Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Buying Comics Back in the Day

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was in the small town of Pocahontas, Arkansas. It’s a town I visited a lot as a kid because my parents grew up there and also I spent a week with my cousin there each summer. It’s a classic small southern town like Mayberry from the Andy Griffith Show. It had a town square with an old courthouse in the middle, a laid back pace with friendly people and it also had a “five and dime” variety store, namely Peter’s Variety Store, also known as “Joe Pete’s” because Joe Peters ran it.

Whenever I would find myself in Pocahontas, no matter the reason, the one goal I had in my head was a visit to the greatness that was Joe Pete’s. Why you ask? Because, in addition to the tools, candy, combs, shoe polish, umbrellas and other odds and ends, Joe Pete’s had a WALL of comic books. Not only did they the newest issue of Justice League, they had last month’s and the month’s before. This proved invaluable to me, as I myself lived in a small town and got my comics at places like the JR Food Mart, Safeway and Leaks Quick Mart. I wasn’t afforded the luxury of a comic book store back in the day, so I’d often miss issues of my favorite books.

Joe Pete’s was a gold mine for me. There was nothing better than getting a stack of comics (with the price written in grease pencil so you could know how much they were with tax, see image to the left) and catching up on any adventures I might have missed. The place seemed like it was in a time warp. I would visit in the late 70s and early 80s but it felt like it was a store from the 50s and 60s.

Unfortunately Joe Pete’s closed years ago, so every time I go by the empty store front I feel a bit sad, but the memories of the place also make me smile. My wife Heather snapped the picture above of me outside the old shop. When I showed it to my mom (who had to endured my many requests to stop by there growing up), she said it looked like I was waiting for the store to open. Maybe she was right.

Meeting an Inspiration

Have you ever gotten to meet someone that inspired you as a kid? Obviously not a family member, but a musician, writer, politician or someone like that? Well, I recently had the pleasure of doing just that. I met a comic book artist who I was a huge fan of growing up, Mike Grell. He was the first artist whose work I recognized from book to book. I own every issue he drew of Superboy and the Legion of Super Heroes, Warlord and Starslayer. I used to copy his style (and even signature). Back in 1980, I actually wrote to "Ask the Answer Man" in DC Comics and naively asked, "How can I learn to draw like Mike Grell?" Unfortunately, they printed my question wrong... "Could I learn to draw like Mike Grell". Either way, I'm sure I would've gotten the same answer. (See image below, note my amazing crossword abilities too).

I was a guest at the Dallas Comic Con a while back and so was he. I was so psyched to get to meet him. He was very kind and gracious, a really nice guy. I commissioned a Warlord sketch from him, which is amazing (see image above). I actually showed him the issue of World's Finest with my question in it, he got a big laugh out of that. He was shocked at the date and asked how old of was when I wrote that. I told him that I was much older than I looked. When he heard my age he joked that I need to loose some hair and get fat, which I took as a compliment. I was a real treat to meet someone that influenced me so much. It occured to me that comic book artist often have a better chance of meeting their idols than a lot of other professions out there with conventions and all. Anyway, just thought I'd share.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Patch Geeks: A Confession

Considering that I draw comic books, I don’t consider myself super-geeky. And my wife, although exposed to my world, is not geeky at all. But with that being said, together we are Patch Geeks. We love the outdoors. State parks, hiking, caves, animals, etc. And when we go to certain destinations, we always try to find a patch to commemorate the experience. The photo above is our collection so far. I’m only posting this so I can look back in a few years and see how much the collection has grown and to admit, in public, that we indeed have a problem.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Low Cut Jeans, an Illustrator Time Trial

I wanted to see how fast I could take a sketch and turn it into a finished Illustrator piece. Not a super-detailed one, but a simple stylized image. I've had this sketch laying around for a while, so I thought I'd try it. This ia a 50 minute one. It was kinda fun to see how fast I could do it and it still be happy with the outcome. As you can see, the background wasn't part of the original sketch, I just threw it in. Not the best image I've ever done, but I like it. Hope you do too.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Photos from the Live Art Show (Wizard World Texas)

I had great time at the Live Art Show on Saturday night. Met a lot of cool people, got to do some drawings for charity and got to see amazing work by follow artists. I got to work with Brock Rizy and Benjamin Hall, both of which I've hung out with before but for only a sort amount of time. So it was cool to spend some time with them. Tom Kurzanski was there, I met him for the first time. Very funny dude, great artist. Also Kristian Donaldson, who is an amazing artist, I wish could've talked with him more.

We had a lot of artists show up asking if they could contribute, so we let them jump in, including Kody Chamberlain and Cheeks, it was nice to talk with him, great guy. A lot of nice pieces were created and a lot money was raised for Heroes 4 Heroes, a new charity that gives comics and other media to troops over seas. Here are a bunch of photos from the show...

A piece by Ben, Brock and me...


A piece by Tom, Brock and me...


Tom, Brock, Ben and Me with a group piece. My portion of it stunk...


Cheeks working on one...


Ben at the boards...


Tom starting one...


A three shots of the crowd...




Thursday, October 12, 2006

Dallas Comic Con!

Once agian the great guys at the Dallas Comic Con have invited me to be a guest at their show. It's on Saturday, October 28th from 11:00 to 6:00 and Sunday, october 29th from Noon to 5:00 at Plano Centre in Plano on Springcreek. Looks like it's gonna a big show.

Media guests include:

Maggie Grace
- Shannon from the #1 television series LOST. Also appeared as Elizabeth from the horror film THE FOG. Appearing Saturday only!

Ron Glass
- Shepherd from the television series FIREFLY and SERENITY (2005), and much more. Appearing courtesy Las Vegas Autographs Saturday and Sunday!

Jake Lloyd
- Anakin Skywalker in STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE. Also featured in recurring roles on THE PRETENDER and ER. Voice of Anakin in STAR WARS video games.

Kelly Stables
- Evil Samara from THE RING 1,2,and 3. Appearing Saturday only courtesy Las Vegas Autographs.

Daniel Logan
- Young Boba Fett in STAR WARS EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES. Also appeared as Zaylan on HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS.

Comic creators include myself and:


Ethan Van Sciver
- SUPERMAN/BATMAN, GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH
Steve Rude - Creator and artist of NEXUS.
Mike Grell - Known for his art on GREEN ARROW and WARLORD.
Brian Stelfreeze - Cover artist for SHADOW OF THE BAT.
Todd Nauck - Creator and artist of WILDGUARD.
Kerry Gammill - Artist of SUPERMAN, ACTION COMICS,
Paul Gulacy - Artist of CATWOMAN, JSA CLASSIFIED.
Phil Noto - Artist of DANGER GIRL: VIVA LAS DANGER.
Scott Kurtz - Creator and artist of PvP.
Brian Denham - Artist of DARKNESS, KILLBOX, ELSINORE.
Cat Staggs - Airbrush artist for STARWARS.com.
Tom Hodges - Artist of the STARWARS webstrips.
David Hopkins -Writer of EMILY EDISON.
Ben Dunn - Creator and artist of NINJA HIGH SCHOOL.

So come on out!

Click here for more info on the show.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

CAPE 2.5 Live Art Show - Photos

Here's some photos my wife took of me creating my piece at the Live Art Show and Auction for Lea Hernandez (see a few posts below). We had a great time at the Metro Grill, the event raised a ton of money and I got to hang out with my artist friends (you can see Kurtz drawing next to me). I don't know what the final bid was on my piece. When I left it was up to $45, which is much, much more than I expected. I also don't know who won it. If it was you, let me know!

Kirby Dog Action

Just thought I'd share some pictures of the new puppy. He's growing fast. First up is his first tug of war with the rope. Below are some recent shots to show his new size. He's gonna be gigantic.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Beach Blanket Bingo!

Here's a new piece that I actually did for my day job as a Graphic Designer for an insurance company. I work on a couple of their monthly magazines and they let me do a drawing for story about their upcoming convention in San Diego. Hopefully I'll get the chance to do more.

The empty space at the top and on the left is where the copy for the story went in case you're wondering. And it's a two color magazine, that's why it's not full color.

Live Art Show and Benefit Auction

Come out to the Metro Grill in Dallas this Saturday night (September 30th) at 9:00 pm for some great art and a great cause. Zeus Comics, PVP, Pop Syndicate and Fanboy Radio are sponsoring CAPE 2.5, a Live Comic Art Show benefiting comic book artist Lea Hernandez and her family. I’ve been asked to participate; hopefully I’ll overcome stage fright and produce a nice piece.

From the press release… “After a house fire claimed everything the Hernandez family owned including her art, the comic book community is rallying around Lea with a live comic art jam and comic art auction. While a DJ spins, comic artists work on oversized canvases before an assembled audience. Once an artist finishes a piece it moves to an auction area where anyone can bid on it.”

Not only did she lose everything she owns but she lost six of her family pets, two dogs and four cats. Luckily, she and her family, including two special needs children, survived. The proceeds from the art auction will go towards helping them get their life back on track.
Click here for more details.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Kirby Dog!

Well, the wife and I got a new addition. A six week old Yellow Lab, that we named Kirby. Named after legendary comic artist and visionary Jack Kirby. I figure most people that stop by here are into comics and art and know who that is. If you don't, then do yourself a favor and look him up.

And if you know me and are into comics, I'll answer a question you might be thinking. No, I did not steal the name from my buddy Scott Kurtz. As a matter of fact, when I met Scott's hound, I actually said, "Hey man, I've been holding on to that name for when I get a dog some day." Well, that day finally came and I'm using it. There's room for another dog named "Kirby" in this world.

Anyway, he's sweet, cute and all those other descriptive puppy words. The cats still haven't taken a shine to him. But hey, it took them a while to take a shine to each other.

In other news, busy with freelance and David, I will get to the LBS. Promise.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Back in the Day (or The Rare Art of Cal Slayton)

This should be good for a laugh or two. I'm a bit of a pack rat when it comes to drawings, I have years and years of them. And the majority of them are pretty bad when I look back on them. I mean, I'm fairly happy with the stuff I'm producing these days, but I sincerely hope I look back at these new pieces and cringe.

Anyway, I thought I'd share a handful of drawings I did years ago as a crazy kid with a crayon. I think they all fall between the ages of maybe 5 or 6 to 11. Man, it brought back some memories going through these old things. Hope you have at least half the giggle I did.








Monday, August 14, 2006

Colorado Revisited

If for some crazy reason you've been checking out this blog since the beginning, you might have seen the photos we took in Colorado last Fall. Well, we're heading back agian this year and it inspired me to add more of the pictures we took last year to the page I created. I think I added about about 16 or so more.

So, if you're into nature or photography or you're just bored at work, give 'em a look. I'm sure when we get back for our second visit, I'll post the new ones. Should make for some good photos since we will be hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. Just like last year, we're renting a cabin in the woods. We're pretty darned psyched about the whole thing, I gotta tell ya.

Click here to check out the updated pictures from last year.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Summer... it turns me upside down

Well, probably not in the way that Ric Ocasek meant it. To describe living in Texas in the Summer, I quote Neil from "The Young Ones" (who was probably quoting someone else)... "Summer is a bummer." Why? Because it's freaking hot and humid. Please just get me to Fall. Lovely, lovely Fall. Anywhoo, getting back to the subject at hand. Since I redesigned my site last Fall (Oooh, there it is again) I promised myself that I would update my homepage image at least each season and try to hit a few holidays as well and so far I've managed to do that. I'm a little late with this one, but I got it done and that's what counts. Hope you like it.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sci Fi Expo - Saturday July 8th

A last minute addition to an upcoming convention... I'll be making an appearance the Sci Fi Expo, Saturday July 8th (maybe Sunday, I'm not sure if I can make it) 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. It's at the Plano Center (in Plano) at 2000 E. Spring Creek Parkway. Admission is FREE! Come out and see me, I'll be doing commissions all day.

Meet Alan Tudyk (Wash from Serenity and Firefly). From Star Wars: Dave Prowse, Ray Park, Peter Mayhew and more.

Click here for details

Monday, July 03, 2006

Rules of the Game

I just realized I never posted this here, I only posted it at the blog for Dog Food Productions.

Anyway, check out a short film we did several months back. Rules of the Game...

Saturday, May 20, 2006

A Sign of the Apocalypse?

If you've ever clicked on the link on the right hand side of this page that reads "Dog Food Productions", then you might know that a group of friends and I often make these little stupid films in our spare time. And I stress "stupid" and "spare". Well, from time to time we also compete in the Video Association of Dallas' annual 24 Hour Video Race. If you're unfamiliar with the reace, teams meet at midnight on Friday, they give you a line of dialogue, a location, a prop and a theme. Then you have 24 hours to make a 5 minute film that incorporates those elements and get it to the finish line by midnight Saturday.

In 2003, we did "The Solicitor". We finished the film in time, had it edited and completed, but were unable to get it on the mini DV tape they need it on due to technical issues. So that sucked. In 2004, we did "Change" and got it in on time and had it screened at the Angelika Theater for the Semi-Finals. And we didn't advance. Oh well, it was still fun to do and great to see our lame movie on the big screen. In 2005, we didn't compete.

This year, we were back. We finished in time. Had our screening. And lo and behold, we advanced to the finals. So on Tuesday, May 23 at the Angelika in Dallas, we compete in our team category. I'm pretty sure we won't win, but it's still cool.

This year's required elements were:
Line of Dialogue: "That's what I'm talking about."
Prop: A measuring device
Location: A statue or other public art
Theme: Cover story

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Finally A New Piece - Stewardess

Man, it's been over a month since I've posted a new image. It's because I've been working on a ton of illustrations that I can't post yet. Strictly hush, hush, you know? Anyway, here's a new one. Take a look at this stewardess image I did over 3 years ago. It was one of the first pieces I did using Illustrator. I think this new one is leaps and bounds better than that older one. This one is a variation of a commission piece I recently did.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

CAPE Thanks!

Thanks to Richard and the crew from Zeus Comics for putting on such a great event. I know they all wroked extremely hard and think the whole day (rain and all) was just amazing. Congrats on a successful show!

Thanks for everyone who stopped by my table at CAPE on Saturday. You really kept me busy. About a half an hour into the show I got my first commission and I didn't stop until I left a little after 5:00. That's almost seven hours of drawing. I called it "chain drawing". I stopped for about ten minutes to wolf down some pasta.

I did a total of 19 drawings and a bunch of sketches. And the majority of the drawings were color, so they took even longer. I drew all sorts of stuff, like Buffy, a pin-up girl, two versions of Aquaman, an Anime character, that girl from Black Harvest, Batman, Deadpool, Black Canary, Nick Fury, Kim Possible and even some guy's dog!

I did about a third more work in the one day of CAPE than I did at both days of the Dallas Comicon the weekend before. My hand was sore the rest of the night, I was dead tired but it was a lot of fun. BTW, being dead tired was the reason I skipped the Live Art Show that night if anyone noticed (mainly Scott and David).

Again, I really appreciate the fact that so many people stopped and visited with me. I don't take that stuff for granted and I'll see there next year.

This Christmas I'm asking for a robot hand.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Come out to CAPE! - A Free Comics Show!

I'll be appearing at the second annual CAPE! The Comics and Pop Culture Expo. It's Son of CAPE! Saturday May 6th, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, at Zeus Comics in Dallas. This is a totally free, outdoor event, so come on out. Last year was a blast and this year looks to be even bigger. Besides the ultra-exclusive, super-rare chance to meet me (if you don't count last weekend), you can meet Gail Simone, Bryan Hitch, Scott Kurtz, James Kochalka, Josh Howard, James O'Barr, David Hopkins, and many more great comic creators. Oh and I hear rumors of Roller Derby girls skating around as well. Something for everyone!

Click here for details

Oh, and not to mention... but it's FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!! Comic shops all over the country, including Zeus of course, will be giving out free comics while supplies last. I'm gonna donate some of my extra Shades issues to Zeus so they can give those out. So come out, bring the kids, get some free comic swag!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Lingerie and Stockings Girl

Here's a new piece I did over the weekend. More experimenting, getting away from my "no line" style I've been doing lately. I really like the way the legs turned out. Also, I use gradients in this one, which I don't really do much. But I think they're done subtley, softens up the piece. If anyone is reading this, I hope you like it!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Red Headed Irish Chick


I decided to do something a little different than the "no-line" stuff I've been doing lately. So, I did this piece to play around with outlines again, just to experiment and see if I could pull off what I was envisioning. I also went a little bit more cartoony on her, more curvy and exaggerated.

The background, of course, is a cop-out. I just wanted some green in the piece to pop the red. Anyway, hope you like it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

New Illustration - Spring Forward

This image was for a postcard I designed for my lovely wife's business. They sent them out to everyone in their database.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Karaoke Nut - New freelance piece

Just thought I'd share this recent piece because I think it's funny. It was a freelance job for a DJ. She wanted a nut singing karaoke that she could make t-shirts out of. (Like that preposition hanging there?) Anyway, hope you get a giggle.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Taxi! A Girl Catching A Cab

Hopefully I'm out of the slump now. I whipped this piece together in the past day (on and off). You may not think I'm a good artist, but you can't deny deny that I'm fast. Well, I guess you could if you where determined to. We'll still be friends. Call me.

I like this one a lot. I like her look and the overall colors. This is the first one I've done with a monochromatic background. Helps the figure pop more.