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