Rave Review in Imagine FX!

February 11th, 2019

I am pleased to report that the current issue of the UK art magazine Imagine FX has a full-page, absolutely glowing review of my book Fantastic Visions: The Art of William Stout. They gave it five stars, their highest rating. Woo hoo!

Signing Today!

January 12th, 2019

Today (Saturday, January 12) I will be signing (and drawing in) my Fantastic Worlds books at Stuart Ng Books in Torrance from 2:00 – 4:00 PM.

If you haven’t been to Stuart Ng’s shop, it’s an art lovers paradise. Stuart is the only bookseller I know who regularly travels to Europe to replenish his stock of fabulous art books and graphic novels that are nearly impossible to find on these shores. Plus, Stuart has always strongly supported the southern California art and animation community. He was one of the first collectors to buy and commission my art.

Here’s his shop’s address:
Stuart Ng Books
20655 S. Western Avenue #104
Torrance, CA 90501

See you there!

Happy New Year!

December 31st, 2018

Wrong year, of course — but you get the idea….(This is my imagining of what it would look like if the great J. C. Leyendecker painted zombies).

I am currently booking guest appearances at shows across the country so that I can sell, promote and sign copies of Fantastic Visions – The Art of William Stout. This will probably be my last big American tour (I’m getting on in years, my friends, and lugging hundreds of pounds of books from city to city is really beginning to get old…), so if you’ve always wanted to meet me or get something signed, 2019 may be your last chance. Check out the Appearances section on this website from time to time, as I’m still taking bookings for 2019.

There’s at least one East Coast booking (Baltimore) so far. I’d have attended Big Apple in New York but it conflicted with San Diego Comic Fest.

I’d love to meet every single one of you!

WOW! Almost 60% off!

December 20th, 2018

WOW! The price for Fantastic Worlds – The Art of William Stout is less than $32 on Amazon! That’s almost 60% off! Plus, if you spend about $4.00 more you can get next day shipping! I don’t know how they do it…

Pacific Ocean

December 12th, 2018

In 1968, on the advice of some friends whose musical tastes I trusted, I went to the Gazzarri’s nightclub on the Sunset Strip to see the soul band Pacific Ocean. I had heard great things about their charismatic lead singer, Eddie James.

Pacific Ocean was a terrific L. A. brown-eyed soul band. Throughout their performance Eddie would often execute what we used to call “legitimate splits”; that is, he would do the splits, hit the floor and then pop back up onto his feet without using his hands. Previous to Eddie James, I had only seen that trick executed by another James: James Brown.

Mr. James sang with great intensity, occasionally punctuating his vocals with what sounded like a banshee inhaling a scream. Examples of this vocal trick are included in a few of the LP’s songs.

I still have my vinyl self-titled LP of Pacific Ocean (on VMC Records). I assumed it would never be released on CD due to its obscurity. Lo and behold, Pacific Ocean has just been released on CD by the Early Dawn music label.

Most of the cuts on Pacific Ocean are covers of classic soul songs. Here is the original track running order, which somehow got screwed up on the CD release:
1) “16 Tons”
2) “Road to Hell”
3) “My Shrink”
4) “Subterranean Homesick Blues”
5) “Tracks of My Tears”
6) “I Can’t Stand It”
7) “I Wanna Testify”
8) “99 1/2”
9) “Mickey’s Monkey”

I held out hope for a CD release, as there was one important element I thought might make this LP rise back to the surface of our collective musical consciousness. Eddie James sang and entertained with the same ferocious intensity that he later brought to a successful acting career, a career in which he began using his full name: Edward James Olmos.

Big Brother & The Holding Company

December 3rd, 2018

If you’re a fan of Janis Joplin (who isn’t?) or her band Big Brother & The Holding Company, I would like to bring to your attention a brand new CD of old music.

Columbia Legacy has just released Sex, Dope & Cheap Thrills, a two-disc set of 30 songs from the Janis Joplin/Cheap Thrills period of Big Brother & The Holding Company. The set mainly consists of studio recordings of the songs recorded live for what became the LP known as Cheap Thrills. Sex, Dope & Cheap Thrills was the original title of the album (I had always heard it was originally Sex, Drugs & Cheap Thrills). That title was rejected by the powers-that-be at Columbia for being too outrageous. CBS shortened it to just “Cheap Thrills“.

The liner notes are terrific. There are two fascinating and revealing essays by drummer Dave Getz, one on how the famous Robert Crumb cover came to be. I was surprised to find out what was intended by Robert to be the back cover ended up as the front cover. His original front cover (rejected by the band) was a cartoon drawing of the band but with photographs for the heads, hearkening back to a form of pop art practiced on a regular basis by Sixteen magazine on their covers back then.

The other liners essay is by Grace Slick from Jefferson Airplane (like I have to remind you what band she was in). Grace provides a well-written and thoughtful commentary on Big Brother and that optimistic era.

The music is fantastic. I thought there might be a huge loss of energy with the band in the studio without the presence of an adoring audience. There’s not. The band blasts through these cuts with intense ferocity. There are 29 outtakes on these two CDs (25 previously unreleased) plus a bonus live recording of “Ball and Chain”.

Big Brother has always been my favorite backing band for Janis. I think their majestic rawness perfectly matched her intense vocal style. My friend and guitarist James Demeter was amused when one day I described the Big Brother guitar sound as being like hearing the screams and bellows of colossal wounded dinosaurs in a ferocious death battle. There are some spectacular examples of this on Sex, Dope & Cheap Thrills.

I highly recommend this wonderful time trip into the past, a reminder of how great Big Brother & The Holding Company were in their prime. You won’t regret the purchase.

Rock on!

See You Tonight!

November 27th, 2018

Tonight I’ll be speaking at an event co-sponsored by the San Diego Natural History Museum and Comic Con International (Comic Con is in the midst of designing a comic art museum in Balboa Park. I am one of a small handful of people who have attended every single Comic Con). My illustrated lecture will take place at the Natural History Museum at 7:00 PM. There will be signed posters for the attendees.

This is all in celebration of today’s official release of Fantastic Worlds – The Art of William Stout. This huge book has over 300 pages and over 500 images. Author Ed Leimbacher is flying down from Seattle and will be on hand to sign the books with me, which will be for sale at the museum’s shop. This will probably be our only joint signing.

The book (published by Insight Editions) covers my fifty-year career as a professional artist. Each chapter covers a different aspect of my kaleidoscopic career; i.e., Dinosaurs, Antarctica, Comics, Film Design, Theme Park Design, Music-related art, Fantasy Illustrations, etc.

Here is the where and when:
San Diego Natural History Museum
1788 El Prado
San Diego, CA 92101
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
7:00 PM
The museum is scheduled to open at 5:30 PM, allowing visitors to see my twelve prehistoric life murals that are on permanent display within the museum’s Fossil Mysteries exhibit.

Holy Moley! This Book Looks GREAT!

October 30th, 2018

I recently received an advance copy of my new book, Fantastic Worlds – The Art of William Stout.

Insight Editions really outdid themselves on this one. My thanks to my great editor, Mark Irwin. He and his Insight Editions team were really instrumental in putting the book together and making it as nice as it turned out. At over 300 pages with more than 500 images, this book spans my fifty year career as a working artist. Although it’s still just the tip of the iceberg in regards to the amount of work I’ve produced, this heavy volume showcases the best of the best of the many different aspects of my diverse career. Each chapter explores a different field of endeavor: Early Years, Mentors & Inspirations, Comics, Music, Entertainment Advertising, Film Design, Theme Park Design, Disney, Dinosaurs, Antarctica, Fantasy Art and Personal Works.

My friend Robert Williams wrote a truly insightful introduction and the great Ed Leimbacher wrote the book’s illuminating text.

It’s already available for pre-order from Amazon at a greatly reduced price: https://www.amazon.com/Fantastic-Worlds-Art-William-Stout/dp/1608878651/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1540925877&sr=1-1&keywords=fantastic+world+william+stout

The copies that Bud’s Art Books is selling come with an extra signed bookplate with a full color dragon picture of mine that’s never been published: https://www.budsartbooks.com/catalogsearch/advanced/result/?byline=william+stout&comment_start=&description=&isbn=&name=&out_of_print_dd=&p=2&price%5Bfrom%5D=&price%5Bto%5D=&publish_date=&publisher=&search_tag=&sku=

The holidays are coming…

James Karen 1923–2018

October 26th, 2018

One of the most amazing bits of good fortune I’ve had working in the movie business was becoming friends with actor James Karen.

Jimmy just passed away on Tuesday at age 94. He epitomized what we in The Biz call a “working actor”. Jimmy worked constantly. If you live in the northeast you probably know him as “The Pathmark Man“. He made over 5000 Pathmark supermarket commercials.

Sci-fi/horror genre fans know him from his roles in Poltergeist, Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster (an early role, billed as “Jimmy”, not “James”), Capricorn One, the 1995 Piranha and, most recently, Cynthia. Mr. Karen has a whopping 204 film and television credits on IMDB — and that doesn’t include his enormous amount of stage work (including more than 20 Broadway shows).

I first worked with Jimmy on Return of the Living Dead in which he played Frank.

He impressed me by showing up on days he wasn’t working, there just to keep the rest of the cast pumped up. One day, he brought his friend Jason Robards to our set.

After working with Jimmy on Return of the Living Dead, I never wanted to make another movie without James Karen. I recommended Jimmy for the role of General Wilson in the remake of Invaders From Mars. During shooting, Jimmy came up to me, beaming.

“Bill,” he said, “I just wanted to thank you for suggesting me for this role.”

“It’s going okay?”

“Better than okay! My role as the general was supposed to be a two day shoot. I’ve been here two months now. I’ve paid for the college educations for all of my grandchildren thanks to this film.”

There are some hilarious James Karen stories I can’t share in a public forum. The following, though, I can. It is one of my favorites.

I am a regular guest at my favorite U.S. convention: WonderFest in Louisville, Kentucky. WonderFest was celebrating Return of the Living Dead, a film that takes place in Louisville. Even though I’ve had many Louisville fans tell me they know and have visited all of the Louisville locations where we shot the film, in actuality we shot everything here in the Los Angeles area, never setting foot in Louisville (we shot most of the film in a warehouse in Burbank) until it was time for director Dan O’Bannon and I to promote the finished film.

Nevertheless, WonderFest invited me, James Karen and actress Linnea Quigley (Trash in the film) to represent the movie to a Louisville audience.

There was a Return of the Living Dead panel that weekend. I made my way up to the room where that was happening. Just before I entered the room I was stopped by our moderator, my dear talented friend, writer/actor/artist Frank Dietz.

Jimmy and I are going to play a little trick on Linnea,” Frank confided. “We’re going to pretend that Return was actually shot in Louisville. Are you in?”

“I’m totally in!”

The panel began. At one point fairly early on, Jimmy stated, “I just want to thank the kind folks of Louisville for hosting our production. Shooting here was a dream. You were all so nice to our cast and crew.”

Linnea’s eyes went wide, and I joined in.

“You guys were fantastic here. You really made us feel welcome and made our shoot so much easier than it could have been.”

Linnea was now looking at both me and Jimmy in disbelief.

“…and your mayor!” Jimmy continued. “He was such a great guy.”

“Wasn’t he?” I added. “So kind, so helpful.”

Linnea responded. “He was a very, very nice man.”

“And generous,” said Jimmy. “An absolutely incredible guy.”

“He was great,” said Linnea.

“So generous,” deadpanned Jimmy. “You know he had a wooden leg which was hollow. He filled it with the finest Kentucky bourbon. If you wanted a nip he would come over to you on set and do a handstand. There was a little spigot near his knee that you turned to fill your cup. Extraordinary!”

James Karen had now taken our tale into the comedic stratosphere. I could hardly contain myself. I had to look away from Linnea so that she couldn’t see the expression on my face. I was trying as hard as I could to hold it all in. She was now having and sharing false memories of our supposed time making the film in Louisville.

We finally couldn’t hold back our laughter. Jimmy, Frank and I confessed to our prank. Linnea at first looked confused — and then very, very relieved (“I thought I was losing my mind”). She was (and is) a sweet gal and the greatest of sports.

I’ll miss my friend Jimmy forever. Making movies won’t be nearly as fun without him. My love goes out to his dear, sweet, talented wife Alba Francesca and to his family — and to all of the people in this crazy biz we call “show” who had the very good fortune to work with the absolutely extraordinary James Karen.

RIP, my dear friend. Don’t forget to tell the Karen Black story up in Heaven.

Stout Story in Latest Spook House!

October 10th, 2018

Spook House 2 #2 on sale today!! It’s got a scary comics story I wrote and illustrated for my grandsons. Eric Powell did a great job coloring my story. If you haven’t seen Spook House, you’re in for a treat. It’s scary stories for (future Monster) Kids!