In honor of G.I. Joe day today, we revisit our good friend Rob Ullman. In addition to being an accomplished artist, illustrator & author, Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, & Pirates freak, Rob is also a G. I. Joe fanatic/afficianado. He quickly snagged our newest tee when he realized he had his ol’ friend GRUNT – infantry trooper in his personal collection (left). Rob has been featured and done work for The Hockey News, Penthouse, Las Vegas Weekly, Harper Collins, The U.S. Army, and the American Red Cross to name a very few. We were really excited to catch up with Rob to see what he’s been up to and it’s all REALLY good! Check it out –
Andy: Been awhile since we last spoke. What in the Wide-Wide-World of sports is happening these days with you? Still pumping out the Hockey Stories? What about Atom Bomb Bikini? Give us an update on what you’ve been up to.
Rob: I AM still chronicling the illustrious history of the coolest sport on earth via Hockey Tales! I’m closing in on finishing my third issue, shooting for a release early this fall…and working toward a big fancy collection as well, as soon as I finalize such minor details like who is gonna publish the damn thing! Atom-Bomb Bikini continues to chug along as well, with a second art book in the works and updates posted constantly to atombombbikini.net. I’ve been enjoying posting art to Instagram for the last year or so…I dig the immediacy of it, and the fact that there’s little pressure to post anything but images…none of my (or anyone else’s) insufferable diatribes!
Andy: Your diatribes are pretty funny but definitely prefer your images! We just had the NHL All-Star weekend and then GI Joe Day on today. Not a bad way to end one month and kick off a new… Obviously I know you’re a big Hockey fan, but what’s up with GI Joe?
Rob: I was just a little too young to ever play with the original run of big action figures, but the smaller ones really captured my imagination when I first spotted them in 1982. I mean, really, they were basically just colorful superheroes with the occasional splash of camouflage, which spoke to all of my 11-year-old interests. I watched the shows over and over, though I’m kinda loathe to again…such things seldom hold up. The comics, though, I’ll defend to anyone…those first thirty or so issues, particularly the art and covers by such artists as Michael Golden and Mike Zeck, were so memorable and influential to me, pored over again and again and again, I’ve still got practically all of them memorized!
Andy: Even though I was more into the original G.I. Joe guys I can appreciate what you’re saying – the art is amazing. I’ve noticed that you are doing some advertising on our equally beloved website uniwatchblog.com So if someone sends you a personal photo you’ll customcartoonize away? How about a few more details on that before sending you my High School lacrosse photo starring my afro.
Rob: Indeed I will…and don’t be afraid to send me the photos where you’re showing a little leg for “authenticity”!
But yeah, that’s a little side-project I take on in between comics and commercial work…folks send me a few photos of their significant others, and I create a cartoon portrait of them, all decked out in their favorite sports jersey. It’s a cool, one of a kind piece of artwork, and the client can be as specific or obscure as they choose…I’ve done commissions for pro and minor league teams, beer league hockey and pickup basketball jerseys, roller derby teams…you name it. The only limit, really, is your imagination. Additional details, and a ton of examples, here: http://rkullman.blogspot.com/2015/11/now-accepting-commissions.html
Andy: Photo with lotta leg enroute. As you are an NHL expert, how about a mid season prediction on the Stanley Cup Finals please.
Rob: Well, my standard go-to has been Pittsburgh vs. San Jose for almost a decade, but I’m believing it even less than usual this year. Washington sure looks good, but they’ll still be the Caps once the playoffs start, and all the regular season points in the world can’t change that. Similarly, Chicago remains Chicago…even as a longtime fan of the city and team, I’m getting a little tired of seeing them in the finals every spring…but it’s impossible to count them out once May hits. Those guys just exude confidence and an almost preternatural ability to win when it counts the most. Still, I’ll go for the nightmare scenario and say Florida over Dallas. Only 15 people will watch, and there’ll be a huge deal made about Jaromir Jagr going out on top…before he decides in September to play another five years!
Andy: Did I say expert? What about my Islanders?! I think it best you stick to the illustration business.
Thanks for the time Rob and I must give you fair warning about some new Retro Brand releases you will go nuts for so you may prepare accordingly. Here are your clues; Green Goblin. Venom. Power Man. The Infinity Gauntlet. Ghost Rider. Black Panther. The Punisher. Give up? All NEW from MARVEL coming soon….