Category Archives: illustrations

Call of Cthulhu

20180414_081528
I feel the need to take up the subject of a role playing game that I planned for and played to a limited degree, but explored to the point of insanity.


But I am recovering now from the double-danged downers of taking care of my bankruptcy case and paying off a surprise new tax penalty that nearly sank my little boat. Therefore, I can’t go into this in depth until my mind is more fortified against the depredations of Yog Sothoth.
20180414_081549
So, next week I will begin talking endlessly and listlessly about the infinite insanity of Call of Cthulhu, the role-playing game. In a gibbering, half-insane manner, I will describe the playing of a game where you confront the depths of human darkness in an indifferent and terrifying world. And I will attempt to explain why a school teacher in his right mind (as much as a middle school teacher can be in his right mind) would ever take up such a game. So, stay tuned to Mickey the Dungeon Master’s silly little Saturday D&D blog.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dungeons and Dragons, horror writing, humor, illustrations, surrealism

Setting the Scene

As a rabid Dungeons and Dragons player, I have labored for years to build up my collection of miniature figures.  Now, like the action figures and the dolls, the collection is growing so fast it may eat the house.  So, in order to play with them and get some use out of them, I built a cardboard castle, complete with grid for playing D & D.  It is a scene that can be used to play the game, but it is also a place to display my collection.

20180203_095440

Toy companies have recently started putting out collectible miniatures in an almost D & D scale.  They only cost about a dollar apiece.  That makes them cheaper than candy bars.  And I am diabetic, so I can’t buy candy bars.

20180203_095515

I like to position them in my D & D background and take pictures of them, even though DC Superheroes are not D & D figures.  I can work them into the story of the next RPG sessions.  Batman is a paladin.  Aquaman is a sea-based druid.  Wonder Woman is an Amazon.

20180203_095544

Adam West Batman is really, really cool.  Wham!  Pow!  Sock!

20180203_095831

Killing a dragon is a big event in a D & D campaign.  And I can do that now with miniatures.

20180203_095704

20180203_095918

The Flash can rescue Jessica Rabbit from a mad goblin in the Skull Plaza.

So, I reached a point in setting the scene for the game that it has become almost cinematic.  And I like taking pictures of it as I continue to play with all  of it.  Forgive me.  I will forever be twelve years old in my head.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Dungeons and Dragons, heroes, illustrations, making cardboard castles, photo paffoonies

Nebulons

Traveller_front3_4_1_

Part of the Traveller Role-Playing Game is dealing with alien races.  So, as a game master for the Traveller Adventures back in the 1980’s, I had the opportunity to create alien races of my own.  Truthfully, the alien Telleron race that I created for the novel Catch a Falling Star already existed in my cartoons and fiction stories before I began playing the role-playing game.  The Nebulon Race, however, was invented entirely for the game.  Only later did they become a part of my fiction.

Space Cowboys3  So, what are Nebulons?  Gyro Sinjarac on the left in the picture is an example from Aeroquest of a Nebulon.  They are aliens who are human in every respect except for their blue skin.  Interestingly they can even successfully interbreed with Earther humans.  This is apparently due to either the evolution of Nebulons from Earther explorers, or, more likely, the galaxy being seeded with Earth humans and Earther DNA by the mysterious alien race known only as “the Ancients”.  What is not debatable is that Nebulons have unique skin.  The blue skin with high levels of natural copper sulfate in it has evolved as a protection from interstellar nebula radiation.  No one who has learned their language and studied their culture has ever identified a planet of origin.  Instead, the Nebulons have been a space-born race since humans first encountered them, travelling in  their symbiotic space-whale space cruisers.  They are a mysterious deep-space race of alien beings who use organic symbiotes,  in other words, living creatures, as their pervasive technology.

Aeroq2

20171104_183802

Junior Aero makes an excellent example to use to explain what Nebulons are.  You can see by this picture that not only does he possess the Nebulon blue skin, but also the bright yellow hair, the red heat-transfer cheek organs, and the small stature that makes them easily satirized as “Space Smurfs” in honor of Peyo’s beloved blue comic characters.

The Nebulons as a race are often cited as evidence of the evolutionary trend of intelligent races towards neoteny, the retention of childlike features into maturity and adulthood.  Even the oldest and the most physically fit of the adult Nebulon population resemble children and young teenagers rather than Arnold-Schwarzenegger-like humans.   But believing them to be soft and weak like children is a mistake that often yields tragedy for those who contend against them, especially in battle.  The Nebulons have often fought in space wars like the 5th Unification War, both for and against the human-led Imperium.

Aeroq12

But the Nebulons are not automatically at odds with humanoid races in any way.  They are generally happy in demeanor and temperament,  easily befriending other races, even the snake-eyed Galtorrian humans that tend to dominate the Imperium.  They seem to be particularly fond of Pan-Galactican Space Cowboys, having helped them during the border conflicts with the mysterious race known as the Faceless Horde.

Aeroq4

So, there is a glop of information about an alien race from my science-fiction comedy writing that you can sort out as you like, and can probably learn from as a science fiction writer yourself.  They are probably an excellent example of what not to do when creating a science-fiction-style alien race of your own.

Leave a comment

Filed under aliens, Dungeons and Dragons, humor, illustrations, Paffooney, science fiction

Eberron

When you play Dungeons and Dragons the way we constantly do, it helps to have an over-all campaign, a world created by gifted imaginers to play in and use as the setting for all our adventures.

61SF1XS7W1L._AC_UL320_SR248,320_

There are good published campaign worlds to choose from.  We chose the Eberron world because it was so thoroughly magical and and steam-punk in nature and artwork.

This is a world where magic and alchemy have taken the place of science in the world’s technology.  Instead of airplanes, the magic-technicians known as magewrights in Eberron bind the living air and fire elementals to their ships and use elemental magic to fly.

582c1f1c60f338a7d979c7083c97eef1

Even robot-like constructs called warforged are built by magewrights to become, not only warriors to fill out armies, but sentient individuals with personalities and complex problems and emotions.  Book in the illustration above is a warforged wizard.  Book is his name.  Warforged are very simple artificial people… but also complicated.  They name themselves after weapons, armor parts, and random things.

D&D_-_4th_Edition_-_Eberron_Map_Breland

A campaign world provides places and non-player characters to interact with.  As well as monsters to kill and exotic locations to kill them in.  Eberron has its unique peoples, like Shifters.  Shifters are a race of people who are the result of humans loving lycanthropes… you know, werewolves and weretigers and weresharks and other were-things.

F59BBBDB-5303-4256-AF98-C816F91EEB24-13519-00001B428D8BA64D

 

Our family game got involved from adventure number one with the secret service of the Kingdom of Breland, the Dark Lanterns, so Breland and it’s cities became something of a home base.

D&D_-_4th_Edition_-_Eberron_Map_Sharn

The city known as Sharn, City of Towers, became a particularly fascinating home base.  The Broken Anvil Inn in the mid-reaches of Dura became a sometimes place to live and alwaystimes place to drink liquor and recruit weird friends.  And this is a vast city with a cluster of mile-high towers and a population of various peoples and monsters from throughout the continent of Khorvaire.

So if you have been reading any of my Saturday D & D posts, and found the place names confusing and hard to remember, now you have this post to read and confuse you even more thoroughly.  How do I, as dungeon master, keep it all straight?  I don’t.  I bought the books and I am constantly looking stuff up.  In fact, I often assign number one son the Player’s Handbook for Eberron to look up that stuff, number two son gets the Campaign Guide to look stuff up in, and the Princess handles the Monster Manuals.  (Really, I have spent a ton of pennies on the books and have too many to juggle them all myself.)

So we play the game in a world called Eberron and share the fantasies and stories of world where magic is science and science is magic.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dungeons and Dragons, goofiness, humor, illustrations, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Saturday Night D&D

DSCN4571

“The party now rushes through the front gate of Castle Evernight.  Gandy swings down from the room where he operated the pulleys that opened the drawbridge and barbican doors to rejoin his fellow fighters.”

Princess Mira the Kalashtar- “Do we see any more golems or other fighters to stop us?”

“You do not.  Since you took away Dr. Zorgo’s wand of golem control and Zorgo himself died in the plunge from the tower, there no longer seems to be anyone to keep you out of the castle.”

Gandy the hafling rogue- “Then the castle is now ours!”

“Perhaps the Duke’s daughter would dispute that.”

“Sien, I’m sorry.  But the Duke and all his servants are now dead.  We liberated the castle and have a right to claim it.”

“Sien Evernight looks at you sadly.  She says, “I do not dispute your right to the castle.  But my father, remember, had been changed into a gold  golem.  And even though he grabbed Dr. Zorgo and pulled him over the tower’s rail, he may have survived the fall.  Of course, that doesn’t make him actually alive.  But with no one controlling him, we may be able to talk to him once again.  You can have the castle for all I care, but I want to know what my father thinks.” …and I think you need to be reminded by the DM that your leader committed to replacing the Duke and ruling the city. “

scan0002

Yes, I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons with my own kids, and the pencil and paper characters we use for the silly story-telling game have become, over time, real people to us.  But the game has slowed way down since number one son left to be a Marine and number two son got a weekend part-time job.

So, the conquest of Castle Evernight might end up being the last adventure actually conducted around the D & D table in the upstairs library.

Mickey the Dungeon Master

So I created a Facebook page for the family game and intend to post stuff on there that may keep the game at least a little bit alive outside my own stupid head.

I intend to post stuff there to update everyone on what is happening in Eberron to the members of the ongoing quest.

Just as a reminder, I will show you the player characters again;

Number one son’s character is retiring to be the new Duke of Evernight, married to Duchess Sien Evernight.

Adventure1

Number two son’s character is the irrepressible halfling, Gandy Rumspot.

Adventure 3

My daughter, the Princess’s character is Mira the Kalashtar.

Adventure2

My intention is to use Saturdays, the traditional game night, to post more D&D stuff to this page and the Facebook page.  I need more creative ideas to keep filling this blog daily, and I have done considerable work setting up the game as Dungeon Master.  I don’t want it all to go to waste.  You will be welcome to come anytime and take a look.  But I am just too immature and set in my ways to totally give up D&D.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under autobiography, Dungeons and Dragons, family, goofy thoughts, heroes, humor, illustrations, imagination, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

The Ultra-Mad Madness of Don Martin

1629093

Born in 1931 and lasting in this crazy, mixed-up world until the year 2000, Don Martin was a mixy, crazed-up cartoonist for Mad Magazine who would come to be billed as “Mad Magazine’s Maddest Artist.”    His greatest work was done during his Mad years, from 1956 (the year I was born… not a coincidence, I firmly believe) until his retirement in 1988.  And I learned a lot from him by reading his trippy toons in Mad from my childhood until my early teacher-hood.

51205-8482-67413-1-don-martin

 

 

 

His style is uniquely recognizable and easily identifiable.  Nobody cartoons a Foon-man like Don Martin.

The googly eyes are always popped in surprise.  The tongue is often out and twirling.  Knees and elbows always have amazingly knobbly knobs.  Feet have an extra hinge in them that God never thought of when he had Adam on the drawing board.

And then there is the way that Martin uses sound effects.  Yes, cartoons in print don’t make literal sounds, but the incredible series of squeedonks and doinks that Martin uses create a cacophony of craziness in the mind’s ear.

don-martin-mad-magazine-june-1969

And there is a certain musicality in the rhyming of the character names he uses.  Fester Bestertester was a common foil for slapstick mayhem, and Fonebone would later stand revealed by his full name, Freenbeen I. Fonebone.

116

And, of course, one of his most amazingly adventurous ne’er-do-well slapstick characters was the immeasurable Captain Klutz!

Here, there, and everywhere… on the outside he wears his underwear… it’s the incredible, insteadable, and completely not edible… Captain Klutz!

cap_klutz1_bc

If you cannot tell it from this tribute, I deeply love the comic genius who was Don Martin, Mad Magazine’s Maddest Artist.  Like me he was obsessed with nudists and drawing anatomy.  Like me he was not above making up words with ridiculous-sounding syllables.  And like me he was also a purple-furred gorilla in a human suit… wait!  No, he wasn’t, but he did invent Gorilla-Suit Day, where people in gorilla suits might randomly attack you as you go about your daily life, or gorillas in people suits, or… keep your eye on the banana in the following cartoon.

Kg2GZRM

So, even though I told you about Bruce Timm and Wally Wood and other toon artists long before I got around to telling you about Don Martin, that doesn’t mean I love them more.  Don Martin is wacky after my own heart, and the reason I spent so much time immersed in Mad Magazine back in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.

9ce65a0ded2754c6d00079b1eb772179

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under artists I admire, artwork, cartoon review, cartoons, comic book heroes, goofiness, humor, illustrations

Toonerville Traffic

c360_2017-02-18-17-47-18-737

I had the good fortune recently to find some of my boxed-up HO train pieces that had been packed away since 2004 when we moved from South Texas to the Dallas area.  Now, in these photos I took of Toonerville, not all of it was part of the uncovered treasure.  But some of it most sincerely was.  The people out in front of Mike Minskey’s Tavern are from a set of unpainted 1/78th scale German townfolk from the 1880’s.  You see them posed here in front of the Batmobile parked in front of the Teapot Clockhouse.

c360_2017-02-14-13-59-52-710

Here you can see the two F-9 Diesels from the SuperChief (I have a thing for Sante Fe Railroad engines and rolling stock).  I parked them next to the Snowflake Express which you may have seen before, since I bought it in a garage sale after we moved here.

C360_2017-02-18-17-48-28-772.jpg

The multi-colored bus that you see behind the Miss Amy Wortle Boarding House is actually the Partridge Family tour bus from the TV show my sisters loved in the 1970’s.

c360_2017-02-18-17-48-44-663  Here’s a view of the front of that same TV bus as it sits between Miss Wortle’s place and Eggbert Egghead’s Egg House.  Dabney Egghead is the boy in the sailor suit showing off his brand new velocipede.

c360_2017-02-18-17-49-21-747

The old lady crossing in front of the Toonerville Trolley is Granny Wortle (who controls all the money in the family… I named a lot of the residents after people in Fontaine Fox’s comic strip of the 1930’s).

c360_2017-02-18-17-49-45-570

Here’s the back end of the trolley as it passes Digby Davies’ Pet Shop and the purple eggplant house where Gilbert Dornhoeffer and his seven vegetarian children live and build snowmen regularly.

c360_2017-02-18-17-50-35-119

On the other side of Eggbert Egghead’s Egg House you can see Butch and Marcia Niland’s VW mini-bus next to the old shoe-woman’s house which she built from a gigantic pink-and-white high-topped sneaker.  Digby  moved his velocipede, either to get it in the picture once again, or to get closer to the Scary Clown’s Ice Cream Truck while they’re still serving Eskimo Pies in midwinter.

So now you can plainly see that Mickey finding old boxes of toys that he thought were lost is not a good thing for Toonerville traffic in general, and definitely not good for Toonerville rush hour.

Leave a comment

Filed under autobiography, humor, illustrations, photo paffoonies, strange and wonderful ideas about life, Toonerville, Trains