Here Comes An Old Challenger!!!

I am not a winner.

No, seriously, I entered the Masters of the Universe Classics Create-A-Character Contest, and I didn’t win. But now have some art to post for my blog, sucka! WHO’S THE WINNER NOW??? (Hint: still not me.)

Ahem. My design was actually just an update of a fan character that I created a few years ago. You can see the original version here. And now, the fairly new (from December 2011) updated version:

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Maybe I would have more to say, but let’s face it, Comic-Con just ended, so I’m just grateful to not be peeing in a bottle or trying to use silverware as a straw.

(This counts as post #1 for this week, so I’m keeping steady at a deficit of 4 missed posts. Perhaps I’ll be able to catch up before August… )

MODULOK WEEK (Part 1 of 2)

Hey look, I drew a thing from He-Man! Remember when I used to do that all the time?

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Today’s subject is Galen Nycroft, better known as the cartoon version of Modulok. Of course, in my typical strange manner, I have decided that Galen Nycroft and Modulok should be two different characters. They’re both scientists–Modulok being an alien in the employ of the Horde, and Galen being an Eternian human who mutates himself with a sample of Modulok’s DNA. I’ll post my drawing of the toy version of Modulok on Friday.

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including some of my previous sketches) is here.

Blahblahblah, Skeletor Again…

Today I’ve got Laser Light Skeletor for you, re-imagined as (surprise) a new character. His weapon is a Havoc Staff topped with a humanoid skull as per one of the prototypes. I went with this weapon, and changed his cape from purple to black to distinguish him from Skeletor. His name comes from the Spanish version of Laser Light Skeletor, Ojos de Fuego:

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In terms of color and design, Laser Light Skeletor seems like a mess, if you ask me. He’s got a great head sculpt, but his body has all kinds of noodly details that seem very un-Masters of the Universe to me. I streamlined the details, but did my best to keep the general flavor, so that he’s be recognizable. I’m pretty happy with the colors on this one… I think the warm oranges and reds play off nicely against the cold blues and blacks. But really, it’s the super nerdy background info that makes it all worthwhile…

* * *

PROFILE: His true name and identity lost to the ages, he is addressed only by his rank, SUPREME INQUISITOR, and spoken of in hushed tones by his official sobriquet, THE EYES OF FIRE, a name bequeathed to him by the High Priests of Infinita. Dispatched by the Elder High Priest, the Supreme Inquisitor seeks out and punishes the enemies of Infinita, burning them with arcane fire, and cursing them with ancient spells.

HISTORY: The Supreme Inquisitor gazed out from the observation deck of the Infinitan flagship. The glow of his red eyes was dull and smouldering. Trance-like, he seemed to peer deep into space, a vision drawing him in.

Many millenia ago, in the cold, empty halls of the Central Infinitan Temple, a man stands over two glass coffins. The coffins are the same size–one occupied by a woman, the other occupied by a mere child. The child looks peaceful, but so small in the full-sized coffin. The woman looks sad, but resigned. It is night, and the moons of Infinita shed cold white light into the temple halls, through towering windows and arches. The blue skin of the man, and the two bodies, almost looks silver under the moonlight. Who is this man, and who are these corpses, the Inquisitor wonders absently.

The man’s eyes are in a trance, emotionless. Looking at the two bodies, but somehow not seeing them–instead staring past them. He is wounded. His right arm and chest are badly burned and bandaged. He does not move; his heart barely beats beneath his bandaged, charred chest.

Footsteps echo through the halls. Another man, draped in a black hood and cape, approaches from behind. The Inquisitor does not know who this man is either. The wounded man speaks, as if to interupt the other, though the other is silent. “This was my fault.”

The hooded man’s chalk-white skeletal jaw and exposed teeth glint in the moonlight, his voice is tight with rage… or anticipation? “No. This is the fault of Eternian scum.”

The wounded man knows this is not true. But he does not care what is true anymore. “Will it make me strong?” He asks.

“Yes.”

“Will it make me forget?”

“Yes.”

The wounded man stares past the bodies. What is he seeing, the Inquisitor wonders idly.

The wounded man is tired. That’s the closest thing to an emotion that he has betrayed in days. “So be it.” Questions float through the Inquisitor’s consciousness. What will happen to the wounded man? What will happen to the bodies?

The hooded man walks away, his footsteps seem forceful… or gleeful?

The wounded man follows the hooded man down the hallway. It seems to stretch on endlessly. The Supreme Inquisitor now gazes absently not into the distant past, but at his own dark reflection in the glass, superimposed over black starlit space. In one hand he holds a Havoc staff, topped with a humanoid skull. A smaller humanoid skull is mounted on his belt buckle, flanked by black slabs of stone, carved with Infinitan runes. These artifacts have been with him for as long as he can remember, but he cannot remember where they came from. He touches his belt buckle lightly with his robotic right arm. He cannot remember where he came from.

Forceful footsteps in the observation deck. The Supreme Inquisitor does not move. Reflected in the glass, a hooded man draped in black appears behind the Inquisitor. His chalk white mandible catches the light. All else is darkness. The Inquisitor knows who this man is–his mortal master, the Elder High Priest of Infinita, second only to the God-King himself.

The clarity of the vision dissipates, and the Supreme Inquisitor finds himself swallowed up once more by the present, and by madness. He no longer wonders about the vision, not even idly–it is forgotten.

“What do the Eyes of Fire see?” Asks the hooded man.

“I see the future. I see war… I see Eternia burning.”

* * *

As should be apparent, I wanted to create very Vaderian mythos for this guy. Hopefully I pulled it off without being too obvious or too corny. A little obvious and corny is okay though.

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums in my variants thread. The thread is here and my post is here.

Marginal Improvement

At least a little bit of preliminary sketching goes into the pieces I put up here, and in the course of that preliminary work, there’s a lot of miscellaneous doodling that goes in the margins. Occasionally, one of those doodles is worth cleaning up and coloring. Here’s a more cartoony streamlined take on one of He-Man’s foes, Trap Jaw:

I drew Trap Jaw previously, so the colors on today’s piece are pretty much cribbed from that, with a few adjustments for better contrast. The changes are subtle, but I can see where I’ve improved, even if only marginally

Pun linked to title and first paragraph… accomplished! Time to go play video games.

Don’t Be Such A Crab (part 2 of 2)

As promised in my last post, here’s the toy version of Clawful, probably considered to be the standard version by most:
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It always struck me as odd that the Clawful action figure looked like a tan guy in a crab costume, so I colored Clawful’s flesh like crab meat. Corny, yes, but I think it works. His bewitched, flaming green mace is a nod to the action figure’s neon green weapon. The drawing itself is nothing to write home about… on the other hand, I’m very satisfied with how the colors came out.

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including some of my previous sketches) is here.

Don’t Be Such A Crab (part 1 of 2)

Okay, this is a little confusing–Skeletor had a henchman named Clawful, who was a crab-like humanoid in toy form, but was depicted as a sea serpent-like humanoid with crab claws in the cartoon. Naturally, I decided both versions could co-exist, and renamed the cartoon version after a crab-themed Transformers character. Huh? Oh well, here he is, cartoon-Clawful, rechristened Squeezeplay:

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This one has its awkward points… the right leg is stupidly wrong, and the claws are pretty clunky looking. But I like how the gem and the gold armor turned out. Tune in next time for the other Clawful.

Also posted here on my variants thread on the He-Man.org fan-art forum.

Starts with a "Skele-" and ends with a "-tor"

Okay, strap yourselves in kiddies, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. And by bumpy I mean nerdy. And by nerdy, I mean Skeletor-related.

Basically, there was a variation of Skeletor manufactured in India with a significantly different, darker color scheme. The Indian toy company was named Leo, and so this variation is known amongst He-Man enthusiasts as Leo Skeletor. Naturally, I decided that I needed to turn this into a new character, as is my custom:

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I’ll be the first to admit, this one is kind of a stretch. I took a look at the original toy and decided that I would interpret his dark blue body as chain mail, and using the moniker “Leo” as a theme, I integrated lion-related imagery into his armor to differentiate him from Skeletor proper. After that, his personality and background quickly fell into place.

A not-so-brief note to the truest of He-Man die-hards–you will note that the character’s ring is modelled after the glow-in-the-dark skull insignia ring that was included with the Trap Jaw and Tri-Klops action figures. The ring has no official backstory or copy attached to it–however the symbol on it has popularly become known amongst fans as the “Grayskull symbol,” believed to be modelled after Castle Grayskull or the spirit of Castle Grayskull (a smokey skull-shaped apparition that appeared in several of the early mini-comics that were packaged with the action figures).

However, this explanation still didn’t quite sit right with me… the shapes projecting from the top of the skull insignia’s head were too pointy to be the battlements of Castle Grayskull, and were also far too regular to be wisps of smoke as per the spirit of Grayskull. To my eyes, the projections looked far more like three demonic horns. While all that could be perhaps dismissed as me looking at the ring’s visual cues too literally, something bothered me even more–the fact that the ring was included only with two of Skeletor’s best-known evil warriors. Why were they the bearers of the mysterious rings?

To make a long story long, I decided to go against conventional wisdom–the insignia is not a symbol of Grayskull in my interpretation. I don’t claim to be an expert, and this is all just for fun, so I hope you’ll all enjoy yourselves as the story of that insignia unfolds through the continuing profiles of my variant characters, moving from the classic Masters of the Universe line, to the New Adventures of He-Man, and beyond.

* * *

PROFILE: Hailing from the world Infinita, and serving the God-King of Infinita, HIGH PRIEST LEO is an alien warrior-cleric of the highest order. He was born of the same process that created Skeletor–given demonic powers and a terrifying skeletal visage through dark spellcraft and ritual scarring. Armed with a Havoc Staff (the traditional weapon of Infinitan priests) and accompanied by his winged mount MANTICORE, there is no zealot more fiercely devoted than Leo, whose famed exploits in the name of the God-King have earned him the title “the Lion of Infinita.” All who cross High Priest Leo’s path will bow to the will of the God-King of Infinita. HAIL INFINITA!

HISTORY: With no communications received from Eternia in years, Skeletor was declared a renegade, and the High Priest Leo was dispatched from Infinita to track down and report Skeletor’s whereabouts. His vessel damaged by a meteor shower, Leo crash landed somewhere in the jungles of Eternia, and began the long trek towards Snake Mountain.

Nearing the perimeter of Skeletor’s Fortress, Leo spyed Trap Jaw and Tri-Klops standing guard. With little effort, Leo stepped into the open and bested them both. As Trap Jaw lay on the ground groaning in agony, his prosthetic arm torn from its socket, Leo level his Havoc staff at Tri-Klops. Tri-Klops’s glaring red eye widened at the sight of Leo’s ring, bearing the insignia of the God-King of Infinita–a triple-horned black skull. “W-wait–there’s been a misunderstanding!” he stammered, as he fumbled through his belt pouch. Amused, the High Priest paused to see what attempt at bribery this Eternian could muster–though it did not matter, Leo would kill him one way or another. What Tri-Klops produced from his pouch was not gold or silver, but a blank ring. Tri-klops put it on his finger and held up his hand for Leo to see.

“Hail Infinita! Hail the God-King!” Tri-Klops cried. With a gleam of demonic energy, the triple-horned skull insignia materialized on Tri-klops’s ring. “We’ve been waiting for you, my lord.”

With great effort, Trap Jaw clumsily managed to put on a similar ring on his remaining good hand. He muttered the same invocation, and an identical insignia appeared on his ring as well. Leo stayed his hand, somewhat disappointed that he would have to spare these two Eternian wretches. “Tell me everything you know,” Leo demanded.

In the distance, a stealthy barbarian and his dreadlocked young ward strained to hear the conversation between the High Priest, the swordsman, and the cyborg. When the invader fell from the skies, they had shadowed him silently, ultimately tracking him to the fringes of Skeletor’s lands. The barbarian decided that they could no longer risk detection–it was imperative that this development was relayed to his allies in the capital.

Without a noise, Savage sneaked away, his protege on his heels.

* * *

Also posted here on my variants thread on the He-Man.org fan-art forum.

For my other “new characters from old variants” posts:

Horrible Post Title #954774: Two Heads Are Better Than One

Apparently I’ve been in a He-Man sort of mood? Here’s Two Bad, another of Skeletor’s minions:

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While Two-Bad was billed as a strategist, he was rarely played for anything but laughs. I think he has a lot of untapped potential, and if it were up to me, I would cast him in the role of a genius tactician, Skeletor’s third-in-command (after Evil-Lyn).

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including some of my previous sketches) is here.

Don’t Look A (Humanoid Robotic) Gift Horse In The Mouth

Today’s post is a long-delayed follow-up to my take on Stridor. It’s Night Stalker, now outfitted with the same humanoid transformation that I gave to Stridor. I drew Night Stalker with a slightly heavier build than Stridor, and some different details. He is armed with Asian weaponry as a nod to the fact that he was typically portrayed as the steed of Jitsu, Skeletor’s token Asian henchman. The pole-arm is a Pudao also know as a horse-cutter, and the swords are a set of Daisho. And I slapped a bat-cape on him because I have a tough time not giving cool villains bat-capes.
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His title of “Evil Armored Dragoon” owes to the fact that I found a definition that described a Dragoon as “a soldier trained to fight on foot but who transports himself on horseback.” This seemed like the perfect description for a transforming horse warrior. Elsewhere, I found that Dragoon or Dragoon Guard referred to heavy cavalry, which was appropriate to the bulkier look that I gave night Stalker.

Last but not least, the nerdy, in-depth bio:

* * *

PROFILE: A brilliant strategic mind and a brutally effective warrior, NIGHT STALKER is every bit the match for his brother Stridor. But where Stridor is gentle and merciful, Night Stalker is brooding and unforgiving. He adheres to a strict code of honor, but nonetheless believes might makes right. This harsh sense of honor has earned him the friendship and trust of the similarly dispositioned Jitsu.

Night Stalker is outfitted with standard Stridor-type weaponry (dual heavy laser cannons, and a rapid-fire hip blaster)–however, he prefers to engage in melee combat with his custom-made horse-cutter or Daisho swords. He commands a regiment of Equestris mercenaries with a few other renegade Stridor units mixed in.

HISTORY: Night Stalker was the first of the mass-produced Stridor units, and was groomed to be the original Stridor’s second-in-command. Although their personalities were like night and day, the two considered each other brothers and were a formidable team on the battlefield. In time, Night Stalker was promoted, and became commander of his own unit.

During a heat wave, Night Stalker and his troops were sent to perform crowd control in a town where drought and food shortage were causing riots and looting. They had been dispatched with the idea that their imposing stature would be enough to intimidate the angry mobs into submission–on the contrary, because of their greatly superior size and strength, the troops couldn’t act against the relatively weak humans for fear of harming them. Night Stalker had no choice but to withdraw his troops. However, the rioters had become increasingly aggravated, and Night Stalker and his troops found their backs against the city walls. A make-shift bomb was thrown, a nearby wagon transporting fuel was ignited, and the ensuing explosion brought the city walls down on top of the Stridors. All the troops under Night Stalker’s command were destroyed, and he himself was damaged almost beyond repair–there were no human casualties.

The incident changed Night Stalker forever. He blamed himself, feeling that had he used force to decisively end the conflict, his troops would still be alive. Why, he asked himself, should the strong suffer at the hands of the weak? Night Stalker became increasingly insubordinate, and finally deserted his post. Stridor tracked Night Stalker down and attempted to talk to his brother. Their conversation became heated, and Night Stalker lashed out; an intense duel ensued, and Night Stalker got the best of Stridor. He restrained himself from making the killing blow, and disappeared into the wildnerness.

Night Stalker became a mercenary, and occasionally a bandit. He eventually crossed paths with Jitsu–though the two were initially contentious, Jitsu saw that they shared a common worldview, and he recruited Night Stalker to Skeletor’s cause. Since then, Night Stalker has swayed a few other disillusioned Stridor units to join his forces.

Stridor remains determined to bring his brother back to the fold.

* * *

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here.

One Year Later!

Well, here we are–the one year bloggiversary of Oh Snap! The Friggin Amazing J.Ho Sketchblog. You see, bloggiversary is a super clever portmanteau of the word “blog” and the word “anniversary.” Have I ever mentioned that I hate the word “portmanteau?” What was I talking about?

Oh yeah, so, I’ve managed to stick it out for a year so far, without missing a single post, and I have no intention of stopping any time soon. If you had any idea how lazy/unmotivated/lethargic/quitty I am in RL, you’d be impressed. But whether or not you’re impressed, I thank you, Dear Reader for tuning in. Whether you’re a crony who’s known me since I was in grade school, or someone who randomly stumbled upon this blog, or anyone in between, I appreciate your patronage, and wish you a safe and happy New Year.

The inaugural sketch that I posted on this blog was Skeletor, and for today’s post, I’m continuing my series of He-Man/Skeletor variants turned into a new characters. Did you ever look at Terror Claws Skeletor and wonder, “Skeletor, why the hell are you wearing a metallic purple sports bra?” I don’t have a good answer for that question myself, but here’s a new character named Terror Claws, for whom a metallic purple sports bra seems more appropriate:

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The rough sketch for this one has been sitting around here foreverrr, so I’m glad I was able to finally use my holiday time off from ye olde day job to finish this (as well as a few other drawings, to be presented in the following weeks). Her face paint is definitely influenced by the Superman villainess Silver Banshee, but I think the face underneath as well her body type, both take after Trish Stratus (this was not intentional, just an observation I made after the fact). As usual, I tweaked with the colors of the original toy, adding some and switching some, hopefully creating a vibrant and visually pleasing recipe in the process. Oh, and as a bonus, I even drew her with the original toy’s alternate weapon:

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And the final touch–a painstakingly written bio, nerdily composed by yours truly:

* * *

PROFILE: Named after the sacred Infinitan artifact weapons which she wields in combat, TERROR CLAWS is the fearsome leader of Skeletor’s Elite–a group of powerful warrior-mages handpicked and trained by the Lord of Destruction himself. In hand-to-hand combat, her namesake claws can effortlessly rend through the toughest armored units of the Eternian military, and enhance her strength to a level possibly rivalling He-Man’s. In ranged combat, she wields a dragon-skull arm cannon, created by Dragon Blaster. Terror Claws is a seasoned magic-user as well, specializing in scrying, enchantments, and counterspells.

Terror Claws’ true power, however, is her ability to lead. Cool, collected, and meticulous, in Skeletor’s absence, she has been able to wrangle and lead Skeletor’s Elite, as well as his other forces. Even the mutinous Evil-Lyn cannot deny Terror Claws’ efficiency as a leader.

Unlike her fellow Elite, Terror Claws possesses a sense of honor that extends beyond her fealty to Skeletor. This “defect” did not escape Skeletor’s attention–on the contrary, he felt it would be a weakness that he could exploit to insure her continuing loyalty. Terror Claws has no obvious weaknesses, but it seems inevitable that she will be drawn into a confrontation with Evil-Lyn.

HISTORY: An orphaned Infinitan girl with no memory of her past, was brought to Skeletor’s attention because of her unusually advanced magic capabilities. Inexplicably drawn to her, Skeletor inducted the orphan girl into the Elite training program. In spite of being one of the later recruits, and one of the youngest, she rapidly rose through the ranks. Is her loyalty to Skeletor a true testament to the power of the Elite re-education system… or does Terror Claws have an as yet unrevealed motive?”

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Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here and the post is here.

For my other “new characters from old variants” posts:

Crouching Villain, Hidden Dragon… (Plus a BONUS Dragon-Related Review!)

Resuming my series of Masters of the Universe action figure variants re-purposed into new characters–today, I bring you Dragon Blaster Skeletor, now recreated as simply Dragon Blaster, another member of Skeletor’s Elite. I’ve dubbed his previously unnamed pet dragon Paralyzor, a name which comes from one of the international versions of the figure, known as “Skeletor Paralyzor.”

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To be perfectly honest, I’m really not crazy about how this one turned out. The drawing feels lethargic to me, and the skull-motif face paint just didn’t turn out the way I envisioned it. On the plus side, although I found it a struggle to get the colors to mesh, I think that part (at the very least) turned out reasonably well. This is one that I’ll need to revisit someday, but for now I’m just going to move forward. Super-nerdy character profile follows–but stay tuned (or skip ahead) for a bonus review!

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PROFILE: From a perilous cliffside, about a day’s ride from Snake Mountain, the air is sundered by fearsome draconic cries. The cliffside, riddled with a network of caverns, serves as a roost for Skeletor’s fleet of dragons. The evil warrior DRAGON BLASTER walks silently and authoritatively amongst the trained saurian killers, charged with their care and training. His training techniques are cruel and harsh, revolving around the gradual break down of each dragon’s will, accomplished partially through psychic conditioning. Dragon Blaster is a capable warrior in his own right, but prefers to let his ‘pets’ do the fighting. His favorite is a particularly vicious dragon named PARALYZOR, whom Dragon Blaster can only rein in with the aid of a bewitched collar and psionic chains. Paralyzor is named for his paralysis-inducing venom. In spite of his relatively diminuitive size, he is particularly pugnacious, and has frequently taken down fearsome beasts several times his size.

HISTORY: Dragon Blaster is, in his own twisted way, an idealist. Hailing from a long lineage of Infinitan dragon tamers, Dragon Blaster was raised on tales of Infinitan domination over man and beast alike. To him, the subjugation of dragons (who are perhaps the most powerful of all living things) is the ultimate symbol of Infinitan power. Skeletor, seeking to fortify his aerial cavalry, has taken advantage of Dragon Blaster’s idealism by painting a vision of utter Infinitan supremacy brought about by a fleet of dragons with numbers so great as to blot out the sun itself. Thus, in order to ressurrect his ideal of Infinita, Dragon Blaster has joined the ranks of Skeletor’s Elite. He cares little for the petty power struggles between ARMORAX and TERROR CLAW, nor is he interested in the machinations of Evil-Lyn or any of Skeletor’s other lieutenants–very simply, anyone who stands in the way of the Infinitan cause will suffer his wrath. However, in truth, Skeletor only feigns devotion to Infinitan ideals to secure the power of Dragon Blaster’s reptilian fleet. What will happen when Dragon Blaster discovers Skeletor’s true nature?

It is worth noting, that in his struggles against the forces of good on Eternia, Dragon Blaster’s vile enslavement of dragonkind has earned him the lifelong enmity of Granamyr.

* * *

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here and the post is here.

For my other “new characters from old variants” posts:

Oh yeah, speaking of dragons, I somehow tricked Jacob and Carrie into going to watch a certain dragon-y movie with me:

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Dragon Wars AKA D-War (In theaters now!)

Ok first up, I have to say, what’s up with the title? This was originally a Korean movie titled D-War, and according to Wikipedia (questionable, I know) the title in the North American release is D-War: Dragon Wars. Buuut… everything I’ve seen for the movie calls it Dragon Wars with D-War as a subtitle. And regardless of that little confusion, how is it that Dragon Wars (PLURAL) becomes D-War (SINGULAR) when abbreviated? Nonsensical.

Well, the movie makes just about as much sense as that crazy little rant I just had. Peppered with large doses of corny dialogue and bizarre leaps in logic, Dragon War must be seen to be believed. However, on the plus side, unlike the little rant I just had, Dragon Wars is filled with dragons! And wars! And dragon wars! Basically, you have to think of Dragon Wars as a Godzilla movie (which it essentially is).

Verdict: Awesome. There are bad movies (which are just no fun), and there are B-movies (which are both bad AND fun). This here, is a bona fide B-movie. Thankfully, the rest of the audience (all seven of them) found this as openly laughable as I did. It was a good time, I didn’t regret spending the money, and I got to see good special effects in the form of bad-ass dragon-y monsters destroying cities and fighting each other.

For More Giant Monster Goodness With A Mysteriously Plural “Wars” In The Title: You must watch Godzilla: Final Wars. Featuring modern versions of almost all of Toho‘s major monsters, Final Wars is mindless monster mayhem at its best. There’s even a battle between the true Godzilla and his ersatz american counterpart (from the lame Matthew Broderick version). For reals!

This Is Not A Good Title.

One of the websites that I would have normally used (to link useful reference pictures of action figures and so forth) was unavailable at the time of this post. I will update later when the site has returned. UPDATE: links to Battle Armor Skeletor and Accessory Pack added.

Another Masters of the Universe action figure variant re-purposed (by me) into a new character, this time it’s Battle Armor Skeletor, now known as “Armorax.” The name Armorax was just a last minute portmanteau of the words ‘armor’ and ‘axe.’

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The first thing that strikes me is the alarming similarity between the pose on this one and last Tuesday’s post. O_O This was totally unintentional and all I can say in my defense is that the two pieces were not drawn consecutively, and both were inked and scanned months and months ago. The posting of the two pieces in such close proximity is an oversight on my part–I have to admit, over the past several months I’ve been drawing dozens and dozens of gestures for He-Man characters (many of which have not been completed/posted yet) and it’s getting hard to come up with original poses. I can at least promise you that the next few He-Man illustrations will have varying poses.

Back to Armorax–the weapon he’s holding is somewhat based on an axe that Skeletor used in the pilot episode of the series, “The Diamond Ray of Disappearace.” I also had in mind the blue axe from the Accessory Pack. He has a bonus bat-cape to match my illustration of Skeletor, though Armorax’s cape is shorter because Skeletor outranks him (more on that in the bio below). Armorax has a “normal face” but wears a skull mask to show his allegiance to Skeletor (more on that in the bio as well). The idea is that he is from the same race as Skeletor, but lacks the mutation/deformity that Skeletor is cursed with. I also wanted to show some battle damage as a nod to the original action figure (whose chest armor would show gashes upon impact) but at the same time, I didn’t want to obscure the cool bat symbol too much. As a compromise, I gave him a nasty gash in his skull mask.

As for colors, the only noteworthy deviation from the original is the mask itself. I gave Armorax a mask of bleached bone to distinguish him from Skeletor’s yellowed skull.

* * *

PROFILE: Brash, cruel, and arrogant, ARMORAX is the perfect champion for Skeletor’s Elite. He is a virtually unparalleled melee fighter and combat spellcaster, and an excellent field tactician, though slightly lacking in experience. His chestplate, enchanted with his own dark magicks, provides him almost unlimited protection from physical attacks. His axe, imbued with sorcerous power by the evil powers of Infinita itself, is an artifact that was awarded to him by Skeletor himself. According to various rumors, his skull mask hides a horribly scarred face, or grants him the fighting spirit of a demon, or both. Neither of these rumors are true–in fact, he wears the mask as a sincere tribute to his master and mentor Skeletor, and his combat abilities are born of training and intuition. The scar on the mask comes from a particularly intense sparring session with Skeletor himself, and Armorax brandishes it proudly.

HISTORY: Skeletor’s Elite are a group of cabalistic disciples, trained by Skeletor himself. Perpetually distrustful of his lieutenants (and with good cause), Skeletor formed this loyal, tight-knit inner circle to seize the reins of power in the event of his extended absense. With the disappearance of He-Man and Skeletor, the Elite have revealed themselves, much to the dismay of Skeletor’s highest ranking evil warriors, Evil-Lyn in particular. Armorax was one of the first recruits, and of the first wave, the only to survive the fatal rigours of Skeletor’s training regimen. His loyalty to Skeletor is absolute, however he was dismayed to learn that being Skeletor’s named champion did not also grant him a position as leader of the Elite. TERROR CLAW received that honor, and Armorax is constantly smouldering with fury over this appointment. Armorax’s resentment of Terror Claw is a fracture in the Elite that Evil-Lyn has picked up on, and intends to exploit.

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Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here and the post is here.

For my other “new characters from old variants” posts:

Legal (Pad) Hi-Jinx

This is the doomsday scenario, people. I have been dealing with twelve-plus hour workdays, backed-up kitchen sinks, an apartment that now smells like garbage, and the usual BS. And yet, so unswerving is my fanatical devotion to the way of the blog, that here I am posting a dorky sketch of an 80′s cartoon character. It ain’t pretty, but it’s new, it’s in color (technically), and it’s here:

click above for larger view

Doodled this on an actual legal pad quite some time ago, scanned it in, added the shadow, type, and red eyes in Photoshop, and stored it away for a rainy day. Little did I know that the “rain” would be filthy, disgusting water, being regurgitated by my kitchen sink’s drain like vomit. Good times.

Gray skies are gonna clear up
Put on a happy face
Wipe off the clouds and cheer up
Put on a happy face

OH HEY, I ALMOST FORGOT…
Remember this post? Well thankfully, Charles got his computer in order, and he posted the mystical fish’s extensive background story, entitled “The Children of the Gods”!

Go read it! Go!

What is thy bidding, my master?

The title of today’s post is a quote from Star Wars (Empire Strikes Back, actually), though I’m just using it here because it seemed appropriate for the body language of today’s sketch:
click above for larger view

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including some of my previous sketches) is here.

This is Scare Glow, another of Skeletor’s thugs, who was introduced towards the end of the toyline, arguably after the franchise had “jumped the shark.” He was originally billed as the “Evil Ghost of Skeletor,” though this was never further clarified or confirmed in any official manner. It seems like fans generally agree that he is probably not Skeletor’s ghost, and that works fine for me. As a result, I have changed his title to “Evil Ghost Warrior.”

The drawing itself is actually several months old–after I completed Skeletor, I had a couple of failed attempts at Scare Glow that got as far as inks, but didn’t quite sit right with me… actually, those first few attempts just plain sucked. What you’re looking at is my third attempt, and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. The pose is meant to convey Scare Glow’s standing as I see it–one of the deadliest and most trusted of Skeletor’s minions. Anyways, this pic had been sitting in my hard-drive half-colored for months, and now here it is.

Before I sign off for the day, an anal retentive point that I want to address–Scare Glow’s weapon is frequently referred to as a scythe, and I’m sorry but that is hands-down, one-hundred percent wrong. A weapon does not automatically become scythe just because it’s wielded by a grim reaper-like character! I should however, clarify that I’m talking about the classic Scare Glow–the Scare Glow for the 200x revamp, actually did carry a scythe. But back to the classic version–I’ve also seen it referred to as a halberd, which is much closer, but still not quite right, because Scare Glow’s weapon lacks a spike at the head and a hook or thorn on the backside of the blade. I thought that it was a glaive, but this too was a mistake, as closer inspection revealed that a glaive’s blade is mounted on the end of the pole, not the side. Further investigation lead me to the lochaber axe, which is pretty close–but again, Scare Glow’s weapon lacked a vital component–a hook at the head of the pole. Finally, my research turned up the bardiche and the voulge–both seem like they could work, but I’m guessing voulge is the way to go.

Do we have any medieval weapons experts who can give us a verdict? Or maybe just a really well versed fantasy RPG fan?

Post Script: Sorry Buffy-fans, THIS isn’t a scythe either–alliteration does not make a scythe a scythe!

Face it jackpot, you just hit the tiger!

Tired. Posting Early. Please Enjoy:

My previous fan characters, Trakka, Rayn-Ja, Mekorset, and Starburst were all created for re-design challenges. My version of Stridor, could certainly be considered a fan character, but he too was created for a re-design challenge. Malbino was a fully formed character in my head, but the motivation to actually complete his illustration was for the sake of yet another challenge. However, my offering today is particularly nerdy, because it is a fan character, created by me, without any outside prompting whatsoever:

click above for larger view

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here.

War-Tiger is, of course, just a re-color and slight tweaking of He-Man’s fearless friend, Battle Cat. After I decided to give Faker a similar pet, natural colors seemed like a fitting contrast to Battle Cat’s outlandish pelt. I’m satisfied with the overall results of this illustration–particularly with the way War-Tiger’s color scheme matches Faker (see my version here, if you missed it). Sometime after I came up with this idea, I came across a picture of a bootleg (heh) He-Man toy that came with a yellow tiger Battle Cat in Red Armor–a picture of the item in question is linked in this post. Eventually I’m going to have to come up with a name and backstory for that version too!

* * *

PROFILE: WAR-TIGER is a terran tiger of unusual size, power, and intelligence, as a result of specially prepared treatments administered to him by Skeletor himself. He and Faker apparently share a limited psychic bond, which Skeletor and Evil-Lyn can find no explanation for. Unlike Battle Cat, War-Tiger cannot speak, though it is clear that he can understand Faker’s commands.

HISTORY: When Skeletor’s inner circle travelled to Earth in an attempted negotiation with Carnivor’s Aracnos forces, Faker was separated from his party, and stumbled across an orphaned tiger cub. Faker found his way back to his allies, but the negotiations went poorly, and all-out hostilities were narrowly averted. However, Faker’s skill in combat and empathy for his newfound pet earned the deep respect of Felinor, General of the Aracnos Earth division. Since being brought to Eternia, War-Tiger has been raised to adulthood by Faker, and the pair has clashed several times with Battle Cat and He-Man.

* * *

Accept No Substitutes? ALSO: BONUS WALLPAPER!!!

The subject of today’s mega-nerdy post is Faker.

Faker’s original title was “Evil Robotic He-Man Imposter,” but in Faker’s single appearance in the classic He-Man cartoon, he was identical to He-Man and conjured by Skeletor with magic. Combining the technological and magical origins of Faker, and envisioning my take on the character as something of a cross between a zombie and a Terminator, I gave him the title “Evil Relentless Doppelganger.” Relentless is, of course, a nod to how Terminators are frequently described, and doppelgangers are creatures from folklore and, um, Dungeons and Dragons.

click above for larger view

This one is a little unusual for a few reasons–for one, I don’t usually render shadow with line art, and as you can see, one side of his face is pretty heavily hatched. Also, the way I drew and colored the highlights in his hair is different from the more simplistic way that I usually depict hair. I think it worked out alright.

Some notes on the colors themselves–the power sword is supposed to be a mystical construct, generated by Faker’s battle aura. This was an idea I came up with to explain why Faker’s sword would be bright orange. Faker’s green gem and green eyes are supposed to be a callback to my take on Skeletor–if you refer back, you can see that I colored Skeletor’s gem green as well. The idea is that the gem is not merely for show, and serves some kind of mystical function. Since Faker was always something of a cross between He-Man and Skeletor, perhaps it is through the twin gems that Skeletor imbued part of his essence into Faker. If you look to this week’s earlier post, you can see that I gave Evil-Lyn a green gem and green eyes as well–the idea is that she’s drawing on a similar source of power as Skeletor.

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including some of my previous sketches) is here.

I spelled “doppelganger” wrong in the picture. I’m too lazy to change it. I am a bad person.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL

With today’s post I’ve completed color sketches of Skeletor’s primary cronies, which is something of a mini-landmark achievement for me. I had always intended to try and make a wallpaper out of them, so here it is, dear reader:

click above for 1280 x 1024 (Fullscreen)

click above for 1920 x 1200 (Widescreen)

As my sketches accumulate, you can expect more themed wallpapers in the future. Enjoy, and let me know what you think.

Also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums in this thread.

Post Script: In case you missed it, I posted a DVD review on Wednesday. Check it out!

Evil, I’ve come to tell you that she’s evil, most definitely…

It’s Evil-Lyn, Skeletor’s most competent lieutenant. And the only skirt who lives in Snake Mountain. Jury’s out on whether or not she and Skeletor have a thang going on.

click above for larger view

I confess, I am not crazy about how this one turned out. The colors are alright, but the pose is awfully awkward. I actually did a lot of futzing with this in Photoshop, adjusting the position of her arms and literally rearranging her face. The result is better than what I started with, but nothing to write home about. In the plus column, I do think I did a decent job of giving her distinct facial features while keeping her attractive, yet evil-looking.

This was also posted on the He-Man.org fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including some of my previous sketches) is here.

Pencil-Ninja happened to be having an 80′s cartoon Art Jam over at Deviant Art so I submitted this to him as well. Check out the other entries here.

Fun Fact: Evil-Lyn has white hair–this was first revealed in the episode “Witch and the Warrior.”

Here Comes A New Challenger!!!

A different kind of contest this time around, at the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The challenge this time was to create an original “evil warrior.” This challenge was put out by the awesome action figure customizing group COTU (Customs of the Universe), and they’re actually offering some prizes. Contest thread is here, and my post is here. Semi-final voting thread is here. I didn’t win, but I was one of the runners-up, and COTU generously offered up prize packages of custom Masters of the Universe accessories! Photos to come in a future post.

And, my creation:

click above for larger view

Malbino is constructed from the following parts:

  • Beastman head
  • Skeletor torso and arms
  • Tri-Klops armor
  • Man-E-Faces pelvis
  • Sy-Klone legs
  • Weapons Pack Power Sword

I already had this character pretty fleshed out in my head before I heard about the contest. The original motivation behind creating Malbino is that I wanted to create characters to wield the various accessories from the classic weapons pack. I hadn’t planned on getting around to this sketch for a while, but COTU’s contest seemed like a perfect place to present Malbino. The pose and concept are very similar to my version of Felinor, due to the fact that the existence of each character revolves around a duplicate Power Sword. And the name is, of course, a terrible pun in the great tradition of Masters of the Universe. Whaddaya know, I just happen to have a complete background written up for him:

* * *

PROFILE: MALBINO is a virtually unrivaled master of stealth and the sword. His sole concern in life is furthering his mastery of the blade by annihilating any and all who would be his rivals. As a result, he is unapologetically belligerent, even towards his so-called allies. He is armed with a replica of He-Man’s power sword, forged by the same master sword-maker who created Felinor’s counterfeit blade. It is unknown exactly how many of these forgeries exist. Intense light has been known to blind Malbino temporarily, but due to the fact that he is an expert blind-fighter as well, this knowledge is of little use.

HISTORY: Originally hailing from one of the most remote corners of Eternia, Malbino studied swordplay under the same teacher as his bitter rival, Tri-Klops. He has travelled the world, seeking out and ruthlessly slaying anyone whom he considers a master of the blade. In spite of having carved a bloody path of destruction through the martial world of Eternia, Malbino is little known, largely due to the fact that he has no interest in public glory and rarely leaves witnesses. Having heard that his old rival is engaged in on-going conflict with He-Man, owner of one of the true power swords, Malbino travelled to Snake Mountain to offer his services to Skeletor, determined to kill the opponent that Tri-Klops has failed to defeat. Malbino’s violent and efficient methods earned Skeletor’s respect, and in spite of Tri-Klop’s warnings, Skeletor has made Malbino one of his lieutenants. However, the wandering swordmaster has no real interest in Skeletor’s conflicts, he is merely interested in finding more masters of swordsmanship to vanquish. In addition to He-Man, Malbino has set his sights on She-Ra, and a skirmish with the Aracnos forces introduced him to Felinor, whom he took great interest in, for obvious reasons. Even amongst Skeletor’s other lieutenants, Malbino has made few allies–he has nearly come to blows with Ninjor and Blade on numerous occasions. However, he has also told Tri-Klops this: “Out of respect for our Master, I will kill you last. For now, we are allies.”

* * *