Monday, December 13, 2010

remembering coltrane...

a dear friend had a cat named Coltrane. She loved her cat very much, and was very sad when Coltrane died. This 7 inch tall painting was a gift for my friend, so she would always remember Coltrane.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

lady sings the blues...

this painting took longer to complete than any other in my life.
now, it's done.

return to Batman/Houdini...

a recent commission for a fan of the Chaykin/Moore/Chiarello joint...Batman/Houdini: The Devil's Workshop.
man, this was fun!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

From the ‘cursed movie’ department...

...ever see the movie “Sorcerer,” based on the French film “Wages of Fear,” directed by William Friedkin, and starring Roy Scheider?

Friedkin, who had just made The French Connection and the Exorcist and was riding higher than a kite in Hollywood, supposedly acted like a complete prick during production of Sorcerer. So much so that when the film was released (on the week of June 24, 1977, the same week as another little film called “Star Wars”) and bombed, he was ruined as a director. Everyone who he had been a horrible monster to on the way up, made sure he crash landed on the way down.

Originally set to star Steve McQueen (and also turned down by Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Paul Newman, and Jack Nicholson), Friedkin eventually ‘settled’ on the “lesser” star, Roy Scheider.

Oddly, even though it’s considered one of the biggest flops in Hollywood history, it’s one of my favorite films, starrring one of my favorite actors. Scheider is awesome (as he is in Marathon Man, Jaws, The French Connection, and The Seven-Ups), so I did the (below) sketch of him...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

on this date in the year 1630...

...the Massachusetts village of Shawmut changed its name to Boston.

That sorta has nothing to do with Babe Ruth, but I just wanted to post this portrait of the Bambino.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

did I ever tell you about the time...

...a few years ago, when I took my (then 11 year old) son Jack to the first Iron Man movie:
he nudges me during the scene when Tony Stark is making his prototype IM armor and whispers to me "Poppy, they used your cover!" It was my finest moment ever in the comics business.

and then he asked..."do they pay you for that?"

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

well, THAT'S a first...

In the (very) crowded DC booth at the (very) crowded San Diego Comic Con:
A fella taps me on the shoulder with a gun..."Mr. Chiarello?"
I turn around and the Vigilante says "Remember that cover you did?"

I'm sure Mignola gets people dressed as Hellboy coming up to him all the time, but this was the first time a painting of mine came to life and said hello.

Friday, June 25, 2010

and speaking of MONSTEROUS books...

if you haven't picked up your copy of COVER RUN: THE DC ART OF ADAM HUGHES, well than I'm just ashamed of you. ashamed.

It's without a doubt the best, most jam-packed book EVER published on a comics creator. Sketches, designs, full-page color reproductions, all with Adam's hilarous commentary to keep you warm at night.

remember: ashamed.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

attack of the 50-foot comic book!

towering over the's WEDNESDAY COMICS: the collection!

We made it to Barnes & Noble, ma!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

billie holiday...finally...well, not really.

I keep putting off the third jazz painting that I've planned. It's of my favorite female vocalist ever, Billie Holiday. I'll start it soon, I swear. At least I did a tiny color sketch for it this afternoon.
That's a start!

Friday, May 7, 2010

the Empire decides not to strike back...

I was recently invited to be a guest artist at the upcoming Star Wars Celebration 5 con in Orlando.  I attended it a few years back and had a great time producing a limited edition Stormtrooper print (see my earlier post).
I've decided to skip this year's con, even though I did a sketch for a new print.  On top of all of the hoops that Lucasfilm makes their artists jump through (don't ask!), I just ultimately wasn't 'feeling' the sketch.  I thought it was a neat idea and would make for a cool visual, but the sketch just leaves me 'blah.'  Oh, and I couldn't figure out where to put R2.

File this sketch in the sad 'unused ideas' folder.
It happens.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

the great american (comic book) novel?

I FINALLY just finished reading every issue of Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso's epic and brilliant "100 BULLETS." all I can say is wow.
I had been meaning to sit down with the entire 100 issue run, and finally did so. wow. ok, I already said that.

Also, a monumental tip of the hat to cover artist extraordinaire Dave Johnson. I turned down this gig years and years ago and regretted the decision for a long time. Eventually I realized the only thing to regret is that Dave did twice as good a job as I ever would have!

Well, at least I was sorta part of the team, as I did a pin-up of cool character Cole Burns for issue #26...or was it issue #25? My memory aint what it used to be.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

sneak peek...

i'm having a blast illustrating a kid's book called "Tyger lilly", written by good friend Lisa Trusiani. It's absolutely the most beautifully written children's book I've read in a long, long time.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

whatever i want...

my brother recently asked me how i decide what type of stuff i put up on my blog. Was it purely an art blog or was it about your life in general, he asked.  I told him there was no rhyme or reason, and that I put up 'whatever I want.'
With that in mind, check out this photo from 1951 of aspiring comic book artist Martin Landau.

Friday, February 5, 2010


i found myself seated next to a wonderful Italian couple from Brooklyn. It was a charity event for ALS, and I'm usually self conscious at these things and tend to eat my dinner, have a few drinks, and not say much to anyone.

You can tell nice, real people the minute you see them. I looked the fella in the eyes and I knew. I just knew. The first thing out of my mouth was, "You're the guy." He smiled a shy, Bensonhurst smile and nodded. I said "you're the guy that caught the ball," and indeed he was.

Sal Durante was a 19 year old kid when he caught Roger Maris' 61st home run of the 1961 season. It broke Babe Ruth's immortal record and put Roger and Sal's photo on the cover of every newspaper in the country. For a few days, Sal was the most famous kid in America.

50 years later, last night, I sat next to Sal Durante and his wife Rosemary and talked about that day. They were warm and real and we enjoyed each other's company. There was no ego, no histrionics or steroids or money, just a wonderful guy and his wife, sitting next to each other, holding hands, just like they did on that day 50 years ago in the right field stands at Yankee Stadium.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

and from the "really, really cool gig department..."

ok, I'll admit I've been a comic book fan since I was 14 years old.
Comics, as they say, have been very good to me. Over the years I've worked at DC, Marvel and freelanced for just about every comics company in between.
I've had plenty of phenominal highlights as DC's Art Director, and as a comics artist, but this might very well be the coolest one: I just painted the cover to the 40th Anniversary Comic Book Price Guide!
Holy smokes, I've been buying that thing since 1974, and now my image of Batman will grace the cover to this milestone issue!
Ain't life grand?
I've been holding off posting the cover here until Gemstone Publishing posted it first, and since they did indeed post it yesterday, here she be....hope you dig.
ps...big shout out to the fabulous Jeff Vaughn at Gemstone, one of the GREAT guys in the biz!
Also, thanks to Misters Geppi and Overstreet for your very kind words.

here's the full article at the Gemstone/Diamond site:

oh, yeah, just in case you're wondering, yes, this is a painting (not digital), and yes, those classic covers were a bitch to paint!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

blame it on uncle norman...

Spent this past new year's weekend caught up in a blizzard up in Stockbridge, Mass. One of my favorite places on earth, home of the incredible Norman Rockwell Museum.

Of course, when in Stockbridge, you HAVE TO stay at the Red Lion Inn, the loveliest, spookiest, charmingist Inn in America. Sit by the fireplace in the lobby and enjoy a hot cider, friend.

Also ate at Theresa's, possibly the most famous unknown restaurant in the world. huh? Well, ok, it used to be called 'Alice's Restaurant.' Yes, THE Alice's Restaurant. And yes, it IS 'just a half a mile from the railroad track.'

The Rockwell Museum was running a show featuring a lot of Norman's photo reference, to coincide with the recent publication of the wonderful book "Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera" written by Ron Schick (go buy it, now!).

What's YOUR favorite Rockwell? (IMPOSSIBLE question, right?) I'm partial to "Freedom From Fear"...

but also this one from 'Tom Sawyer' is a fave...

...and this one too!...

and one more...

how about you???