Archive for the ‘Comics and Art’ Category

Check out the brand spanking new Stoner Kings mini-documentary and music video for our song Limbonic Void, shot by our good friends, pro video team Marko Simonen and Jarmo Katila.  Marko edited the video together, doing a helluva job!

This feature was filmed on March 3 this year at Helsinki’s Nosturi, as we opened for the legendary Fu Manchu from California, USA.  This gig was one of our definitive career highlights over the past 18 years since our inception, and we wanted to record it for posterity.

You can catch Stoner Kings LIVE next tonight, May 3, at Helsinki’s Bar Loose, as we play the prelim round of this year’s Tuska-Torstai band contest.  There are six bands in total on the bill – Stoner Kings, Grin, Saints For Mass Production, Licuation, The Nomad and Torchia – each showcasing their best wares, with the first act hitting the stage at 20:00 and us finishing last at 22:30.  Come on out and cast your live votes and help usher Stoner Kings to the main stage of this summer’s Tuska Open Air metal festival in Helsinki!

Stoner comic frame TEXT ALT

Drawn and inked by Yours Truly, digital colors by Crystal Hughes (www.jenired.deviantart.com)

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Just this past week, I was asked to take part in top Finnish stand-up comedian Niko Kivelä’s new promotional video, which fires up his upcoming comedy tour across Finland over the next few months.  There was some crazy shit going down, with the tattooed Hellsinki Rock Girls models and a band known as the Horse Attack Sqwad, amongst others, on hand.  For anyone who doesn’t know, the Horse Attack Sqwad have a gimmick where all the guys wear horse heads and all the songs are about horses.  It’s messed up fun.  I got to be myself, pumping out shitloads of 16kg kettlebell presses over the takes of the video, which, let me assure you, had my delts and traps about to explode!  Real volume training till failure, over about 30-minutes of back-to-back takes on film.  Check out the finished product…

Niko recalled meeting me about 10-years back when he was part of a radio show that I was on, so this was a reunion of sorts to boot.  Niko has a tour across Finland, starting at the end of this month, so be sure to check him out live when he is in your area!

Niko found his way into a sleeperhold, but don't ask how!

Niko found his way into a sleeperhold, but don’t ask how!

“Kolmas MINÄ toden sanoo” TOUR

26.2.2016    Lahti
27.2.2016    Järvenpää
2.3.2016    Vaasa
3.3.2016    Seinäjoki
4.3.2016    Jyväskylä
5.3.2016    Kotka
10.3.2016    Iisalmi
11.3.2016    Kuopio
12.3.2016    Joensuu
17.3.2016    Kajaani
18.3.2016    Varkaus
19.3.2016    Tampere – iso
31.3.2016    Hyvinkää
1.4.2016    Kuusankoski
2.4.2016    Turku
8.4.2016    Lappeenranta
9.4.2016    Porvoo

Niko Kivelä Kolmas Minä tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14.4.2015    Nurmijärvi
15.4.2016    Raahe
16.4.2016    Kokkola
21.4.2016    Rauma
22.4.2016    Pori
27.4.2016    Salo
28.4.2016    Espoo/Sello
29.4.2016    Hämeenlinna
4.5.2016    Kerava
5.5.2016    Ylivieska
6.5.2016    Oulu
7.5.2016    Rovaniemi
8.5.2016    Kemi
12.5.2016    Kuusamo
13.5.2016    Mikkeli
14.5.2016    Lohja
19.5.2016    Helsinki

Tickets available: www.suomenstandupclub.fi/kaikki-esitykset

www.nikokivela.fi

This autumn, the 28th installment of the annual Love & Anarchy film festival will be held in Helsinki, Finland between September 17-27. Love & Anarchy film poster I was asked to be one of the actors in the superhero spoof film trailer/mini-movie for the festival, which you can see in the video below.  My character is like a cross between He-Man and Mad Max, named Muscleman!

Here is the first look at the cover artwork (drawn by Yours Truly) for my hard rock band Overnight Sensation‘s upcoming debut album, Life’s a Bitch.  I decided to draw the hound of Hades, Cerberus, and a hot bitch riding on him, to expound the message and irony of the album title.  As you might know from Greek mythology, Cerberus was the guard dog at the river Styx, who guarded the entryway to the underworld, or Hades.  The hot chick riding the dog espouses the idea that in our western culture, sex sells everything, and from the obvious disdainful expression on her face, you can ascertain that the girl doesn’t give a damn about those, who she chides with her whip.

Check out my band Overnight Sensation and our new tunes in the following links: www.myspace.com/overnightsensationband, www.reverbnation.com/overnightsensation, www.overnightsensationband.com

I also dropped by the SONY Music headquarters in Helsinki yesterday and was given a platinum award for the cover art I designed and drew up (painted by Toxic Angel) for HevisaurusRäyh! album last year.  In Finland, the platinum level is 20 000 sold units.  I am currently designing and drawing up the next Hevisaurus album cover, and the record should be released this autumn through SONY Music.

Often I am asked who my favorite pro wrestlers are, which ones have had the biggest impact on my career and style, and who were my idols when I was growing up.  Hereforth, in this special theme blog for Christmas 2011, I offer my top picks to close off the year:

MY TOP 5 WESTERN  PRO WRESTLERS OF ALL TIME

Ric Flair – without doubt, the man who made an indelible impact on me when I was a kid and a youth.  When I first started my wrestling career back in 1994, as a rookie I tried to copy much of the pyschology of Flair in my own matches and mannerisms.  As time wore on, of course I developed my own, trademark image and style, but Slick Ric was the ultimate combo of mic skills, charisma, ring work and larger than life character to aspire to.  Very simply, for many of my generation, The Nature Boy was THE measuring stick which the business was graded by.

Dan Kroffat – I believe his real name is Phil Lafon, but Dan Kroffat was just an amazing talent in both Canada for Gino Brito’s International Wrestling out of Montreal in the 1980’s, as well as Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling, where I believe he was called Phil LaFleur.  A lot of people think I “stole” my superkick from Shawn Michaels, which is not true.  I “borrowed” it from Kroffat, who used to superkick opponents while they were trapped in the ring corner.  Ouch!  Kroffat was one of the greatest, lesser-known talents in the history of the game.

Dick Murdoch – the best puncher that the wrestling industry has seen this side of Killer Karl Kox.  What an amazing talent Murdoch was, from being an ass-clown when he felt like it to wrestling amazing, technical classics like I saw him do against Barry Windham back in 1987 on Bill Watts’ UWF Wrestling show over 45-minutes on TV.  Dick Murdoch was definitely one of the greatest wrestlers never to hold the World Championship, and I borrowed his “cattle brander” knee-to-the-skull top rope bulldog for my own repertoire many years ago.

Tully Blanchard – never have I seen someone do so little and make it mean as much as Tully did in the ring.  Blanchard was the ultimate bad guy, like a mangy mongrel all over his opponents from bell to bell.  His natural cockiness made him easy for the masses to dislike, and he just had a way of carrying himself that I have seen few pro wrestlers master.  His “I Quit” cage match vs. Magnum TA from Starrcade ´85 will forever be remembered as one of the most legitimate outings there is to be seen in pro wrestling.  It’s a shame his career fell off the map in 1989 after being let go/leaving the WWF, after which, by all intents and purposes, he really should have carried on in the NWA as part of The Four Horsemen.

Bret Hart – I was brought up in the wrestling business in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, which happens to be the home of the infamous Hart Family.  I never went out of my way to copy Bret Hart, but I did feel a certain affinity to the way that he orchestrated himself and worked in the ring.  You could call it a case of kindred spirits style-wise.  Bret Hart’s style was not a high-risk deal, and that said, he could be as believable as anyone without taking ridiculous chances with his health.  Bret Hart was smart about his piece of business, and it’s a damn shame that his career ended the way it did in the freak accident he had wrestling against Goldberg at WCW’s Starrcade ’99.

MY TOP 5  JAPANESE  PRO WRESTLERS OF ALL TIME

Keiji Mutoh – I have always liked Mutoh’s style a lot, and this past November in Tokyo, I was finally able to wrestle against him in All-Japan Pro Wrestling, which was a dream come true for me.  Mutoh has incredible ring presence, amazing psychology and impeccable timing.  Basically, the man has all the tools of the trade, and he has kept with the times in changing his gimmick and look to stay fresh, without compromising where he came from.  Just an amazing mind for the pro wrestling trade.

Hiroshi Hase – an amazing talent, and as complete of an all-around worker as there is to be had in the pro wrestling game.  As a booker, Hase was incredibly giving, which is more than can be said for most match bookers who double as wrestlers.  Hase had credibility, in everything that he did, and had so many show-stealing matches that anyone could easily lose count.  Hase could make anyone look good, and that in itself is a feat in our business.

Mitsuhara Misawa – the late, great Misawa certainly took too many risks and ended up paying for them with his health before his untimely death a couple of years back, but it was hard to beat Misawa at his prime.  The man mastered his craft and stayed on top as a main player for over 15 years, which is an amazing accomplishment any way you look at it.  Misawa also spearheaded All-Japan Wrestling in the 1990’s, post-Tsuruta, driving the company to great success before moving on with his own NOAH promotion, which seemingly was the #1 company in Japan for a spell before eternity called Misawa to the other side.

Riki Choshu – The last two picks in this short list are a bit of a toss-up.  I was going to pick NOAH’s KENTA, but he has not yet proven himself on the longevity level.  Anyone with under 10 years of experience really cannot be considered yet.  I was going to pick Antonio Inoki amongst the last two, but considering he was the promoter of New Japan, I felt perhaps he had a bit too much leverage in terms of a tilted playing field.  When I was a kid, I first saw Riki Choshu in a match on a VHS tape against legendary shooter Fujiwara.  The thing that struck me straight away about Choshu was the fact that he came off as a rebel, kind of a Japanese rock and roller, with his long hair and aggressive energy.  The more I saw of Choshu’s matches, the more I liked his work.  At his best, Choshu was hard to beat, and could really make the people believe in what he did.

Tatsumi Fujinami – I really struggled between Fujinami and Jumbo Tsuruta for the last pick.  Before moving up to the heavyweights, Fujinami was a damn fine junior heavyweight, and I still recall one of his stellar matches against the Dynamite Kid in Japan, which was one hell of a hard-hitting altercation.  Fujinami had that special something, an explosive dynamic about him, which made watching his matches truly enjoyable.  The fact that he still moves at a surprisingly good pace at his age today is a testament in and of itself, and I am amazed that his knees are still holding up sans kneepads after all these years!

BEST OF THE REST

There have been numerous other personas and key factors that have played a part in StarBuck becoming what I am today in the pro wrestling world and beyond.  Irish wrestler Dave “Fit” Finlay, whom I lost the SMASH Championship to back on November 24, 2011 is one of mat technicians that I highly respect.  British ring generals Mark Rocco, Dynamite Kid and Johnny Saint all rate highly in my book also.  North American top wrestling stars of the past like Arn Anderson, Barry Windham, Ricky Steamboat and The Road Warriors all offered valuable learning material.  Comic book heroes from my youth like Conan The Barbarian and The Incredible Hulk, in addition to Godzilla, all left an indelible imprint on the formation of my psyche.  The action movies of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone did their part in impacting me in my youth, in addition to perhaps my favorite flick of all time, Mel Gibson’s Mad Max II: The Road Warrior.  Several top wrestlers of the past decade from Chris Benoit to Shawn Michaels to Triple H have all made a notable imprint, especially in terms of being able to draw from their ring psychology, pacing and idiosyncracies.

So all in all, there have been a whole slew of personas and greats that have really “lent” a hand in the formation of StarBuck as a professional wrestler.  Perhaps I’ll post a blog about which musical influences played the biggest impact on my rock frontman career over the past 12 years, but maybe you’ll have to wait for that one to start off 2012.

There might be some of you out there that aren’t aware of the little fact that I am the visual creator behind the ultra-successful Sony Music children’s heavy metal act, HeviSaurus.

A few years ago, I was approached by the band’s founding father Mirka Rantanen to conjure up characters that would capture the imagination of kids from north to south and east to west.  I have to especially thank my artist friend and contemporary Toxic Angel, who tipped off Mirka about my artistic prowess in the comic sense of the said talent, and it was through Toxic that I landed the HeviSaurus gig.  Toxic Angel is also the guy behind the coloring and finishes of the underlying art that I create for the band, as seen below on the cover of the latest HeviSaurus album Räyh!, which is a real beauty all the way around.

HeviSaurus' 3rd album Räyh! is already a huge success, even though it just came out

My inked draft of the Räyh! cover, which was colored digitally by Toxic Angel

I just stopped by the Sony Music offices this morning in Espoo, Finland, here I got a gander at the new HeviSaurus plush toys and action figures.  Who would have ever thought that my drawings would spawn a whole line of merchandise that are selling like wildfire?!  Well, I have to say that I am one proud papa, seeing how well my character creations have been received.

HeviSaurus plush toys (from L to R): Herra HeviSaurus, Milli Pilli, Komppi Momppi, Muffi Puffi, Riffi Raffi

When I was young, my favorite comic book heroes were The Incredible Hulk and Conan The Barbarian.  I guess you could add Godzilla to that list, but he was more a monster than a hero per se.

I used to collect comic books, keeping them in plastic bags, in mint condition.  I never had the cash to score myself The Incredible Hulk #1, which is going for around 30 000 USD these days, but I did get a chance to acquaint myself with the early Hulk material via pocket book re-releases.  It was then that I stumbled on the vintage art of Jack Kirby, the “king of the comics”, as he was dubbed.

The first page from The Incredible Hulk #1, art by Jack Kirby

Kirby was the man behind most of the early Marvel Comics stuff, drawing and inking up fantastic worlds of fantasy heroes and characters that titillated the burgeoning masculine mind of strapping young lads everywhere.  Kirby was a master of his age, and in so saying, even now his work seems ageless decades later.

When I was on tour with my southern blues rock band Crossfyre in Europe this past Summer 2010, I picked up a copy of the new collected works of Kirby in Amsterdam, a serendipitous find at that.  I got bit by the art bug to draw up some stuff in the spirit of Kirby, and now as the new year is upon us, I think I’ll undertake that task and apply it to something downright Cro-magnon.

Keep your peepers peeled, I should be adding some new Kirbyish art to my Artworks link in the coming weeks, and if all things go according to plan, I will have a much wider platform for said artwork in the future with a certain musical project.