Wednesday, October 26, 2011


As promised, here's the full first installment of PRINCE STREET NEWS from BACK ISSUE! MAGAZINE #51. But you should still buy the whole darn thing!! Following the strip are the two recreations of the inserted comic book covers from the strip.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Claudia Chopek

My very talented and very busy musician friend Claudia Chopek hired me to do some cartoon portraits of her.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kirby Enthusiasm: The Murphy Slap!

My last piece for the KIRBY ENTHUSIASM show at Maxwell's is a "tribute" to Jack Kirby's tenure on SUPERMAN'S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN, a title he took over when he temporarily migrated from Marvel to DC Comics in 1970. Kirby's wild imagination brought some crazy concepts to the DC Universe (even if his writing skills never quite matched his artistic ones), most of all the so-called "Fourth World" of the New Gods and Darkseid.

According to Mark Evanier's excellent tome on Kirby, DC gave Jack carte blanche, allowing him to create new books (although some of them never saw print) as well as choose whatever assignment he liked from their current roster. Jack picked the tame JIMMY OLSEN not because he saw any potential, but because at the time, it was the only book that was lacking a regular creative team (he didn't want to take work from anyone).

The result was a metaphor for Bronze Age Comics... an exciting, yet frequently bizarre and confusing confluence of experimentation and creativity in a very traditional context. The supporting cast may have included hippies and otherworldly despots and DNAliens, the backgrounds may have featured Kirby's trademark cosmic crackle and collage splashes, but DC drew the line at the delineation of the Man of Steel himself...

Feeling that Kirby's depiction of Superman (and his trademarked "S" shield) didn't fit DC's house style, they had longtime DC artist (and frequent inker on the last son of Krypton's other books) Murphy Anderson redraw Kal-El's face and S-emblem in every issue of JIMMY OLSEN. The jarring juxtaposition was (ironically) softened by the inks of Vince Colletta, whose tame style (considered by many scholars an ill fit for the dynamism of Kirby's style) served as a bridge between the two artists.

Still, "The Murphy Slap" (my term) is considered one of many great indignities suffered upon one of comics' most important creators. In tribute, I drew the piece with the Kirby-style Superman face and S before covering them with actual Murphy Anderson artwork from an issue of JIMMY OLSEN. I made the added elements off-size and placed them off kilter to emphasize the mismatch of the artwork (and to indicate to the lay person that it's supposed to look like that).

Here are both pieces, the final version and the pre-Murphyized artwork.

For more on this topic, check out Mark Evanier's post on his site.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kirby Enthusiasm: The Dingbats of Danger Street

My second piece for the KIRBY ENTHUSIASM show was a version of one of Kirby's wackadoo creations for DC Comics, THE DINGBATS OF DANGER STREET, which appeared in the SHOWCASE-esque FIRST ISSUE SPECIAL #6 in 1975. Unlike the Maximus piece, instead of trying to replicate Kirby's style, I did this as an adaptation in my own style, changing the sex of some of the characters and adding some Kirby tribute details in the form of comics on the ground and in the garbage (horrors!).

Kirby Enthusiasm: Maximus is Pleased!

I just co-curated (with Rand Hoppe of the Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center) an art show at Maxwell's in Hoboken NJ called KIRBY ENTHUSIASM: A Tribute to the King of Comics! I did three pieces, this first one being a pretty straight adaptation of one of Kirby's trademark insane splash pages from his peak period of the late 1960s. "Maximus is pleased!" is from FANTASTIC FOUR #82, which continued a story introducing the Inhumans to the Marvel Universe.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Prince Street News debuts in BACK ISSUE #51!

It's plug time, kids! The first installment of Prince Street News, my comic strip about comics has just hit the stands in the new issue of Michael Eury's BACK ISSUE MAGAZINE, #51, an all-interview issue featuring writer Steve Englehart, artist Walt Simonson in conversation with frequent collaborator Erik Larsen, a writers discussion between Doug Moench and Len Wein, letterers Janice Chiang and Todd Klein and the final interview with the late colorist Adrienne Roy.

My strip is the centerspread of the magazine, printed in full color. It's entitled, "Icon" and it's about the evolution of Superman's appearance in light of his new costume in the comics. I'll post the full strip here when BI #52 comes out, so if you want to see it now, head on to your local comics store, Barnes & Noble or order Back Issue from the TwoMorrows website.

The next episode of PSN will be in BACK ISSUE #54, the Liberated Ladies issue, shipping in January, 2012. It's a look at the thin line between acceptably sexy and exploitatively silly in the context of superheroine costumes.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Announcing: Collector's Edition: Confessions of a Pop Culture Obsessive-Compulsive

This is the big project that's been taking up most of my time this year (and will continue to do so for the bulk of 2011). But I thought it was time to let the cat outta the mylar (if you get that reference, you will see yourself in this book).

COLLECTOR’S EDITION: Confessions of a Pop Culture Obsessive-Compulsive by Karl Heitmueller Jr. is an examination of the changing nature of popular culture from the early 1970s to today in the form of a memoir. Mixing history, humor and criticism with sometimes embarrassingly personal anecdotes, Heitmueller paints a picture of a life that, at the age of 46, continues to revolve around pop trappings that are usually abandoned upon adulthood. But it’s also about how the evolution of technology has radically altered the consumption of culture, making it easier to acquire and perhaps less meaningful in the process.

COLLECTOR’S EDITION is divided into chapters that deal with the numerous aspects of Karl’s obsessions: comic books, music (both collecting and compiling), Christmas, action figures, recording TV shows, books, self-publishing, archiving and a three-decades-running compendium called, “The Motion Picture Log.” There are also chapters on how sports just doesn’t fit into the equation and why Star Wars lost its luster for the author (while Superman perhaps means more than ever).

Peppered with illuminating sidebars, anecdotal comic strips and illustrations, COLLECTOR’S EDITION tries to explain the collector’s mentality, and posits that loving STUFF may not be such a bad thing after all. Readers who share the malady of nostalgia will find much to which they can relate, while those who’ve never felt the urge to scour eBay for a long-lost relic of their childhood will hopefully gain insight to the mindset of an oft-ridiculed demographic.


Friday, April 29, 2011


Another happy job for Secret Country, for this year's HOOTENANNY fest. This poster is based on the one-sheet for the 1963 film HOOTENANNY HOOT (see below) and expands the Al Capp tribute (Hot Dog girl is partially based on Daisy Mae, and partially based on someone else) by including Li'l Abner's younger brother, Tiny Yokum (albeit clad in a non-traditional hot dog shirt and green jeans).

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Secret Country SUNY poster

The figure in this poster is a swipe from Robert McGinnis' cover to the Mike Shayne Mystery Pulp FIT TO KILL.
When I steal, I steal from the best!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


This poster was done for the WHAT EXIT! art show at Maxwell's.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Secret Country Whiskey Tee

S'tan & Social Grace T-Shirt

This image was designed for a never-produced S'tan & Social Grace tee-shirt

Super F•R•I•E•N•D•S

I have NEVER posted this 1999 illustration anywhere because, well, it's for a TV show that I find in many ways loathsome. This spec piece was done purely as a portfolio piece back in the days when freelance illustrators would drop off their book at magazines and pick it up a few days later... is that still done? I'm finally posting it because, what the Hell. Plus the Jennifer Aniston likeness ain't bad.

Soul Coughing: The Looming Head of Yuval

I haven't really posted that much of the art that I did in-house when I worked at Warner Bros. Records from 1996-1999, but here's a drawing of the band Soul Coughing that was done for some promotional reason that has disappeared into the brain wrinkles....

Boys Wonder

A series of Robin costumes from DC Comics, cartoons and movies. First is the original, rather ridiculous design. Second is an Earth-2 version of an adult Dick Grayson in transition to taking over the mantle of the Batman. Third is, oof, from BATMAN FOREVER. Fourth is Neal Adams' redesign of the 1990s, followed by Bruce Timm's animated Robin. The final version if mine.

Elvis Costello Centerfold

This piece was done to accompany an article in THE NEW YORK HANGOVER, I'm not normally in the habit of drawing naked pictures of Elvis Costello.... not that I don't love the guy, just not in that way....

Pinky Blue