I've worked in comic books and animation since the early 1970s, and have screen credits on four movies, five TV series and one PBS special. Before entering the animation industry as an animator, producer and director, I was a comic book artist, editor and publisher.
As a youngster, I was lucky that our adoptive father was a soldier, as our family accompanied him to the Panama Canal Zone and Germany. I was an Explorer Scout, a Junior R.O.T.C. student, and in the summers I worked as a counsellor for the Boy Scouts at Camp Chagres. My wife Connie and I returned to the Western Panamanian province of Chiriquí in 2013-2014 for an extended mountain and beach vacation. Connie enjoyed it as much as I did, since she had never traveled abroad.
Returning to the States in 1967, our family finally settled in Colorado. Around this time, I decided to pursue a career as an artist. While living in Denver for a year, my work was published in George Washington High School's literary magazine Cranberry Oblivion, and I became fascinated with the technical aspects of printing and publishing. In the fall of 1968 I joined the staff of Carl Gafford's New Milford, Connecticut-based fanzine Minotaur as a co-editor, responsible for producing 8 pages of comics for each issue. While studying art at Mitchell High School in Colorado Springs, I recruited fellow student artists and writers to create our own small magazine, and in January, 1969, the first issue of Platinum Toad appeared in the hallways of Mitchell. Printed on the school's duplicator, it included poems by my co-editor Tom Haber, a cover and other artwork by me, comics by George Laws, a short story by Martha Ann Kennedy, and assorted art by Darrel Anderson and George Laws.
I made life-long friends at Mitchell. We also produced a one-minute animated film, "First Finger," which turned out so poorly that George took the master home to Puerto Rico to bury it. But we were exploring the artistic possiblities and learning from our mistakes. Our teachers, Mr. Shernick and especially Mr. Jack Frost (from Snowflake, Arizona!) encouraged our creative impulses. So my senior year in high school was very fun and formative.
While studying art at Missouri State University, I edited and published Realm, an acclaimed comics and science fiction fanzine, and more issues of Platinum Toad. I also got my hands on some professional camera equipment, and single-handedly animated "Burpo, el Monster de Outre Spaced," a one-minute animation. I was learning a lot.
January, 1973 I returned to Colorado Springs and co-founded Everyman Studios, an artists' collective that successfully published alternative newspapers and underground comix. As a publisher, my most successful title was Cascade Comix Monthly, an underground comix journal that lasted almost three years. I traveled to San Francisco to get it started, recording interviews with a half-dozen comix luminaries and making valuable journalistic and distribution connections. In less than a year, I found myself at the center of the alternative comics community as Cascade's editor.
By 1980 I started to lose interest in publishing, but was growing more interested in animation. In 1981, I started hiring animators and transitioned the studio into commercial animation production, including movie titles and effects, music videos, television commercials, video games and software. We began producing our animation exclusively on computers in 1991, and the studio was re-branded as ARG! Cartoon Animation in 1994.
We were lucky that my friends and business associates prodded me to get into the newly invented Web in 1995, and I built a simple five-page site for ARG! on my personal AOL web space. Our early and extensive internet presence ultimately made the animation studio successful. ArtieStick.com was launched in July, 1996 and it quickly became one of the most popular animation websites, logging up to 73 million hits a month. In fact, it got more than 1.2 billion hits in a twenty-month span in 2005-2006. The ARG! studio's crew of talented animators has created more than 40,000 digital animations for our 600+ clients. We produce mostly 2D cartoon animation, and we output it almost exclusively in 4K resolution.
Although I'm 66 years old, I've continued to work full time as a producer and director at the studio. I really love this job, and have no plans to retire. I've posted a bit about my latest adventure, moving with Connie and Fluffy Jo to the foothills of the Ozarks in Eastern Oklahoma.