News from the Ray Troll Universe - Category: Store News

New shirts for 2019!

It’s that time of year when we roll out a few brand new T-shirt designs and bring back a few favorites from back in the day. Post Industrial Press has really outdone themselves with their spectacular printing skills. Check out the insane detail they’ve captured in some of these complex designs.

Eternal Salmon

Pacific salmon have flourished along the west coast of North America for millions of years, co-evolving with the landscapes they are born and die in, during the course of their lives. With the never-ending spread of industrial civilization, habitat loss, ocean acidification and global warming their very survival has been seriously threatened. The hopeful message behind this T-shirt image is that if we take care of the salmon they will continue to feed and nurture us… forever.

The words around the image are lyrics I wrote for a song called ‘Flicker of Light’ performed by my son Patrick’s band Whiskey Class. You can watch an animated video of this image at

Memo Jauregui did the beautiful digital coloring and Skip Jensen the masterful graphic design.

Handy Guide to Pacific Salmon Names

I remember being turned onto this fun memory trick when I was working on a salmon display for the Sitka Sound Science Center a few years ago. Since then I’ve often used it to teach fishy neophytes the five salmon names: Chum rhymes with thumb, “poke you in the eye Sockeye”, King for the biggest finger, Silver for the ring finger and Pink for the pinkie. And now I have a piscatorially pedantic image on a shirt so that you too can join in on the fun.

Studying the look of old palm-reading charts inspired my drawing. Palmistry, also known as cheirology, is the ancient art of reading one’s fate by carefully examining the lines of the hand. Pseudo-science or the real deal? You be the judge!

Memo Jauregui did the vibrant digital coloring with a few adjustments by Grace Freeman.

Never Too Late to Mutate

Charles Darwin’s revolutionary ‘On the Origin of Species’ was first published in 1859 and it’s still making waves. Thought to be one of the most important pieces of scientific literature ever written, it’s considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. Yes, my friends, life changes through time, creatures mutate and evolve, and nothing lasts forever.

Well maybe some things last, at least for awhile. This is a reissue of a shirt from way back in the 1990’s. It’s been newly colorized by Grace Freeman and we’re printing on a black shirt for the first time.

You can spot my hero “Chuckie D” behind the wheel of his styling Evolvo complete with a trilobite hood ornament and ammonite hubcaps. He and his lobe-finned fish pal are driving down the great highway of life, dodging a Tiktaalik on the road as a Triceratops looks on, never mind the Velociraptor on the roof or the Pteranodon in the back seat. Apparently they’re about to flatten a wayward Opabinia as ammonites and iniopterygians cruise above them. Falling rocks next 4.567 billion years, Gondwana and the Museum of the Earth or bust, baby!

Beevus and Halibutt Head

This is my homage to the animated TV series ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ created by Mike Judge that ran on MTV from 1993 to 1997. The series dwelt on two socially maladapted teen couch potatoes and their dimwitted but oddly prescient world views.

In my rendition the two pals are hanging out in a fish-obsessed Alaskan living room doing god knows what.

Heh, heh, heh…

Ancient Forests Forever

The north Pacific temperate rainforest eco-region stretches from Prince William Sound through the Tongass National Forest, and all the way down the British Columbia coast to northern California. The Tongass is our nation’s largest national forest at nearly 17 million acres in size. Comprised of thousands of islands in Southeast Alaska, it supports abundant fish and wildlife, including healthy runs of all five species of salmon, brown and black bears, deer, wolves, bald eagles, ravens, goshawks, marbled murrelets and more.

“Ancient” or old growth forests are forests that have attained great age without significant disturbance. Ancient forests have varying tree sizes that provide critical wildlife habitat that helps to sustain the biodiversity of the ecosystem. The forests in the north contain predominantly Sitka spruce and western hemlock while those in the coastal forest to the south are home to red cedar, Douglas fir and coast redwoods.

The amazing Grace Freeman did the digital coloring.

Tree of Life

A “tree of life” is a scientific metaphor used to visually represent the history of life and the evolutionary links between living and extinct organisms by showing the branching relationships between groups of animals and plants. Here’s what Darwin himself had to say about it: “The affinities of all the beings of the same class have sometimes been represented by a great tree. I believe this simile largely speaks the truth.” Amen. As you go down the tree you realize at some point we are all related to everything. Life has occurred only once on our planet and we are all variations on that original seed. Mind blowing and somehow truly liberating all at the same time.

I like to point out that all of we backboned animals are the spawn of ancient sea squirts and we’re all descended from wayward lobe-finned fish. A recent scientific paper also revealed that the mysterious Southeast Asian colugos are the closest group to primates. Pretty wild, eh?

I worked on this version of the tree with a small team of scientists and educators including Chuck Baxter, John and Vicki Pearse, Nancy Burnett and Natasha Fraley. I was commissioned by the fine folks from the Shape of Life website to create an original drawing on the occasion of Chuck’s 90th birthday in November of 2017. Chuck taught marine biology at Stanford for decades and was one of the key players in the founding of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. You can spot him and the aquarium in the lower right of the artwork.

Grace Freeman did the beautiful coloring.