I’m not usually one for celebrating my birthday all that much, unless I could go back in time and relive a true Showbiz pizza party with great arcade games, awesome animatronic shows and skee ball.  Well you can still get the skee ball at Chuck-E-Cheese, but the rest is really lacking.  So another year tacked on and all that hoopla.  My wife and I usually have an understanding when it comes to birthdays and Christmas, no presents except maybe a meal out.  This year though, the wife surprised me with something incredibly awesome.  She commissioned an illustration from our friend Mark Rudolph mixing two of my favorite things, monsters and cephalopods!

I tend to not get all that outwardly excited most of the time, so I hope my wife saw through that to noticed how surprised and happy I was while opening the package.   Starring up at me was this loveable horror below…

I mean hutchie motchie!   Look at this guy!  There was even a very nice color print to boot, which really makes the illustration pop.   Carrie and I both love Mark’s style, especially when it comes to monster/creature design, and we both think this piece is just fan-freaking-tastic…

The only drawback is that my wife has thrown down the gauntlet in terms of present giving and it’s going to have to put me on my toes to think of something this rad.   I suppose that the best kind of drawback though.  We can’t wait to get this little fella framed and put up somewhere prominently displayed.

While I’m heaping praise at Mark’s feet, I should take this opportunity to point any readers of this site to his work.  You can find out most everything you’d need to know at his site CV Comics.com.   I believe he’s open for commissions, which based on the beauty above I’d highly recommend.

He’s also one half of the dynamic duo of the Art & Story podcast, which recently 4 new weekly shows called…

The Extreme shows are an extension of the weekly show featuring a nice fly-on-the-wall look at their daily studio activities, as well as scintillating conversation on subject ranging the gamut from the 90s era Zubas/Skids baggy pants fashions to how they’d like their corpses to be disposed of (I vote for Mark’s Hunter Thompson-esque shot-out-of-a-cannon request.)  The extreme show is perfect if you’re not into a deconstruction of comics and illustration work, as it’s just a great listen.

Mark is also the co-host of the Requiem podcast featuring an NPR-style look at metal music…

You can also find his comic work at Sugary Serials, in particular on the Curse of the Pharaohs story and my favorite from the anthology Switch Runners (which I’ve mentioned before.)