Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's Later Than You Frink

Just finished the pencils on "FRINK SINATRA", a story for the upcoming PROFESSOR FRINK one-shot comic book from Bongo. Script by Sir Ian Boothby.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

WXMS is on the air!

Image © 2012 Hilary Barta 

Pity the poor souls who work the night shift on Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas from the Surly Hack! Art by yours surly, color by Dave Punk.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Frink of Disaster

I'm currently penciling a story for the Simpsons Illustrated comic book starring Professor Frink. It's a good one, which is not surprising given that it was written by the talented Ian Boothby.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Images © 2012 United Plankton Pictures, Inc. 

I just finished drawing a nifty Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy story written by Chuck Dixon. It's called "MONSTAH LOBSTAH COMETH!", and will appear in an upcoming issue of SpongeBob Comics due out in April.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Treehouse of Humor

This just arrived through the mail slot.TREEHOUSE OF HORROR #18, with a cover by yours surly. Boo!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

EC for me, see?

A cartoon for an APA zine called CARTOON LOONACY.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Some Things Don't Go Better with Coke

This is a panel from a story about the Fatty Arbuckle scandal that I drew for the BIG BOOK series at DC's Paradox Press. I used pen instead of my usual brush to evoke the fine line illustrations of the silent film era. I also made sure to clear using the "Coke" logo on the bottle--but of course it was whited out--and on the original art. From The Big Book of Scandal!, Paradox Press (which was an imprint of DC Comics), 1997. Only a three page black-and-white story, it's one of maybe 50 in the book by as many artists.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pros and Con

© 2012 United Plankton Pictures, Inc. Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy TM & © Viacom international, inc. All rights reserved.

Here's a sketch of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy that I drew at Wizard Chicago Comic Con last weekend. It's almost finished--MM's shorts still needed shading and a few scales.

It was great to finally meet collaborator Ron Sutton and Janet Hetherington, in from Canada for the show. Friday night we saw The Gaucho starring the fabulous Douglas Fairbanks. Four days might be pushing it a bit, but fun was had by all at the show.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Comics Cowabunga!

I drew a 3-page story in the new issue of BART SIMPSON, out now.  You can see an inked page below. I posted the same page in pencils  back in January, which you can see here. The book also has a lot more art by John Delaney, Sergio Aragones and Carol Lay.

© 2013 Bongo Entertainment, Inc.   The Simpsons TM & © Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.

Gee Wiz

Tonight through this Sunday I'll be on River Road in Rosemont, Illinois for the Wiz Chicago Comic Con. I'll be camped out at a table somewhere in Artist Alley, selling art, drawing sketches and doing the old meet and greet.  Come by and say hey.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Batter Up and Down

Some of you are aware of LIMERWRECKS, my blog which is devoted to the lowly limerick. But do you know that I also post limericks on BARDBALL, the site of Baseball poetry? I have a new one up today on the dangers of crowding the plate.

Friday, August 03, 2012

The BATS FOR CATS Charity Auction is ON NOW!

Batman is the trademarks of DC Comics. 
Pencils by me, inks by Jim Terry.

The BATS FOR CATS charity auction 

is going on NOW!!! 

I'm one of many Chicago artists who have created and donated Batman themed art to help out the very worthy WILD CAT SANCTUARY.

Here's a link to all the art presently up for auction.

I worked on two pieces. Here is a BATMAN piece I penciled, and here's one of a BAT ZOMBIE that I inked.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

SpongeBob Worthy

I drew a short story in SPONGEBOB COMICS #10, on sale tomorrow, 7/11. It's a wacky and weird tale of Plankton, Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, and was written by James Kochalka. Swim on over to your local comic book store and grab a copy!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Under the Cover

Woo hoo! I drew the cover for SIMPSONS SUPER SPECTACULAR #15 — on sale June 27th. It features Radioactive Man and Plasmo, and depicts a story drawn by artist Frank Brunner. You can read about the issue on the Bongo Comics website, here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Get Wild

UPDATE: There will be an online auction of all the The Bats for Cats artwork. It will be run by the good folks at the Wildcat Sanctuary, and it will probably be held in a month or so. When I have the info I will post details of where and when.

A lot of the Bats for Cats art will be raffled off today and tonight at the benefit for the Wildcat Sanctuary,  being held at the Northdown Cafe and Taproom, 3244 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL. I originally thought there would be an art auction, but now I'm not so sure. Here's the Facebook page for the event. It is sponsored and co-hosted by 3 Floyds, Surly, & Mikkeller breweries, and they will be tapping lots of special beers. This is a benefit for the Wildcat Sanctuary, a non-profit, no-kill facility providing sanctuary to wild cats in need & actively involved in ending the private ownership of exotic animals. The goal is to raise at least $5000, which would feed two tigers for a year.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Just the Bats, Ma'am.

This Wednesday at 8:00pm I'll be at BATS FOR CATS, a Drink & Draw at the Northdown Cafe and Taproom, 3244 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. Some of the city's most talented artists (and I) will be doing Batman themed sketches, with all proceeds going to benefit The Wildcat Sanctuary. Come on by and have a drink and watch us draw like trained monkeys. Poster by the talented Tom Kelly.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Texas Toasted

TERROR IN A TEXAS TOWN (Joseph H. Lewis, 1958)

Well, it was another great night at the Portage Theater in Chicago, with a beautiful mint 35 mm print of a terrific film. With its storyline of a community crumbling from fear and intimidation, in danger of falling prey to divide-and-conquer tactics, the script by blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo makes an obvious reference to the McCarthy hearings. But the plot is shared by many westerns. What's unusual is the slow build and heavy sense of dread, set up in part by the pre-credits flash-forward to the climactic showdown (which I'll return to later).

TERROR IN A TEXAS TOWN has a quiet intensity, with a minimalist score and repeated, rhythmic theme, and the stark, underpopulated feel that permeates many low budget films. But the intensity goes further, extending to Hayden's performance as the Swedish whaler, George Hansen. The actor fills the screen with his lumbering physicality, at times seething with repressed emotion. By far the most interesting character is Crayle, the brooding, black-clad gunman played by Nedrick Young. The personification of the pall that hangs over the entire film, Crale carries death and doom in his tired gait and equally black worldview. His perverse relationship with his companion Molly (Carol Kelly) recalls other such sexually twisted and charged couples in director Lewis's GUN CRAZY and THE BIG COMBO.

The pre-credits flash-forward I referred to earlier is effective, but is also a bit odd in a feature. It is likely it was inspired by the technique to hook viewers used in television shows at the time. But its novelty made me wonder if it was planned in pre-production by Lewis, or added later in the editing by the producer.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Reaching the Summit City

This Saturday I'll be at Summit City Comic Con, a comic book show in beautiful downtown Fort Wayne Indiana. Please stop by and say hello and I'll draw you a sketch. I'm arriving Friday night to catch a game of Fort Wayne's minor league baseball team, the TinCaps.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Free Willy-Nilly

This year's Cinco de Mayo is also FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!!!  I'll be signing comics and doing sketches at Vigilante Press, a comic book store in Chicago. Other artists attending are Jim Terry, Andrew Kudelka, Don Wood, and John Ashton Golden. The store opens at noon, but please check with them for the exact hours of the event. I'll be there getting there sometime between 1 and 2 PM. Weather permitting they'll be showing movies in the backyard starting at 8PM.

Vigilante Press
1931 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago IL
(between Damen Ave & Winchester Ave)
(312) 423-6774

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pros and Con

This coming weekend, April 13-15, 2012, I'll be at C2E2, which is located on the lakefront in beautiful downtown Chicago, in the North building of McCormick Place. Stop by and say hi.

I'll be sitting at table L21 in Artist Alley, right next to pals Tony Moore and Rick Remender, so I won't have a moment's peace. I'm sharing my table with fellow Chicago artist Juan Arévalo. My comics art will be on display and for sale, and I'll be doing sketches. I'll also be signing comics, both at my table as well as the Chicago Comics booth 250, on Saturday night, from 6 to 7 pm. Several pieces of my art will be in a charity auction being held Saturday night. See my previous post on C2E2 for details.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Jean Giraud, R.I.P.

Jean Giraud, 8 May 1938 -- 10 March 2012

Along with many others I was asked to answer two questions about Jean Giraud for a Spanish comics website, Zona Negativa. It is well worth reading these heartfelt tributes and reminiscences from a wide-ranging list of international comics artists. And my comments were also translated into Spanish.

What are your first recollections related to Moebius work?

I first discovered Jean Giraud in the 1970s, as Gir. His Lt Blueberry was a brilliant addition to the grand tradition of European comics illustration, as well as the greatest "spaghetti western" in the medium. But then came his work as Moebius, which seemed to spring from some new, uncharted place.

How did Moebius work influence your own style, or even your understanding of the medium?

As a young artist I tried to draw like Moebius, and I especially loved the intensely rich colors he used on Arzach. But what has stayed with me the most is the clarity of his visual storytelling. He always chose the perfect angle to view each panel. Sometimes dramatically shifting perspective, sometimes jumping forward in the narrative, yet the reader was never lost, was always grounded.

To my mind, Moebius was the first artist since Jack Kirby to create an entirely new world in comics. Both strange and familiar, it is a place both futuristic and specific, not schematic: it feels worn and lived in, cluttered with background and details that suggest a thousand stores which could head in almost any direction. A true genius. A visionary.

Hilary Barta

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ghost Artists in the Sky

Here's a Ghost Rider piece that I penciled and Jim Terry inked while I was having a beer at a Drink 'n' Draw. Jim is a terrific artist, and added a nice grittiness to the inks. He's Old School, and used a dip brush in real india ink--something you rarely see these days, especially at a bar! I'm looking forward to doing more stuff together. Be sure to look for Jim's comics, The Underneath and Lie Down Low: Bricks and Mortar. His website is

The original art for this piece, brush and ink on Strathmore bristol board, will be auctioned to benefit St. Jude Children's Hospital at C2E2 in Chicago, Saturday, April 14, 7:15PM - 9:15PM. Room S401d.

You can view all the art in the auction on the C2E2 site, here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Oh say can you C2E2

© 2012 Hilary Barta

I'll be attending the C2E2 comic book convention April 13 -15. The show is held on the lakefront in beautiful downtown Chicago. You'll find all the details at their website, here. I needed a new color piece for the table display, and Jason Millet was kind enough to paint the moody color for this piece. Click to enlarge that sucker.

Friday, January 20, 2012

You Can't Beat Bongo

                © 2011 Bongo Entertainment, Inc. The Simpsons TM & © Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.

Here's a page from a 3-page Bart Simpson story called "Bart's Short Cut". This is the 8 1/2 X 11" pencil "rough" on typing paper, which was then blue-lined onto a Strathmore board for inking. I still prefer to attack a story in pencil directly on the boards, but this process has made it easier to weather the changes requested from editors and art directors on licensed characters. And it's easier to correct my own mistakes and make adjustments. On this page I had to move the background building in the last panel, and was able to manipulate it on the computer instead of erasing and redrawing. Also, as I've mentioned before, it makes inking a heck of a lot easier with no pencils to erase.

Due here any day is the script for my next Bongo project, a story for this fall's Treehouse of Horror, written by Doug Moench.  This will be my first time working with Doug, and I can't wait to see what he's come up with. In other Barta-Bongo Comics news, my story "The Big Finish" was just published in Simpsons Comics #185. available in comic stores now!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Monster Mag

© 2012 Hilary Barta

This is a cover I drew for Cartoon Loonacy. CL is an "APA-zine", a membership only quarterly zine self-published by and for cartoonists. This was the cover for the "Monster Issue".