Thursday, December 19, 2013

'Frank Pope'

My Cartoon on the Dynamic and Frank Pope Francis

(click on image for larger view)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

'The Ghost of Boehner Past'

This week's toon on Boehner Standing Up to Extreme Right

After enduring years of partisan policy obstructionism culminating in a government shutdown by tantrum-throwing Tea Partiers, Speaker of the House John Boehner finally lashed out against the extreme right wing of his own party, labeling them "ridiculous," and accusing them of misleading their followers. For me, it brought to mind the image of Jacob Marley, warning a wayward Ebenezer Scrooge of his folly. The Ghost of Boehner Past, wearing the chains he had "forged in office," warns the Republican Party's tea-sipping elephant to take heed of its direction.

(click image for larger view)

Friday, December 13, 2013

'Solid Rock Congress'

This week's toon on the Obstructionist, Do-Nothing Congress

Coincidentally, after drawing this cartoon recent reports on lavish spending by members of congress prompted yesterday's (Thursday, Dec. 12) launching of a bi-partisan bill that would limit taxpayer funded spending on portraits. 

(click on image for a larger view)

Monday, December 9, 2013

'Waterfront Winds'

My Cartoon on Alexandria City Council to Use Eminent Domain to Acquire Boat Club Parking Lot

Development of the waterfront of the Potomac River in Alexandria has been a hot issue for several years. It came to a head recently when the Alexandria City Council announced it would exercise the principle of eminent domain to take what it wants from the Old Dominion Boat Club. 

See the news clip  at NBC Washington

For more details, read Mike Pope's story at Alexandria Gazette Packet waterfront story.

Click on Image for Larger View

Friday, December 6, 2013

Trailer Released

Trailer Previewing New Story Released

A new trailer that previews another story in Issue 1 is now on the STORIES page at the Aphelion Arc website. Along with story one, "Exiles of Nod" and story two, "ON TARGET," the science fiction story, "SECONDS" rounds out issue 1 as the third story. Both stories are currently in production with "ON TARGET" scheduled for completion in mid January and "SECONDS" shortly thereafter.

"SECONDS" is a futuristic science fiction story with classic roots firmly planted in Greek heroic legend. In this case, the lone "hero" is more aptly the nerdy antihero poster child of Geekdom. When a rogue virus infects the Earth's Master Computer, prompting it to launch a self-destruct sequence, a lone technician reaches into the past to try to stop the countdown... and save civilization. 

A huge thanks to brilliant webmaster Michael Auger at Arty4ever for getting this uploaded to the Aphelion Arc website so quickly.

The video can also be seen on Youtube 'SECONDS' trailer from the Aphelion Arc series

(Click on Image for Larger View) 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Out of Retirement

Back to the Drawing Board

After taking a little over a year off from editorial cartooning, I decided it was time to resume. Cartoons will begin appearing regularly in the Alexandria Gazette Packet this week. As the premiere cartoon for this week's issue was not yet officially released at the time of this writing, I have not included it here. The cartoon below is the first editorial cartoon drawn after the hiatus, and has been released to the syndicate (ARTIZANS) and other outlets.
(click on image for larger view)

After returning to the editorial drawing board, this is the first editorial cartoon
that's been officially distributed in over a year. It's a sad commentary on 
Obama's broken promises concerning provisions  of the ACA and it's botched upstart.

Friday, October 25, 2013

'War on Holloween" Cartoon to the Auction Block

Cartoons & Cocktails Event Nov. 21

Over 130 cartoons will be auctioned off at tomorrow night's CARTOONS & COCKTAILS at the National Press Club in downtown Washington DC. I will be Emcee for the event. This year's Pulitzer Prize winner for Editorial Cartooning, Steve Sack will be our guest of honor, and local celebrities and reporters will be the auctioneers. 
Twenty-two cartoons will go on the live auction block. The others are offered through silent auction bidding. Among the live auction items is my toon THE WAR ON HALLOWEEN, a multi-panel, full page cartoon that appeared in DCC's Magic Bullet, issue 7 (below).

There is still time to register. Tickets are $75. Proceeds go to two great benefits. Young DC is a non-profit org. helping to train young people pursue their careers in journalism. Cartoonists Rights Network International is a non-profit helping editorial cartoonists worldwide who face imprisonment, torture and death for their commentaries. To purchase tickets, or just to make a donation, visit the website: CARTOONS AND COCKTAILS.

Click on Images for Larger View:


'ON TARGET' Trailer Released

A trailer has been released for an upcoming story in the APHELION ARC Illustrated Anthology Series. 'ON TARGET' depicts the agony a medical research scientist experiences in seeking a cure for a devastating plague ravaging the world. This opus is currently in production. Portions of the trailer uses rough sketch storyboard art. Upon completion, the story in its entirety will be included among the print edition of Issue No. 1. Selected panels from the story will be premiered online, as they are produced. The trailer is available on the STORIES page, click on STORY TWO. 

More Goldilocks Than the Three Bears Could Handle

Here's another article (link below) that helps make the Aphelion Arc premiere story, "Exiles of Nod," so timely. It seems there may be many more habitable Earth-size planets out there in the cosmos than originally thought. According to a recent study, astronomers conclude that the Milky Way Galaxy (you know, that huge spiral collection of stars in which our solar system sits and spins) contains billions of planets that dwell within the "Goldilocks" region of a star. Perhaps good ol' E. "Phone Home" T. is a reality after all. 

I love the Goldilocks analogy, which of course is why I used the term so liberally in my story, with the characters actually calling the planet to which they emigrate "Goldie." Goldilocks, of course, refers to the concentric region around a star that is neither too hot nor too cold to sustain life as we know it. 

Hopefully, in real life, that's the extent of the Goldilocks metaphor. If you recall, when Goldilocks broke into the home of the Three Bears, she either consumed or broke everything she touched.


Today, the Aphelion Arc website was successfully launched. Webmaster Michael Auger worked the magic to bring it all to life. Link:

The original slide viewer [Figs.i and ii] had to be scrapped at the last minute. It turned out the screen just wasn't large enough to do justice to the slides. Thankfully, I was able to find a replacement. 

I was fortunate enough to find a classic "Story Portal" [fig iii] in the Aphelion Arc attic. It's used, but with a little retro-fitting of old cables and vacuum tubes I managed to get it up and running. Now, it's purring like a puma. 

I'd love to have a basement room filled with vintage electronic lab equipment covered with analog meters and dials, and an entire wall of oscilloscopes. So, creating all this vintage style machinery for my website has really been a lot of fun. 

Fig. i (click on image for larger view)
  Fig. ii Pristine, it's not (click image for larger view).

Fig. iii With it's rectangular flat screen, the vintage Story Portal was decades ahead of its time.

But, it sure takes a lot of time and hard, focused work preparing these things for the web. Not only do they need to look good, they also need to function. The Buttons and lights, in particular were challenging.
Fig. iv The Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)

Making the CRT Screen

So much of what I do in art is on the board, using pencils, pens and ink. But, for much of my web page design work, I rely almost exclusively on computer-assisted methods. After all, these mechanisms are just tools, like pencils and pens. Also, I feel compelled to mention at this point that I am not going to get into every detail here. This is not an Adobe Photoshop® tutorial. I want to share the creative process in this venue, not the technical. 

Okay... so here we go...
I began, simply enough [Fig. v], with a circle.  I wanted to make it large enough to make it easy to work with, and to be useful as a CRT. 

Fig. v

This device was inspired by our family's first television set back in the early 1950s. We were the only family in the neighborhood without a television. I was about four years old when our family got a present from my mom's sister in Philadelphia. A T.V.! The screen (tube) was round and only about 8 or 10 inches in diameter. It took a few minutes for the vacuum tubes inside the unit to warm up. Eventually, the picture appeared. Black and white. Often, it would flicker and the horizontal trails of the electron gun exciting the phosphorous coating on the inside of the glass were evident. At last, we were connected.

Next [Fig. vi], I add color.
Fig. vi

I gave it some shading along the top [Fig. vii] and curved shading around the bottom to give it some form, a feeling of roundness.

Fig. vii
I added a frame around it [Fig. viii]. This was accomplished through a series of circles, fills, and beveling filters. to get the desired effects. This is starting to look like a rounded screen. But, I want it to be plain glass, not frosted glass or plastic. To accomplish this, I added

Fig. viii

striking reflections. Again, this setting is a vintage laboratory. So, the most dominant reflection is a large paned window (Fig. ix).

Fig. ix

To accentuate the roundness and reflective nature of the glass, I added another reflection on the top [Fig. x], a sort of oval shaped form that I filled with graduated white. Note, that I made the background inside the tube darker, to reduce the glow of the screen. I want it to appear off when inactive.

Fig. x
When turned on, it will need an image. So [Fig. xi], I added one from one of the stories. 

Fig. xi

At this point,it could be a framed photo hanging on a wall. But, this is a video, so I added some filters to give it those familiar horizontal lines [Fig.xii] from the cathode ray's electron gun, dancing from side-to-side across the screen. And, I decided to make it more greenish. I don't really know why. Influenced by the Emerald City, perhaps. In the final version, however, I opted to go more toward the blue side of the spectrum. I may go back to green, though. It's a crisp color and gives a bit more contrast to the CRT in its stand-by mode (blue). I'll wait awhile, though, to let the webmaster's nerves heal. 

Fig. xii

Well, by now and after looking at the website, you may have realized that this is not just the CRT on the stories page. Smaller versions of it were used for other buttons and lights. I made certain modifications to the frames and interiors [Fig. xiii] , but it is still the same basic design. 

Fig. xiii

Monday, October 21, 2013

Aphelion Arc Website Coming Soon

Home Stretch

The Aphelion Arc website is getting the final touches in place. Launch is expected by Halloween. 

Here is a preview of the slide viewer that will preview some of the stories. To see the updated slideshow panels, click the APHELION ARC tab on this page under the Artleytoons banner, upper left. Or, just CLICK HERE.

Pragmatically, our overly people-populated planet is anything but pristine. I like to make mechansisms for the Aphelion Arc to look well used. Peeling decals and paint, along with a bit of grime adds a bit of authenticity to the setting. Thankfully, it's a virtual reality, so you can keep your Purell® plugged. 

(click on image for larger view)
Pristine, it's not (click image for larger view).

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Aphelion Arc Update

Getting Ready for Launch

The Aphelion Arc website is currently under construction. Launch is anticipated in about a month. Below is a glimpse of one of the pages.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Apelion Arc at SPX!

Small Press Expo (SPX)
September 14 & 15, 2013
Bethesda North Marriott

SPX Website

Artleytoons will be there with promotional devices for the APHELION ARC illustrated anthology series. Come on down (or up). Easily accessible by Metro (Red Line to White Flint Station). A whole lot of fun for a mere ten bucks.

Table Tent

This 4-page promotional flyer is the size and format of the Aphelion Arc magazine, and contains an abridged version of the feature story from the first issue, along with details about the series.

Rack Card

Although they'll not be ready in time for the SPX, this mockup represents 
one concept being considered for Aphelion Arc promotional buttons for 
future events.

Friday, August 23, 2013

What's in a Name?

Aphelion Arc is Far Out
(click on image for a larger view)

Aphelion is the point on an orbiting path furthest from the sun. Stories from the Aphelion Arc illustrated anthology series present subjects and concepts far from conventional perception of reality, and venture into the realm of the paranormal. 

Themes vary throughout this science fiction and fantasy anthology, and cover a wide range of topics, settings, and time periods. Regardless of scene or character, this anthology is story centric. In each instance, a compelling tale is woven. Expertly rendered illustrations complete the experience.

New Promos for APHELION ARC

Click on image for larger view.

The emoticon means "blabbermouth." Click on image for larger view.

Click on image for larger view.


Aphelion Arc 
This is an interim site while the official site is under construction. You'll find information on the Aphelion Arc illustrated anthology series, including art panels from the first story in the series, EXILES OF NOD

If you have a Facebook account, stop in and "like" the Aphelion Arc page. 

Follow #artleytoons on Twitter

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Aphelion Arc Promos Released

Far Out

(click on image for a larger view)
Aphelion is the point on an orbiting path furthest from the sun. Stories from the Aphelion Arc illustrated anthology series present subjects and concepts far from conventional perception of reality, and venture into the realm of the paranormal.

Themes vary throughout this science fiction and fantasy anthology, and cover a wide range of topics, settings, and time periods. Regardless of scene or character, this anthology is story centric. In each instance, a compelling tale is woven. Expertly rendered illustrations complete the experience.

New Promos for APHELION ARC

Click on image for larger view.

The emoticon means "blabbermouth." Click on image for larger view.

Click on image for larger view.


Aphelion Arc 
This is an interim site while the official site is under construction. You'll find information on the Aphelion Arc illustrated anthology series, including art panels from the first story in the series, EXILES OF NOD

If you have a Facebook account, stop in and "like" the Aphelion Arc page. 

Follow #artleytoons on Twitter

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Aphelion Arc Stories

A description of upcoming stories
(click on image for larger view)

It's About the Story

Each issue of the Aphelion Arc will typically be comprised of 3 stories, showcasing one feature story and 2 shorter tales.

Upon completion of the website (later this summer), panels from the stories will be uploaded sequentially as they are completed. When all stories are completely uploaded, compilation to the print edition will begin. 

Print editions will include the 'NERD'S APPENDIX." This section provides backstory and other points of interest relating to the stories. In some issues, this area will also share notes on development along with preliminary sketches.

This will be the general procedure for each subsequent issue. 

Themes vary throughout this science fiction and fantasy anthology, and cover a wide range of topics, settings, and time periods. Regardless of scene or character, this anthology is story centric. In each instance, a compelling tale is woven. Expertly rendered illustrations complete the experience.

Friday, August 2, 2013

New Page for Aphelion Arc

Look Up

Don't strain your necks. I meant to look up to the top of this page, underneath the page title. You'll notice a new tab has been added for the APHELION ARC, the new illustrated anthology series in the works. Clicking on it will bring you to the newly added page with information and updates about the Aphelion Arc project. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cartoon Show

Local Cartoonist Show in Washington DC

cARToons poster
Can you spot the ARTLEYTOONS art in 
this poster? (hint: it's bigger than 
a Volkswagen).

A special exhibit of cartoons by local artists will be running at MODERN TIMES COFFEEHOUSE in Washington, DC. The show will run from July 16th through September 1st. The pieces on display are original art or from limited editions, and all items are for sale. 

Thanks to TERESA LOGAN ROBERTS with the National Cartoonist Society for making this happen. "Our beautiful cARToons show!! Teresa reports. "Opening reception at POLITICS & PROSE on Saturday, July 20th, 7-9 pm. We have comics artists, animators, illustrators, syndicated cartoonists, Pulitzer Prize winners (at least one), Reuben nominees, and all sorts of comic goodness going on. So proud of these cartoonists!"

If you can't make the opening reception Jul 20th, come see the show running through September 1st. (DETAILS IN ATTACHED POSTER)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Aphelion Arc in Production

aphelion arc issue 1 cover
Go to to see more details.

The Aphelion Arc anthology series is still on the drawing board (in the literal as well as figurative sense). Later this summer, we will be launching our website that will feature EXILES OF NOD. Other stories will be premiered sequentially as they are produced. Once the three stories from each issue are complete, they will be collected into magazine format, printed, and made available for purchase. Printed editions will also include a BONUS feature, called the "Nerds Appendix." It is a special section of the magazine that'll include notes on select stories, backstories, and other items of interest. In some issues, the "Nerds Appendix" will also feature working sketches and glimpses of the development process. Please bookmark this website to your favorites and keep checking back. Launch will be later. Link to:

Aphelion is the point in the orbital path of a celestial body that is
farthest from  the star it is obiting.

Al, Barbara, Carolyn, Ed, Joe, Joe, Mike, Randy, and Steve's Awesome Adventure

Megan, one of the Library of Congress archivists, displays 
the newest entry to the collection that day, Magic Bullet!
On March 20, a small band of Washington DC area cartoonists were treated to a private tour of the Prints & Photographs Division at the Library of Congress. One of our friends is curator at the LoC P&P Div and arranged for us to view a number of original cartoons and illustrations. It was a real thrill to get up close to an original Yellow Kid (the first American newspaper strip), a Doonsbury, works by Thomas Nast, Art Young, Rose O'Niell (the late 19th and early 20th century illustrator best known for her creation of the creepy-cutesy "Kewpie" Doll, and many others. 

During the visit, we toured the archives where the stacks housing hundreds of thousands of collections are stored. We also stopped downstairs to view select first edition comic books from Superman, Spiderman, Amazing Fantasy, Crypt of Terror, and a host of others from the archives. Our MAGIC BULLET No.6 is now also part of the collection. 

Among a collection of first edition classic comic books and strips is the latest issue of MAGIC 
BULLET, which just happen to fall open to the center spread, that features my Exiles of Nod.

Photo of a Photographer of a Photographer...

As the ever photogenic Carolyn Belefski posed for husband (and professional photographer) Joe Carabeo in front of the Herblock stacks, a whacky thought occurred to me. I stepped behind him to photograph him photographing Carolyn. Then, asked the others to play along by lining up behind me, taking a shot of the photographer in front of them, who is shooting the photographer in front of them. It was fun and we all had a jolly good laugh. 

(Click on Photo for Larger View)

Magic Bullet No. 6 is Out!

Distric Comics' Magic Bullet hit the streets this week throughout the Washington DC metropolitan area and Richmond. To see a list of places to get your free copy, visit DC Conspiracy website at

Magic Bullet No. 6 Soon to Hit Newsstands

DC Conspiracy's Magic Bullet, the Washington DC comic newspaper is at the printer and will be will be distributed to area newsstands and comic book stores within the next week or two. Visit to find the nearest comic outlet to you so you can get your free copy.

This issue was edited and art directed by cartoonist (creator of the strip "Curls," among numerous other creative ventures) Carolyn Belefski. She did a bang up job of pulling all the submissions together, coordinating advertising, and overseeing the new masthead design. 

The center spread feathers an abridged version of a story from the upcoming illustrated anthology, the Aphelion Arc (scroll down to see more about that). The premiere issue is scheduled to be released in June. 

Mark Your Calendars... May 4th is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!

(click image for larger view)
Every year, comic book stores throughout the world hand out free comic books to anyone who visits their shop. Started in 2002 by the North American comic book industry, FCBD was designed to generate a new crop of comic enthusiasts. Every first Saturday in May, thousands of independent comic book shops throughout the country opened their doors and handed out designated comic books. The phenomenon soon caught on and spread to other countries. Now, it's a worldwide phenomenon. 

Artleytoons will be a part of the May madness. On May 4th, I, along with fellow 'tooners Matt Dembicki and Michael Cowgill will be at Big Planet Comics in Vienna, VA to do the grin, meet & greet bit. Stop in and look for my grinning face. I'll be handing out preview material on my upcoming Aphelion Arc illustrated anthology series. Click on the inset image to see the full list of participating comic book shops in the area, and which other cartoonists you may like to meet. If you are not in the Washington DC area, check local listings for a participating comic book store near you. 

A Model Exile

(click image for larger view)

In real life, "Cat," is a 24 year-old elementary school teacher in North Carolina. She was my model for the female leading role in "EXILES OF NOD," a story from my upcoming illustrated anthology series the Aphelion Arc. I changed the hair style and modified the complexion a bit, but Cat had the basic facial structure, large expressive eyes and haunting beauty I was seeking for the story.

Cat is affable, charming, intelligent, and takes direction so well. She also had helpful suggestions for poses. Hopefully she'll be available for future episodes, as I can see her adapting to many roles in the anthology.

To Boldly Go

Just because I put editorial cartooning on the back burner, doesn't mean I'm ready to go on the pyre. I've been pouring my creative energies into a new venture… an illustrated story series (a.k.a. "graphic novel"), entitled the Aphelion Arc. It will feature an anthology of stories, eclectic in content and theme, yet share a Twilight Zonian twist, with an occasional dose of O. Henry irony.

(click on image for larger view)

A cartooning newspaper, DC Conspiracy's Magic Bullet asked me to do the center spread for their upcoming issue. So, I thought it'd be an opportunity to promote my new series by releasing an abridged version of one of my stories. The paper is due to be in comic book stores and newsstands by April 1.

(click on image for larger view)

Below is the promotional teaser I've put together for the premiere issue's feature story, EXILES OF NOD. The first issue of the Aphelion Arc is targeted for later this summer. Meanwhile, I will post the Magic Bullet spread at and here, once the paper has been adequately distributed.
(click on image for larger view)

Although the first issue is still in production, I have been toying with cover mockups.  The first issue will focus exclusively on the EXILES OF NOD story, along with the "Nerd's Appendix" (see below).

(click on image for larger view)

The Nerd's Appendix

The issues will also include notes relating to some of the stories. Accompanying the science fiction pieces for instance, the notes will discuss the technologies of long term hibernation and warping the space-time continuum to travel great distances. Other stories set at a particular time in history, or ones of a contemporary theme will provide historical notes, or general background. This area of the magazine may also include working sketches or vignettes of the development process.