Thursday, December 29, 2011


It's rare that I dabble in logo design, but I suppose anyone who casually calls himself a "Graphic Designer" should have one or two in his portfolio... Which brings me to WOLFMANTIS, a marketing/production company run by fellow SixAMer, Kevin. I played around with a lot of ideas for this one, most of them involved drawing a giant Praying Mantis howling at the moon.... They weren't all that professional looking, however. So I went with a typographical approach which used color and lettering tricks to bust out the following:

And there you have it! The WolfMantis logo!

Yay for me!
~ Mark

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Brian Wins! Christmas 11'

As with every year, I am commissioned by my brother to create a piece of artwork for his Christmas gift... This year, given my recent marriage, he commissioned a husband and wife collaborative art piece for his Christmas gift.

My wife was the brains behind this one and she came up with the brilliant idea to appeal to what we refer to as my brother's "Middle Child Syndrome". The result was a poem written in children's book form about my brother "Winning" at pretty much everything... Below is evidence that marriage can indeed create something beautiful other than children:

In case you haven't figure it out, the characters are mainly my family. Mom, Dad, Brother Matthew, Brother Brian, myself (Brother Mark), my sister-in-law and that last girl would be my lovely wife... swooning over my brother's behind. That was her idea. This makes me nervous.

Brian wins!
~ Mark

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Record this!

Aside from Six AM, there have been a handful of other projects that I've been cranking out...

The biggest of these was for a coworker's wedding. I was asked to create table numbers for her reception... Generally, these kinds of things aren't that exciting, but their idea was too awesome to pass up... They wanted the numbers on actual records, designed to look retro... Here was the end result:

I love me some wedding!
~ Mark

Monday, December 19, 2011

It's been a while... Blame Six AM.

If you were to skim through this blog over the years, you'd find that there are random lengthy periods of time where I go without posting. Generally it comes from laziness, or a stressful day job, or marriage (that sounds like I've done it more than once), or simply discovering a new game on my iPhone (I'm talking about you, Jetpack Joyride!). This time, however, it comes from doing TOO MUCH work... Something my parents probably thought they'd never hear me... type.

As I mentioned in some earlier posts, my main creative outlet, Six AM Comics, got a kickstart back in August when we started making caricatures of our fans (I say fans, but really I mean my friends) on Facebook. It was a process we like to call "Getting AM-inated" or "Virtual Puberty". This process was incredibly tedious and I'm personally delighted that it's winded down some. I illustrated over 60 of our followers and we inducted them into the East Valley University Class of 11'. East Valley being the fictional New Hampshire hometown where our website's main characters reside. This was done to allow our viewers to feel as though they are a part of the universe we're creating, not just observers. Our goal has always been to establish a sense of community within the site. Thanks to sites like Facebook and Twitter, we can finally accomplish this. We even went as far as to give the University it's own website, complete with undergrad and graduate applications.

But really, the AMination process only took up most of August and September which digressed into weekly competitions with only one victor getting an avatar on Fridays. Which brings me to the next filler of my time over the past few months... The weekly competitions. While they started out simple enough, Kevin would go on Facebook and ask a general question like, "What fictional class would you like to take at EVU?" and we'd proceed to pick the best response... This eventually turned into the creation of actual games our viewers could play online... Created by yours truly using Flash.

If you're familiar with this blog, then you're well aware of a game I've been working on for the past 2 years called "Son'Uva"... While this game still hasn't seem the light of day given its complexity (complex for someone like me who has little to no coding knowledge), I was able to design and create 4 simple flash games which kept our viewers entertained for all but 5 minutes at a time. The first of these was called "Tweet. Aim. Fire." and it was a clone of Duck Hunt where our site's main characters were shooting twitter birds in a field. I also included the easter egg of being able to shoot fellow Six AMer, Dan (known as KAL on the site) out of a nearby tree... If you're interested in playing this game click the screenshot below:

Due to this game's positive response, we quickly put our brains together and cranked out a new game: "Your Clothes. Give Them To Me." It was an incredibly simple game where you had to match the different pieces of various Arnold Schwarzenegger outfits. The faster you made a match the more points you got. In addition, the more obscure the Arnie reference, you were awarded extra points. As we did with the previous game, the person who received the highest score and posted a screenshot of their victory would be AMinated. The idea for this game came from an illustration I made a while back called "The Many Faces of Arnold Schwarzenegger". You can play game by clicking the following screenshot:

Given the simplicity of this previous game, I got "sequelitus" and wanted to bigger. Michael Bay Forever! Around this time, me and my coworkers (my day job) had been playing Rock Paper Scissors like fiends, we had imaginary WWF-style belts and everything. We should have been in some kind of professional league... Which gave me the idea for this gem... PRO ROCK PAPER SCISSORS! At this point, this game is technically still in production, but I had finished enough work on it to release a demo. Like those old Shareware PC games you used to be able to buy at Walmart. For a game based solely on randomness, you'd swear you were using real strategy. That illusion created a pretty darn good time if I do say so myself. The demo version allows you to play as Jason (my cartoon counterpart on Six AM) in one round against a beefed up version of my childhood dog, Leo the Schnauzer. Around this time, I had downloaded "Fruity Loops" for my iPhone and began making my own midi-style music for this game... T'was glorious. Click below and play it!

After the completion of the demo, I got a little burnt out on making flash games and took a break for a while, focusing on other content for the site. i.e. Comics, blogs, etc... That was until I began watching videos on youtube of old Tiger Electronics games. I loved those old games, you can even read about it in one of my old posts. I love the simplicity of those games and thought, "It must not be that hard to make one"... I was terribly wrong, but I wouldn't let that stop me. I spent a few weeks (the other games took days at most) cranking out graphics and throwing up code here and there until I created the following game, based off of a Graphic Novel I'm working on which is based off a student film I helped a friend out with a few years back called "Damascus". Much like the games of Tiger, this game has little to do with the actual plot of the thing it's based off of, but it carries with it a brand. And that's all that matters, right? Click. Play. Love.

But games don't necessarily end with Flash. We created a number of other ways for our viewers to interact with us and be entertained. When I wasn't creating video games, I was making Highlights-style puzzles. The first of these was the following:

At least six differences... But there were more, mainly because I'm not talented enough to draw the exact same things twice. Winky Face. Six AMer, Kevin (known as Stan on the site) came up with Horror Movie Hangman, where he used famous horror film phrases combined with my own illustrations to create a fun game on Facebook for our fans:

What else, what else... Oh! The website's homepage header changes every month to let our viewers know we give a dern. The following are the headers I illustrated for the site:

There's a lot more headers on the site, but you'll just have to go there to see them. Anyway, there's a number of other illustrative work I've been doing for Six AM. We rebooted "Scholars", designed "Desktops" and also created a number of promotional images for other websites who have helped support us since our start. So needless to say, it's been a busy few months and I don't see it letting up until we're rich, famous, and phoning this stuff in!

So yeah, that's what's been up.
~ Mark

Monday, November 28, 2011

X-Men Doodle

I haven't posted in ages... It was time to draw the X-Men.

~ Mark

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sonuva! More Defeated Animations

I swear, this game will be finished someday!! Realizing that I have yet again gone on a Son'Uva hiatus, I busted out the Wacom this weekend and did some quick work on my precious. Despite being nothing all that interested, I have completed a handful more defeated animations for three of the fighters: Son'Uva, Nark and Gazael. By "defeated", I'm referring to that glorious Mortal Kombat moment where the announcer yells out, "FINISH HIM!"... Rather than making the fighters look all wobbly like in the MK games, I've just made them look like they just got the crap kicked out them... Which is kind of what happens, right?

Anyway, click the image below for a look-see.

At least something's getting finished...
~ Mark

Creative Commons License
Sonuva by Mark Marianelli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


A buddy of mine who goes by the name BigNate84 has begun a series of web videos called "How To"... Which are probably the most informative and helpful videos out there if you're looking to learn all kinds of random yet incredibly useful tricks of the trade.

He asked me to work on a logo and cartoon depiction of his How To persona, so I complied and here is the end result...

So majestic,
~ Mark

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Sharpshooters

A coworker of mine indulges in the delights of Fantasy Football... Honestly, it's not my cup-o-tea, but I happen to be a huge fan of "The League", so I gots nothin' but love for the non-sport. In any case, I was commissioned to make a logo for his team, "The Sharpshooters" and naturally, I accepted.

Why the "Sharpshooters"? Two words... Bret. Hart. Anyone who knows me, knows I am an avid lover of 80's/early 90's WWF... That's right, W. W. F. Not WWE and not that stupid Panda organization that nobody cares about... I'm talkin' old school World Wrestling Federation, gosh dangit! ... But that's a tangent for another day. Bret Hart's signature move is the Sharpshooter... A devastating submission hold that few men ever escape.

So in honor of his royal Hartness, I designed the following logo for... The Sharpshooters!

The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be,
~ Mark

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

East Valley University Class of 11'

So as I mentioned in a recent post, Six AM Comics has been Six Am-ing the first 40 people to "like" the page. I gave a taste of some of the cartoon avatars, but now you can see all of them in completion! Only took me 2 weeks to do it... And my wrist is killing me. Click the image below to see the first class of East Valley University!

If you'd like to see each character individually or if you'd like a chance to go through virtual puberty yourself, go on over to our Facebook Page and "Like" us. Every week we'll be giving opportunities to get your own cartoon avatar. And be on the lookout this September for the relaunch of our website.

Aight, go on, git!
~ Mark

Monday, August 15, 2011


Had the weirdest dream last night. It started out fairly normal… And by normal, I mean normal by odd dream standards.

I'm at work and for some reason the whole office decides, "We're gonna work from Mark's home today.", which in the dream I'm like, "Awesome!", till' I realize that my wife and I (in the dream) are living with my parents…  While my entire office is at my folks, I forget that I have company and take my laptop into the bathroom (which is something I typically do… Yeah, next time you're reading my blog I want you to think, "Was Mark bottomless when he wrote this?". Anyway, so I'm on my way to the bathroom and I completely get into a 'home' comfort level and leave the door wide open. I'm on my laptop, taking a dump, typing away, work people ALL OVER my parent's house. While I'm on my laptop, I go to "", a podcast featuring Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier which I usually listen to while I'm drawing or doing whatever. I notice that this particular Smodcast is happening LIVE. Excitedly, I pick up my phone and call in (this is not something you can do on Smodcast in real life, but it would be awesome if you could).

So I call in and Kevin Smith and Scott answer. Immediately we're all talking LIVE on smodcast and they ask me, "If you could drive any car in the world, what would you drive?" to which I answer, "I'd ride around in a Death Star with a bumper sticker that reads "Support Our Troopers" with a Storm Trooper Helmet drawn on it.

I get a reaction of laughter and Kevin Smith goes, "Okay, Mark, we're going to do a little role-playing, you ready? I'm going to be Luke Skywalker landing on the Swamp Planet of Degoba, you're going to be Yoda, cool?" I'm like, "Heck yes, let's do this!"

… The conversation ends up going something like this:

Kevin: "Yoda! I've come to learn about the force!"

Me: "Hey."

Kevin: "That's… That's not really a Yoda voice, Mark…"

Mark: "What, just because I'm old, shriveled and green I have to talk like a frickin' senile old man with a stroke?"

Kevin: "Well, I…"

Mark: "Let me tell you something, Luke, I'm 300 years old, you think I never picked up a frickin' Dictionary and learned to speak something a little better than broken pig-latin? Here, I'll throw you a bone. Kiss my little green force-bits you must. How's that for some classic Yoda talk! You see that hut over there?"

Kevin: "Yeah man, it's nice…"

Mark: "Screw you, no it's not, it's frickin' HUT. But I'm rockin' High-Speed Internet Wi-Fi in there, son! You think I never googled, "Learn to Speak English I Must"? What've you got on that crappy little X-Wing there? 3G?"

Kevin: "Well…"

Mark: "CHK-CHK!"

Kevin: "Did you just pull out a shotgun??"

Mark: "You bet your desert-dwellin' ars I did. Let me tell you something, THIS is the weapon of a Jedi."

Kevin: "But Obi-Wan told me a lightsaber is the weapon of a Jedi-"

Mark: "Eff Obi-Wan! He still listens to Vinyl records because to him they 'sound better'… Those things came out 'a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away', they sound like crap. We've got High Quality MP3's with surround sound now. Let me tell you something, I shoot at you with this shotgun, you bust out your crappy little lightsaber, you'r gonna block maybe 5 of my spray of bullets, about 50 more of those are blastin' through your grill. Do you know why I use a shotgun and not a laser? Because every time I shoot a laser at a Sith Lord, he deflects it with his lightsaber and that sh* ricochets back at me and blows a hole right through my crappy plastic storm-trooper armor. A lightsabers simply going to MELT bullets, i.e., I don't die by my own gun. You know what I like to do?

Kevin: "… I don't know that I want to…"

Mark: "I like to carry TWO shotguns. I aim one at a Dark Lord's head, the other at his balls and fire both a the same time… 9 times outta' 10 they block the balls. Guess they're not THAT stupid. Psh! Lightsabers. Let me tell you how generic those things are… I'll bet you're still using a Samsung Impression."

Kevin: "It's a Palm Pre…"

Mark: "You see this? It's an iPhone 500. This thing has a 99 cent APP for lightsabers, civilized weapon. More like 'house-trained'. See this? iForce APP, I touch this screen, I can make your pants fall off. If there were some friggin' women on this stupid planet I'd have a field day. Make sure you thank your stupid Dad, Vader for that.

Kevin: "Vader's my father??"

Mark: "Psh, I'm your Daddy, bee-yotch." *Fires shotgun in the air* "Yoda, son! Wha-whaaat!"

Pretty elaborate for a dream, right? Yeah, I know… I actually made a point to write that down THE SECOND I woke up so I wouldn't forget it. From here, I get off the phone with Smodcast LIVE and notice all my coworkers are looking at me oddly and I realize I've just been sitting on the toilet taking a dump for the past hour having a Star Wars conversation with a Kevin Smith hotline with the door open in front of my entire workplace… And I feel slightly embarrassed.

The dream now cuts to me walking around my parent's old neighborhood when I look into the horizon and see a gang of bikers coming straight for me with chains, knives and other weapons. I freak the HECK out and book it home. I run inside my parents' house just as the bikes are pulling up to my lawn and lock the doors. I then run up to the kitchen where my mom is and I pull out a knife to protect us. Just then there's a knock on the door. I look out the window and it's the entire biker gang on the lawn. They look up at me through the window and proceed to take off their biker gear to reveal… Get this… KFC uniforms and go, "You've been duped by the KFC surprise coupon giveaway!! So I walk outside and they give me a coupon for $1 off a large soda at KFC and drive off.

It's now that I look across the street and see that Kevin Smith, his wife Jennifer and Scott Mosier are buying a house… So I run over there to say hi. Kevin instantly recognizes me (which is weird because we'd only talked on the phone at this point) and is like, "Hey man! Look, don't tell the realtor who I am, this is a college frat house and you can only buy it if you're a student. But my wife loves it so I'm telling them I'm still in school, okay?"… So I agree and ask him if he wants my KFC coupon, to which he goes, "Heck yeah, I could use a soda"… I then walk out the front door of the house when Kevin's wife Jennifer comes out and goes, "Um… Take care." And pats me on the back awkwardly… I then notice Scott Mosier walking around the driveway of the house and go, "Hey, do you know me?"… He turns around, looks at me and goes, "Yeah, you're on my radar."

… Then I wake up.

~ Mark

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Six AM... What's been up!

I haven't blogged in a couple of days... This is truly saddening and WRONG!

I haven't exactly been in a creative lapse, however, and there is fruit to show for my labors. Me and the fella's at Six AM Comics have been working on a massive reboot of the website which we'll be reveling in September... We're going at this site with a new vision and a more productive process. Our marketing mastermind, Kevin, has been hard at work developing advertisements and viral campaigns to bring a new life to Six AM.

We've launched a Facebook group and have been updating our Twitter account daily to get people as excited about the relaunch as we are. The first 40 members of the page are being given their own cartoon avatars... Once we reach 100, we'll be unlocking something new for people to check out.... Below are a few of the avatars we've created...

So give us some support and "Like" us over at Facebook and be on the lookout for the re-launching of the website in September!

Pinch yourself, it's Six AM.
~ Mark

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Delovely Sleepy Wife

Typically, most mornings I'm up before my wife... My favorite part of said morning is the moment when I hear a high-pitched grunt come from the bedroom followed by the sounds of a creaky bed as sheets are thrown this way and that... No, there's not someone in the bedroom with my wife, those sounds are the terrifying yet incredibly adorable actions of a very groggy woman. Once the sounds subside, I hear some very heavy footsteps moving in the direction of the kitchen, where I'm usually checking my email or working on an illustration. I generally don't look up when I hear these footsteps, but ultimately they stop and I feel a chilling stare coming from the other side of the kitchen. I look up and I see the prettiest zombie you'll ever know. My cranky woman. Hair allover the place, sleeping wrinkles on the side of her face and eyebrows lowered in the fashion of an upset child.

I light up and immediately say (in the most annoying lovey-dovey voice you'll ever tolerate) "Good morning babies!"... Her response? I'm still trying to decipher it, but it sounds something like this: "BuzhuZzz"... Not sure if she's a giant bee or a back massager with a dying battery. From here she stumbles around the kitchen, barely maintaining balance, and attempts to make herself some cereal while pausing every now and then to give me a dirty look.

Then she finds the cat.

Our cat, Baxter, is a tortured soul of a feline. We get our kicks out of making him very upset... Rachael more than I. She will usually try and pick the cat up, but she's so tired she can't balance between snuggle, squeeze and crush. Then the cat gets mad and bites her. I then approach this woman who provides me so much morning entertainment and do the same thing to her that she does to the cat.

Then she bites me.

I love my marriage:)
~ Mark

P.S. - She is going to kill me for this illustration.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Video Game Tribute #19 - Commander Keen

There was a time when side-scrollers were king and PC reigned supreme over consoles such as SNES, Genesis and Turbo Graphics 16. Ironically, not many side-scrollers thrived in the PC kingdom. Titles such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario World were still the masters of their trade... Fortunately there was a company known as "id Software" which was on the up and up and they were determined to bring Side-Scrollers to the seductive ways of MS DOS. Their crowning achievement? Commander Keen.

Now was Commander Keen the greatest thing since the World Wide Web? Of course not. And odds are, most people don't remember this game (because unlike myself, most kids around that time had a Super Nintendo and were rocking Super Mario World while I was stuck with Mind Sweeper). But for the PC-gamers of the time, this game satisfied the basic side-scroller needs: Easy controls, challenging yet simple gameplay, cartoony graphics and a storyline just vague enough to keep you from questioning its validity... What was this storyline you ask? Well I'll tell you... It stars Billy Blaze, a boy-genius who has built a spaceship. When his parents go to sleep at night he hops in his spaceship, throws on a football helmet and becomes COMMANDER KEEN. Keen uses a pogo-stick to jump higher than normal (which I find odd considering the kid built a freaking spaceship... He can't make rocket boots??) as well as an Alien Ray Gun in earlier episodes of the game. Later episodes he gets a little more kid-friendly and uses a "Stunner" which knocks his enemies unconscious... He is a kid after all, this ain't Wolfenstein 3D! Interesting note however, Commander Keen is apparently the grandson of B.J. Blazkowicz, the protagonist of the Wolfenstein games.

What I can't seem to stop thinking, though, is that Billy Blaze (Keen) might be a little crazy in the head... Typically with plots like this, it turns out the kid is daydreaming or playing make-believe. To further this concept, there's an episode of the Commander Keen series titled "Keen Dreams" where Keen is sent to bed for not eating hid Veggies and ends up dreaming that he's trapped in some kind of vegetable kingdom where he has to use "flower power" (Copyright Infringement? Anyone? Mario?) to defeat his enemies and get home, blah, blah, the kid's a whack job! Why was this adventure in his head and not the others? Was this somehow less believable than a kid with a 314 IQ building spaceships and fighting aliens?? My theory? He wears that helmet because he suffers from mild retardation. As a matter of fact, I'd say everybody needs to go to Borders before they all close down and buy a copy of "I AM THE CHEESE" by Robert Cormier. Read that book and just TRY and tell me that Commander Keen isn't in some insane asylum riding a bicycle in circles and blasting aliens in his head.

He is the Keen,
~ Mark

Monday, August 1, 2011

Video Game Tribute #18 - Rise of the Triad

It's been a while since I've conTRIBUTEd to the video game world I love so much... This time I've taken one of the more obscure titles from the First Person Shooter boom of the mid-90's. In actuality, I'm not entirely sure that era of gaming existed, but I seem to remember there being A LOT of DOOM/Wolfenstein clones coming out around that time. Heretic, Goldeneye, Quake, Blake Stone, Duke Nukem, etc... But one particular game sticks out in my mind: Rise of the Triad.

I still remember the day I bought this game. I was at Walmart with my mom. Now, this was 1995 and computer gaming was a much more exciting genre than console gaming. When you went to a gaming department, it was typically split up into two sections for PC games: Full and Shareware. Basically you had the nicely packaged, highly expensive games and then you had the demo versions of those games for far cheaper. I personally enjoyed these more, especially because they took up less space on my computer hard-drive... Which was typically low due to the high amounts of MS Paintbrush files I was constantly creating (ah, the young graphic designer that I was). In any case, there I was, glancing at the games when I saw the shareware package of a game titled Rise of the Triad... I remember the woman on the cover. She wore a tight leather outfit, unzipped just low enough to peak an adolescent's interest, but just conservative enough to slip under the radar of a mother trying to frantically get her shopping finished. Naturally this inclined me to pick up the case and take a look at the screenshots... Keep in mind, I LOVED First Person Shooters. I had played through DOOM and Wolfenstein about 100 times at this point and I was aching for some fresh carnage. Not only did it fill the FPS void, it was also shareware-cheap, so dearest mumzy was sure to buy it for me!

Now, not to say this game was any more playable than the others... In retrospect, the controls were difficult and the graphics were nothing new... But what made this game memorable for me was the initiation of the GIB. I'm still unclear what the letters stand for (or if it's an acronym for anything specific), but in a nutshell, gibs are digitalized people fragments... I.e. guts that go flying in every direction when you obliterate your opponent with a bazooka. At this point, I had seen blood in video games... Mortal Kombat, Doom, etc... But oh man, I still remember the first time a bad guy in this game got crushed under a moving platform... I was at a distance and I could see the little red pixels go spattering in all directions, but milliseconds later a FREAKING EYEBALL practically landed in my character's lap!  I had never seen gore like that in an FPS. The enemies typically bled out and died in a red puddle... But now they were literally exploding all over the map! It was pure insanity! Eyeballs, limbs, guts, there was no body part which was safe... It was digital carnage. I must have played that first level a thousand times (after all, it was shareware, you only got like, 3 levels tops) and still wasn't tired of seeing people's retinas smashing against my screen.

Given today's generation of video games, this sort of thing probably doesn't sound that impressive or shocking... But this was a time when the ESRB was just forming, gaming was a lot more innocent... Heck, Duke Nukem 3D hadn't even been developed yet. So imagine going from playing Commander Keen a year earlier to having a corpse literally explode in your face... Not to mention that 3D environment made you feel like you were actually the one making people stew with your rocket launcher... Instant. Desensitization. And just to make the game a little more disturbing, the final level (of the registered full version, which I didn't play for at least another 3 or 4 years) had you running through secret passages and destroying baby fetus clones of the final boss... Who, by the way, becomes a giant floating head which, to this day, still wakes me up in a cold sweat from haunting my dreams.

So if you can get a hold on a classic that may or may not run on your fancy new PC, I'd suggest hunting this one down. It's worth the trip down the blood-stained roads of memory lane.

Ludicrous Gibs!
~ Mark


A few months back I drew what ever kid thought of growing up when they heard the term "Sabertooth Tiger"... I didn't have a lot of free time this weekend to make anything all that original, so I re-did this drawing in a simpler fashion... So yeah. Take that.

Maybe I'll make a tshirt for this one,
~ Mark

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

SIM Bing

Is it just me, or does using Bing Maps Bird's Eye View make you feel like you're playing a REALLY boring game of Sim City?

Just a thought,
~ Mark

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Angelic Interpretation Part II

A long while back I posted a sketch I made interpreting my thought process about Angels and their appearances. This was another sketch from that same series which I finally was able to dig up and re-colorize. It's a Seraphim... An Angel with 6 wings. One pair to fly with and two pairs to cover their face and feet in the presence of God.

Again, my thought process regarding Angelic beings has been that they look absolutely NOTHING like anything we've imagined or illustrated over the years. A being which exists outside of our reality can't possibly resemble anything we can comprehend, so I tried to break myself from the norm of how we think we see things... It was a really fun experiment... Below is what I came up with:

It seems whenever my imagination runs wild, the images I create lean more on the disturbing side of the illustrative spectrum... I imagine you'd scream too if you were in the presence of God... No? Yes?

My eyes!
~ Mark


... Sometimes I wonder where my head is at this late at night... Here's what I think of whenever Apple mentions iLife...

~ Mark

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Zombie Quotes

In recent light of all the Refrigerator Man work that's been going on, Kevin and I were brainstorming about one particular character who has a role in the potential comic... This character comes in many forms, but the core of his essence is the Undead... He's a Zombie. Or her? The nature of the zombie lead us to think about various catch zombie catch-phrases depending on a zombie's situation... Here's a few to kick start the discussion!

Brains for hire,
~ Mark

Homeless Zombie

- "Spare some brains?"
- "Noms for the poor? nom, nom, nom..."
- "Cardboard sign: 'No family to eat'."
- "Another sign: 'Won't eat for work'."

80's Zombie

- "Where's the brains??"

- "Bite you"

- "People-Juice, People-Juice, People-Juice!"

- "Da Brain, boss, Da Brain!"

Game-Show Host Zombie

- "Let's eat our next contestant."

- "Big Brains, no Whammies!"

- "I'd like to bite a vowel!"

- "Are you hearty as a fifth grader?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Adventure Has No Expiration Date

Cryptic Love Part III

Here's a little more Cryptic Love for ya'... These are starting to get incredibly hard to find... I did a "View Friendship" with like, 30 of my friends and the list read something like this:

March 10th, 2009 - Happy Birfday' cracka! 

March 10th, 2010 - HEY! It's your birthday! Eat more cake you fat horse!

March 10th, 2011 - Have fun celebrating the day your mother laid eyes on the fruits of her... Labor?

As you can see, my loyalty on the social network knows no bounds...

Anyway, here's what I was able to scrap up. These are odd. Also, AIDs seems to come up a lot in my history, this is like, the third time it's come up... Yikes.


- <--- is smiling at you because it's mating season.

- I guess a little pedophilia never hurt anyone...

- You're kidding me. There's an entire DAY devoted to that awful color??

- Live quartz.......i know, I'm pretty sick at photo stuff

- Yeah, I was watching you think about me...

- Be brave my friend... don't make love to any strange typewriters...

- That wasn't a webcam at all!

- Dead Huskies… On steroids.

- I'm a Strawberry Shortcake type of way :(

- A Nun accidentally backs her car over a clown holding a baby seal in one hand and glass jar of penicillin for his dying crippled son in the other..............saddest face.....

- Hilary's stubble is great for backs and paint stripping!

- LOL! Eat what? A heaping bowl of your AIDS??

- Yotch reminds me of crotch.

- Gee man, you're really good at spotting phallus. You should switch careers.

- You got a pee pee in yo mouf!

- Our 2 peanut-butter-loving butts?

- Ha, you mean her Tuesday spanking...

- It's like super rug burn.

- Does this mean that I have to call you Pappy?

- It is if you have a winky!!

- Looks like he's spreading his Christmas spirit all over those parking garage walls...


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011


The year is 1993. I'm sitting in 5th grade math class and my mind is wandering a mile a minute. Next to me is my good friend, Chris. We've been buddies since the first grade and both shared an equal lack of interest in mathematics. On the other side of the desk arrangements is a boy named Kevin, who looks almost as though he's paying attention to the garble of numbers getting slapped on the projector's transparencies by Ms. Remmick. I think that's how you spelled her name. You'd think I'd remember the name of the teacher who gave me my first "D" on a report card… But then, I never cared much for useless details like spelling… Probably why I got the "D" in the first place. But what does spelling have to do with Math anyway? Can anyone really spell arithmetic of the top of their head? I'm distracted again… Just like I was that day in class. Which is why I didn't pay attention to the problems on the board, which is why I was utterly screwed in t-minus 5 minutes when she would assign a pop quiz which would ultimately begin my downward spiral into academic mediocrity.

Chris and I are more interested in the cartoons I'm doodling in my notebook than we are anything else in the classroom. I imagine that's what caught Kevin's interest that day… But really, it was 18 years ago and like I said earlier, details bore me. Kevin has glasses. I do to, so I guess that means we share an equal bond. Thing is, I assume that his glasses combined with the fact he's supposedly paying attention in class equals a smart kid. Chris and I have the same thought process obviously because we both immediately form a friendly status with Kevin as the quizzes are being passed out. Do we care what kind of kid Kevin is? Not really, he's smart and he's nice, so odds are we'll be able to sneak some answers off of the sucker. The quizzes come around and we begin to furiously copy every number he jots down on his paper. We are so getting "A's" today. As it turns out, Kevin wasn't paying attention to Ms. Whatshername, he's daydreaming like a fiend. His eyes were as much following the numbers on the wall as they were experiencing Rapid Eye Movement. We all fail the quiz and I begin my journey to UMass-Lowell.

Thing is, that day I wasn't mad at Kevin for screwing us over… I was happy to discover that this nerdy kid in class was on the same wavelength as me… While my buddy Chris was a good guy, when it came to recess, he was all about football, and all I really wanted to do was pretend I was a werewolf. Wouldn't you know Kevin wanted to be a werewolf too and looked to me as a tutor in the ways of wolf-dom. That brotherhood of the wolf evolved into a wonderful friendship. See, when I cheated off of Kevin in class, I was aiming to get a couple of correct answers on a subject I was destined to fail at my entire life, and in turn I got something far more valuable than a one-time good grade… I gained a very important friendship which would last a lifetime. Time progressed from 5th grade and before you knew it, we were going on adventures in the woods, having sleepovers with scary movies and diet caffeine-free coca-cola, and most important of all, we were drawing pictures together in the backyard listening to KISS 108 FM (Mr. Boombastic was our song of choice when it came on).

Why was this most important? I'll tell you why. As we drew our silly pictures and went on our silly adventures in the woods, we evolved a rapidly budding creativity in our brains. A creativity which would mold our careers… Mold our lives. Being creative is hard when you're on your own. It helps to have a friend who allows you to expand on your own thoughts, who shares similar interests and lets you explore that part of your brain.

Middle School soon came… And boy were we the epitome of dorkiness. Unpopular, unfashionable, uncool. Which I'm grateful for to this day. While most kids were off ruining their lives in the name of popularity, we were just being ourselves. Joking around, drawing pictures and being kids. We soon met a whole group of people who were similarly outcasted from popularity. Funny thing is, at lunch time, we had the largest table in the cafeteria. We lived as kings at lunch time. Now this might seem unimportant, but it served a purpose. We had to stick together in Middle School, it was a jungle. There is nothing more cruel than a Middle Schooler. Kids are bullies, troublemakers… Douche-bags to put it lightly. Popularity is everything. If you don't have the right haircut, you get picked on. If you have braces, you get picked on. If you don't wear the right cloths, you get picked on. Girls laugh at you, guys throw things at you and teachers ignore it all. The more you get hassled, the more you sink into your own mind and become even more outcasted, more quiet. Kids go into Middle School with hope and good nature… They leave defeated and damaged. This is why our close-knit group of outcasts was so important. We were a reminder to each other that we were okay… That we were normal. Despite the fact that we were odd to the rest of the world (i.e. Middle School).

It was this situation which led Kevin and I to create our first creative venture… "Oddballs". It was our feeble attempt at a comic book. Kevin was the main artist in this endeavor. The comic starred our Middle School posse as a bunch of outcast kids with very exaggerated personalities who would find themselves in stupid little adventures… Oddballs: In Space, Oddballs: Stranded, etc… It was a stupid little comic, but it was our escape from normal life… And we had a blast working on it.

I'm going to skip forward a few years to High School. I'm still a big dork with dorky friends. I'm in Youth Group at my church and my good friend Edgell and I are sitting up front during a service. It's break time, time to mingle! Our Youth Leader, Dave, encourages us to meet visitors to the group and make them feel welcomed. See, while I was the lowest of the lows in High School, I was the most average of the averages in Youth Group. So Edgell and I take it upon ourselves to greet the new guy in the back… A chubby little guy wearing flannel named Dan. I've seen him around church, I know he's a normal guy… But I had never taken the time to get to know him. We start to talk to Dan, who turns out to not be as shy as we think he is… He's actually very easy to talk to… And he's freaking HILARIOUS. Dan and I began to hang out more… See, I was drawn to his deadpan sense of humor, I'd never known anyone to keep such a straight face while saying some of the most absurd things I'd ever heard… I began to learn more about Dan. When we first met, I thought that we couldn't be any more different… In the end, I discovered that we couldn't be any more alike. Maybe that's an insult to Dan, but I'm honestly quite flattered.

I soon discovered, that like me, Dan had a passion for drawing… And he was GOOD. I quickly discovered that I was actually… quite bad. I mean horridly bad… So bad that I was on the verge of going home and slapping my parents for encouraging my efforts at art. HE WAS SO GOOD! To this day, my own art style is the bastard child of his talent and stylization. He actually taught me a very valuable lesson in art… Less is more. Daniel, you are legend to me. I hope you know that.

But I digress… Dan and I shared a similar friendship to that of me and Kevin… Sleepovers, movies, sporadic goofiness that only he and myself found amusing at the time… But we differed artistically. He was on a whole different level, and quite frankly, I didn't want to draw around him out of embarrassment. So we exercised our creativity together in different ways… Typically it was through conversation, role-playing stupid scenarios, joking around, etc… But we discovered a far more amusing way to have fun… My dad's video camera. I'll never forget that fateful Saturday morning when we busted out that old camera, grabbed a few plastic swords and filmed the most embarrassing film ever created… It was titled: "Dan vs. Queenie"… Oh sweet Buddha it was bad. Another way I differed from Dan was that he was an improvisational master. I, on the other hand, did not fair too well in front of the camera… But that video, horrid as it was, turned out to be the cornerstone of our friendship. Almost every weekend he'd come over and we'd bust out the camera and film ourselves doing stupid things… We'd film First Person Shooters, movies about toys coming to life and attacking us, people with vacuums for heads, you name it, we embarrassed ourselves with it. We soon got to a point where we couldn't  satisfy our scripting needs with just a cameraman and an actor… We needed a cameraman and TWO actors! This of course led to that unholy merger of friendships…

I brought Kevin over to meet Dan.

It was glorious. They clicked instantly. It was movie magic as they played off of each other, improved some of the most bizarre scenarios and weaved their two very distinct styles of humor into GOLD.

What was golden, though, wasn't the films we were making… They were crap; Inside jokes that only we will ever really find amusing. What was golden was our chemistry. We were an unstoppable triad of creativity. But I need to be honest… I've always felt myself a third wheel in the group. Having little humor to contribute, I usually resorted to fake fist-fights when I was put on the spot… Or poop jokes. I typically go back and watch those videos and forward through my parts, cringing the whole time. I've always wondered why they didn't just hang out without me and film their own videos. Though that's probably because they didn't have a camera. What I'm getting at is that my friendship with those two has always been a great honor, a privilege. I wasn't as creative, or as talented as either of them, but they kept me around, included me, laughed at my stupid jokes and let me throw my fake punches on camera and never rubbed my nose in the bad humor… But I'm getting sidetracked.

The year is now 199… 9? 2000 maybe? And it's a defining moment in our lives (or maybe just my life?). The camera is out, we're striving for ideas, we don't know what to film. I do what I always do when I'm low on creativity: I point the camera at Dan and yell, "Action!". Dan's brain kicks into gear and these words come out of his mouth: "Today we'll be interviewing a man who lives in a fridge and hates cats"… And he proceeds to open the basement refrigerator and walk in. We run outside to the pool, which was the location of another refrigerator. I turn the camera on. Dan walks out of that fridge and walks over to Kevin, who is now sitting in a poolside recliner with a long black wig on and a pair of thick woman's sunglasses, complete with a white Hawaiian shirt. Dan walks over and begins to interview Kevin, who beings to act out an eccentric, awkward yet lovable character who allows Dan to interview him in his "Refrigerator Abode". They talk about a Barbara Walters interview which went sour and ruined the Refrigerator Man's life… It becomes a 10 minute long improvisational masterpiece climaxing with a chase scene between the reporter and the Fridge-Man traveling through common household appliances and ending with the fugitive popping out of an occupied toilet and being chased out of the house by the occupier. I couldn't pull this kind of stuff out of my butt if I tried!

This film led to two sequels, transforming the Refrigerator Man into a murderer (Scream was all the rage during this time period) and the reporter into a determined cop. We put MAJOR effort into this film. We even got our hands on some primitive video-editing software and made this thing pure HOLLYWOOD. Our process was to start on a Friday afternoon, load ourselves up on sugar, and edit that sucker through the wee hours of the morning… Finishing when our bodies could no longer sustain themselves and we'd collapse in a pile of "Tasty-Cakes" wrappers and empty soda cans. The time of completion? Six AM. This time would become a legendary hour… We named our little production team "Six AM Productions". We produced one complete "Refrigerator Man" film just before we parted ways and went off to college. The summer of our college freshman years, we reunited and fine-tuned that film, adding a new intro and filming a trailer/music video and a blooper reel. It was our last hurrah before a long hiatus as we went our separate ways in college. During these college years, we all began to fine-tune our skills and find new passions… Kevin discovered, while at Keen State in NH, that he was an excellent writer and had a real talent for marketing. Dan, while at Flagler College in Florida, dabbled in music as he became a member of a Folk-Hop band named "DJ WHY and The Image… Featuring Dr. G". I attended the University of Massachusetts in Lowell and came to realize the wonders of Macromedia Flash. During my time at school I also developed an actual art style and fine-tuned the HECK out of it over the next 5 years. The three of us rarely talked during these years, not out of spite or a lack of interest, but we were living new lives, making new friends, discovering ourselves and becoming our own individual selves.

Of the three of us, Kevin and I stayed in touch the most. Talking on Instant Messenger, emailing, and occasionally meeting up. One time stuck out more than the others, however. We met up in our hometown of Derry, NH at Kevin's parents' house. That night we reverted to our middle school selves as we turned on the radio, busted out some pencils and paper and began doodling what we could. We began to discuss the next chapter in the Oddballs saga… Only this time we dropped the Middle School Posse and focused on our experiences with each other in High School. No more wacky adventures, just real life humorous situations. As we continued to bounce ideas off each other we created a comic named "Scholars". The premise was our High School experiences portrayed in a college setting, featuring ourselves as the respective characters of Stan (Kevin) and Jason (myself… Mark). As we evolved the scripts and sketched out the look and feel, we decided the best outlet for this comic would be the web, which was evolving at a RAPID pace. Before the night was over, we named our website… Six AM Comics. Named after our High School video productions. These comics didn't reach the online world until 2003/2004ish… When I finally purchased the domain name "" and created a website with the help of a good friend in College.

Towards the end of our College experience, we got back in touch with Dan. It was as though nothing had changed since High School. We instantly began joking around again and being stupid. Even made a couple of videos… An abstract horror trilogy named "Lavament: A Tale of Darkness", "Roped In", and "Drain". The production value had obviously gotten much better since the primitive days of Refrigerator Man. Realizing we had that old spark still, Kevin and I asked Dan to be a part of Six AM Comics, and he was very quick to jump on board, contributing his own web comic named "Honestly". We began meeting up at a Starbucks in Beverly, Massachusetts to discuss the direction of the site… Which is when I first discovered the joys of the Mint Mocha-Chip Frapaccino… A rare delicacy which can no longer be served at Starbucks… This was also the beginning of my caffeine addiction (Oh the sacrifices I've made for the site).

I suppose the specifics from then to now aren't terribly necessary. We've gone through about 4 to 5 different variations of the site design, everything from Flash to HTML to content management systems, we've canceled comics, we've rebooted comics, we've re-imagined the purpose of the site, we've dabbled in video games, movies, film review, literati, blogs and gone through about seven hiatuses. I guess what I'm getting at is that Six AM isn't about comics. Really, it's not even about a website. Six AM is about a very unique and important friendship between three very different artists with a similar vision. To create, to entertain, and to have fun. Our goal isn't to be the best, it's not to be famous, or rich (although that wouldn't be so bad)… It's not even a stupid dream. It's an outlet for creativity and expression. For me, it's a passion, and although I go through times where I don't keep up with the site, or stay in touch with the fellas, I always end up coming back to it… To go deeper, I feel like it's always been a calling for us. We have a chemistry which you can't just recreate… Kevin and Dan are my family, we're brothers (whether they like it or not). Someday, I hope to bring others into our family, I hope we can be more than just a family… I hope we can be a community of artists and friends with similar chemistries, similar passions and visions with unique and different artistic talents working together to create something awesome. It's the only inevitable step left in the evolution of Six AM Comics.

But until then… I'm just happy to make art that someone out there can enjoy.
~ Mark