Hello there Gobsmakt! Friends... Not being an artist, I thought it would be fun to share a sort of sketch. While working on a batch of short stories recently I was stung by the ever present scorpion in my subconscious, THE CLAWS OF FRANKENSTEIN ISLAND. This story is THE one I want to do, a tribute to the horror flicks from the Philippines, Guy N. Smith, professional wrestling and well... a few other surprises. Here is a draft of the "pre-credits" sequence that I think really catches the tone of the story. Fire up your Mad Doctor of Blood Island soundtrack (what, you don't have that?) and check it out. Monsters, mayhem and more on the way!
Don't trade your pistol for a coffin amigos! -David Z
One of my primary joys in life is watching BIZARRE films. Don't believe me? Check out my blog for more. Anyway, another joy is writing about them. A Boston theater was showing a bunch of oddball midnight movies and I was really happy to be asked to write the program notes for a movie that really started a lot of my film obsessive behavior... VIDEODROME. But I could not stay on the film note path very well. Thankfully, it was a big hit with the programmers and did not get edited out. Instead of discussing the thrilling characters, sly social commentary or grueling atmosphere of dread I decided to take it more as a personal look through the virtual helmet.
Click for fullscreen on the Issuu document below and enjoy my slightly different take on Videodrome.
Here's the cover and interior story art I did late last year for the Filthy Creations writers mag. It's a small press zine out soon i believe and I figured I'd help out. I was given a flash fiction piece that reminded me in flavour of the Twilight Zone episode. I didn't want it to be a straight period illo - but I was aiming for a retro feel. This is my style at it's most *animated* I guess. Recently I've been trying to claw back some realism into my stuff so it's interesting for me to look at these pieces with fresh eyes. I like the approach but there is a tendancy with stylistic cartooning to lose a spark of reality at times.
As the post head says... I'm TOUGH TO KILL! Well, not just me, but my writing cohort Paul Cooke as well. It took almost 5 years to track down copies of all the films we were looking for, but after obscene postage bills, hundreds of hours of viewing and reviewing we put out the opus that a few people wanted. Well, six or so as far as we knew... Tough To Kill digs deep in to the world of Italian Action films made in the 1980s. Rambo clones! War films! Bizarre Cross Dressing Warriors!! And yeah, I'm pretty proud of it... I've yet to read one bad review, much to my shock-even getting nice notes from big sites like Bookgasm with this super cool review from Louis Fowler. I can't say I ever imagined co-writing a "seminal textbook" on a tiny genre...but I'll take it!
But this is the studio page and there is a tie-in. There always is, because I'm very very lucky to have lots of talented friends. Included in Tough To Kill is the April Fools Day joke that Paul wrote and I put together a wacky mini-poster for that actually lives on in forums with some people claiming to actually HAVE the movie! We also explain that it is not real and nudge those collectors of the obscure that "have" it just for fun. So, I wanted a faux viddy box of course-and who better for monsters and futuristic rebels than Vokes? Who better to design the BRONX CRACKDOWN? Nobody!
Schedules got tight and I had to fudge it all in the end (and poorly at that), but I saw the design on the board over in the Vokes Studio once and it stuck in my head. Here they are! Check out the little video box...cool.
Don't trade your pistol for a coffin amigos! -David Z
This is a preview of the books ELEGY (working title) and THE VOICE that I'm working on with the infamous and prolific Robert Tinnell-filmmaker/teacher/writer/man about town and unofficial 4th member of the Studio (both projects Ade and I are doing are with Bob).
I've started showing art from ELEGY on my regular blog (under the working title THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY) and as Ade is doing a back up storyline in the 1st 6 ish arc (yes-this will be the 1st Tinnell/Vokes series!) it qualifies as a GOBSMAKT event!
UPDATE: I've redrawn the page-I'm happier with this version-hope you are too...;o)
I've left the original page below as a comparison...
I will be posting more art from this series (and sketches,layouts,etc) as i get around to finishing it.
I've also laid out the 1st ish of another project Bob and I are doing- he wrote the script (actually a screenplay) several years back and I'm finally getting around to drawing it.
It's called THE VOICE and will be a bit of a change for us-or at least the books Bob and I have done together-there are no classic monsters-tho it can be safely said there is a monstrous character in the story-it has a central supernatural element but I think that it's much more of a psychological horror.
This is probably the darkest story I've ever drawn (and that includes PARLIAMENT OF JUSTICE ) and yet I find the story that Bob wrote one of the finest and most compelling he's ever done.
Because I'm very excited about this book I can't wait to share a few page layouts with you-I'm not revealing any plot details just yet- I don't wish to spoil it for you.
Here's an advance peek...
I hope you enjoyed that little preview of what I feel may-MAY-just be our best work to date...
But that, kind Vokes folks, is down the line a little-for now ELEGY gets top billing.
Ascension Of The Blind Dead stalks again! Several years ago I was working with Brian Lueth of Indie Gods Publishing and was really excited to put together a Blind Dead comic book series. If you don't know, these creatures are one of the greatest creations in horror history. Sure, you think I'm kidding or just rambling, but I'm not. Amando de Ossorio used the premise of undead Templar Knights in four very unique (and different!) films...these are zombies that start off as evil bastards and come back from the dead even worse. Your garden variety shambler just devours because it is what they do. This is the VENGEFUL DEAD! You can't go wrong with that...and for more information check out Dan Taylor's excellent Blind Dead article that includes some quotes from your humble Mr. Z and includes some discussion of Ascension Of The Blind Dead.
I thought it would be fun to publish a "secret origin" of my first addition to the Blind Dead saga by giving them a Queen to run them around and guide them to Total "mwah hah!" Domination of the world. Sad to say...the chapbook was the only part of the story that was published, and in rather small numbers. But this story has hung around in my head, especially the mwah hah bits that were in the plans. If you want to read the tale...well, here it is!
This particular tale also stuck around because I was particularly pleased to meet an artist by the name of Billy George. The man is a huge talent, be it working with a certain mouse house or working as a designer for Space Time studios. Check out his work at his blog or on his groovy website. Billy and I had chatted those years ago and had bantered around doing a project of an "ahem" adult nature-but real life and real work kept schedules tight to say the least. It was a huge compliment that Billy enjoyed Ascension so much that after all these years the Templars shamble again-and in a way I could NEVER have imagined. It is so much fun to look at the image at the top of the post because it takes my ideas and goes utterly berserk. I love it. So, the Templars ride again and I'm heading back to the notebooks to enjoy the apocalypse!
I hope you are ready... unless you can stop your heartbeat, they can find you!
And as a special bonus... the amazing artwork of Neil Vokes and the original cover art for ASCENSION OF THE BLIND DEAD. The sifu knows his werewolves and Templars!
I drew this picture to go with a discussion of the Brit cult film BLOOD ON SATAN'S CLAW or BOSC as it's known around the studio. Arguably the best Brit horror every made - the arguments we have here are legendary over this fact -lol . I knew that the film's central character Angel Blake ( played by the sexy Linda Hayden) would be central to my piece of art. The bloody shears , the oogling villagers and watching crow - all elements pivotal to the film. The up-shot gave here a regality especially when crowned with May flowers.
Most problematic was capturing Angel's face - after countless attempts I resorted to layout paper ( to loosen up) before lightboxing this onto the finished art - wiping tears of frustration aside. Adding an animation style colour pallete seemed to give her an extra angelic look...
As promised last time, I'd like to share a little backstory with you gentle readers about Gobsmakt.
It all started with a chat my Brit brootha Adrian Salmon and I had a couple days ago about the classic book THE STUDIO.
A beautiful tome that showcased the art of four famous artists and their legendary studio-Bernie Wrightson, Michael Kaluta, Barry Windsor Smith and Jeff Jones had what might be called a super group (after rock band terminology) and they produced some of the best work of their collective lives while sharing that space (which is not to say that they haven't been creating more beautiful work since then)
So there we were commiserating over the thought of a studio where WE two could share with each other the natural camaraderie of like minded artists-or at least watch lots of dvds while we procrastinated -since we've already worked on related projects and have plans for more it would be ideal- but an impossibility at this stage since i live in Jersey USA and Ade is in merry ol Eng-a-land.
But wait,said Ade-in this age of the internet bringing us all closer together,we could do an online studio!
OK-maybe not genius but a jolly good idea since a large ocean separates us.
So we let Davey Zuzelo-Z-the Blog King- know about the idea and invited him to join us-Z also has projects that he is doing-or has done- with both Ade and myself-and besides he has a crazed energy when it comes to creative undertakings like this-an energy that Ade and I-two aging artists-have a little less of nowadays (but don't order the walkers just yet!)
We decided to "build" a place we could all post art, stories, etc that we're working on together and separately- each of us will be posting here so you'll get a much different feel than say in my or Z's blogs.
This is-first and foremost-a collective blog-the combined personalities of Ade, Z and myself- perhaps frightening in the outside world-will,we hope, create a synergy similar (tho impossible to replicate) to what those four legendary artists of yesteryear did.
At the very worst, this keeps us off the streets...
What it primarily is is a place where a small group of friends-who are also writers and artists-can share the work that they do-alone and with each other-with you, the reader.
I'll give you a little history of how and why we put this blog together in the next entry-but first let me introduce you to the trio of bozos who came up with this idea (along with some of their work)
This jolly looking fellow is Neil Vokes-a veteran comic book artist whose long, sordid story is too...uhm...long and uhm...sordid to go into here-it's best you check out his own blog-here- for more.
The gent below is David Zuzelo-Eurotrash film enthusiast and Eagle fan supreme.
Davey-or Z as we call him-is a very good writer with several projects in the works (some involving his studio mates) but he also does a lot of the grunt work around here-it can't be because we pay him so we suspect that it's more likely he's insane.
Tomb It May Concern is where you'll get a much better idea of the kind of mind behind this new venture of ours (be forewarned that some of the material found there is of a "mature" nature-so don't tell your parents about it)
Lastly-but not leastly- is Adrian Salmon - Ade lives "across the pond" -or as we here in the colonies refer to it, the home of the Beatles.
Ade has been a working pro for many years in the relatively small field of British comics (small maybe, but bursting with amazing talents) primarily on many Dr. Who related projects.
Until now he hasn't had a blog or website to share his fine work with the public (something to do with being too busy or some such nonsense) but that shall be rectified immediately!
In future posts all three lads (for now-there are a few potential fellows trying to join our exclusive club-but the dues are expensive) shall be sharing personal stories,artwork and projects both past and present and anything else they so choose.
We here at Gobsmakt have only one goal in mind: the complete and utter domination of the world...oh...wait...that's my daughter's Social Studies project...sorry...
The lads of Gobsmakt Studios just want you to have a good time and please send comments often.
BTW the name Gobsmakt Studios & all artwork/text is of course copyright by Vokes/Salmon/Zuzelo 2009. In those cases when a licensed character/property is presented it is copyright to those particular companies.