Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Reflecting back... on my 2021 Wildwood days...

 Early September has me reflecting back to my mid-August summer,.. to sum it up: a bittersweet journey that touched my childhood so hard, I could feel the loved ones that I've lost in my family there, hanging out with me - as they were the ones to show me Wildwood.. and I like to believe, get to experience that magnificent time warp of a beach town again with me.

My first day driving in, I checked in to the Mango Motel, on E. Spicer.. In a great part of Wildwood it was, as I had accessibility to the Wildwood Museum and Zippy's Bikes, both on Pacific, the cross street, just steps from the Mango. 

Sadly, the Mango Motel wasn't illustrated in 'The Wildwood Days of Doo Wop', but the interior liner notes has a nod to the 1950's dream commercialuxe. Sadly, the Mango Motel's neon sign never lit the 5 nights I stayed, but it was so beautiful, it didn't need to be lit... A
common trait (come to find and write about) of Wildwood's motel signs.

Along with receiving the good news that the other comic book I was planning to release that week in Wildwood, officially made it to the Tributes and Traditions proprietor himself, Mr. Fascination - Randy Senna. Our night wouldn't come until that Saturday night, August 14th... but you know I had to get my fascination in!.. So I grabbed a sprite from his soda machine and started playing. The adventure had begun.

The first signing began that night, at the Doo Wop Preservation League's museum in Wildwood - a museum dedicated to the artifacts and signage surrounding the Doo Wop motel's history. It was the absolute perfect environment for our signing.. and the people who came were just as great.

One of them, being my childhood neighbor, who was so kind to come out and bring one of my late mother's best friends. 

Others included siblings of the motel builders, hardcore families of fans and even Stella Star herself - "the girl from Doo Wop city." ...It was great to know the books were beginning to go to great homes with people who love Wildwood's motel movement.

Of course, the signings wouldn't have felt the same without my editor, Kirk Hastings joining me on each of the signings... It was awesome to have him there to talk about the town's specifics - As Kirk grew up in Wildwood as a youngster and attended school there. Kirk even, come to find, lived in some of the houses that the Morey brothers built while the Moreys were building all the motels. It was great history to take in at each location. To see Kirk's book, 'Doo Wop Motels: architecture Treasures of The Wildwoods' go here.

Another stellar guest at the DWPL building, was my new friend, Dorothy Kulisek - who, for the last 15 years, has put her heart and soul in to The Wildwood Sun By The Sea newsletter there in The Wildwoods. Like me, she's a long time self-publisher. The newsletter of hers, is fantastically done... containing her own illustrations of Wildwood to photographs submitted by the families who helped shape Wildwood themselves as vacationers and property
owners.

A great joy I had, was meeting all the great folks who planned to be at the signings. Some of these people, knew their loved ones would be in the book. Two of them being, Robert Polis, the son of Theodore "Ted" Polis - the sign maker that pretty much started it all in Wildwood with the first neon sign business. His business would end up training some of the best sign men in Wildwood, including Serafino "Harry" Lanza. So, it was a great to meet the son and his grandson, who came with Robert.

At the signing where I met Robert, I also met Cool Scoops ice cream parlor proprietor, Paul Russo, who, was one of the funniest and kindest men I had met during my journey. Paul went above and beyond to promote 'The Wildwood Days of Doo Wop',.. I was and still am so grateful of his friendship. His Cool Scoops parlor is a must see for Wildwood nuts - as his collection of Wildwood history lines the walls of the parlor and the ice cream is just as great!..
 


It was also a pure joy to see my great aunt and uncle at the George F. Boyer Museum signing. As I hadn

't seen either of them in years. The George F. Boyer Museum brought out all my favorite friends and authors whom I met through the museum, which was so exciting. This included motel owners (who were 3rd generation) and nearly my age!.. So, it was thrilling to answer them with a "yes" after they'd ask if their own motels were in our graphic novel. 

By the time the George F. Boyer show went down on Sunday, I was beginning to realize that I was almost out of books... and there was one man who I needed to get a copy to - and that was Jack Morey. The son of one of the most prominent builders of the movement, Will Morey and nephew to the most prominent builder, Lou Morey. It was quite thrilling to drop off a copy to Jack at the Starlux motel.. and I can't wait to hear his feedback someday.

Nothing but pure history surrounded Kirk and I at the George F. Boyer Museum in Wildwood... We were greeted by many friends of the museum - Kirk got in to some wonderful conversation with the signing goers and I was happy to listen ^_^ Our graphic novel found some great new homes that day.. can't wait to return again next summer.

Here's a wonderful picture of two fans of Fascination with Mr. Fascination himself - Randy Senna!... Our release night was Saturday night, August 14th and it was a success in my eyes. We played Fascination late into the night and had several comic book cover-all games to celebrate, as Randy called it. They went really great. Other fans came in the days thereafter, and I was happy to greet them with a signed copy from Randy and Myself. Randy is a Wildwood icon... even if the town doesn't know it - he is... and I'm happy we put a fun comic book together. One, I'm really proud of. 



                                Here's to a great summer 2021 and a hopeful better one for next!..


Saturday, August 29, 2020

A wild (and important) time it is!!.. (and more from 'The Wildwood Days of Doo Wop')

A wild time it truly is.. 

Sometimes I question the relevancy of my work, well.. scratch that, a lot of the times I do.. because I spend so much time on it.. Projects are time killers and you hope, that when you're done with it, the world will be ready.. Focusing on a town like Wildwood, New Jersey, progressive for it's civil understandings, is/was a town of diversity, even back when a lot of towns in America were not..



Wildwood, a resort town once built of a fisherman's haven, has of course, gone through its stages of history - it's most important, were the impact of traveling music groups.. groups that even, would travel from the mid-west, where, conditions from which they were coming from, were probably substantially worse than Wildwood, New Jersey. A town of complete cultural acceptance, escape and reflection in the 1950's and 60's.. So much so, I find stories about prominent vocal music groups of the day refusing to leave the resort town in southern New Jersey.. and boy, the Motels are a living cartoon.. and so much fun to draw.


What's beautiful, is that the motels of Wildwood share a coined name for the music style that those artists expressed - and the same motels of Doo Wop housed many of those acts and patrons who were there to support the Doo Wop vocal groups in various clubs and venues in Wildwood, while on their vacation.


Nearly 1,000 photo references and two years in the making (so far).. 'The Wildwood Days of Doo Wop' is coming.. and I couldn't be happier to complete it with everything I have, for every reader to come.



Monday, February 03, 2020

More half and half pages from 'The Wildwood Days of Doo Wop'!..

2020 brings in my second year working on 'The Wildwood Days of Doo Wop' which, explores both sides of the genre - the music and the motels. At nearly 70 pages in length, and more than a dozen to go, I'm shooting for a release this summer, 2020.. but I'm being realistic with myself - it may just be that it's released in summer 2021.. We'll see..

Either way, here's more half and half from the 'Wildwood Days of Doo Wop'!..


Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Even more half pencils/half inks from 'The Wildwood Days of Doo Wop' !..

One from 67' and one from 68' are both on my plate!..

Check out these two works in progress - as half pencils and half inks can only do justice!..

I'm normally drawing two to three comic pages at once for this next graphic novel feature and at this point, I've drawn over 100 motels.. and I'm not done yet!..

There really were so many of these motels (seems to be well over 300 at one point) in Wildwood,New Jersey when I was young, that I can't remember them all.. So, to discover new ones that no longer exist has been the most thrilling.

A dream project it is, with being a joy to produce and research this personally felt historic subject for nearly two years, I'm also planning on having a very special component to it (finger's crossed and more on that later). For now, enjoy these two pages as you are taken back to a special time and place via ink and pencil!.. More soon.. stay tuned and a happy new year to you!..

Thursday, November 14, 2019

More previews from 'The Wildwood Days of Doo Wop' graphic novel!..

The fun hasn't stopped with creating this venture, as I'm enjoying so much of the research with the reading I've done on the movement, and Wildwood's beautiful significance to Doo Wop vocal groups and the early artists (and architects) of rock n' roll. I'm very lucky to be creating this in 2018/19/20, as there's enough enjoyable and credible material to cite from. Plus, the architecture.. is such a fun thing to draw!..

Enjoy these previews of what's becoming a 70+ full-color monster of fun!.. 

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Promo from 'The Wildwood Days of Doo Wop' graphic novel!..

Here's a promotional piece I'm designing in conjunction with a few others, for the 'The Wildwood Days of Doo Wop' graphic novel. It's been a pleasure to learn about the various acts that made Wildwood such a diverse town for music. One of them, was of course, Philly born Bobby Rydell.

 I've had a blast going through his body of work and you can definitely tell he loved Wildwood, New Jersey in his music. He just recently, and in his seventies, performed in Wildwood again this September.

The most fun about making an architectural comic book, is finding the thematic cultural connection between the time period and the structure. Though this promo is more on the fictional end, the elements are still bound in the non-fiction - as the Cardinal Motel once had a rainbow in it's sign design (today it's more modern), Bobby Rydell's lyrics match it just right. Most certainly a Wildwood night bird, singing in the night as a cardinal bird might!..


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Half pencils/half inks from 'The Wildwood Days of Doo Wop'!.. // Seattle's Pinball Zine, Skill Shot Reviews 'Destroy Centaur'

Seattle's Pinball Zine, Skill shot (Issue #54 - June 2019) - http://www.skill-shot.com/ has given it's review of the latest Bombshell Comics release, 'Destroy Centaur' and overall, it's a nice review, calling it "a pleasantly strange comic book.." and that, "..if you're a fan of the pin, you will love Destroy Centaur!.." 

Pages from the Wildwood Days of Doo Wop continue to be produced.. I'm somewhere in the 40 pages range right now, and plan to go in to the 70's in page length and era of Doo Wop Architecture from Wildwood. The period of Doo Wop architecture doesn't really get going until 1956, but the movement goes strong all through the 1960's and Wildwood becomes filled with hundreds of these unique resort Motels that I cannot wait to share through my storytelling. 

Hotel Seipp eventually becomes The Tides Inn..

The book thus far, has been a journey of discovery and investigation. The research needed to fulfill the drawings AND the factual information worthy of being published can be tricky, and certainly, time consuming.. but I am having so much fun. Summer 2020 is my goal for a release date.. with more surprises to come.  Keep checking back when you can!..

The Flame Inn and The Binns Motor Inn were/are pre-Doo Wop architecture.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

M.W.F. # 9 // The Wildwood Days of Doo Wop // Going back to Nebraska!..

It's a been a little bit since a posting.. Big surprise.. Anyway.. I'm working away on some projects, and wanted to give a little preview behind them!..

As Misfit Wrestling Federation #7 is submitted to comixology.. I'm continuing working on issue #9, which is coming along steadily. This issue will juggle all sides of the plot that I've had going with the story, so I'm excited as it will be pretty well-rounded and will also contain a unique flashback motif for the Bald-Headed Freak that I'm really excited about.

 My next full-colored feature, as I've previewed in previous posts, is 'The Wildwood Days of Doowop'. An over-sized, historically based book on one of the birthplaces of Rock N' Roll and a place I vacationed at as a youngster with my family - Wildwood, NJ.

This feature has really brought about some great challenges for me in terms of drawing architecture and environment - The most unique shapes make up these buildings and finding new perspectives beyond my postcard references have been a challenge I've really enjoyed. I have quite a bit to go on it (I'm on page 29), as there are (or were) so many Doowop motels and hotels in Wildwood, it's astounding.. I'm not looking to draw them all, but I'm willing to draw all the worthy ones.. which, are quite a lot. So far, most of them are fitting 2-up per page and are assembled according to their release date, chronologically.. and it wouldn't be a Doowop comic book without the music, so there's a good amount of that that's also contained.


The last bit of news I'm willing to share here is that I'm going to be returning to Nebraska to re-release 'December 3rd, 1967: An Alien Encounter' alongside of another special object dedicated to Herbert Schirmer's U.F.O. encounter. More on that and the date, soon!..


Saturday, December 15, 2018

'Destroy Centaur' is OUT NOW !! // Half & Half from up-coming works!..

My 18th comic book release in 12 years is finally here, 'Destroy Centaur' follows two bio-engineered pinball characters from the 1981 Bally Pinball machine, 'Centaur' that return to Earth from the future on a last ride to play their pinball game. Here, Centaur and Fly Girl meet their original audience - a cast of physically-altered curmudgeon humanoids who have them asking, is legacy worth sacrifice?..

This latest release is 44 pages in partial color. Get it here: www.bombshell-comics.com 





 As for what's coming... Here's a half & half (half pencil, half ink(sorta) pages for you to preview what's coming!.. One from 'Misfit Wrestling Federation' #9 and the other, from 'The Wildwood Days of Doo Wop' - a full color feature that's coming to be and will hopefully, be released in 2019!.. Happy new years and holidays!..


Friday, June 22, 2018

In memory of Herbert Schirmer - 8/16/1945 - 3/6/2017 // Hub Ogden Collection




It's in my sad sincerity that I'm here in 2018 accepting the passing of Herbert Schirmer. Whom, wasn't answering my phone calls for the past year..  Sure enough, at the expense of my flickering absence from the social media world that is on the internet and being deep into projects and client requests, I visit Herb's Facebook page to find love ones wishing him a goodbye as of March 2017.

I'd like to say here on my blog that I'm glad to have been Herb's friend the last few years, as we had the chance to talk several times and sometimes, pretty extensively. In our interactions, he was still that sensible, honest guy that I heard from that-nearly 50 year old recording. What I love most of all, is that I had his approving, despite what he could tell me what was truth and what was false. More on that later.. (probably in another graphic novel ; )

Lastly, the photographs above are indeed, of Herbert Schirmer, in the year or near the year, of this encounter (22 years of age.) I have placed these digital copies within a folder, titled, "WISH I HAD THESE".. As my 'December 3rd, 1967: An Alien Encounter' was finished and released on Dec 3rd, 2011, 4 years before the Omaha UFO Study Group had released a collection of rare U.F.O. materials from a gentleman named Hub Ogden. These are Hub Ogden's photos, more here.

I'm pretty proud of how accurate I "got him" in the drawings..
Herb seemed so, too. You will be missed, friend.


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Future Bombshell Comics works in progress.. *** 'Misfit Wrestling Federation' #9 - 'Destroy Centaur' - 'The Wildwood Days of Doo Wop' ***

Hey everyone.

 I thought I'd share some up-coming works that are amidst the inking process, as I don't share this kind of work enough. 

Below are three different raw scans from three different projects. 

One, as you know, is from the continuous series, Misfit Wrestling Federation. M.W.F. #9 should be out by the end of the year, as I've been focusing on 'Destroy Centaur' as my next release. ..As it's looking, it will be ready for summer. The page below is from a later page in the story. Lastly, the first previews of an up-coming project involving my favorite beach town as a kid, Wildwood New Jersey. 

'The Wildwood Days of Doo Wop' will be a focus on mid-century Doo Wop Architecture from the blue-collar riviera beach town, Wildwood. Which, at one time and maybe still does, have the largest collection of these hotels and motels that are essentially, a mix of various types of the most unique and culturally driven architecture styles. Wildwood has had hundreds of motels and hotels that were built from under a dozen builders and sign makers. I was fortunate enough to experience Wildwood as a youngster, and has inspired me enough to produce what will be a unique approach to a historic-type of comic book.

Below you'll find how I begin to ink first directly on top of my pencils. The biggest reason for what may look like a pretty sprawled out approach, is the idea that foreground objects are done first. Then, I descend back with smaller pen nibs for my varying degrees of line thickness. This helps produce bigger depth value, essentially, aggrandizing the perspective.





Believe it or not, 'The Wildwood Days of Doo Wop' was a comic book I was planning on producing later in life.. but due to circumstances of recently obtaining photographs that were deemed "hard to get"of the very builders and sign makers that were involved with this movement of architecture, I had to take the sign to begin now. More to come. - Hope you all enjoy!..

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Preview the first seven pages of 'Destroy Centaur' comic book - Out later this year!!..


Hi friends!.. Been awhile since an update, but it's only because there's new content coming and it's from all directions!..

The seven pages below represent a lot for me in terms of my building of acquaintance with living in Los Angeles. Pinball was introduced to me by a special Los Angeles friend in my beginning years of living here. Along with dedicating and thanking the original pinball creators of 'Centaur' as you'll see in this intro splash page, I'll be thanking her in this work as well; because if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have grown a love I have for the art and craft of pinball and I wouldn't have met 'Centaur' the pinball machine, so soon in my life. Which, I find amazing that I did, as I've had the time (and energy) since 2011 or so to conjure this psychedelic story of legacy with the very characters of the Centaur pinball machine questioning their own.

I hope this stirs your excitement in getting the entire feature once it's ready!..

This is the first seven pages (of forty!), including the intro/dedication splash page.

Cover for 'Destroy Centaur' later to come!..

Enjoy,
-MJ