A).
But, as might be expected, there is no interview
with the artist himself, since Ditko has always preferred to let his
work speak for him. Ross flies to New York and phones Ditko's
from the entrance to his building. We only hear Ross' side of the
conversation as he asks to come up and meet him. Ditko demurs. Ross
(together with Gaiman, who's along for the ride) goes up anyway. They
come back down 25 minute later with armfuls of Ditko books, and goofy
grins on their faces. Ditko certainly is worthy of a tribute like this
-- too bad no one in this country thought to do it.
We know this is short notice, but we
strongly suggest that on March 28 you drop everything and head straight
for Planet Comicon in Kansas
City. Comic and media stars will abound, Rich will be hunched over his
drawing board in Artist Alley, and, yes -- because this is America --
there will be Playmates.
is the spring edition of our local comics extravaganza,
and it's always big fun. With scores of creators and tons of comics and
comic-adjacent accoutrements, it's an early opportunity to get out
there and single-handedly rescue our faltering economy.
Or just stop in and say hi. Steve and
Rich will be there, and as always, it will be a rare opportunity to
acquire that elusive Fastner signature on as much F&L product as
you can dump in front of us. We'll also be open to virtually any kind
of conversational back-and-forth that doesn't involve fairy bust size.
So go ahead: ask us what we thought about the Spirit movie...
Microcon will be held Sunday, April 26,
2009 on the State Fairgrounds in St. Paul.
While we here at the world's coldest
indoor art studio throw ourselves into (1) the
small-in-size-but-big-in-sheer-graphitey-bravado Pocket Pal
II, and (2) an even curiouser follow-up to the heathen hijinx
immortalized in Tricks & Treats, you might want to check out a few
recent and upcoming F&L guest appearances:
The February '09 issue of Art Scene International
features an F&L cover, an interview with the boys, and a how-to
section with step-by-step photos, in which Steve -- using the Tricks
& Treats image Hangin' Around
-- shows and describes each step in the painting process, from scanned
drawing to finished art. For those of you (like Rich) who wonder how
the heck he does it, this is a must-read.
(ASI is published in
Germany, and the English language version should be available in the US
at all purveyors of quality international periodicals, which is to say,
Coming later this month from Ilex Press is
Erotic Comics: A Graphic History -- Vol. 2., about which the publisher
...crammed full of
exquisite art from around the world and fascinating interviews with the
artists...The book takes a look
at what is currently being published in Europe and Japan, and examines
the new wave of erotic web comics on the Internet, where censorship is
These are the folks who brought you the over-the-top good Erotic Fantasy Art,
so when they say "exquisite", there's every reason to believe they're
not fooling around. This is the kind of company we like to keep, and
thrilled to have a couple of F&L images reproduced therein.
Our many-splendored relationship with the boys at SQP continues, yea, even unto books
with other artists in them.
The ever popular Song series (Fairy, Sword, Mermaid,
with more to come) is cheeks-to-cheek with alluring, dangerous and
wholly unattainable fantasy femmes, undulating about in eye-scorching
Although our approach isn't quite as...refined...as that of the
way-too-talented Arantza (whose ethereal paintings grace the Song
covers and interior pages), thanks to the big-tent all-inclusiveness of
the Bob & Sal aesthetic manifesto, we've succeeded in insinuating a
few of our images into this very successful series.
Bait, from Mermaid Song
from Sword Song
Preview and order the entire Song series directly
from the publishers themselves,
and while you're at it, have a leisurely look around at what must
surely be the biggest, bounciest, bizarrest bevy of illustrated fantasy babes on the net.
We're reasonably confident when we say that Martin Arlt is the only
molecular biologist who's publishing his own monster fanzine (insert
your own laboratory
joke here). Not only that, but Mad Scientist
is up to issue 18, and has metamorphized, Jeff Goldblum-like,
from digest-sized b&w to full sized, color cover magazine. Let
the shrieking and castle-storming begin!
Rich has been contributing sketches for several issues, and Steve
colorized the above image (Vat of Evil, from B&B 1) for the cover
of #17. Each Mad Scientist features in depth commentary, reviews, and
profiles of vintage and classic monster/fantasy/sf movies, comics and
TV. The first thirteen issues are sold out, and if you're a fan of the
50's/60's stuff (F&L
cut their teeth on it, so you know it's good!), we suggest you hop on
Martin's graveyard express right
German correspondent Arno Schaetzle introduced
us to a new website
devoted to the international airbrush art/artist scene. Imagery by the
likes of Sorayama, Royo, Michael Mobius, as well as 3D art and lots of
links -- and they're just getting started. Look for an F&L piece in
there somewhere as well!
If you're like us (and if you are, comb
your hair, get an education, and try to make something out of
yourself), you're already getting into
the Halloween spirit, so it's time to remember the most basic rule of
Jack-O-Lantern etiquette, which is, make sure all the pumpkins are dead
before you start carving them up.
Folks who commission originals from
F&L have inquiring minds, and sometimes what they want to know is
what x might look like from y angle.
We've worked on a series of commissions
based on, and as homages to, classic works by the greatest fantasy
artist of all time (in our opinion, and in the opinion of a lot of
people who are in a better position to make the statement than we --
which is a lot of people).
The above is our imagining of a side view of Frazetta's Beauty and the Beast.
& Bondage 2
is winning friends and influencing people everywhere it goes -- which
isn't altogether that far, since retailers have to make room for a
fresh pallet of Dark Knight product every week. But it's available
from us, and
from our main men at SQP as well.
Can you really look these little
fellas in the eye, and tell them they can't come live with you?
(No, we meant the little red
Fall means local conventions in the Twin
Cities; next month you'll find us, and about 225 other comic creators
over the country, at the 20th anniversary of Fallcon, on the Minnesota
State Fairgrounds in St Paul.
To celebrate the occasion, Fallcon will
be giving away at the door original
collector card art
contributed by a sizable number of their guest creators, most of whom
are -- no surprise -- considerably bigger deals than ourselves. Our
comparative unknowness hasn't stopped us from throwing ten color
sketches of our own into the mix, including
And eight more supergirlish portraits.
Again, these, and all the card art
donated by the other guest creators, are not prints, but one-of-a-kind
pieces of original art -- and they're being given away to attendees of Fallcon 20 in
celebration of its big anniversary.
Just a cut above the Zack and Miri Make a Porno tote
bags they'll be handing out at the next Comic-Con.
Later in October, we'll join Scott,
Dwayne, Phillip, Eric, and several dozen additional fellow travelers in
dark fantasy at Arcana 38.
There'll be movies, panel discussions,
guests, consumption of beverages, a ridiculously good art show, and an
even more ridiculously good auction, and generally insightful and
loving rumination about Arkham-inspired fiction and cinema. Cthulhuites
will miss this cozy, extremely well-run con at their own peril!
This may tickle your ivories -- we've
put up an originals
of Steve's color pencil studies, mostly from Tricks & Treats, and
Rich's pencil drawings from the original Bed & Bondage. As nearly
as we can tell, this is the least budget-annihilating way of owning an
F&L original, so if you happen to have any rebate check money left
Rich plans to be in artist alley at Wizard World Chicago,
June 26-29, and Dragon*Con in
Atlanta, Aug. 27-Sept.1.
A plethora of F&L product will be
offered by our best friends forever, SQP, at Comic-Con International in
San Diego (July 24-27), as well.
Bed & Bondage 2 proves there are at
least fifty ways to leave your lover unable to move much of anything at
It includes a hefty selection of Rich's
dwarf-and-woodland-creature-bedecked pencil drawings...
a goodly number of twisted grayscale
paintings by Steve...
and a graphic story that will be of at
least passing interest to anyone who was amused by the shenanigans
depicted on cover of B&B 1.
All tightly encased (not in
rubber, unfortunately) between two brand spanking new, full-color, altogether lurid F&L
for a release date.
Some of the brightest new lights in
erotic fantasy illustration are wonderfully represented within the
pages of the recently released Erotic
Fantasy Art (Ilex, 192pp.).
Stalwarts such as Brom, Maitz and
Sperlonga also appear, as do your very disobedient servants.
Illustration in general and girl art in
particular lost a true master with the untimely passing of Dave Stevens.
His women were playful, innocent, sexy and dangerous, often within the
same image. He reintroduced the world to Bettie Page, and his linework
is in a class by itself. We'll definitely miss seeing more of it.
Steranko nuts that we are, we just can't
resist recommending this
wherein he regales us with the untold stories behind some of his most
memorable comic covers. (Click on the "Steranko Commentary" links.)
Steve and Rich connected with friends
old and new, and generally had a whee of a time at local conventions Fallcon (comics) and
fantastic) earlier this month.
The Fallcon vibe is relaxed and
friendly, with a ton of creators and a lot of original art on display
(Joel Thingvall's Wonder Woman display was an education in itself). For
all intents and purposes, it's a national convention with a local feel,
and the folks behind it know their stuff.
Arcana guest George Clayton Johnson spun
great stories about writing for the original Twilight Zone series and Ocean's 11
(!). Many of the attendees are professionals and semi-pros, and we got
the sense that everyone at this intimate con was knowledgeable and
enthusiastic about the genre. The auction alone is worth the price of
If you just can't get enough of us
waxing eloquent here, Jazma
Online has individual interviews with Steve and Rich, as well as a
great many other creators (and a couple of the contestants from Who Wants to Be a Superhero?) Go
to the Interview page; we're in there somewhere.
As the feeble sunlight fades from the
frozen tundra, we're gearing up to crank out an all new series of
drawings, paintings and narrative mischief for our forthcoming Bed & Bondage II. (For those of
you who've requested more
ball gags, we promise to give the notion at least momentary
Embarrassingly long in the making,
F&L's Tricks & Treats (we've referred to it on these pages up
to this point for reasons that will be escaping us at any moment as Sweet Cheeks)
is now available for your amusement and edification...if there's
anything to be learned from immodestly-decked-out babes in intricate
situations -- and we think there is.
Therein you'll find 44 or 45 (it's all a
blur to us now, really) of our latest works, all in blazing
debauch-o-color. If you're even vaguely interested in the less
wholesome side of Halloween, cosplay, or general pagan revelry, you'll
find inspiration and succor within these pages. At an outsized 9" X 12"
and $14.95 US the copy in softcover, can one really go wrong? Or, at
least, any more wrong than the ladies herein depicted have done?
Additionally, for those of you who take
your fondness for F&L imagery to the limit, T&T is also
available in an entirely too respectful hardcover edition, at $24.95. So if
you've been searching in vain for that perfect family treasure to hand
down to the grandkids...
Eventually we hope to offer T&T on
our website, but for now, it's available exclusively from our
publisher. Halloween and Christmas are just around the corner, so
consider obtaining multiple copies for yourself and your clergymen!
Next month we'll pack up our stuff, hop
on the University Ave. bus, and spend a couple of days hanging out at Fallcon 2007.
Nestled unassumingly among the oaks and
the corn dog stands of the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, this con
consistently draws a jaw-dropping line-up of guests, which this year
includes Adam Hughes, Dan Brereton, Steve Rude, Kurt Busiek, a lot of
other creators you've actually heard of, and now -- inexplicably --
Stop by and get stuff signed by Steve,
or just tell Rich to shut the hell up.
Every so often we get extremely polite
requests to use our images in sig tags and tubing, and we're
usually unable to comply because of various contractual agreements and
individual ownership issues.
Now, however, some sets of our stuff are
available via the extremely comprehensive online art showcase at CILM. These guys have
everybody, and the babeosity quotient is off the charts.
The nuances of marketing are more or
less lost on us; moreover, in the star chamber that is our publisher's
mighty merchandising machine, we cast exactly no votes.
Cheeks, as a result, will now be submitted for your approval as Tricks & Treats,
and positioned as more of a celebration of all
things Halloweenish, rather than the slobbering, booty-obsessed
bacchanal it in fact is.
The images remain the same, however, and
even a ground squirrel would be able to dope out where we're coming
from. Still, we hope the adjustment bags us that ever-elusive pagan
should be available by early fall, which is an eternity in girl art fan
years, so we've produced an interim offering.
is a diminutive (5.5" X 8 1/2") sketchbook, dedicated to the
proposition that bad girls (and good ones) come in small packages. This
32 page b&w collection spotlights Steve's popular tonal studies, as
well as many unseen finished paintings.
is signed by Steve and Rich, and limited to 500 copies; it will be
available from Rich at Comic-Con, Wizard World Chicago, and
Illustration House is presenting an
auction of original comic book art February 23-25 in Manhattan.
The auction includes two of our favorite airbrush paintings, Big Gun
(cover for Bill the Galactic Hero #1) and Low Noon (cover for Weird
You can check out the details on these
and other far more legitimate examples of comic book history -- and
place a bid online -- at the Illustration House website.
We rarely work in full airbrush at large sizes anymore, so this would
be a good opportunity to acquire a wholly representative original
Or, if you just want to own as much
jaw-droppingly beautiful fantasy art as
possible by the best contemporary creators in
the business, original or not, you could do worse than hunting down a
copy of Spectrum,
the latest volume of which (#13) is on sale now. It's edited and
published by the folks who brought you the Frazetta trilogy, and they
really, really know what they're doing.
(One of our pieces, an image from Little
Black Book 3, is ensconced in its pages, bringing down the property
values only slightly.)
Steve can finally count on one
hand...his family is very proud.
No, what we mean to say is, Steve can
finally count on one hand the number of paintings left to do
for the Sweet Cheeks
project. Once finished, the fate of this massive, year-long, Sistine
Chapel ceiling of an undertaking is out of our hands -- but we hope the
summer of '07 will find you getting a little behind in your reading.
saw fit this year to present
F&L with the Minnesota Fantasy Award; we're honored and a
little embarrassed to find ourselves -- for the first and last
time, we assure you -- grouped with the likes of Terry
Gilliam, Lester Del Rey, Ruth Berman, John Sladek, Joe Lansdale, Greg
Ketter and Philip Rahman, of the indispensable Minneapolis-based
Philip was kind enough to present
us with a beautiful copy of Howard Wandrei's The Eerie Mr. Murphy, which
includes a unsettling
of drawings by the author. If you're a fan of the sort of lovingly
crafted books more common to the turn of the last century than the
present day, you really owe it to yourself to check out the Fedogan
& Bremer catalogue.
Arcana also had, per-square-foot, one of
the most intriguing art shows we've seen in a good while, with
originals by Virgil Finlay, Don Maitz, Michael Whelan, Howard Wandrei,
Hannes Bok (!) and Vaughn Bode (!!)
We offer our sincere thanks to Eric
Heideman, Scott Wyatt, Dwayne Olson, and everyone at Arcana 36, for
making us far more welcome than we deserved.
It's not exactly "How Stan and Steve
Create Spider-Man", but we've added an ever-so-brief demo of how we go
about doing page a for one of the little stories you find in Haunted
House of Lingerie and, most recently, Bed & Bondage.
What we've done is taken a page from the
story "Crule & Unusual" (in B&B), and speed-walked you through
it from rough to finished page. You'll be asking, "Why can't you do
this like normal comics guys do?", and we'll answer, "Because it's too
Rich was standing in the middle of
of the main hall at Comic-Con International on Saturday, about when
to stop selling tickets because it was just too ridiculously crowded,
he got the same feeling as when he watched everynerd Peter
Jackson walk right over immaculately appointed Hollywood
royalty to accept just about every Academy Award there was for Lord of
the Rings III.
And the feeling was: This is our time.
We are abroad and aloose, and will not
be put back. Look upon our works, ye mighty, and despair.
Then he made as much of a beeline as
possible for the
facilities, because he was full of coffee.
Apart from drawing at the
SQP booth and finding cell phones on the sidewalks of San Diego (final
tally:2), Rich enjoyed breakfast sandwiches at the Cheese Shop (go
with the biscuit instead of the English muffin), good-natured banter
with the publisher fellows, and sleeping.
Bondage made its debut at Comic-Con, and did quite well,
considering its conspicuous lack of ball gags.
If you were there, but had better things
to do (was that
Kevin Smith?!) you might yet procure a hot-off-the-presses copy at
Dragon*Con. Look for Rich in Artist Alley.
If there's one commandment amongst comic
art types. it's probably Thou Shalt Not Go to San Diego Without New
Material. A few months ago, when we were about halfway through the
44-odd (and we mean odd) new paintings for Sweet Cheeks, we were able
to calculate with a fair degree of accuracy that the rest weren't going
to be done in time for the big show unless we took on a couple of
sizable crystal meth habits.
So, after a brief summit with They Who
Write the Checks, we temporarily set Cheeks aside, and plunged headlong
into plan B. Or rather, plan B&B.
If you enjoyed spending a night or two
at our Haunted House of Lingerie, you should make plans to check into
an equally twisted establishment, Rich Larson's Bed & Bondage.
B&B marks our return to the
ever-popular sketchbook format pioneered by SQP more than a decade ago.
Therein you'll find drawings by Rich, paintings by Steve, and a
whimsical (if you're Elizabeth Bathory) story featuring the popular
ladies from our Spanking Tails print. What more could you ask? How
about brand new front and back cover paintings, in blazing
Oh yes--and copious, fully gratuitous
semi-nudity. Float on over to the SQP booth at Comic-Con International
(with 100,000+ attendees, your feet won't be touching the floor often)
next month, and grab yourself an autographed copy!
Now that Bed & Bondage is out the
door, it's full speed ahead on Sweet Cheeks.
The plan is to have this project
available for your posterior-centric pleasure in 2007.
We're more than halfway through, and
we'll be pausing only long enough to tackle a private commission every
now and then--because they let us stretch our spindly legs,
Spider-Man and Morbius ©
Since we both grew up on superhero
comics and monster and sf movies, we're tickled pink to revisit those
themes any chance we get.
X-Men and Magneto © Marvel
Our commissioned works in the last few
months have run the gamut from pencil drawings to watercolors to
grayscale and color marker and airbrush paintings. (If you think you
might be interested in commissioning your own original, here are some details.)
Like American Idol, but for
diametrically opposite reasons, listening to Atlanta's the Cogburns
makes us want to drink and bust stuff up. If Justin and Kanye and Gwen
and Fergie make you want to reach for the claw hammer, we heartily
recommend this new cd, for which we were thrilled to supply the cover
Some of our favorite images from the
F&L pantheon are back as covers for Nick Pollotta's unstoppable
Bureau 13 franchise.
A laurel, and hearty handshake to the
designers at Wildside for the tasteful type treatment.
(Our cover for Nick's That Darn Squid God
remains everybody's favorite rendition of a giant cephalopod trashing
The B13 series steamrollers ever onward,
with at least two more F&L paintings tagged for projects in the
(Previous news can be found here.)