Wednesday, April 4, 2012

G.I. Joe-a-Day

In March I took on another Fun-a-Day project along with Alien-a-Day because I figure why not make things harder for myself. I fell way behind on these guys but finally finished them (does it count as fun-a-day if i did like 15 in one day?)

When I was a kid, going grocery shopping with my mom meant that we might also get to go to Woolworth's (when they were still around), K-mart, or Hera help me, KB Toys. That is if we didn't act up. I tried my best not to because I desperately needed to have a new G.I. Joe toy whenever I would come within 50 feet of a purveyor of the little, plastic soldiers. I would brake out in a sweat and probably drag my mom forward the way my dog pulls me along when he has to go O-U-T.

Toys are great and I was a very lucky kid to be able to have so many (did I appreciate them then?). My brother and I would wake up Christmas mornings when our parents were still together to find He-Man and Skeletor mid battle around Castle Grey Skull. Look over to the left and you'd find Luke Skywalker hanging out of the bottom of an AT-AT Imperial Walker surround by Storm Troopers. My dad had taken all the toys out of their packaging and set them up all around so that it looked like a bunch of toys broke into the house and decided to reenact the Battle of Waterloo on our living room carpet. Dad would go to a dozen stores to make sure he found every single character known to be part of the set as indicated on the back of each figures cardboard packaging. When the smoke cleared and all the toys were put away (which rarely happened), my favorite, hands down, is definitely G.I. Joe. They were just the right size to manipulate with my little kid hands and also stuff into the G.I. Joe fanny pack I wore at all times. They came with me to get pizza, they came with me in the car ride to my grandmom's house, I took them to the dentist office, the beach, the woods, everywhere. I kept them all neatly arranged in a big fishing tackle box. Knives and small arms on the first level, heavy machine guns, special weapons, and helmets on the next, the bottom compartment was filled with Joes and backpacks. I even had little plastic containers, about the size of a roll of quarters (i think they original were some kind of M&M candy pack), that had extra rubber bands, screws, and hip joints, in case I needed to perform any medical triage on the casualties of play. In short, I had a problem.

I still have a bunch of Joes. I don't really do much with them but I think about them a lot. As an artist I really appreciate the character design of my favorite guys and gals. Some designs were rubbish, especially as the toys neared the 1990's, but when they were good, in my opinion I think they were pretty great.

This is a set of 31 G.I. Joe action figure portraits painted from my little collection (4 or 5 of these I actually don't have but were some of my favorites so I included them). Let's start off strong with:

STORM SHADOW - Cobra - Ninja Assassin/Intelligence - 1984

WET SUIT - G.I. Joe - SEAL - 1986

NUNCHUK - G.I. Joe - Nunchaku Ninja - 1992

BIG BEN - G.I. Joe - SAS Trooper - 1991

SNAKE EYES - G.I. Joe - Commando/Hand to Hand Combat Instructor - 1985

SNAKE EYES - G.I. Joe - Commando/Hand to Hand Combat Instructor - 1982

FOOTLOOSE - G.I. Joe - Infantry Trooper - 1985

BUDO - G.I. Joe - Samurai - 1988

SPIRIT - G.I. Joe - Tracker - 1984

FIREFLY - Cobra - Saboteur - 1984

SHOCKWAVE - G.I. Joe - S.W.A.T. Specialist - 1988

FALCON - G.I. Joe - Green Beret/Medic - 1987

STORM SHADOW - G.I. Joe - Ninja - 1988

BEACH HEAD - G.I. Joe - Ranger - 1986

AIRTIGHT - G.I. Joe - Hostile Environment Specialist - 1985

NIGHT VIPER - Cobra - Night Fighter - 1988
HIT & RUN - G.I. Joe - Light Infantry/Mountaineering - 1988
DUKE (Tiger Force) - G.I. Joe - 1st Sgt./Airborne Infantry - 1988
B.A.T. - Cobra - Battle Android Trooper - 1986
BARBECUE - G.I. Joe - Fire Fighter - 1985
FAST DRAW - G.I Joe - Mobile Missile Specialist - 1987
CRIMSON GAURD - Cobra - Elite Trooper - 1985
COBRA COMMANDO - Cobra - Infantry/Sabotage - 1982
DEEP SIX - G.I. Joe - Deep Sea Diver - 1989
ALLEY VIPER - Cobra - Urban Assault Trooper - 1989
LOW LIGHT - G.I. Joe - Night Spotter - 1986
SNOW SERPENT - Cobra - Polar Assault -1985

JINX - G.I. Joe - Ninja/Intelligence - 1987
DESTRO - Cobra - Enemy Weapons Supplier - 1983
TUNNEL RAT - G.I. Joe - Explosive Ordinance Disposal - 1987
TRIPWIRE - G.I. Joe - Mine Detector - 1983

Monday, April 2, 2012


I began this Fun-a-Day project just wanting to draw some interesting creatures or monsters and thought that using aliens as a theme would bring with it some fun and interesting results. For a long time now I have been interested in supernatural and paranormal experience. I find it interesting how it relates to different cultural phenomenon like our mythologies and folkloric traditions. in my month long odyssey into the world of UFO and alien experience, I discovered that it is no less rich a genre of human experience than that of any other more widely excepted form of strange and unusual adventure storytelling throughout the ages.

I get the impression that most people's perception of aliens and UFO's is that it is a phenomenon whose origins are rooted in the 20th century, especially the years following World War II. The case seems to be, however, that it is something that has been with us since humanity's beginning. It is true that encounters are much more highly documented these days but that is most likely because we have the technology with which to do so and the ever growing ability to share information more widely and rapidly. There are those who argue that some prehistoric cave paintings document early human encounters with extra-terrestrials, which seems as good an explanation as any for the eons old artwork (I think it is the popular belief that this art is based in prehistoric religion and hunting rites but the truth is we just can't know what they were for, it could be storytelling, amusement, scientific, etc). UFO encounters were documented in medieval and renaissance period writing and artwork. The occurrences have always been worldwide, with sightings ranging from early china, japan, the middle east, africa, the pacific islands, the americas, and so on.

I think it highly probable that there is other life in the universe, the odds are in favor of it. There are just too many billions of stars, and astronomers are finding more and more solar systems all the time. Going by those odds, the chance of there being at least one civilization technologically advanced enough to be able to reach out to other worlds seems quite possible. Some make the argument that what aliens are supposedly capable of: faster than light travel, or inter-dimensional travel, among many other feats, is impossible based on physical laws. I would argue that we, though advancing rapidly, are very young scientifically. And after all, our own science strives towards achieving these same seemingly impossible goals, working on cracking everything from invisibility to time travel, who's to say some other culture hasn't achieved what we are trying to do every day. Relatively speaking, we just recently realized it possible to send a person to our own moon, and people have always dreamed of much more!

Out of any event that deals in paranormality, in my observation, the study of UFO/alien experience has yielded the most credible evidence (once you weed out the obvious and admitted hoaxes). This comes in the form of video, photography, and eyewitness accounts. It is hard to say whether these things are true or not, but something does seem to be happening. In any case, there are many thousands of people who have seen things they can't explain conventionally and have had nothing to gain (in some cases quite the contrary) from sharing their experiences. I for one am not prepared to call them all liars, or argue that psychological disturbance, physical affliction, or misinterpretation can account for all instances of what people have claimed to experience.

The following are my interpretations of thirty one different aliens, based on eyewitness sketches and testimony (I referred to other artwork based on accounts used for newspapers and other media when eyewitness sketches weren't available and i found the subject too interesting not to cover).

NOTE: the main sources I used for research include the following websites:,,, and (Northern Ontario UFO Research and Study) other places are linked through these sites or got lost in the shuffle!

Alien-A-Day March 31st

A man stopped his motorcycle on a steep hill to observe this 6-7' tall being walking, robotically, along the side of the road. It was soon joined by a smaller version of itself that emerged from the woods. The beings looked nearly identical except for the smaller one had on one black boot. They disappeared around a turn in the road. After building up his courage to investigate further up the road and around the turn the beings were gone.

Alien-A-Day March 30th

A man was riding his motorcycle and stopped along the side of the road to relieve himself when from the corner of his eye he noticed what he thought was a low-flying plane. It wasn't, it was a UFO. While hiding behind some tall grass he watched as the craft disappeared behind a hill. Soon he heard a loud metallic sound behind him around a turn in the road and went to check only to encounter 2 insect faced aliens walking toward him, one of which zapped him with a device that emitted a bright light. He came to alone on the side of the road opposite his bike and later, at his cabin, recalled his abduction experience which included 'grey' aliens who showed him earth from space. He still has scoop marks in the palms of both hands from the experience.

Alien-A-Day March 29th

While driving his car a man saw a UFO that had landed and there were four beings standing around it. One approached and asked the man some questions while another being took came up from behind him and took some measurements. They then let the man borrow their weird phone so that he could call home to say he'd be late.

Alien-A-Day March 28th

Residents of Huay Nam Rak village near spent one afternoon being mystified by this little 2 foot tall sucker while it wandered around in a rice field before floating up into a tree and then off into the wild blue.