Ultraman creator Eiji Tsuburaya poses with Bin Furuya, Susumu Kurobe, Hiroko Sakurai and the cast of the original ULTRAMAN.

Mecha VS Kaiju? It all started with ULTRAMAN!

With Mecha VS Kaiju (Giant Japanese Robots and Monsters) on everyone’s radar, I thought this would be a good time to talk about ULTRAMAN.

It was created as “A Special-Effects Fantasy Series” by Tsuburaya Productions, the same folks who brought GODZILLA to “Man-In-Suit” life back in the 1950s. In it’s original run in 1966-67 (on Tokyo Broadcasting System), ULTRAMAN was the story of the Science Special Search Party, or SSSP, a UN based “police force” intended to combat nefarious aliens and yes, Giant Monsters. One of their own, Shin Hayata (Susamu Kurobe)… well, who ever wrote the Wiki says it better than I. Take it away Wikipedia!

“The first series begins when Science Patrol (Kagaku Tokusou Tai) member Shin Hayata is flying his plane and a red sphere of light crashes into his Mini-VTOL. The sphere turns out to be the transport (Travel Sphere) for a red-and-silver giant being who calls himself Ultraman. Feeling remorse for having killed the human, he merges his essence with Hayata to revive him. In return, Hayata serves as the human form for this being, and whenever danger threatens, and the resources of the Science Patrol are not enough to counter it, he raises and activates a power-object and artifact called a “beta capsule” and transforms to Ultraman to save the day.” –from Wikipedia.

Anyway, ULTRAMAN (the show) was as big in Japan as the 1960’s BATMAN was over here, and soon became a world-wide phenomenon. spanning 22 television series and over 20 Movies between its inception and 2012.

It’s kind of a big deal. Several Stories of a big deal when the Beta Capsule is activated.

Well, this past spring MONSTERPALOOZA (a Classic Monster Horror Convention in Los Angeles) hosted three of the of the stars from that original Iconic TV show in not only their first American appearance, but their first appearance together anywhere: Bin Furuya (who played the Red and Silver giant himself), Susumu Kurobe (Shin Hayata, his human host), and the lovely Hiroko Sakurai (Akiko Fuji, the SSSP’s communications operator, and only female member).

I was honored to do a limited edition print to commemorate the occasion.

An ULTRAMAN limited edition print that I did for the MONSTERPALOOZA in LA this past spring, commemorating guests Bin Furuya, Susumu Kurobe, and the lovely Hiroko Sakurai.

An ULTRAMAN limited edition print that I did for the MONSTERPALOOZA in LA this past spring, commemorating guests Bin Furuya, Susumu Kurobe, and the lovely Hiroko Sakurai.

Bin Furuya, Susumu Kurobe, and the lovely Hiroko Sakurai signing my ULTRAMAN print at Monsterpalooza 2013.

Bin Furuya, Susumu Kurobe, and the lovely Hiroko Sakurai signing my ULTRAMAN print at Monsterpalooza 2013.

Thank you very much kind readers and giant monster fanatics!

Thank you very much kind readers and giant monster fanatics!

Showing off some of the signage that I designed for Texas Frightmare Weekend 2013.

Hey, what’s shakin’?

Seems like I’m always making this excuse… You know the story of the cobbler who was so busy making shoes that his own children went barefoot? That is kind of my relationship with this blog. But I hope to get better about it… (famous last words.)

Well it’s been quite a year so far. Far and beyond the biggest thing that has happened is that my wife, the amazing Realitychick, is currently gestating this decade’s designated Mirthling, codenamed ZEPPO. About once every 7-9 years we bring forth a new version to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting populace. Of course, that you have the forethought to peruse my blog on the oft chance that I actually UPDATE it, you now have fair warning. As is the common cinematic parlance… He’s “coming this October” to a delivery room near… home.

So I’m staying plenty busy with my art projects, making sure that we can stay afloat once October comes.

Here’s something you might be interested in…

I also had the honor of being a guest at the 2013 Texas Frightmare convention (My first as a guest!) and had a great, though remarkably busy, time. Being a guest is a WHOLE different thing than being a attending as a patron or working it as staff though. I sat less than 20 feet from Danny Trejo the entire weekend and never got the opportunity to talk to the man. But I *did* make some great contacts (it helps when you’re “art directing” the show), and its always good to see friends from previous years. Looking at the pictures from the show though has started me on the long haul back to a reasonable weight. It’s a hard row to hoe, but I’m gonna do it. Mock me if I don’t!

I’m gonna stop here, for now. Next time, I’ll show off some of my recent logo work! Won’t THAT be exciting?