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.