Monday, November 26, 2007

© 2007 by Paramount Pictures and Shangri-La Entertainment, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Beowulf shouldn't cause any animator restless nights

It’s easy to be cynical about the reasons behind why a movie gets made, and the manner in which it is made, but the new animated feature “Beowulf” has struck me as a near textbook example of how form trumps substance.

The sloppily directed movie couldn’t stand on its own without its gimmicks, but it is those gimmicks that have given a sub-par film a whole lot of buzz in the pre-holiday release season.

Setting aside the pedigree of the script by two fine writers – Neil Gaimen and Roger Avery– for a moment, let’s imagine this acid test: would “Beowulf” have been made at all if it didn’t have its video game animation aided by motion capture, its prurient brushes with nudity, the use of a name brand cast and its multiple platform release?

If you’ve seen the movie and you’re a fan of it, then God bless. I contend that “Beowulf” would never be in the same league with the “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy if it had been made the same way – a live action cast operating in often times CGI world.

Before seeing the film, I had a discussion with a friend that “Beowulf” wasn’t an animated movie in the way a Harryhausen film, or a Pixar movie is an animated movie. While I’ll certainly call an animated film, I maintain the use of motion capture puts the animation at a different – lower – level.

This is not meant to be an insult to the many fine artists who labored on this film, however when one of the principal selling points of the film – here’s the marketing campaign showing itself – is the “life-like” animation of major stars, then one must acknowledge that “Beowulf” is 21st century rotoscoping.

When Max Fleischer invested rotoscoping nearly a century ago, he was seeking a solution for economical and speedy animation. Interestingly enough, as the number of skilled artists came into the industry Fleischer’s use of rotoscoping declined.

The studio’s last major use of the technique was in 1939’s “Gulliver’s Travels,” when the Gulliver character was rotoscoped in many scenes. This was an artistic decision to separate Gulliver from the Lilliputians.

Ralph Bakshi’s three rotoscoped features “The Lord of the Rings,” American Pop” and “Fire and Ice” are films he told me he admired, but he didn’t particularly like.

When used for an artistic effect such as in “A Scanner Darkly,” rotoscoping becomes merely another tool for an artist to use. That is not the case for “Beowulf.”

With this film, the motion capture is used to create a novelty of transferring well-known actors to the animated screen and allowing their filmed performances to become the basis for the animation – robbing the animators of the opportunity to do fully what animation is all about: creating the illusion of life.

The audience knows fully they are watching Anthony Hopkins and Angelina Jolie instead of animated characters. The film achieves an annoying sense of self-consciousness through this effect.

And the result of this animation style is a cross between video game fare and Madame Tussaud’s wax sculptures.

The greater irony is that despite a budget of $150 million, the main characters project far more acting through the vocal performances than the animation. A Bugs Bunny 2-D cartoon made in 1943 shows a greater range of acting that in “Beowulf.”

Jolie has been nude on film once before in “Gia,” but her animated nudity and that of Beowulf himself is another irritating part of the film.

The film’s PG-13 rating doesn’t seem to be tested by the film’s abundant violence. Nipples and genitalia, though, are another thing. That is why we have Jolie’s character without nipples and labia when she is seen and why Beowulf hides his penis artfully during his fight scene with Grendel.

Well, if we can’t see such things why suggest them? Because we want to create a buzz. It’s not about the art of the film. It’s so people talk about the scenes on the Web. They’ll wonder if Jolie’s actual breasts were used as the model and that sort of thing.

By having Beowulf naked, but then hiding his penis behind jugs of mead, the film derails the climatic fight and turns it into a smug joke. I doubt that’s what Gaimen and Avery had intended.

Robert Zemeckis’ haphazard direction further sinks this production. The vocal performances are all over the map with the characters all speaking with a different accent. Crispin Glover’s Grendel is incomprehensible at times.

There are many unanswered questions presented by the film. Why does the flame in the mead hall turn blue when Grendel is there? When Grendel is defeated is it because Beowulf has shattered his over-sized eardrum? Why does he shrink in size? Why do Jolie’s feet turn into high heels worthy of a strip club when she appears before Beowulf? This is Denmark in the sixth century, right?

Take away its gimmicks and you take away the power of this film to attract a word-of-mouth audience. In its two weeks of release “Beowulf” has earned $56.4 million. It has a long way to go to become profitable. In the parlance of the industry, I doubt this film has legs.

I can’t believe this film has the more traditional animation community worried about the death of the older forms of the art. This is a mediocre film whose gimmicks have been sold with the calculation of a William Castle but with none of his fun. If it does have a lasting impact it is only because its box office numbers has convinced the soulless suits that run the entertainment industry that gimmickry, not style or substance is the way to go.

© 2007 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

Friday, November 23, 2007

More reviews...I'm currently watching "Twin Peaks" for the first time before Steve B. gets the deluxe gold box edition for Xmas. I never saw it when it was broadcast originally, and I have to say that despite liking some of David Lynch's films, I find this show a disappointment so far. It moves at a snail's pace and the supposedly funny stuff strikes me as arch and snarky. Well, maybe it will improve...

There's lots of television in this week's DVD column.

The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones Volume One

OK, I love history, but there are plenty of people who don't, especially kids. This new 12-disc volume of the television series "The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones" just might make some people interested in history.

The premise of the show is simple: famed adventurer and archeologist Indiana Jones had an exciting life well before the stories told in the three success feature films. The television series, which ran from 1992-1994, caught up with Indy when he was 10 years old, a teenager and then a young man.

Along the way, his path is crossed with many real-life historical figures from Lawrence of Arabia to Sigmund Freud to Theodore Roosevelt. The shows have a very high production value and feature guest stars such as Max Von Sydow, Daniel Craig and Catherine Zeta-Jones, among others.

Well-written, the exciting shows sneak the history in and after each episode there are documentaries that bring greater detail to the stories of these real people.

These shows are really family entertainment: everyone can enjoy them. This set is a worthy investment for any family's DVD collection.

Benny Hill: Complete and Unadulterated Collection Mega Set

Once upon a time, most Americans knew two things about British television: the serious stuff on "Masterpiece Theater" and comedian Benny Hill. Undoubtedly the most successful British television import, Hill's brand of naughty comedy was well received by Americans and now fans can get a collection of 48 hours of Hill's shows in their original British cut.

The American half-hours were edited from the original hour-long shows Hill did for Thames Television. This new set from A&E Home Video presents all of those shows, plus two biographies of Hill and a bunch of other extras including a reunion of members of "Hill's Angels."

The documentaries reveal a thoughtful, intelligent man who always had a pencil and a scrap of paper on him to write down gags, Hill started his television career at the BBC and there are a few clips from these shows included in the documentaries.

Americans grew to love him for his later shows that presented a combination of silent sketches, bawdy jokes, young women in scanty costumes and British gags that went over well despite cultural differences.

Personally I find Hill to be a scream. His work has such an innocence about it that defuses its naughty qualities. As the Hill's Angels point out the male characters in the sketches were always the butt of the joke and never the women. None of them complained about what some people thought was the inherent sexism of the show.

These shows still hold up and if you're a big fan you'll want to get this mega set.

The Devil Came on Horseback

When former Marine Captain Brian Steidle signed up as a military observer for the African Union monitoring the cease-fire between the two sides in the Sudanese civil war, he had no idea he was going to make an impact with American foreign policy.

The photos and reports he collected on the slaughter of innocent black Africans by Arab tribesmen hired by the Sudanese government brought the genocide in Darfur to the American political stage.

Steidle's story is one of courage, outrage and persistence and this film is an oftentimes harrowing, unflinching look at the evil one human can do to another.

Seldom have I seen a documentary that can truly make one question the fundamental nature of the human species. This film does that.

See this film. That's all I can say.

For more information, log onto http://www.thedevilcame

© 2007 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A rollercoaster selection of films is in this week's DVD column.

It's a Wonderful Life

The wonderful 1946 Christmas classic by director Frank Capra is now out on DVD with two viewing options either you can watch a sparkling transfer of the black and white original or a newly colorized version.

Thanks to its temporary public domain status, "Life" was one of the most ubiquitous films on video, but few of those tapes featured a decent looking print. With the film now under copyright, a definitive version is now on DVD.

I'm not partial to colorized versions of black and white films, but I have to say the colorized "Life" at least has been done with taste and subtlety.

There are two extras on the disc a 1990 feature on the making of the film and a 1991 "remembrance" featuring Frank Capra Jr. Both add trivia and insight that can make the film a more enjoyable experience.

For more information, log onto



This 2004 Japanese science fiction film is dazzling to watch, but has a narrative that will leave many viewers scratching their heads.

At a time in the future, the countries of Earth will merge into two great powers that will engage in war for 50 years. At the conclusion there is a clear winner, which has now evolved into a corporate-controlled dictatorship. When a researcher discovers a medical advancement that allows him to grow new organs the government leaders fund his work, so they might live forever.

Their plans are altered when a lightning bolt from space strikes the research facility causing dead test subjects to come back to life with advanced strength and a determination to wipe out the lesser humans.

Only one person stands in their way the researcher's son who has been killed in the war and is brought back to life as well.

Shot on green-screen stages with a predominantly digitally created landscape and sets, "Casshern" is successful in creating a compelling vision of another world. The story, though, is another thing and the ending of the film is far from satisfying or even understandable.

For more information, log onto

The Best of the Colbert Report

Just in time for his aborted run for the White House comes a "best of" compilation of Stephen Colbert's witty and often very funny jab at the right wing talking head shows.

I admire Colbert for coming up with a persona that must irritate a large number of people who are in power today. His performance before President Bush last year at the White House Correspondents Dinner may go down as one of the most outrageous moments of political satire in the nation's history.

This two-hour collection has some very good bits in it, but my favorite is the appearance of Bill O' Reilly clearly the principal target of Colbert's satire. O'Reilly should be given credit for submitting to an interview with Colbert and actually seemed to get a little of the joke.

I like the show a great deal, but I wonder just how long Colbert can keep his act going. If the FOX "news" shows ever run aground, Colbert might find he needs a new direction for his comedy career.

For more information, log onto



In the realm of provocateurs, Michael Moore might be a superstar with his string of high profile books and movies, but Alex Jones is the underground favorite.

Jones is a Texas-based filmmaker who rose to relative fame with "Terrorstorm." Overall Jones has a simple explanation for event such as 9-11: there is an international conspiracy among the power elite to manipulate events to bring about a global corporate-based government.

According to Jones, we're living in The Matrix right now and he is the pill to wake us up.

His latest film is a 140-minute "documentary" on the one-worlders who Jones insists are using organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the World Wildlife Fund, among many others, to lower the population, relocate them to certain areas and control how they live.

Through the creation of war, the use of eugenics, and corporate business policies, Jones maintains a power elite is trying to take over our everyday lives.

If a quarter of what Jones reports is indeed true, then we are in deep, deep trouble. And with the manipulation of oil prices, the insane notion of starting a war with Iran and the subversion of the democratic process as seen in this year's overly long presidential primary battle, it's easy to see that Jones might be right on a few counts.

Jones wastes too much time in the film with man-on-the-street footage and some self-promotional scenes. He also makes substantiated claims that really should be backed up.

If you take the time to get this film and watch it, I'm sure you'll have plenty to think about and discuss. I know I did.

For more information, log onto
© 2007 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

Monday, November 19, 2007

Growing up I wasn't allowed to watch war movies. Until I was about 14 I was an Air Force brat. My dad retired a lt. colonel after serving in three wars. He was proud of his service to our country and he took some things very seriously. Among those he didn't want his two sons to watch movies or television shows that glorified war. He also believed that he shouldn't vote in national elections because he thought the military should remain apolitical. He also fully acknowledged that he and others in the armed forces could have no official opinion about the nature of their mission. Their job was to do it.

Now Dad was not some sort of right-wing robot. The military is very much like a corporation and he did his share of "office politics." He was both an idealist and a realist about different matters.

My dad seldom talked about his combat experiences in WWII or Korea or what it was like commanding a unit that repaired helicopters at Bien Hoa in Vietnam. He never joined a veteran's group. If he was going to speak about his career it was most likely to the men who were in his B-17, B-29 and B-52 crews, not to us.

I never felt slighted. I understood that I could never fully grasp what he had been through. If he wanted to talk with me, that's fine. If not, that was okay too.

Dad used to watch MASH every week, but stopped for a while when he saw the episode in which McLean's Stevenson's chracters is killed on his way home. He got up and growled, "That's not funny. That really happened." It had touched a nerve in him.

I thought about all this as I sat taking notes for the following story. How a war affects someone is in individual thing. Those of us who have not experienced war first-hand can only grasp a tiny bit of what it is like. Books such as the one described below can help.

For Iraqi veteran Andre M.M. Queiroga, it took a year to become adjusted to life as a civilian after two tours of duty. Andrew Simkewicz said he was very angry upon his return and drove his car as if he was racing through Iraqi streets. Jeffrey Lucey survived the war but lost his battle to post traumatic stress disorder and took his own life.

The stories of these three local men are among the 30 interviews conducted by author Elise Forbes Tripp in her new book "Surviving Iraq: Soldiers' Stories." The book was featured at an "Authors @ HCC" presentation on Thursday at Holyoke Community College.

Tripp is an adjunct instructor at HCC and Queiroga is a current student. Lucey was a student at the college.

Tripp said her goal in writing the book was to present " a people's history of the war." Ninety percent of the material is from the veterans themselves.

"The book was not designed to reconcile the differences on the war or to make partisan statements," she added.

From the interviews, she said there were re-occurring themes. Although many of the veterans cited patriotism in the light of the Sept. 11 attacks as a reason for entering the military, others also said they were pursued by recruiters. Others thought they would never go to war.

Many of the vets spoke of how they feel different than civilians, she said, and finds expressing their feelings difficult to people who had not experienced the war.

Two of the veterans she interviewed have left the military but have returned to Iraq in the employ of civilian contractors doing essentially the same job but at much greater pay.

One of Tripp's conclusions is that "civilians must do everything they can to make sure vets get the benefits they deserve," she said.

Simkewicz, Queiroga and Joyce and Kevin Lucey, the parents of Jeffrey Lucey, all read passages from their interviews in the books.

A Springfield College graduate, Simkewicz noted the results of his two tours to Iraq, but said he loved the military and that his war experiences meant, "testing yourself and seeing what you are made of."

He said he was still "hyper vigilant" and noticed that he always sat with his back to a wall. Sitting at a table in the middle of a room was a test for him.

He received eight tickets so far for his driving and over-passes still represent a threat for him.

A counselor at the Vet Center in Springfield, he has received counseling himself and he said conducting group counseling has been as beneficial to him as it had to the other vets.

Quinoa's passage recalled his coming out of Iraq and being deployed back home. He recalled the American fast food restaurants in Kuwait and how the air was better in the United States.

Bringing his Marine unit to Kuwait was a "calm down point where we could rest and be normal." He noted though all of their weapons were collected and said "[they] took away what we treasured the most our rifle."

Queiroga said there would be a "bond forever" between the men who served together.

Joyce and Kevin Lucey said their son returned from Iraq with "hidden wounds." The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that took his life was caused by his experiences as a member of the force that made the initial invasion of the country.

"What he saw was totally different than what he was taught," said Joyce.

Jeffrey self-medicated himself with alcohol, totaled his car, had problems with his long-time girlfriend and his parents didn't know how to help him. Joyce said a counselor at the Veteran's Administration said the choices for her husband and her were either to have their son arrested or kick him out of the house and let him "hit rock bottom."

Jeffrey only wanted to speak to other vets and the Luceys were unaware of the Vet Center in Springfield. The state's Emergency Mental Health Service refused to help because Jeffrey was drinking.

Despite his parent's efforts to seek help for their son, he hung himself.

When asked by an audience member, what they can do to help vets like Jeffrey, Kevin Lucey said people must contact their members of Congress to call for greater funding for PTSD.

During the question period both Queiroga and Simkewicz said that counseling and prescribed medication have helped them their own PSTD problem.

When asked if they could explain why the nation was fighting a war in Iraq, Simkewicz smiled and said, "That's a loaded question."

As a soldier, he explained he didn't look into the political side of the war. He was there to perform his duty. He added that a close friend died in combat three months ago, so he hopes he and others have not died in vain.

Queiroga said that Iraqis he met did welcome the freedom from Saddam Hussein brought by coalition forces, but the struggle between outside terrorists and Iraqi factions complicate relationships. He said that many of the people driving car bombs into American facilities or convoys were people whose families where being held hostage by either other Iraqis or foreign terrorists.

When asked about instituting a draft, Simkewicz voiced his support. Having received his orders for a third deployment to the war, he believes that others should share the burden. Queiroga said he thinks a draft would never be re-instated because politicians would want to protect their own family members.

People would like more information about services for veterans can contact the Vet Center at 737-5167.
© 2007 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I liked speaking with Charlie Murphy, despite a bad cell phone connection, because he clearly isn't trading off of his famous younger brother. And yet he doesn't have that "I've gotta prove something" atttitude.

There's plenty of acting siblings in show business today, including the Wayans, the Baldwins, the Cusacks, and the Gyllenhaals, and now the Murphys.

Only the prominence Charlie Murphy has seen in show business thanks to his appearances on "Chappelle's Show" hasn't been due to his famous brother Eddie, but to his own hard work.

And it hasn't come overnight, but after years of working in the industry.

Murphy has had small parts in big movies such the recent hit "Night at the Museum," larger roles in low budget films, written scripts, performed voice-overs for animation and taken a stand-up act around the country. He will be appearing at the Hu Ke Lau in Chicopee Nov. 24.

He told Reminder Publications last week that his career has been the result of "happy accidents."

"I've worked for it for 17 years," he said.

Charlie is the older brother of the two and started working in the industry. His resemblance to his brother has actually been a hindrance as some casting directors used it as an excuse not to hire him. They didn't want people to think they hired an Eddie Murphy ringer, he explained.

"I had to force my way in," he added.

He was asked to try stand-up and despite his brother's reputation Charlie called Eddie "one of the last true kings of the game" he "summoned the cajones to show up."

He remembered the first time on stage was not as scary as every time since.

"The first time I had nothing to lose," he said. "Now every time you got out, you've got to deliver."

He loves the medium, though. Stand-up, he said, is "the most free" a performer can be.

"It's your thoughts, your creation," he said. "It means more because it's all you."

Although a large part of his act is improvisation, Murphy is constantly thinking of gags and routines.

"Twenty four hours a day even when I sleep that light is on," he said.

Murphy said that being a stand-up comedian is like being a boxer and one has to train all year-round, not just before a big fight.

Murphy has been busy with a number of film projects but he is especially excited about "The Perfect Holiday," scheduled for theatrical release Dec. 12. Gabrielle Union and Queen Latifah star in the holiday release about a young woman finding true love.

Murphy has a role which "allowed me to breathe in the movie."

"A whole lot of range was shown," he said. "I'm not bragging."

© 2007 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

Monday, November 12, 2007

Another I lead two lives entry...

Well, my book is in my hand and I thrilled. It looks great and now the hard work begins...getting the word out that it exists.

As I learned with my two magazines, it doesn't matter how good a job you do with a they look, what is their content....what really matters is that you are able to get your thing before the intended audience. Distribution and marketing makes or breaks projects. When I worked for Kevin Eastman doing marketing work for his Tundra publishing outfit, it became clear to me the comics industry, for instance, had no idea whether it was marketing books to readers or to retailers.

Without that focus, some of the outstanding projects on which I worked never received the attention they richly deserved. Of course the stuff I liked generally didn't have T & A or angst-filled violence which somehow ALWAYS found an audience.

So I'm taking next week off and I will spend a great deal of it working on my marketing plan. I've mentioned parts of it in this blog, but I will be sending out a press release via e-mail and trying to line up signings.

Thanks to the folks who have made suggestions so far! If anyone has more, please let me know.

Okay on to the other side of my life...

Last week I received a press release from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He conducted a hearing to address employment challenges that service members face when returning from a tour of duty. The hearing was designed to focus on the enforcement of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) which requires employers to continue to employ members of the Guard and Reserve upon their return from duty.

According to the release there has been data withheld from the public that was released for the hearing and it casts doubt on how much the Bush Administration actually supports the troops.

“The data demonstrates serious inadequacies in the performance of the four federal agencies responsible for protecting returning veterans’ reemployment rights,” the release read.

Here are some of the details:

• Service members are returning home only to realize that their deployment has put their healthcare, their benefits and even their jobs at risk. For example, among post-9/11 returning Reservists and National Guardsmen, nearly 11,000 were denied prompt reemployment. More than 22,000 lost seniority and thus pay and other benefits. Nearly 20,000 saw their pensions cut. More than 15,000 didn’t receive the training they needed to return to their former jobs. Nearly 11,000 didn’t get their health insurance back.

• In 2006, 77 percent of Reservists and National Guardsmen with reemployment problems reported not seeking assistance of any kind. (This indicates agencies’ failure to educate/reach out to returning servicemen to inform them of their rights.)

• Almost half of Reservists (44 percent) and National Guardsmen who filed a USERRA complaint with the Department of Labor reported being dissatisfied with DOL’s handling of their case – up from 27 percent dissatisfaction in 2004 – and more than a third reported that DOL’s response was not prompt.

• Twenty-three percent of Reservists and National Guardsmen surveyed in 2006 who could not find a job post-deployment said that they were unemployed because their previous employer did not promptly rehire them as required by law.

• Almost a third of Reservists (28 percent) surveyed in 2006 reported not receiving information on USERRA/reemployment rights during their activation or deactivation.

• The percentage of Reservists and National Guardsmen who experienced difficulty getting reemployment assistance from government agencies rose from 2004 (27 percent) to 2006 (29 percent).

The release reported that Kennedy was planning to introduce legislation to seek some solutions for the service members.

What kind of commander-in-chief allows his military personnel to serve their nation and then turns a blind eye to a widespread abuse of their trust?

© 2007 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Well, it’s been one hell of a week in my life as an editor and reporter: late nights and early mornings. Springfield’s municipal elections served up a surprise to many: an upset by City Councilor Domenic Sarno for the mayor’ position in New England fourth largest community.

Sarno is a very likable guy who ran a populist and negative campaign…not negative about incumbent Mayor Charles Ryan’s record so much, but negative about the city’s crime rate. His mantra of “Do you feel safer today than two years ago?” obviously resonated with the voters and he was helped by our police commissioner of 19 months making the effort to jump ship for the top cop job in Milwaukee.

So the progress the city has made under Ryan may continue, but it may not as many of the people who supported Sarno are folks who have had their influence in city government clipped by the reform-minded Ryan. That’s not to say the Sarno is part of the old power elite, but I hope he resists the inevitable pressure to put some of these people back into positions of power.

Ryan and his policies and appointments literally saved this city from fiscal collapse. His administration has done much in righting the ship and doing all of the infrastructure things the previous administration chose to ignore.

He ought to have a statue in his honor. Without him this city would have gone into receivership and been completely at the mercy of some Boston-appointed politician.

It will be an interesting year coming up that is for sure.

In my other life: I had a nice chat with my editor and “Escape! How Animation Broke into the Mainstream in the 1990s” is now on right here.

It's also here at
and here in Italy.

I’m now looking for a spot in Boston and NYC for a signing. Any ideas about locations to approach? Is the Million Year Picnic in Boston still a great shop? I haven’t been there for years. How about NYC? I’d love to do something that could tie into ASIFA East.

My box of books is supposed to arrive this week. When I have one in my hand it will truly become real.
© 2007 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

Monday, November 05, 2007 book,"Esacape! How Animation Broke into the Mainstream in the 1990s" is technically "out," but I don't have any copies as yet and it hasn't made its way onto amazon or barnes and noble, it is here though: in the United Kingdom

And it's, the folks that put out those cheap Alpha videos and much more.

So I'm willing to travel a bit to do signings, discussions, etc. I'm such a media whore I'll damn near do anything to get the word out on this thing!

If anyone has an idea to promote the book (I'm working on pitches to selected media, etc.) let me know.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I get a lot of stuff at my job. This week I was sent an Ugly Doll...a pricey trendy item and the following e-mail. Although I'm killing myself – it feels that way some weeks – it's never boring!

"Dear Editor,

The amusing and humorous antics of the creative and lovable Henry Heron have been bringing smiles to the faces of adults and children for over ten years. The carefree Henry is ingeniously clever and witty as he flies the skies observing people with the awe and wonderment of a child attempting to understand our human behavior.

Jim Gerlock’s love and admiration of the majestic blue heron brings a comical and witty sense of humor to us as Henry observes our human foibles and the challenges of just ordinary living.

Henry is often accompanied in his escapades by his closest friends:

Heneretta, his flamboyant girlfriend distinguished by her sexy eyelashes, lavish spotted bows and high heels bring flair and fun into their relationship;
Pelican Pete, the fishing buddy he can discuss everything with from fishing to World politics; and
Gator, the newly-adopted son he saved after a Florida Tropical Storm.

GERLOCK is the RIGHT CARTOONIST for the job ! ! !

Jim Gerlock’s Henry Heron has been so well-received by readers, he has become a proven, well-published cartoonist because of the high-level of quality cartoons he creates. Henry Heron is now featured weekly in several newspapers including the Long Island New York publications of The South Hampton Press, North Fork Magazine; and Florida newspapers, The Observer, Charlotte Sun Herald, North Port News and Englewood News. Gerlock is also published in the Waterline Magazine distributed from Port Charlotte to Tampa. Dr. Jim Gerlock's first oil painting, “Elephants of the African Plane” hangs in the lobby at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

If you agree Henry Heron would be a welcome addition to your publication, please contact me and we can negotiate a price based upon your circulation. (Letters of Recommendation available upon request)

Best regards,

Vicky Fay, Publicist
Promoting the Success of Our Clients’ Business"

God Bless 'em!