Friday, July 26, 2013


It wasn't real. It was surreal. The floor was hard on the heels. The fluorescent glow of artificial lights cast a hideous shade of chartreuse on the skin. The odor of over 100,000 herded nerds wafted throughout carpeted alleys and crossroads. Convention center coffee was in hand. After a three year hiatus, the MCP was back at San Diego Comic Con. It just didn't seem real.

Many things have changed since the last time I had a booth in 2009. I've changed. My views of the world, myself and man's purpose couldn't be more contradicting from that of years gone by. I strive to always be true to myself. I've reconnected with my small town farming roots which I have been trying so hard to disassociate from since I was an adolescent. I've developed a kinship with my father and find more and more similarities with him every day. I've come to a conclusion why I've accomplished the things I have and recognize an ongoing warfare that I have unwillingly been engaged in. Unbridled vision lets no delusions cloud my sight. We live in very bleak times and I'm still as macabre as I've always been. My dark sense of humor allows me to translate this abomination with whimsy. This is still my esthetic and, I think, always will be. But the changes I've gone through will reflect an evolution in my current and future work. This we will all see in the things to come.

This was a new Gris Grimly attending SDCC this year. I am a working man and always have been. I grew up bailing straw, cleaning out hog sheds and tilling the earth to make a buck. I'm still that peasant, but with an uncanny imagination and the ability to transfer these thoughts into formats that allow other people to enjoy them, rather than keeping them confined within my own brain.

I knew that coming back to SDCC this year meant setting up a booth and managing it. I decided if I'm going to be in a booth for twelve hours a day, I want to be comfortable. My brilliant wife came up with the idea to bring my home to the convention (or at least a portion of it). That is what we did. I brought in my art desk, wall papered walls, book shelves, wooden furniture and area rugs. I even brought my record player and a collection of 50s/60s rock n roll records so I could play the music I wanted to hear. If anyone needed to find me, they could do so at the MCP booth. I no longer wanted to bare the stigma of being unobtainable. My attitude was "This is me. This is my place. These are my friends. Come hang out with us."

And that is what happened...

This year's new book was Frankenstein. A book in which I only had 200 advance copies because it's street date isn't until August 27th (the book is available for purchase here: the MCP store ). I am happy to announce that we sold out by early Friday. Every year we have a pre-release book, but this was the first year we sold out before the weekend even started. Thanks to all of you who came by and snatched up a copy. We also had Frankenstein shirts and buttons along with Society of Grave Robber shirts, Circus Punks, Pinocchio sculptures, previously released classics, belt buckles, prints, original artwork...and a whole lot more. In functionality, we still had the MCP store to offer, but it was packaged with comfort and soul.

On Friday I was a participant on the panel "Drawing Stories". The panel was about what's new in today's YA Graphic Novels. Everyone else on the panel clearly creates "Young Adult" graphic novels. To be part of the "Young Adult" market, you need to have a young adult as the protagonist in your story. Whereas I create picture books (some of which are a hybrid with graphic novels) where most of the protagonists appear to be just beyond young adult. Even the term young adult is very debatable. Couldn't a young adult encompass the 20-30 year old bracket? I feel that Victor Frankenstein could be considered as a young adult. But it appears that young adult in the publishing market refers to the adolescent population. When I was a kid, that was called teenagers.

The greatest part about being on this panel was to share a mic with Paul Pope. I'm a fan of his work and have been reading his books for almost twenty years now starting with THB when I was in college. Our encounter was brief, but it appeared we share a mutual respect for each other. All in all, I was in good company on stage with a line up of extremely talented artists and writers.

One of the most unique requests I've received to date is to sign a jar of moonshine. As the individual pulled out the mason jar of pellucid toxin, one thing came to mind; Our moon running forefather Popcorn Sutton. So I wrote around the top of the jar "LONG LIVE POPCORN SUTTON" and sketched a caricature of the hillbilly himself. The individual was surprised I knew who Popcorn was. The next day, he came back and gave me a jar of moonshine. Dangerous times are on the horizon.

The five days were hard on us and by Sunday we were all ready to crash. Or maybe some of us just stayed out too late at nights. Regardless, to recap the week...we all had a great time. I think I can speak for the entire MCP Crew when I say that we enjoyed spending time with everyone who stopped by the booth. This is how a family is created. You don't have to be bound by blood. You just need to have common interests, a gathering and memories.

Here's to a great San Diego Comic Con 2013. The MCP Crew look forward to seeing you all again soon. If not in between days, next SDCC.


Until then...Be Grim!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Becoming a Deviant

Deviant Art has been around for twelve years now and I've known about it for some time. But it wasn't until a couple weeks ago that I finally dug my grave and became a member. If you are not familiar with deviant art, it is an online social network focused on art. As of 2010 it gained 14.5 million members and has expanded far beyond that number by now.

I'm not much of a tech guy. I am very much a geek when it comes to horror movies and vinyl records. But a nerd of evolutionary gadgets I am not. I resisted getting a cell phone for years and have only acquired an Iphone two and a half years ago. The last video game I played was Tetris. Even when the first Resident Evil came out in the mid 90s, I hung up my joystick and decided it was time to become an observer. My computers are never up to speed and that is fine. As long as my turntable's motor isn't burned out and I can still spin vinyl, I'm a happy fiend.

Social Networks are no different. I avoided myspace and only decided to join a few years before it wasted away to the ghost town it is today. Same with Facebook. Same with Twitter. So why should it be any different with Deviant Art. I didn't quite understand the need or desire to be on the network. I had friends that were artists and I could communicate with them through email or other social networks. Most of them were not even on deviant art.

Then I met Ron Martino, producer and director at Deviant Art Network, at the San Diego Comic Con 2011. He spent some time explaining to me the community of artists that live on this network and how many of them are active around the world at one time. It is very impressive. But still, I didn't join for almost another year.

What did it was my frustrations with other networks like twitter and facebook. I am an artist. I wake up as an artist, I live as an artist and I make money as an artist. Whether I am writing little fairy tales, illustrating monsters, painting nightmares or trapping moving pictures on digital cameras I live to create art. So I would become very frustrated when I posted artwork on my networks and did not get the response that I was looking for. I could jot down some nonsense (in 140 characters or less) on twitter about my twinky having diarrhea and retweets explode. But a post about a signing or an art piece gets the occasional chirp.

THAT'S TWITTER. I get it. I've learned to play the game. I find myself contriving the most facetious crap that sometimes, and usually, warms my face with embarrassment just to say such mindless babble because that's what people want. I've discovered Facebook isn't much different. I get a good response when I post an illustration or painting. But really, people on Facebook are looking for drama. They want to hear you bitch about your day or complain about this or that. Everybody is a fan of misery as long as it's someone else.

Deviant Art is nothing like that. Deviant Art is a community of artists (whether they are amateurs, hobbyists or professionals) who are on there to share and experience art. It's not about what you had for lunch. It's not sharing that instagram photo of the drunk passed out at Denny's at 2am. It's not about posting your passive aggressive attacks on "you know who".

Twitter and Facebook have their place. I'm not saying anything against people who use them, because I use them and I enjoy them for what they are. But there is no other community for the artist like Deviant Art. Join, visit my page and partake in the largest growing online art community worldwide.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Grimlify This...

Over the past few months, I started hosting competitions on my networks to create a more interactive presence for fans, fiends and followers. Most of the competitions involved name drawings for MCP store customers and challenges that introduced new fiends to my work. In February, I hosted a competition that required fiends to complete and submit a Valentine's day poem. The winner had their poem illustrated and released as a virtual card.

This month I started a competition that would be just as thrilling for me as those involved. The competition is called "Grimlify This..." and it went like this: Every follower on Facebook could submit an idea. In this case, it was an animated cartoon character. They had one week to chose one and post it on my facebook. I then went through the submissions and chose five of those characters to illustrate in my style. The reasoning for the five that were picked had to do with many factors. I wanted something that would challenge me. Therefore I didn't pick characters that are too similar to my style already. That would eliminate characters like The Addams Family, Beetlejuice, Monster Cereals...etc. I didn't pick characters that were too vague and had no distinguishing characteristics. Heckle and Jeckle are great characters. but once Grimlified, they would just look like my crows. I didn't pick characters that were too obscure. Part of the fun of this project is that people will look at the character and immediately relate to it because they are familiar with them.

With that said, these are the 5 characters that I picked and Grimlified...

Once the characters were completed and posted, it is up to the fiends. The image with the most likes at the end of the month determines the winner of the grand prize. I can't control this from becoming a popularity contest. Some likes will be based on helping their friend win the prize. But I hope most people will vote on the illustration that they like the best.

I really enjoyed this competition and look forward for more to come. The options are endless. Grimlify...superheros, pop stars, Disney, Hanna Barbara, breakfast cereals, fruits...etc.

I'm looking forward to it.

Go here to vote before April 1st 2012: Gris Grimly Facebook

Join the Society of Grave Robbers Facebook to be notified on the next competition:
SOGR Facebook

Be Grim!
Gris Grimly

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Conversations with Critter

A few days ago, I pulled up to a gas station to fill up the MCP mobile. I've taught myself to use cash for most transactions these days. It's a little way to get out from the control of capitalism and corporate banks. The problem with using cash transactions in this ever evolving cyborg world is that you need to have an interaction with a human to do so. I question the direction we are heading as a society and more specifically in America. We are replacing tellers and cashiers with self checkout computers. This diminishes the demand for employees and we wonder why unemployment is on the rise in America.

I approached the quiosque. As luck would have it, the "CLOSED: BE BACK IN 15 MINUTES" sign was up. I'm a patient guy, so I decided to wait. I peered inside to discover a clerk counting cigarette packs. This can't take too long. I watched as people came and went, swiping plastic through greedy machines. I questioned what information is on those cards and how much of that information is being channeled to a database. Everything we buy, everywhere we go as well as our personal data is transmitted through that little piece of plastic.

Shortly, I noticed a homeless man approaching the quiosque. He offered me a drag off his smoke as he drew near. I refused. I gave up the cancer sticks almost two years now and don't need to relapse. As he approached the glass doors, I told him it's closed. He was wearing a trucker cap and his bearded jaw flapped loosely from it's hinges. He peered inside and made some half insane crack about the two attendants involving homosexual activity. I laughed and made some comment back which was probably not nearly as humorous. He decided to wait with me. As people approached and left as quickly as they read the sign, I realized that I am a rare breed and obviously have a schedule so incredibly dull that it pairs nicely with that of the homeless. Maybe it's not that my life isn't hectic, but that I can stop and smell the roses now and then. Even if it's the smell of stale cigarettes and hooch.

The homeless man turned to me and asked how my holidays were going. It was at this point that I noticed a "Y" shaped incision running vertically down his throat and up to his ear, held together with staples. I told him it was going alright and I couldn't complaint. "How about you?"

He sucked his bottom jaw halfway down his throat which sort of resembled a grin and responded with mediocre favor. After a pause he said, "Except for this" and pointed out the gnarly wound in case I missed it.

I responded with "Yeah. What happened there?"

He told me that he was asleep Monday night when a man off his meds came up and knifed him. Luckily a patrol car was there. The assailant was arrested for attempted murder and the victim received medical treatment.

"But I don't hate him"

What? This was hard to buy. Some guy took I shank to his throat and he had no animosity towards him?

"He didn't hate me. He didn't want to kill me. He just ran out of his meds. "

I was amazed at his unconditional humanity and love for another being. I see people hate other people all the time for simple things like getting cut off on the freeway. He then explained to me that the only reason he survived was because the man did it wrong. The incision should have ran horizontally.

I'm pretty blunt and say what's on my mind. Sometimes that gets me into trouble. I asked him if he wished he had died. He didn't really have a straight answer. But to sum up his Ghandi diatribe, he doesn't want to die but he doesn't want to live this life. Rather, he's ready to move onto the next life. He wont kill himself. "I'm not a coward" he explained. He just wishes someone would come and put a bullet in his head and do him off right.

I told him maybe it wasn't his time to go yet. This baffled the bum. He's been told this many times, but he doesn't know what his purpose is. He's had the cars, the house, the career. He doesn't want any of that. The system doesn't work for us. You can either fight to survive by being a part of it. Or you can fight to survive as an individual. He clarified that he would rather survive on the streets then look like a fool. I liked this guy.

It became apparent after a half hour chat, that the gas station wasn't going to open any time soon. I asked him what his name was. He said Critter and I shook his hand. He headed on his journey of freedom. Halfway across the parking lot, he looked back at me and waved his hand flashing the Hawaiian "Shaka" symbol. In Hawaii it is the call of the Aloha Spirit, a gesture of friendship and understanding between various ethnic cultures. In surfer language, it means "Everything's cool".

I really liked Critter. I'm not sure why the gas station was closed and the two of us got a chance to meet. But I can't help thinking of him this holiday as a constant reminder of what's important in life.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I'm a HUGE John Waters fan and have an appreciation for his trashy films. So when I was asked to be a part of a group show centered around Waters drag queen muse, Divine, there was no hesitation in my acceptance.

My favorite Waters films are his earliest films: Pink Flamingos, Desperate Living, Polyester and Female Trouble. Although I really enjoy A Dirty Shame as a comeback and my guilty pleasure is Cry Baby. Instantly, I knew the theme of my painting was going to be Female Trouble. It is a story about the life of an ungrateful degenerate woman, from her delinquent youth, to her maladjusted family and her fame obsessed downward spiral.

So I began by slopping on paint.

In the film Female Trouble, Divine wears a pretty iconic outfit that is made of purple leopard print material. I thought that would be a good background. As the paint drips, I found my image materializing in the acrylic mess.

The painting is pretty much a montage of imagery from the film and a personal commentary that I added to the piece. The central attention is focused on a full body representation of Divine's character, Dawn Davenport, during the height of her self-obsessed fame and a three-quarters view of her head during her demise on death row.

In the painting above, you will notice a slight difference in the three-quarter view portrait and the one in the previous image. I had actually finished up the portrait and was so unhappy with the outcome, that I took an electric sander to it and started over. This version accomplishes the image I had in my head, whereas the other was slightly off. Sometimes you can't quite put your finger on it, but it just doesn't work.

Bloody babies were added floating in space.

An unforgettable moment in the film is when Dawn gives birth to her baby on a filthy couch. In a bloody mess, she bites through the umbilical chord. Most woman are obsessed with babies and when they have babies on the brain, logic goes out the window.

I'm not a street artist. Other than some delinquent graffiti I did as a kid, I've never used spray paint as an artistic medium. Visually, I thought it would look good to have Dawn's prison number from the film stenciled on the board.

Sometimes I choose to do things for a stylistic reasons opposed to remaining faithful to perception. This portrait of Dawn is one of those times.

When Divine's character is apprehended by the police, she is still in her stark make-up and pre-punk mohawk. She is tried like this, only dressed in prison garb. But when she is electrocuted, Her head is shaved and she is absent of makeup. The image I had in my head was a cross between the two. The grimace and make-up definitely comes from the trial, but the shaved head comes from the execution. What the hell.

I added a mass of dripping black goo to the background. This is not only for esthetic purposes but also to capture addiction and compulsion. Divine's character experiments with a new drug which is liquid eyeliner injected intravenously. This is the source for Dawn's narcissism and vanity.

During a performance art exhibition, Dawn pulls out a gun and shouts to the audience "Who wants to die for art?" before firing off homicidal bullets. Again, emphasizing a self absorbed attitude, the word "Art" is crossed out and replaced with "Me".

This was done in the same style as the title board for the film. This change being made in lipstick adds a feminist approach to rewriting history.

In the end, the piece speaks volumes to me. I hope that others will find their own messages in it as well. Feminism, reproduction, glamor and violence. I think Divine would approve. I even glued crystals to Dawn's outfit to match the one in her performance art exhibition (which I'm surprised there were no references for online). I will never use crystals again in another painting, but instinctually, it is quite appropriate for this piece.

"The Trouble with Females" consumed the greater part of two months. I'm very passionate about it's theme and subject matter and found myself completely absorbed in the process. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. "Pretty? Pretty?" The Divine Art Show will be on exhibition throughout the month of November at the Melt Gallery in Hollywood California. The opening reception is on Friday night November 11th from 8pm-11pm. Come see this piece and others in person. I will be there at some point.

If you are interested in purchasing this piece, contact the meltdown staff at 323-851-7223 or

7522 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90046