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I’ve made three attempts to make my Underworld comic strip into a TV show. Nothing’s panned out. This was my second attempt with Snuff and Creep Rat living above and working in a pet shop. Of course I ripped off the idea from the second season of The Mighty Boosh where Vince and Howard lived above and worked in Naboo’s Nabootique. I decided the concept was way to suffocating for an Underworld cartoon show (even though I’m a fan of Bob’s Burgers). But I kind of liked this page with my ideas. Again, I love my messy, sketchy work. Why don’t I just make these sketches my finished work? Maybe I will.
Here’s a page out of one of my sketchbooks. I use drawing in my sketchbooks for many different reasons. I might be looking for a new cartoon character, copying another artist’s work to explore how she does it, as a preliminary for a larger drawing or painting. Some of these figures were taken from other cartoons and tweaked by me. I found a website where people drew their favorite cartoon characters with their eyes closed. Some of the misfired results looked amazingly original (and so wrong) to me that I copied them and tweaked them until I got some of the weird characters on this page. The character with the crown and striped shirt made it into the background of some of my comics.
In the course of finding a cover for my Underworld comics collection, UNDERWORLD from Hoboken to Hollywood, I went through a lot of sketches. I even got creatively stuck and ripped off my cover for Ink Punk Underworld 3 in this sketch – which of course I didn’t follow through with (thank my better judgement). I often wind up loving my pencil sketches for their energy. And I love the dumb sloppy power of this one.
This detail is of an illustration I originally did for R. Crumb’s Weirdo back in the mid 80’s. It depicts a hapless knucklehead digging in the trash for a tossed out winning lottery ticket. The background is of a Lower East Side fantasia including a piece of graffiti of Rosie the Robot by 80’s East Village painter, Kenny Scharf. Like a lot of other fools, I bought lottery tickets when I lived in Hoboken and was a poor starving cartoonist. This version was from a limited edition print by Rotland Press. Sorry folks, these are all sold out. But if you want prints for sale check out this page.
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).