Thursday, October 30, 2008

Deja vu

I was in the local Barnes and Noble doing my usual Wednesday hunt for new magazines when I came across this latest issue of the "New Yorker"... and had a flash of deja vu.

It reminds me of that cover I did for "Hampshire life" back in 1980, and which I posted here a few weeks ago.

It makes me wonder if this is a theme that's been used by any other cartoonists. -- PL

Friday, October 24, 2008

Victory Vision 10th Anniversary Edition

Today was another great motorcycle day -- not just because it turned out to be a very beautiful, reasonably warm fall day, but also because I went down to Canton Cycles in Winsted, CT, to pick up my new Victory Vision 10th Anniversary Edition motorcycle.

This bike is very much like the Victory Vision I bought late last year (and on which I have put over ten thousand miles since then), but with a lot more "bling". Victory is producing only one hundred of these models to celebrate their tenth year of operation. It has all the bells and whistles, including a GPS system, and quite a bit of chrome and nice paint accents. The color is also significant -- it is the same red with which Victory's first motorcycle model was painted.

Much like the first Vision I purchased, this one is great, and even a little bit slicker. I had a lovely ride back to Northampton, taking some back roads. One of them was a little side road to Haystack Mountain State Park in Norfolk, CT. That's where this photo was taken. -- PL

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Honda Rune with Corbin saddlebags

Back in 2003, Honda introduced an 1800cc version of its "Valkyrie" series of cruisers, called the "Rune". Not only did it have the newer, bigger motor from the new Gold Wing, it was a wild-looking "factory custom"-type of motorcycle. Lots of chrome, one-off pieces, cool front suspension, and so on.

I bought one, and liked it a lot, although in all honesty it was not in any sense a practical motorcycle. It was powerful, handled great, and looked fantastic, but it had virtually no weather protection and zero storage space, and there weren't any passenger accomodations. So I stopped riding it for the most part, but didn't forget about it. In the back of my mind, I hoped to someday find a way to make the Rune more practical while still keeping its wild looks.

This year, I finally found a way to make it so. One of my favorite aftermarket vendors is Corbin (, a company which made its name crafting excellent replacement seats for motorcycles, and then branched out into other stuff. One of their signature products is their line of "beetle bags" -- hard, lockable saddlebags sculpted to fit with the lines and designs of a number of different motorcycles. I'd purchased several of these before, for a Honda VTR 1000 and a Triumph Rocket III, and found them to be very nice products.

But I have to say these new bags they've made for the Rune have blown me away. First off, they have accomplished something that I thought was not possible -- they've sculpted bags for the Rune which actually complement the Rune's custom lines and actually look like they were part of the original design from Honda. Not only that, but they are extremely capacious. And to top it off, they look SWEET -- both the design and the excellent job Corbin did matching the "illusion blue" original Honda paint..

The photo above is one I took today. The Rune is parked in front of McCuskers in Shelburne Falls, one of my favorite spots to get a cup of coffee. I have to thank my good friend Ed, who keeps all my machines running well, for doing the somewhat complicated but ultimately very "sano" installation of the bags. I installed the windshield kit (not a Corbin product), which was a slightly easier job. (Okay, a lot easier.)

The end product is, in my opinion, not only great looking, but finally a practical bike. I am psyched to be riding it now, even though (sob!) our riding season is drawing to a close as the weather gets colder. -- PL

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

flooding in Northampton

It's a wet day in western Massachusetts, and while going through some old photos I coincidentally happened upon these images from another even WETTER day in Northampton back in June of 2000.

We had a brief but very intense rainstorm, and the torrents of rain coming down in such a short time overwhelmed the ability of the storm drains to remove it quickly. Also, I think there may have been some detritus clogging the drains in this location, a railroad overpass in the center of town.

I remember how bizarre it looked to see this much water in a normally dry and clear spot, and how strange it seemed to see people pushing floating cars around in the water, attempting to get them up to dry land. -- PL

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Blast from the Past #27 repost: "Election 1980" / Hampshire Life

(Apparently, when I originally posted this on the "Blast from the Past" page of the site, we were in the throes of a Presidential election. In an interesting coincidence, here I am reposting it on this blog just as we are a couple of weeks away from another election. Let's hope this one has a more salubrious outcome for our country and the world. VOTE!!!)

This has nothing to do with the TMNT, but it is a "blast from the past", and in honor of this year's election, I thought I’d share this drawing I did for Hampshire Life, a tabloid-sized "lifestyle" insert for the local Northampton paper, The Daily Hampshire Gazette, in 1980.

That year, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and John Anderson were running, and I did this cover for the Hallowe’en edition (the joke is that these politicians -- even in the form of little plastic Hallowe’en costume masks -- are scarier than the monsters!). This is one of my favorite drawings from my Hampshire Life years. -- PL

Thursday, October 16, 2008

flying alien dude

Sometimes you will draw something that -- for whatever reason -- just feels RIGHT. It doesn't happen often enough, in my opinion, but it did with this little drawing. I have no memory of WHY it was drawn -- I seriously doubt it was any kind of commission for publication -- so it was probably done just for fun.

I don't know what it is, exactly -- but I do like the pose. And what is that thing he's wearing on his back... and the thing on his head? You got me. I just like it! -- PL

Luke and Chewie fight Stormtroopers

Here's another one of my "Star Wars" drawings. I'm pretty sure I did this for a fanzine called "Galactic Flight", sometime in the early 1980's. I like how Luke has got his ninja action thing going! -- PL

(STAR WARS characters TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd. 2008)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fall foliage

Growing up, I didn't really have much appreciation for New England's fall foliage colors -- to me, it just meant lots of leaves to rake off the lawn, and the approach of winter (and the dreaded shovelling of snow). My home town, North Adams, MA, even had (and still has, I believe) a "Fall Foliage Parade" event, with a variety of floats and marching bands and local dignitaries parading down Main Street. My parents took me and my siblings to this event many times, but I think the thing I liked most about it was that you could get cotton candy from sidewalk vendors.

As I've grown older, I've come to appreciate the great beauty that this act of Nature brings to our surroundings. It really can be quite spectacular, especially when seen in bright sunshine. I have tried over the last few years to capture with my camera the wonderful glow of the transformed leaves when they are illuminated by the rays of the sun, but it's not really possible -- I think it's one of those things that you have to be there to see.

This is a photo I took a few days ago in Look Park in Florence, MA. I'd bicycled up there to eat my lunch and do some writing. The day was sunny and the leaves were lit up. This photo is really a pale reflection of what it was actually like, but looking at it is a nice reminder for me. -- PL

Friday, October 10, 2008

Lloyd Goldfine on Mt. Greylock

This is a nice photo from the summer of 2004. My pal Lloyd Goldfine, head writer on the 4Kids TMNT show, had come up for a visit to talk about the show. We decided to do a "drive and talk" and headed up Mt. Greylock.

Mt. Greylock is the tallest mountain in Massachusetts, located in the northwest corner of the state, about sixty miles from Northampton. The road to the top is about eight miles long (unfortunately, it's closed this year for repairs), and has lots of great views.

This photo was taken at the top of the mountain -- Lloyd is standing before the war memorial which was built up there in the 1930's. I especially like how the clouds look in this image. -- PL

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Triceratops with pencil

This is one of my favorite Triceratops drawings. I did it years ago as part of a personal logo, putting it on business cards, letterhead and so forth. I think I even made a rubber stamp with this art and my name and address.

I don't know if it ever brought me any business, but it was fun to draw. -- PL

Dan at the "twig castle"

I found this photo (actually, it's a combination of two photos) in my files, and I find it hard to believe it's been seven years since I took it (or them). Dan Berger is seen here posing with what I liked to call the "twig castle" on the grounds of Smith College in Northampton. This "castle" was a fantastical structure built, I believe, as a kind of art installation. It was wrought entirely of bent and twisted branches, and you could walk in and out of its various sections. Unfortunately, it was only there for part of the year -- I would have liked to have seen what would have happened to it if left for a long time. In the short time that it was there, other plants had already started growing on it. -- PL

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Robots at ease

I was (and still am) a huge fan of the original "Star Wars" movie, and from time to time have tried my hand at drawing some of the characters from it. This particular drawing focuses on some of the 'droids, including the beloved C-3PO and R2-D2. This particular scene could have been a quiet moment during their time aboard the Jawas' sand crawler.

I think I may have done this drawing for a fanzine, but I can't recall for certain. One thing I like about it is the visual gag about robots drinking oil (Mike Dooney knows whereof I speak). And check out the cameo appearance by Professor Honeycutt! -- PL

(STAR WARS characters TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd. 2008)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Another "Scat" cover: John Wayne's ghost rides Skylab

Here's another cover I did for the old "Scat" free comics magazine that I co-founded back in the 1970's. This one depicts John Wayne's ghost riding Skylab, the old NASA space station which fell to Earth (mostly in small pieces) on July 11, 1979.

It's a pretty odd concept, and I don't think I can take credit for it. At least, I don't remember coming up with this idea. I think it might have been one of the other founding fathers of "Scat" who conceptualized this, and I somehow got the job of drawing it. I believe the John Wayne connection came partly from the fact that "The Duke" had passed away a month earlier, on June 11, 1979. -- PL

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Blast from the Past #100: "Melting Pot" and "Commandosaurs" pencils for ad

This is kind of an odd piece. I believe it is the only time I ever drew a character from Kevin Eastman and Eric Talbot's "Melting Pot", in this case the toothy individual in the foreground whose name was "Grinner", as I recall.

The dinosaur with the sword and gun is Fett, one of the "Commandosaurs" from the never-completed comic book series that Steve Bissette and I worked on in the early 1990's (based on a concept that I had come up with on a flight back home from a visit to Playmates Toys in California). And if you look closely, you can see the silhouetted figures of the Turtles in the background.

I'm pretty sure this piece was meant to be used in an advertisement for upcoming Mirage Studios publications, and I have a vague memory of Kevin inking it. I can't remember right now if it ever saw print. -- PL

Friday, October 3, 2008

Zombie with drink

I'm assuming this is a zombie -- it could very well just be some other kind of undead freak. I know I did this in 1983 for a fanzine to illustrate a story, but I don't recall exactly what that story was about. I like the drawing, though. -- PL