How about something a little more cheery this time?
I create the official T-shirt image for WonderFest each year. It’s my favorite show of this type in the country. It’s a very warm and family-oriented event. They do so many things right with this show. For me, because I return as a guest each year, it always feels like coming home to family. The Rondo Awards are hosted there and my favorite thing to do in the evenings is to hang out at the Monster Kids Club House (Monster Kids are the men and women of roughly my generation who grew up loving monsters, primarily due to their exposure on the Shock Theater and Million Dollar Movie television packages and within the pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine).
I thought you might like to see this year’s shirt.
I began, as usual, by getting notes from WonderFest as to what this year’s themes or who this year’s guests would be. The answer to that was Sara Karloff and Victoria Price, the respective daughters of horror film stars Boris Karloff and Victoria Price, as well as Marta (Lost in Space) Kristen, Greg (The Walking Dead) Nicotero and my artist pal Frank (Sketchy Things) Dietz. Also, there was to be a tribute to the Weird-ohs monster/car model kits.
I decided to make Price and Karloff the focus of the shirt’s image. But how to combine those two? I could have portrayed them as they were in the films they did together: The Raven and Comedy of Terrors.
Instead, I thought of portraying Vincent Price as Dr. Phibes and Boris Karloff as the Frankenstein monster (from Bride of Frankenstein) in the love embrace from the Gone With The Wind movie poster. Here’s the pencil drawing:
It was rejected by WonderFest. I hadn’t noticed the homoerotic undertones (maybe “undertones” is not the right word — it’s really kind of in-your-face and on the surface); I just thought it was a funny combo of images.
Back to the drawing board.
For Round Two I combined Vincent from House on Haunted Hill with Karloff’s Frankie in a kinda Weird-ohs setting. I also included visual references to building those models (WonderFest began as a model kit show but has expanded to include lots more of various related pop culture interests).
That hit the WonderFest sweet spot; I went ahead and inked it:
Normally, I never allow anyone else to color my stuff. I make an exception with WonderFest every year because my pal Lee Staton, who oversees the production of the T-shirts, always does an amazing job of choosing the shirt colors, coloring my designs and combining them with just the right typefaces for the text that accompanies the shirt images.
Lee outdid himself this year. I think he deserves a huge chunk of the credit for this year’s shirt being the fastest selling (it was sold out by Saturday morning) and biggest selling shirt in WonderFest’s history. Here’s what Lee did:
The WonderFest shirts have all become real collectors’ items. I hope to continue on with this tradition; I also just want to publicly thank Lee Staton for a job (very) well done!