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Back in the 90’s, I got to know the lead singer for The Nymphs. She was a comics fan and was inspired by my work. She rented a limo and visited me in my Jersey City tenement apartment and asked me to draw the album cover for The Nymphs first album. She described what she wanted: artwork that would work as a frame from a photo of the band. I was happy to do it and sent her the work. Instead of using it as an album cover she gave the art to a local L.A. rock newspaper that used it as a frame for an interview with her, or maybe it was an article. All I have left of it is this shitty Xerox. When the album finally came out it had a drawing on the cover by her. A drawing that looked a lot like my art at the time. That’s rock and roll!
Here’s a book jacket I designed for Mark Leyner’s 1990 book: My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist. It’s a collection of super short, postmodern absurd fiction. And very funny! We were introduced to each other when we both lived in Hoboken, New Jersey and took a quick liking to each other’s work. I love his writing. But the publisher rejected this surreal design of mine and so I had to start all over again. They gave me some guidelines of what they really wanted and I complied. But I always wanted to do something with this gas-powered hot-rodding gastrointestinal tract. That’s publishing!
This summer will see the debut of the first SpongeBob spin-off show, Kamp Koral. We aged-down SpongeBob to 10 years old and sent him to the summer camp that he flashes back on in the upcoming movie Sponge On The Run. Other than the fact that this show will be animated in CG, we kept the same wacky, squash and stretch animation and gag-filled humor. I wrote the script for the pilot that has a crazy monster that runs amok through camp as SpongeBob tries to stop it. Since I’m a cartoonist as well as a writer, I’m sometimes asked to draw some new characters from my script. This was my first stab at the monster. We decided to change him to look more like an undersea creature so this design will not be used. But I thought it would be interesting to see. That’s cartoons!
I visited my parent’s home country of Lithuania two years ago as a guest of Comic-Con Baltics. I had an amazing time and got involved with a Lithuanian animation company and partied. Among the famous Lithuanians, I met was one of the most famous, Andrius Mamontovas, who asked me if I would do an album cover for his next record. Of course, I said I’d be honored. He sent me the music and English translations of the lyrics. There was a lot of Northern European imagery and poetic expressions of a beating heart. I sat with the music and mulled over the lyrics and began sketching. I kept seeing a forest made up of nailed-together planks of wood. Rising up out of the forest was a teardrop with horns, a sword, and an iron heart. I was thrilled that he liked it so much that he had the image animated and projected on a curtain before opening the concerts of these songs.
Order “The Underworld: From Hoboken to Hollywood” the omnibus collection of the very best of the strip’s 23-year run, with annotations, photos, and other surprises from the author (along with a foreword by Mutts creator Patrick McDonnell).