15 Minutes of Shame: Bad Art and The Tail-Grabbing Tiger (Part One)…

(thanks, Media Blasters!) 

Every once in a while, I get to thinking that parts of my boring life would make an interesting book, but thankfully, I haven’t done a damn thing about that. Sure, I’ve had adventures in babysitting, silenced a few lambs (hey, they were bugging me!) and maybe even raided a lost ark here and there, but in general, I really have no shocking stories of drug-fueled hotel trashing (well, there’s ONE story, but it wasn’t drugs, wasn’t in a hotel room and guess who had to clean up afterwards AND go to work the next day?), scandalous encounters with ladies of the opposite sex or anything like that. However, I have had some really bizarre jobs that kind of fit what I’m doing here on this blog-o, so hell, I may as well tell this long, dull story before I go and decide to forget the damn thing happened…

Frankenstein's Bloody Terror_1That clip above is from a 1968 Spanish horror film called La Marca del Hombre Lobo (Mark of the Wolfman)*, known outside of Spain as Hell’s Creatures: Dracula and the Werewolf, The Nights of Satan and Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror. I believe the latter title was exclusive to the US version of the film and note if you please that it’s the only title that mentions Frankenstein. Unfortunately, there’s not a Frankenstein to be found in the film… at least not in the original version. Apparently, the US producer had some legal issues with a different Frankenstein film he was trying to distribute, but snapped up this import and had an oddball animated sequence added in that combined the Frankenstein and Wolfman myths and brought the world… WOLFSTEIN!

Yeah, it’s about as silly as it sounds (and once again, I’ll need to do a Random Film of the Week on this one, as it’s got some interesting stuff going for it), but that’s not what were here to talk about. Anyway, back in 1981, 3D films were making a comeback and in addition to new movies coming from assorted major and independent studios, plenty of older 3D films were pegged for a second shot at potential box office success. If you’re read that link above, you’ve most likely guessed that a certain monster flick just so happened to have a 3D print floating around that, while not in the best quality, would probably be good enough to cash in on the revived craze for the gimmick before its shelf life expired. Don’t worry – we’re getting to the good stuff, folks. Keep reading…

The other thing that was happening in 1981 was me trying and failing to get into comics. Granted, I was a bit on the unskilled side but eager to learn and having spent the better part of a year whipping up samples, I hit the NY convention scene looking for someone who’d critique my stuff and maybe give me a chance. Well, that didn’t happen at all, but at a 1981 Creation Con while camping out at a table that a friend had rented to sell his handcrafted monsters with some of my art displayed, I ended up meeting a big, boisterous man who just so happened to be looking for a freelance artist to work on a special project. He introduced himself as J. G. Tiger (or Jack) and while he pored over my samples, I was both skeptical and thrilled. With all the much more talented comics guys at the show, why roll up on my moderately untalented self and offer me a gig?

I believe my other friends thought Jack was either the worlds jolliest serial killer (he actually looked like a burly beatnik with a penchant for tropical shirts) or some sort of way too happy con man, but I got a vibe from him that was polite yet dollar-scented. He was a sort of loud talker with a booming laugh, but he was clearly an idea guy like me once he got going. So yes, we hit it off in that slightly shaky manner two potential business partners do. I was still a bit unsure of why he wanted to work with me (or wanted me to work for him), as other than some sign lettering for a school project and I think one small painting, I’d never done any “professional” quality artwork. Well, that was answered soon enough, as I got an invite to dinner after the convention to talk business. Let’s just say, a deal was made, there was a headless woman in the picture at some point and I think I had a Barton Fink moment or three during the job I took on…

Hmmm. I need a break from this tale. Should I continue or shouldn’t I? (flips coin)… OK, I win… or “SUSPENSE!” wins…

to be continued…

*Si, si… “Hombre Loco” means “Crazy Man” and not “Werewolf”, but hey – that’s the translation I see for this film all over the place and I know for a fact NEVER to argue with a Spaniard about anything (unless it’s after lunch – then you get a hand wave away as your debate partner goes to take a nice siesta)…

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