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Stan Sakai Benefit Signing Today

William Stout Usagi Yojimbo Benefit Print

Today (Saturday, August 16) there will be a signing at Meltdown Comics of the Stan Sakai Usagi Yojimbo benefit book between 4:00 – 6:00 PM.

The 21 signers will include Yours Truly, Stan Sakai, Sergio Aragonés, Mark Evanier, Bill Morrison, Dean Yeagle, Tom Luth, Rubén Procopio, Jeff Keane, Aidan Casserly, Ricardo Delgado, Tone Rodriguez, Anson Jew, Benton Jew, Patrick Scullin, Robert Stanley, Chad Frye, Mark Dos Santos, Steven Gordon, Brad Rader and MORE!

In addition, my Usagi image has been made into a gorgeous limited edition giclee print which I will be signing at the event. All sales will go to help pay Stan’s rapidly mounting medical bills for the care of his wife Sharon.

Meltdown Comics is at 7522 Sunset Boulevard (not far from Gardner) in the West Hollywood area. See you there!

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Robin Williams – John Fasano

Jim Morrison said it best: “No one gets out alive.”

My old friend Harlan Ellison said that the bad thing about getting old is losing your pals.

I just lost an acquaintance and a pal.


Robin Williams, when first we met.

The acquaintance was the talented Robin Williams, whom I’m sure needs no introduction here. I met Robin during the period he was on Mork & Mindy. I was visiting the set of The Blues Brothers while working with that film’s producer on a movie adaptation of Roger Zelazny‘s Chronicles of Amber books.

Robin was incredibly kind and sweet to me — yet I caught a haunted quality in his eyes when he thought no one was looking.

I chalked that up to the way I saw him being treated by the Blues Brothers people. Those nasty bastards shunned him and attempted to block him from visiting the set or associating with anyone on the film. They considered him to be a lesser talent and not worthy of acknowledgment. Why? Because he was doing TV and they were making a MOVIE. “Fucking Mork,” I heard one of them say, knowing they said it just loud enough for Robin to hear.

It made me feel very bad for Williams. I immediately began to detest the snotty (and lesser-talented) assholes associated with The Blues Brothers.

Knowing what we know now, did I catch more from Robin’s haunted glance? I don’t know. I never got to know Robin personally but from the moment I met him and from what he did and accomplished during his illustrious career, I got the feeling that he was a pretty decent but sad (yet brilliantly funny) guy.

RIP, amigo. You took the permanent solution to a temporary problem but now your personal demons are at long last silent.

JOHN FASANO 1961–2014

My buddy, John Fasano

John Fasano was a friend of mine who was a real breath of fresh air in the movie business: he was honest.

I can’t recall where we first met but our friendship really began to solidify at one of Taylor White‘s events (Taylor owns the amazing Creature Features monster shop in Burbank). We shared mutual friends and colleagues, most notably John Milius, to whom Fasano was heartbreakingly loyal. John Fasano’s writing credits include Another 48 Hours, Universal Soldier: The Return and Mandy Patinkin‘s The Hunchback, as well as the first Jesse Stone TV movie. John loved horror movies and directed three: Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare, The Jitters and Black Roses. Oh, and he produced one of my favorite westerns of all time (and I suspect he doctored that film’s script): Tombstone.

John asked me if I would ever consider production designing one of his films. My enthusiastic “Yes!” seemed to catch him by surprise and delight him. When I last saw him a few months ago, he told me he had begun writing a film for us to make together. We both were thrilled at the prospect. We were determined to bring fun back to making movies.

John and I exhibited our art at Taylor’s themed shows. He loved that we were in art shows together. John was a very visual writer and director; he appreciated good picture-making. He was also one of the most loyal persons I ever met in Hollywood. I sensed that when John became your friend it was something deep and meaningful — the opposite of many of the shallow relationships one acquires in the film biz.

John was just 52 when his big heart gave out on July 19. I didn’t find out about it until this morning. I had my wife keep all of the issues of the Los Angeles Times that came out while I was down at Comic-Con. While reading some of them this morning, I was shocked to discover his obituary.

I love you, Big Guy. And I’ll miss you forever.

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NEW Oz Sketchbook Available! Extremely Limited!

I just returned from a spectacular weekend at Winkie Con, America’s largest annual Wizard of Oz convention. It was held at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center in San Diego‘s Hotel Circle. This venue is amazing! The grounds are very maze-like, with lots of surprising visual treasures and enchanting jewel-like gardens everywhere.

Kurt Raymond as the Wicked Witch of the West

There was loads to experience, from interesting panels (I did two; one with Oz author Sherwood Smith), my pal Kurt Raymond (a skilled speaker and artist and the world’s greatest impersonator of and expert on the Wicked Witch of the West), and even a presentation of the L. Frank Baum stage musical The Tik-Tok Man of Oz, a show that originally debuted in 1913! The cast, staging, music, lighting and costumes were all superb! What a rare treat!

I also saw and chatted with fandom legends John and Bjo Trimble, as well as Comic-Con International luminaries (and friends) Jackie Estrada and Batton Lash.

I debuted a new sketchbook at the convention: William Stout’s World of Oz. Its 60 pages are packed with rarities, including many of my designs for the proposed Wonderful Wizard of Oz Themed Resort and Entertainment Center in Kansas, my production designs for The Muppets Wizard of Oz, my Wizard of Oz art folio and illustrations from the two Oz books I illustrated for Sherwood Smith, The Emerald Wand of Oz and Trouble Under Oz.

Limited to just 250 signed & numbered copies (most of which sold at Winkie Con), I still have a few available for purchase on the Bazaar portion of this site (under “Books”). Get your copy before it’s sold out, My Pretties!

Photo by Jackie Estrada
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This is a Winkie. If you have chromatic 3-D glasses, this picture is in 3-D.

Tomorrow begins the national Wizard of Oz convention known as Winkie Con. I’m the Artist Guest of Honor!

I’ll be giving an illustrated lecture on all my different Oz-related projects at noon tomorrow. I’ll also be debuting my latest sketchbook, William Stout’s Wonderful World of Oz. At a fat 60 pages per book, it’s limited to only 250 signed and numbered copies. If there are any left after the convention, I’ll put some up for sale on the Bazaar section of this site.

See you there!

Here’s another 3-D picture (if you’ve got a pair of those chromatic 3-D glasses, this one really works well. You can click on it to make it larger):