Wednesday, September 22, 2021

A Look at My Unpublished Batman Illustrations for an Essay on the '66 BATMAN TV Series

 

My pal Jim Beard recently released a second book in his series that exams the original 1966 BATMAN television show that starred Adam West. Originally, a few of my illustrations were going to be in the second volume (I had some artwork on the back cover of the first book), but after some legal mumbo jumbo, WB/DC Comics lawyers didn't want any non-licensed illustrations to be used in the books. My artwork, and that of other artists, had to be unfortunately pulled even though we thought that Fair Use of Copyright was allowed under these circumstances of review and commentary. It is what it is. Still, I encourage Batman fans to pick up the books if you think it is up your Crime Alley. 
 


 
 
In the meantime, here are some of my unpublished black and white spot illustrations that were originally going to be in the second book that I thought some Batman fans might get a kick out of...
 



 

THRILL SEEKER COMICS Joins the Upcoming INDIEVERSITY PROJECT on KICKSTARTER

  

 
 
The gang's all here! Look for us to join the upcoming INDIEVERSITY PROJECT where the "Thrill Seeker Universe" will have one of the spotlights featured in the Independent Comics Multiverse. The Kickstarter crowdfunding has already met the initial pledge goal to be funded. You can make a pledge right now yourselves so that you can order your copy to take home and see all sorts of multiversal worlds where independent comics exist. 
 
Our inclusion marks the beginning of our celebration just a wee bit early where next year it will be 20 years since THE YELLOW JACKET: MAN OF MYSTERY, EMERALD MANTIS, and THE SACRED SCARAB debuted in SHOOTING STAR COMICS ANTHOLOGY #1 with the THRILL SEEKER COMICS feature. More news to come... We hope everyone of you are doing well!
 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

20 Years Ago… What was I doing on September 11, 2001?

 

Early that morning, I was heading to work over at Springfield College in Illinois. I had a 9:00 a.m. World Regional Geography class that I was teaching that semester. My students were about to begin studying the section on The Middle East and the Muslim religion that day – of all days. So, on my way to work, I had the radio on and was still in Sherman at the red light waiting to turn. The disc jockey on the radio was reporting that a jet airplane had hit one of the Twin Towers in New York City that morning and then a newsflash came across that a second jet had just hit the other tower. There was shock and silence.

I knew at that moment that our country was under attack.

I pulled in to the gas station in Sherman to fill up and I went inside. I told the clerk behind the counter that they might want to turn on the news and told them about the World Trade Center had just been hit by two jets and that I think our country may be under attack. Later that afternoon, this same gas station would jack up the cost of gas with nearly 50 cars trying to get gasoline in a panic.

I arrived at the college and went downstairs into my classroom where I had about 50 students. Everything was abuzz with the news and I had a television set that I turned on to the news as we all just watched live what was going on. I “officially” cancelled class and we just watched the television. A few minutes in, news hit that another plane had just hit the Pentagon. There was disbelief, shock, sadness, and anger. We all watched for probably about an hour and then people began to come and go. I remember heading over to my office across from the classroom and trying to gather all the news that I could. We heard that all flights across the nation were being grounded. We heard rumors that the Sears Tower in Chicago (now called The Willis Tower) was a target, but that didn’t come to fruition. Thank God. All sorts of chaos and this feeling in your gut hit you that you were witnessing a moment in time that was going to forever change the world.

As a side note, I remember that day before the attack, I was planning on eating lunch in my office as one of my favorite musical artists, Sting, was going to broadcast over the Internet a live concert from his home in Italy. The concert was cancelled for the online broadcast, though Sting did decided to go ahead and do the concert. He would later release it as a live CD album and DVD. I digress, but this was part of my memory from that day.

I was also scheduled to teach an art class that afternoon where I had only three art students. Hunter, Stan, and Richard. I remember talking to them during the lunch hour and they were mentioning they weren’t coming to class as they planned to go get gas for their cars. I guess news of a possible gasoline shortage was starting to float around as a rumor. None of us felt like making art that day. I also broke a rule as an instructor and I didn’t notify the Dean of Academics office that I was cancelling a class. I just was numb and emotionally distraught with what was happening.  I decided to head home early that afternoon.

Heading home to Sherman, Illinois, I passed the gas station that I had visited earlier in the morning and was amazed at the line of cars that I saw. Not since the 1970’s oil crisis had I seen a scene of that many cars all honking and lined up to get gas. I went ahead and made my way home.

I’m ashamed to admit this, but I don’t have recollections of interacting with my ex-wife or children that evening when I got home. My kids would have been ages five and one. I just know that I was emotionally so very numb. I remember the television was covering the news and there was footage being shown that evening that I don’t think I’ve seen since. It was tragic. Watching the World Trade Center collapse. Watching footage of the jets hitting the towers. Watching footage of people falling out of skyscraper buildings to their deaths. All I remember was that I was sitting on the couch as evening fell and it got dark outside. I was glued to the television set just watching the horror.

At some point, the Dean of Academics at Springfield College called me that late afternoon. I kind of got a little bit of a chew out that I had cancelled my class and hadn’t reported this to his Administrative Assistant. I apologized and let him know that the students and I decided to cancel class due to the events of the day. He asked if I was okay and I think he heard it in my voice that I was numb. He kind of let it go and never it mentioned it again. I don’t know how anyone else could have carried on that day acting like it was business as usual.

I just remember sitting in the dark watching television until I had enough and decided to go to bed. I do remember checking on my kids in their beds as they slept and thinking that the world had just become an uglier place for them and nothing was ever going to be the same again.

It is 20 years later as I write this. I’m still numb thinking about that day and what it has done to the world and our country. I think it will remain one of the saddest days of our lives. Our country seemed to rally in the days after that and there was an American fervor like I had never seen with patriotism and oneness. Two decades later, our country is torn in two where I wonder if we will ever be united again.

 



Friday, September 10, 2021

Band of Brothers 20th Anniversary

 

I just re-watched BAND OF BROTHERS for the umpteenth time. Each year, I find myself annually revisiting this 10-part HBO original series based on Stephen E. Ambrose's best-seller, and executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. This landmark series recounts the story of "Easy" Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, of the 101st Airborne Division, starting with their jump training at Camp Toccoa, Georgia, while following the unit through their airborne landings in Normandy, Operation Market Garden, the Siege of Bastogne, and on to the war's end at the Eagle's Nest.

This week, HBO has released as special 10-week long 20th Anniversary Podcast that revisits the series. The prologue included an interview with Tom Hanks, and while I type this, I'm listening to the podcast for episode one "Currahee" that features an interview with Ron Livingston who portrayed Captain Lewis Nixon.

For those of you like me who love this series, I highly recommend the free podcast. You can learn more at https://www.hbo.com/band-of-brothers/podcast.

Squirrel Girl

 


Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Dr. No?



I am still convinced that the new James Bond film NO TIME TO DIE will reveal that villain "Safin" played by Rami Malek is actually the old school original Fleming villain "Dr. No". It's going to be a sort of Star Trek-like twist when Benedict Cumberbatch was revealed to be Khan. I placed my bet over a year ago and still feel this to be true. I'll be shocked if he isn't.


Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Beatles are releasing a 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Boxset of LET IT BE album

The Beatles announced today that they're releasing a  50th Anniversary boxset for their classic album Let It Be that now includes New Mixes in Stereo, 5.1 Surround, and Dolby Atmos by Giles Martin. Also, included are expanded Never Before Released Session Recordings, Rehearsals & Studio Jams; and the Previously Unreleased 1969 Get Back LP Mix by Glyn Johns.

I'm really looking forward to this!


THE BEATLES GET BACK TO LET IT BE WITH SPECIAL EDITION RELEASES | The Beatles




Tuesday, July 06, 2021

I have something inside this month's GREEN ARROW 80th ANNIVERSARY 100-PAGE SUPER SPECTACULAR

 

This year marks the 80th Anniversary of my favorite comic book character, Green Arrow, who debuted back in MORE FUN COMICS #73 back in 1941. He's had an illustrious career and his own television series on the CW that recently ended.

This week, DC Comics published GREEN ARROW 80th ANNIVERSARY 100-PAGE SUPER SPECTACULAR that has eight variation covers. Pictured here is the homage to the 1940's Green Arrow and Speedy by artist Frank Cho.

I was surprised and I'm pleased to say that a small piece that I did nearly 20 years ago in GREEN ARROW SECRET FILES & ORIGINS #1 is reprinted in this issue. I was reading the book today and got to nearly the end of the book when I was knocked off my feet to see something very special that I contributed was reprinted with credit given to me. Thank you, DC Comics. 

You can find this book at quality comic shops on sale now!

Monday, July 05, 2021

Top Ten Brands that I am Loyal To Using in Daily Life

I thought this might be fun...

I think about things that I purchase, use, consume, etc. in everyday life. Name brands and products that I am loyal to and will only... or at least try to only use... over other brands. Here are the top ten brands that I am loyal to on an everyday basis in my life...

(Please note that these are not paid endorsements, but me giving my opinions of what I love best.)


1. COCA-COLA


For my entire life, my soda of choice has first and foremost always been Coca-Cola. I've consumed all the various varieties from Cherry Coke, Coke Zero, Caffeine-Free Coke, Lime Coke, Diet Coke, etc. Does that mean that I don't drink other flavored sodas? No. I drink Diet Dr. Pepper from time-to-time or perhaps a root beer, Sprite, or generic flavored soda like grape, orange, or black cherry. But the classic good ole' Coca-Cola is and will always be my favorite soda. I got that habit from my Granny.


2. RAY-BANS

 

 
The only shades or eye-glasses that I will wear are these classics. Thanks to my love of The Blues Brothers all those years ago when I was a kid, my first pair of "knock off" Wayfarers were given to me by my Uncle Mike. Finally as an adult, I could afford real RAY-BANS and I let them be my signature glasses. I have a pair of shades and a pair of regular prescription eye glasses that are Wayfarer style. I prefer tortoise shell and black colored rims.

 

3. KOBALT TOOLS (from LOWES)

This is more recent in my life, but I prefer to stay loyal and only purchase Kobalt Tools from Lowes. If I need a certain tool, I grab a Kobalt tool first and foremost if at all possible. Kobalt doesn't make every tool or instrument that I need, but love that blue! I love the quality of the tools, the uniform look, the price range, and the lifetime guarantee. Now that I am 50, I love my old man trips to Lowes wondering what new Kobalt tool I'm going to pick up each time I go into the store. My younger self would have never imagined that in my old age that I would love going to the hardware store.


4. ADOBE SOFTWARE (with PHOTOSHOP, ILLUSTRATOR, INDESIGN, ACROBAT, etc.)


My livelihood as a graphic designer owes so much to Adobe with the software they provide through their Creative Suite. I daily use Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Audacity, Acrobat, etc. in my work and also in my other hobbies and pursuits in the digital creativity and art that I do. They really have a monopoly on things because no other software brands can compare now, but for the past 30+ years, I have been a loyal consumer. Decades ago, I fought hard in some of my previous jobs not to have to use the competitor's complicated Quark XPress (yuck!) software back in the old days. I am an artist and graphic designer that uses Adobe Creative Suite software in his repertoire and couldn't imagine life now without it.


5. APPLE COMPUTERS (with iPHONE and iPAD)

 
Decades ago when I was younger, I was an Apple Computer "Mac Addict". But sometime in the late 1990's, I switched over to the "dark side" and began using PC Computers with Windows by necessity with work and cost. Many of the applications were only available on PCs and Mac software cost three times as much. Basic economics had me leave Apple. Then, Steve Jobs and Apple introduced the iPod and then debuted the iPhone and iPad. While I still don't use a Mac computer, I do use these other pieces of hardware and the iPhone is the only smart phone that I will use.


6. E. GERBER  (with"MYLITES 2" and "HALF-BACK")

 
As a comic book collector, I want to make sure that I am archiving and preserving my comic book collection in an appropriate way. E.Gerber offers various sized Mylar comic book outer sleeve bags and acid-free backing boards. I choose to use the Mylites 2 and Half-Back backing boards together. For the past year, I have been changing out my old comic book bags (which you are supposed to do every seven years) with these Mylites2. They say that you'll never have to change out the bags ever again in my lifetime with these. I now won't use any other brand of comic book bags to protect my comics. They are a bit expensive, so I cut out the middle man and go directly to the manufacturer and buy in bulk. On a side-note, I use Ready-Steady-Collect.com "Stick It" round clear resealable adhesive tabs on the back so that I can open up a book to read and then put it back into the sleeve for storage.
 

7. STAEDTLER

As an artist, I prefer to draw with Staedtler's variety of pencils and use their fine white Mars plastic art erasers. Yes, I have hundreds of other pencils manufactured by other companies and I have a variety of charcoals, ink pens, markers, brushes, and art supplies that I use. I do depend on and love my vintage Boston KS pencil sharpener, but Staedtler is still my "go to" first choice.


8. IRISH SPRING

Well, this gets almost as personal as it is gonna get! For my entire life longer that I can remember going back to when I was a wee lad, I have always used Original Scent Irish Spring soap. Thanks to my father being a user of this soap also and thus growing up in our home with it, I have retained that use. I still do love that fresh Irish Spring scent and it has been the only brand of bathing soap and wash that I will use. Sure, I'll use whatever hand soap I have to at a sink to wash my hands, but when I get in that shower and bath tub to scrub up, I'm an Irish Spring man.

9. SLEEVE CITY (with ULTIMATE OUTER 5.0 RECORD SLEEVES)

 
You might not have heard of this company, but as a record collector and music lover, I am very picky about the type of outer sleeves that I use to protect my record collection. I will only use Sleeve City made Ultimate Outer 5.0 super-thick virgin polypropylene outer sleeves to protect my covers for my 12" records and the smaller size ones made for 45 singles. The outer sleeves look crystal clear and make the artwork pop and sleeves resist scratches, punctures, tears, splits, water, and abrasions. I also will pick up other cleaning supplies for my records, inner sleeves, CD jewel cases, etc. from the Sleeve City website. This company is based out of my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. 


10. PILLSBURY

 
For over 30 years, my father worked for Pillsbury. They provided him a career and means to make a living and raise us when my brother and I were children. Of course, we grew up with the Poppin' Fresh Dough Boy and "Pillsbury's Best" in our home where I especially loved their Buttermilk Flaky biscuits. Whenever I shop at the grocery store and need to pick up biscuits, flour, or other pastry breaded needs, we choose Pillsbury first in our household as both a way of saying thank you for providing for our family all these years as well as we just love their products.

---

So, there are ten brands that I am loyal to using. What are yours?



Monday, May 24, 2021

I just joined Instagram

I did a new thing that I thought I would never do. Last night, I joined Instagram.

I mainly joined so that I can see concept art and previews of fan-based work on custom vintage-style Star Wars action figures that a handful of individuals are producing themselves and offering.

If you want to find me on Instagram, I am at https://www.instagram.com/ryanscottmccullar/ .

Hello again, after a long hiatus...

It is late May as I write this and dust off my website again. I've had this domain now for 20 years and it has had many iterations. Right now, it has mainly served as a parking spot for the site as I've not really engaged anyone due to being a bit of a recluse of late.

I recently turned 50. I ask myself sometimes, how did I get here?

Spring Cleaning

 Time for some spring cleaning.