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Let the glorious rites of spring begin! Biting, clawing, howls of bestial torment -- and
that's just Artist Alley! Convention season is upon us! Tigra and Kraven discuss the
finer points of cosplay in one of our lovingly rendered con sketches.
4/5/17

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.



P

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 person.

P

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 illustrator twice.



Coye 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 Maxon's Mistress.



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...

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9/15/16

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.

PH

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.
PH

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.


PH
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 laughs.

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

4/15/16

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 distinct animals.

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.

The second 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.

PH

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.)



Steve's 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, natch...)

   

And here's the art in all its type-free glory.

PH

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
ultimate dream!

Steve 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 Olympics.)


Steve doesn't need Rich! He
doesn't need anybody!

Steve 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.

PH

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!

Although 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
happened, however...


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.)


After 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.

Even 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.

PH



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.

Fall ComicCon (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."

Arcana 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.

PH

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.

Also, 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.

P

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!

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9/14/15



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.)

PH

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.



FallCon 2015 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.

PH



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!

PH

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!

P



Steve's latest homepage design features our very first animated gif.  Wait for it...wait for it...there it is! Spooky!

P



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.

P

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4/12/15

First 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.

PH
PH

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

PH

We're looking 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!



We 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.

PH




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 soir
ée!)

PH

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.

PH

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.)

PH



Junk Robot has completed their F&L-inspired Damsels of Darkmyre mini collection! Have a look at the full set here!


PH

9/30/14

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.

Fallcon happens 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.

PH
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!

PH
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.

PH
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.

PH

PH
3/23/14

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.

Which 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...



PH
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, instead of Spidey and the Inhumans.)

More recently w
e completed a reworking of the cover of Avengers #71...


Copyright 2014 Marvel

with a few comely but determined 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...)

PH
Before the present Mini Ice Age set in, we were discussing recent Spider-Man commissions, and alluded to Rich's favorite single Spidey comic of 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 Betty 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 emotionally drained. From behind bars Doc concludes that next time they should probably attack Spidey as a unit.

Well, yeah.

Having previously commissioned a remake of the Green Goblin painting from our 1982 Spidey Portfolio, Joe Miritello decided it 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.

PH
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 ago....

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 first and last time he was allowed anywhere near hair.

And speaking of compositions that walk the fine line between unsuccessful and yeah, we meant to do that, here, from the second portfolio, is The Danger Room...


Rich: "I was working too large, and the layout
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 us.

Here's our painting of the Wolverine, also from the second X-man portfolio...



See how much better Rich's compositional
skills are when he isn't doing a zillion
characters all up in each other's grille?

Everybody seems to enjoy this one. We think we managed to capture in his expresion the essence of the character, which would be his unwavering interest in killing stuff until it's significantly beyond the point of regular deadness. Also -- although he's unquestionably aces at dramatic lighting -- this may have been the last painting Steve was allowed to sign.

PH
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 human condition.

PH
Just a week or so after Springcon, we'll be the artist guests at the second edition of
BritCon, 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!

PH
It's back!



Due to overwhelming demand and the arrival of a fresh
stack of minty copies from our long-suffering publisher, the Tricks & Treats Harcover Special -- wherein Steve & Rich add an original signed color pencil sketch to the front endpaper of this already-beyond-nifty volume -- is available once again.



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.




9/22/13

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 art commissioners.

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 Hulk.

(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 thusly:





Moving a NYC borough or so over...

The cover of Marvel Team-Up #11 made a lasting impression on another of our recent commissioners...


© 2013 Marvel

...who asked us to recreate it with Black Bolt's sonic havoc being visited on the FF instead of Spidey and the Inhumans...
PH


...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 enchanting Lockjaw.)



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 gallery 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.)

It 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 Minnesota State Fairgrounds.


photo courtesy Charles Dam

Here we are at the last 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 that inexpensively) 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 parents. Oh, the holding-forth that will transpire, assuming we've had enough coffee!

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 British guy.

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 Kirk, whose fantasy art credentials are far flung and weighty. His drawings were 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 illustration.

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, films, 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 officially available...



...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...)



Details on these and other must-have items here.

 
 

5/11/13

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.



 

Spring 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 by us.



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 can observe signing, sketching and fighting to the death over who gets the last Fortress of Solitude doughnut.


 

 
Unless 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 Darkmyre series.



That would be "Allison", inspired by our painting, "Cold Chill".



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 in Bill Fugate.



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 men...



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 all ages.



You can see more of Bill's comics work here, and get a sense of his pithy observational style on this Youtube comments page.




 
 

12/12/12

 
Mini inspired by our Barbarian Babes portfolio plate...

Junk Robot's Damsels of Darkmyre Kickstarter project has wrapped, and -- how 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 girl...

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 time.

 

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...

 
 

A 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.



Art collector and Spidey aficionado Joseph Miritello recently acquired two of 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.

 

We 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 out.



Joseph 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...

 
 


11/17/12

If 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 F&L babe imagery, and are letting everybody watch the process in real time.



Darkmyre mini inspired by our "Dark Over Light" painting


They've 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 updates.



Darkmyre mini inspired by our "Catspaw" painting



While 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!)

 

 

8/20/12

With 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 Book Party

Event Description: A New Fashioned Comic Book Convention – 150 Comic Book Creators In Attendance!

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

Admission: $8.00 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 his website:

S. 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.

 

 

7/11/12

Pocket Pal Volume 4!



From the Preface:

Fans 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...



The 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.



Fans 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.



And 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 our drift.



Pocket 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 page.

 

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.



 

If 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 Haunted House of Lingerie?"



It 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.



But 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 tenderized each individual image to its peak of quease-inducing vibrancy. The ghouls have never been more moldering, nor the damsels more victimizable.



We're pleased to be able to offer HHL Vol.1 again, at the original 1997 price of $10. Details on our Books page.

 

Steve 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 Art Show.



Photo by Ben Huset

He 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.



Suspense Theater was less fantasy-oriented than other scary shows, but still had a profound affect on our delicate psyches. And the opening titles were great.

 
 


2/23/12

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.

 
 


1/28/12


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.  

 

While it 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 amusing/quaint/sordid new/vintage images in our latest Gallery page.




In recognition of it being, aside from the end times, the Year of the Dragon, two of our newly listed originals are flying-lizard-related.


 

Arcana, that estimable convention of all things creaturey, crawly and Cthulhu-y (and the place to 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 Soon Dept.:

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...



Based on the cover of Zombiesexual...



Based 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.

 

 

10/14/11

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 Party.



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 stuff!

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 is welcome!

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, bronze-agey adventure -- 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.





8/4/11



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 magnificent bastards!"

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.





6/5/11



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 page. 

 



Pocket Pal 3 is now officially available from us
via mail and at conventions.

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 another matter).

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).



Dragon*Con (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 and here.   





4/20/11
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 donuts.

 



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 Springcon 2011.



Note: 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.

 
 


12/20/10
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 play.

 

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.

 

 
 
9/10/10
We've feng shuied our home page into something a little less unwieldy. Our old home page has been archived, and 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 Christmas list.


 
 



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.




3/10/10
Check out some old and new images on our new Gallery page, won't you?

 
 
 
Desperate times, our leaders appears to be telling us, call for completely unjustifiable distractions, and so we're excited almost to the point of incontinence to be kicking off this last year of a truly wretched decade with news of our brand new art book:





...in which you'll find an outsized selection of our patented minimally-attired swordsbabes and victimettes matching wits, weapons and come-hither looks with the ooky -- and yet somehow timelessly loveable monsters who would make them theirs.





Not only does F&L's Bs&Bs unveil 40 new paintings on the general theme of: monsters-insistent, girls-edible...





...but we've also assembled -- especially for this volume -- a collection of our favorite greyscale pieces, many of which Steve has lovingly repainted in digital color...
 




...as well as never-before-seen commissioned pieces (you think we're twisted), a choice assortment of Steve's delightful color pencil studies, and an introduction that does nothing to advance humanity in its quest for knowledge. What more could you ask for? How about a quality hardcover binding? All this and more will be made available to you in scant weeks, exclusively through the Science Fiction Book Club. Flood their website with so many page views that Amazon is compelled to take them over!

 

 


It might not seem so if you're currently trying to slap some feeling back into your frozen forehead -- but May is just around the corner, and as attending guests, we're compelled to remind you to plan your very existence around the upcoming MCBA SpringCon.

Everyone and his brother will tell you the twice yearly MCBA affairs are the friendliest, funnest and most comicky conventions around, and if you've ever been chewed up and spit out by any of their planet-sized competitors (cough-Comicon-cough), you'll be kissing the concrete floor of the State Fair Grandstand in gratitude for the breatheable air and ability to move from Terry Beatty's table to Nadja Baer's table without being brought down by an elbow to the kidney.

Steve will be making one of his very rare public appearances, and he's limbering up his signing hand even as we write this. Get his extremely rare signature on stuff you've brought along, or on one of the many top quality, not-made-in-China items we'll have with us.

And if all this isn't enough to convince you to show up, we have two words for you: Jim Shooter. Dig out those copies of Star Brand!

 
 

We've just put the finishing touches on a top-secret project for Mayfair Games, publishers of the wildly popular Settlers of Catan series. We can say no more at this time, other than that it does involve a character of a babeish nature. Rest assured, we'll be flogging the pants off it, if not her, as soon as we're able.


 

 
 



11/15/09
Hey, kids, comics!

We're herewith introducing the F&L Virtual Storytime Comics Corner, a quiet place where you can kick back with a cigarillo and, hopefully, really low expectations, and revisit some lighthearted, lightweight F&L sequential graphic type content without getting powdered sugar donut all over your hard copy. (Or something like that, but less suggestive-sounding.)

We're kicking things off with a couple of stories from our Little Black Book series ("Alienated", from Vol.1, and "Cursed Kiss", from Vol.2), and "Haunted House of Lingerie", from HHL Vol.3.

(Steve did "HHL" in a combination of warm and cool grayscale markers and airbrush, achieving a subtle multi-color effect that was lost when the story was printed in black & white in the book. We're reproducing it here as the original art looked, and the difference is quite striking.)

We'll add stories every now and again, so check back for updates.




Ally Fell and Duddlebug, the swell guys who brought F&L and an international host of others to you with Erotic Fantasy Art, have done it again with Fantasy Art Now 2 and/or The Future of Fantasy Art.



We're about 98% sure that The Future of Fantasy Art is the US edition of Fantasy Art Now 2, since the authors, page count and dimensions are the same. But you never know. We hope you'll do your part to keep the worldwide economic spinning plates in the air, and order a copy of each. FAN 2/FFA is a 192pp. hardcover, approx. 10" X 10", available here and here. (The Future of Fantasy Art is also available from uber-comic-and-fantasy-art-book guy Bud Plant.


Details
(as they say) are sketchy at this point, but we're currently assembling new material and reconfiguring some vintage stuff for our next book, a hardcover compilation scheduled for release early in 2010. More info and images to follow shortly, we hope.

 

 

9/26/09
We've added seven new originals to our Originals pages, plus five new studies and pencil drawings to our Pencils page. View (and buy) away, if you're so inclined!

Also new are 24 additional prints, including Uncle Creepy, Cousin Eerie, Vampirella, Valkyrie and Enchantress as you've never seen them before (alas, not in the same print!)

We believe in striking while the iron is colder than the far side of Pluto, which is why we've waited a mind-homogeninizing two and a half years to release the second volume in our Pocket Pal convention-style sketchbook series.



PP Vol.2 collects tonal studies, private commissions, rare and unseen early (as in late '70's) paintings and drawings, heroes, babes, monsters, and all nine images from our Fallcon 20th Anniversary sketch card set. Signed, limited to 500, and easily stashable in your manpurse, there's (at least) a girl on every page, and color on every cover -- and it's available right here, right now.

 

 

7/15/09
Our thanks to everyone who stopped by and said hi at CONvergence's newly minted Artist Alley, and to the extremely tasteful buyers who helped us sell out our little corner of the Art Show.

Next week, Rich dons his protective exoskeleton and heads out to Comic-Con International, where he, the F&L experience, and enough international erotic fantasy art to make your eyeballs boil in your skull will be found at the SQP Publishing Emporium, just inside the Main Entrance to the Exhibitors Hall at SDCC. Look for the cloud of steam rising from first-time visitors' pants.

SQP's venerable place in the history of erotic publishing is nicely highlighted in Tim Pilcher's Erotic Comics: A Graphic History Volume 2.



We're in there as well...



Note: Pay no attention to Rich's thumb.


With art that runs the gamut from soft "R" to hard "X", extended notes on the creators, and a foreword by the ever-insightful Alan Moore, EC: AGH V2 is a an indispensible reference, as well as
libidinous inspiration, and fans of sequential-porn will find themselves revisiting it again and again. I mean, you can only pretend to go back to Understanding Comics so many times.

 

 

7/3/09

We're running around bumping into stuff at CONvergence this weekend.



It's a pretty big, really entertaining show -- but we harbor few illusions about the likelyhood of someone both happening to be attending
and happening to be reading this.

Still, we're nothing if not ridiculously over-optimistic. So if you're in the bar at the Sheraton South, enjoying a Grain Belt, on your notebook (or whatever it is the kids are calling it these days), and here, for some reason, please note that they're trying out an Artist Alley this year. It's on the second floor, across from the Dealer's Room, and we'll be there from noon until three on Friday and Saturday. Look for the big Barb Wire poster.

 

 

6/3/09

Here's an oil painting, "All Hell", that Steve did in 1980. We published a b&w version of it in our Pocket Pal Vol.I, and thought you might like to see a Fastner color palette from the early days. This was scanned from a Polaroid, since the original has changed hands a couple of times, and we weren't yet making transparencies (look it up, digital-agers) of our work when we sold it.

 

We've finally made good on our promise to add more images to our Prints page. (This only took several years.)

 

Here's our summer convention schedule -- we hope to run into you somewhere!

July 2-5 -- Steve (and possibly Rich) will be at the local sf/comics/media/all-around-good-time-get-together CONvergence, with prints and books in the art show, and sketches and originals in the newly minted (hopefully) artist alley.

July 22-26 -- Rich will be at the SQP booth at Comic-Con International, which -- like it wasn't an incalculably vast crush of seething wetware in years past -- is already totally sold out.

August 13-16 -- We'll hang F&L originals in the art show, and Rich will have a table with books, signed prints and additional originals at the best four days in gaming, Gen Con Indy.

September 4-7 -- Rich will sketch, and show and sell stuff in Artist Alley (which has moved to the Hyatt, probably near the Art Show, this year) at Dragon*Con. Stop by in costume and get a free sketch of your bad self!

October 10 & 11 -- F&L will have a table at Fallcon, on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Get the elusive Steve signature on your various Marvel Superhero Portfolio plates! (The Fallcon page has yet to be updated from 2008, but we're sure it will be soon.)

October 16-18 -- Steve and Rich will join fellow fans of the dark fantastic for the intimate, not at all sinister Arcana 39 in St. Paul. Slither on by if you can.

 


Jonathan Ross: In Search of Steve Ditko

Thanks to fans we met at a recent convention, we were able to get a look at the 2007 BBC documentary, In Search of Steve Ditko. It's a very decent introduction to the artist and the impact he's had on fellow pros. Jonathan Ross is without question a fan, and clearly believes Ditko has gotten far less than his due.

Stan Lee admits that while he's "willing to say" Ditko co-created Spider-Man, he still thinks of himself as the actual creator, because he "came up with the idea". Jerry Robinson, who taught Ditko early on, remembers him as very serious about his work, and determined to become a comic book storyteller. Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman (both Ditko fans) weigh in on, among other things, Ditko's moral philosophy (as represented in The Question and Mr. A).

But, as might be expected, there is no interview with the artist himself, since Ditko has always preferred to let his work speak for him. Ross flies to New York and phones Ditko's office from the entrance to his building. We only hear Ross' side of the conversation as he asks to come up and meet him. Ditko demurs. Ross (together with Gaiman, who's along for the ride) goes up anyway. They come back down 25 minute later with armfuls of Ditko books, and goofy grins on their faces. Ditko certainly is worthy of a tribute like this -- too bad no one in this country thought to do it.

 

 

3/22/09

We know this is short notice, but we strongly suggest that on March 28 you drop everything and head straight for Planet Comicon in Kansas City. Comic and media stars will abound, Rich will be hunched over his drawing board in Artist Alley, and, yes -- because this is America -- there will be Playmates.

 

Microcon is the spring edition of our local comics extravaganza, and it's always big fun. With scores of creators and tons of comics and comic-adjacent accoutrements, it's an early opportunity to get out there and single-handedly rescue our faltering economy.

Or just stop in and say hi. Steve and Rich will be there, and as always, it will be a rare opportunity to acquire that elusive Fastner signature on as much F&L product as you can dump in front of us. We'll also be open to virtually any kind of conversational back-and-forth that doesn't involve fairy bust size. So go ahead: ask us what we thought about the Spirit movie...

Microcon will be held Sunday, April 26, 2009 on the State Fairgrounds in St. Paul.

 
 

1/25/09

While we here at the world's coldest indoor art studio throw ourselves into (1) the small-in-size-but-big-in-sheer-graphitey-bravado Pocket Pal II, and (2) an even curiouser follow-up to the heathen hijinx immortalized in Tricks & Treats, you might want to check out a few recent and upcoming F&L guest appearances:

The February '09 issue of Art Scene International features an F&L cover, an interview with the boys, and a how-to section with step-by-step photos, in which Steve -- using the Tricks & Treats image Hangin' Around -- shows and describes each step in the painting process, from scanned drawing to finished art. For those of you (like Rich) who wonder how the heck he does it, this is a must-read. 

(ASI is published in Germany, and the English language version should be available in the US at all purveyors of quality international periodicals, which is to say, about three places.) 

 



Coming later this month from Ilex Press is Erotic Comics: A Graphic History -- Vol. 2., about which the publisher says:

...
crammed full of exquisite art from around the world and fascinating interviews with the artists...The book takes a look at what is currently being published in Europe and Japan, and examines the new wave of erotic web comics on the Internet, where censorship is virtually non-existent...

These are the folks who brought you the over-the-top good Erotic Fantasy Art, so when they say "exquisite", there's every reason to believe they're not fooling around. This is the kind of company we like to keep, and we're thrilled to have a couple of F&L images reproduced therein.

 

Our many-splendored relationship with the boys at SQP continues, yea, even unto books with other artists in them.



The ever popular Song series (Fairy, Sword, Mermaid, with more to come) is cheeks-to-cheek with alluring, dangerous and wholly unattainable fantasy femmes, undulating about in eye-scorching full color.



Although our approach isn't quite as...refined...as that of the way-too-talented Arantza (whose ethereal paintings grace the Song covers and interior pages), thanks to the big-tent all-inclusiveness of the Bob & Sal aesthetic manifesto, we've succeeded in insinuating a few of our images into this very successful series.

Bait, from Mermaid Song

Cliffhanger, from Sword Song

Preview and order the entire Song series directly from the publishers themselves, and while you're at it, have a leisurely look around at what must surely be the biggest, bounciest, 
bizarrest bevy of illustrated fantasy babes on the net.

 


We're reasonably confident when we say that Martin Arlt is the only molecular biologist who's publishing his own monster fanzine (insert your own laboratory
joke here). Not only that, but Mad Scientist is up to issue 18, and has metamorphized, Jeff Goldblum-like, from digest-sized b&w to full sized, color cover magazine. Let the shrieking and castle-storming begin!



Rich has been contributing sketches for several issues, and Steve colorized the above image (Vat of Evil, from B&B 1) for the cover of #17. Each Mad Scientist features in depth commentary, reviews, and profiles of vintage and classic monster/fantasy/sf movies, comics and TV. The first thirteen issues are sold out, and if you're a fan of the 50's/60's
stuff (F&L cut their teeth on it, so you know it's good!), we suggest you hop on Martin's graveyard express right now.

 

German correspondent Arno Schaetzle
introduced us to a new website devoted to the international airbrush art/artist scene. Imagery by the likes of Sorayama, Royo, Michael Mobius, as well as 3D art and lots of links -- and they're just getting started. Look for an F&L piece in there somewhere as well!

 

 

9/17/08

If you're like us (and if you are, comb your hair, get an education, and try to make something out of yourself), you're already getting into the Halloween spirit, so it's time to remember the most basic rule of Jack-O-Lantern etiquette, which is, make sure all the pumpkins are dead before you start carving them up.

 

 

Folks who commission originals from F&L have inquiring minds, and sometimes what they want to know is what x might look like from y angle.

We've worked on a series of commissions based on, and as homages to, classic works by the greatest fantasy artist of all time (in our opinion, and in the opinion of a lot of people who are in a better position to make the statement than we -- which is a lot of people). The above is our imagining of a side view of Frazetta's Beauty and the Beast.

 

 

Bed & Bondage 2 is winning friends and influencing people everywhere it goes -- which isn't altogether that far, since retailers have to make room for a fresh pallet of Dark Knight product every week. But it's available from us, and from our main men at SQP as well. Can you really look these little fellas in the eye, and tell them they can't come live with you? (No, we meant the little red guys...never mind...)

 

 

Fall means local conventions in the Twin Cities; next month you'll find us, and about 225 other comic creators from all over the country, at the 20th anniversary of Fallcon, on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St Paul. 

To celebrate the occasion, Fallcon will be giving away at the door original collector card art contributed by a sizable number of their guest creators, most of whom are -- no surprise -- considerably bigger deals than ourselves. Our comparative unknowness hasn't stopped us from throwing ten color sketches of our own into the mix, including

and

And eight more supergirlish portraits.

Again, these, and all the card art donated by the other guest creators, are not prints, but one-of-a-kind pieces of original art -- and they're being given away to attendees of Fallcon 20 in celebration of its big anniversary. 

Just a cut above the Zack and Miri Make a Porno tote bags they'll be handing out at the next Comic-Con.

 

 

 

Later in October, we'll join Scott, Dwayne, Phillip, Eric, and several dozen additional fellow travelers in dark fantasy at Arcana 38

There'll be movies, panel discussions, guests, consumption of beverages, a ridiculously good art show, and an even more ridiculously good auction, and generally insightful and loving rumination about Arkham-inspired fiction and cinema. Cthulhuites will miss this cozy, extremely well-run con at their own peril!

 

 

5/8/08
 

This may tickle your ivories -- we've put up an originals page of Steve's color pencil studies, mostly from Tricks & Treats, and Rich's pencil drawings from the original Bed & Bondage. As nearly as we can tell, this is the least budget-annihilating way of owning an F&L original, so if you happen to have any rebate check money left over...

 

Rich plans to be in artist alley at Wizard World Chicago, June 26-29, and Dragon*Con in Atlanta, Aug. 27-Sept.1. 

A plethora of F&L product will be offered by our best friends forever, SQP, at Comic-Con International in San Diego (July 24-27), as well.

 

 

4/10/08

Bed & Bondage 2 proves there are at least fifty ways to leave your lover unable to move much of anything at all, body-part-wise.

It includes a hefty selection of Rich's dwarf-and-woodland-creature-bedecked pencil drawings...

 

a goodly number of twisted grayscale paintings by Steve...

and a graphic story that will be of at least passing interest to anyone who was amused by the shenanigans depicted on cover of B&B 1. 

All tightly encased (not in rubber, unfortunately) between two brand spanking new, full-color, altogether lurid F&L covers.

Check here for a release date. 

 

Some of the brightest new lights in erotic fantasy illustration are wonderfully represented within the pages of the recently released Erotic Fantasy Art (Ilex, 192pp.). 

Stalwarts such as Brom, Maitz and Sperlonga also appear, as do your very disobedient servants.

 

Illustration in general and girl art in particular lost a true master with the untimely passing of Dave Stevens. His women were playful, innocent, sexy and dangerous, often within the same image. He reintroduced the world to Bettie Page, and his linework is in a class by itself. We'll definitely miss seeing more of it. 

 

Steranko nuts that we are, we just can't resist recommending this page, wherein he regales us with the untold stories behind some of his most memorable comic covers. (Click on the "Steranko Commentary" links.)

 

 

10/30/07

Steve and Rich connected with friends old and new, and generally had a whee of a time at local conventions Fallcon (comics) and Arcana (dark fantastic) earlier this month.

The Fallcon vibe is relaxed and friendly, with a ton of creators and a lot of original art on display (Joel Thingvall's Wonder Woman display was an education in itself). For all intents and purposes, it's a national convention with a local feel, and the folks behind it know their stuff.

Arcana guest George Clayton Johnson spun great stories about writing for the original Twilight Zone series and Ocean's 11 (!). Many of the attendees are professionals and semi-pros, and we got the sense that everyone at this intimate con was knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the genre. The auction alone is worth the price of admission.

 

If you just can't get enough of us waxing eloquent here, Jazma Online has individual interviews with Steve and Rich, as well as a great many other creators (and a couple of the contestants from Who Wants to Be a Superhero?) Go to the Interview page; we're in there somewhere.

 

As the feeble sunlight fades from the frozen tundra, we're gearing up to crank out an all new series of drawings, paintings and narrative mischief for our forthcoming Bed & Bondage II. (For those of you who've requested more ball gags, we promise to give the notion at least momentary consideration.)

 

 

9/16/07

Embarrassingly long in the making, F&L's Tricks & Treats (we've referred to it on these pages up to this point for reasons that will be escaping us at any moment as Sweet Cheeks) is now available for your amusement and edification...if there's anything to be learned from immodestly-decked-out babes in intricate situations -- and we think there is.

Therein you'll find 44 or 45 (it's all a blur to us now, really) of our latest works, all in blazing debauch-o-color. If you're even vaguely interested in the less wholesome side of Halloween, cosplay, or general pagan revelry, you'll find inspiration and succor within these pages. At an outsized 9" X 12" and $14.95 US the copy in softcover, can one really go wrong? Or, at least, any more wrong than the ladies herein depicted have done?

Additionally, for those of you who take your fondness for F&L imagery to the limit, T&T is also available in an entirely too respectful hardcover edition, at $24.95. So if you've been searching in vain for that perfect family treasure to hand down to the grandkids...

Eventually we hope to offer T&T on our website, but for now, it's available exclusively from our publisher. Halloween and Christmas are just around the corner, so consider obtaining multiple copies for yourself and your clergymen!

 

 

Next month we'll pack up our stuff, hop on the University Ave. bus, and spend a couple of days hanging out at Fallcon 2007.

Nestled unassumingly among the oaks and the corn dog stands of the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, this con consistently draws a jaw-dropping line-up of guests, which this year includes Adam Hughes, Dan Brereton, Steve Rude, Kurt Busiek, a lot of other creators you've actually heard of, and now -- inexplicably -- us. 

Stop by and get stuff signed by Steve, or just tell Rich to shut the hell up.

 

Every so often we get extremely polite requests to use our images in sig tags and tubing, and we're usually unable to comply because of various contractual agreements and individual ownership issues. 

Now, however, some sets of our stuff are available via the extremely comprehensive online art showcase at CILM. These guys have everybody, and the babeosity quotient is off the charts.

 

 

7/23/07

The nuances of marketing are more or less lost on us; moreover, in the star chamber that is our publisher's mighty merchandising machine, we cast exactly no votes.

Sweet Cheeks, as a result, will now be submitted for your approval as Tricks & Treats, and positioned as more of a celebration of all things Halloweenish, rather than the slobbering, booty-obsessed bacchanal it in fact is.

 

The images remain the same, however, and even a ground squirrel would be able to dope out where we're coming from. Still, we hope the adjustment bags us that ever-elusive pagan feminist demographic.

 T&T should be available by early fall, which is an eternity in girl art fan years, so we've produced an interim offering.

 

F&L's Pocket Pal is a diminutive (5.5" X 8 1/2") sketchbook, dedicated to the proposition that bad girls (and good ones) come in small packages. This 32 page b&w collection spotlights Steve's popular tonal studies, as well as many unseen finished paintings. 

Pocket Pal is signed by Steve and Rich, and limited to 500 copies; it will be available from Rich at Comic-Con, Wizard World Chicago, and Dragon*Con.

 

 

2/24/07

Illustration House is presenting an auction of original comic book art February 23-25 in Manhattan. The auction includes two of our favorite airbrush paintings, Big Gun (cover for Bill the Galactic Hero #1) and Low Noon (cover for Weird Western #3). 

You can check out the details on these and other far more legitimate examples of comic book history -- and place a bid online -- at the Illustration House website. We rarely work in full airbrush at large sizes anymore, so this would be a good opportunity to acquire a wholly representative original F&L artifact.

 

Or, if you just want to own as much jaw-droppingly beautiful fantasy art as possible by the best contemporary creators in the business, original or not, you could do worse than hunting down a copy of Spectrum, the latest volume of which (#13) is on sale now. It's edited and published by the folks who brought you the Frazetta trilogy, and they really, really know what they're doing. 

(One of our pieces, an image from Little Black Book 3, is ensconced in its pages, bringing down the property values only slightly.)

 

Steve can finally count on one hand...his family is very proud.

No, what we mean to say is, Steve can finally count on one hand the number of paintings left to do for the Sweet Cheeks project. Once finished, the fate of this massive, year-long, Sistine Chapel ceiling of an undertaking is out of our hands -- but we hope the summer of '07 will find you getting a little behind in your reading.

 



10/24/06

Arcana saw fit this year to present F&L with the Minnesota Fantasy Award; we're honored and a little embarrassed to find ourselves -- for the first and last time, we assure you -- grouped with the likes of Terry Gilliam, Lester Del Rey, Ruth Berman, John Sladek, Joe Lansdale, Greg Ketter and Philip Rahman, of the indispensable Minneapolis-based publishers Fedogan & Bremer.

Philip was kind enough to present us with a beautiful copy of Howard Wandrei's The Eerie Mr. Murphy, which includes a unsettling portfolio of drawings by the author. If you're a fan of the sort of lovingly crafted books more common to the turn of the last century than the present day, you really owe it to yourself to check out the Fedogan & Bremer catalogue. 

Arcana also had, per-square-foot, one of the most intriguing art shows we've seen in a good while, with originals by Virgil Finlay, Don Maitz, Michael Whelan, Howard Wandrei, Hannes Bok (!) and Vaughn Bode (!!)

We offer our sincere thanks to Eric Heideman, Scott Wyatt, Dwayne Olson, and everyone at Arcana 36, for making us far more welcome than we deserved.

 

It's not exactly "How Stan and Steve Create Spider-Man", but we've added an ever-so-brief demo of how we go about doing page a for one of the little stories you find in Haunted House of Lingerie and, most recently, Bed & Bondage.

What we've done is taken a page from the story "Crule & Unusual" (in B&B), and speed-walked you through it from rough to finished page. You'll be asking, "Why can't you do this like normal comics guys do?", and we'll answer, "Because it's too hard."

 

 

8/25/06

Rich was standing in the middle of of the main hall at Comic-Con International on Saturday, about when they had to stop selling tickets because it was just too ridiculously crowded, and he got the same feeling as when he watched everynerd Peter Jackson walk right over immaculately appointed Hollywood royalty to accept just about every Academy Award there was for Lord of the Rings III.

And the feeling was: This is our time. We are abroad and aloose, and will not be put back. Look upon our works, ye mighty, and despair.

Then he made as much of a beeline as possible for the facilities, because he was full of coffee.

Apart from drawing at the SQP booth and finding cell phones on the sidewalks of San Diego (final tally:2), Rich enjoyed breakfast sandwiches at the Cheese Shop (go with the biscuit instead of the English muffin), good-natured banter with the publisher fellows, and sleeping.


Bed & Bondage made its debut at Comic-Con, and did quite well, considering its conspicuous lack of ball gags.

If you were there, but had better things to do (was that Kevin Smith?!) you might yet procure a hot-off-the-presses copy at Dragon*Con. Look for Rich in Artist Alley.

 

6/15/06

If there's one commandment amongst comic art types. it's probably Thou Shalt Not Go to San Diego Without New Material. A few months ago, when we were about halfway through the 44-odd (and we mean odd) new paintings for Sweet Cheeks, we were able to calculate with a fair degree of accuracy that the rest weren't going to be done in time for the big show unless we took on a couple of sizable crystal meth habits.

So, after a brief summit with They Who Write the Checks, we temporarily set Cheeks aside, and plunged headlong into plan B. Or rather, plan B&B.

If you enjoyed spending a night or two at our Haunted House of Lingerie, you should make plans to check into an equally twisted establishment, Rich Larson's Bed & Bondage.

B&B marks our return to the ever-popular sketchbook format pioneered by SQP more than a decade ago. Therein you'll find drawings by Rich, paintings by Steve, and a whimsical (if you're Elizabeth Bathory) story featuring the popular ladies from our Spanking Tails print. What more could you ask? How about brand new front and back cover paintings, in blazing Constricto-Color!

Oh yes--and copious, fully gratuitous semi-nudity. Float on over to the SQP booth at Comic-Con International (with 100,000+ attendees, your feet won't be touching the floor often) next month, and grab yourself an autographed copy!

 

Now that Bed & Bondage is out the door, it's full speed ahead on Sweet Cheeks.

The plan is to have this project available for your posterior-centric pleasure in 2007.

We're more than halfway through, and we'll be pausing only long enough to tackle a private commission every now and then--because they let us stretch our spindly legs, subject-matter-wise.


Spider-Man and Morbius © Marvel Comics

Since we both grew up on superhero comics and monster and sf movies, we're tickled pink to revisit those themes any chance we get.


X-Men and Magneto © Marvel Comics

Our commissioned works in the last few months have run the gamut from pencil drawings to watercolors to grayscale and color marker and airbrush paintings. (If you think you might be interested in commissioning your own original, here are some details.)

 

Like American Idol, but for diametrically opposite reasons, listening to Atlanta's the Cogburns makes us want to drink and bust stuff up. If Justin and Kanye and Gwen and Fergie make you want to reach for the claw hammer, we heartily recommend this new cd, for which we were thrilled to supply the cover art.

 

Some of our favorite images from the F&L pantheon are back as covers for Nick Pollotta's unstoppable Bureau 13 franchise.

A laurel, and hearty handshake to the designers at Wildside for the tasteful type treatment.

(Our cover for Nick's That Darn Squid God remains everybody's favorite rendition of a giant cephalopod trashing Victorian London.)

The B13 series steamrollers ever onward, with at least two more F&L paintings tagged for projects in the works.


(Previous news can be found here.)

 

 

 
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