Help The Cheerleader Commissions, Round 2!

Here’s the second round of commissions that I’ve finished for Help the Cheerleader. To read more about my involvement with this fundraiser, please CLICK HERE.

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From left to right:

I will continue to post new commissions next week! And even though commissions are closed for now, remember it isn’t too late to donate to Help the Cheerleader.

Help The Cheerleader Commissions, Round 1!

So I’m posting on a Sunday for what was supposed to be a Friday post. But at least my post was late becauseI was actually drawing, right? Right?? Anyone?

Anywaysss…

Here’s the first round of commissions that I’ve finished for Help the Cheerleader. To read more about my involvement with this fundraiser, please CLICK HERE.

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From left to right:

Status of commissions:

  • 18 commissions FINISHED.
  • 19 commissions inked and ready to be colored.
  • 21 commissions pencilled and ready to be inked.

We rollin’. Come back this Friday to see more commissions. And I’ll be prepared to post on time!

MACHO WEEK!!! (Part 3 of 3, So long Randy, and thanks for all the Slim Jims)

There used to be a cartoon called Powerpuff Girls, and before that there was a cartoon called Dexter’s Laboratory, and that cartoon featured a segment called Dial M for Monkey, and one of the best episodes of that segment of that cartoon was titled, “RASSLOR.” Macho Man Randy Savage guest-starred as the eponymous Rasslor, a masked neon-hued wrestler whose power was on a cosmic level.

So, here’s Rasslor executing a Macho-esque flying elbow:

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And thus does MACHO WEEK draw to a close. I’ll be back to “normal” posts next week. Until then, have a great weekend, and stay macho, my friends.

Tough As Nails

Real quick like: For those who enjoyed the step-by-step walkthrough from the last post, I’ve compiled it into a single huge image file–you can get it on my DeviantArt account here.

But back to today’s post…

I yammered on forever in the last blog, so I think I’ll try to keep it brief today. It’s Red Claw from Batman: The Animated Series:

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During a typically nerdy late night conversation, I was talking about B:TAS with Josh, and was reminded of this bad-ass villainess, so I decided to draw her. Sometimes it’s just that simple!

Anyone remember these guys?

Here’s one for Southern California locals…

Back when I was a kid (we’re talking the eighties here, bear with an old-timer), there used to be a chain of hardware stores called National Lumber. Contrary to their name, I believe they were in fact, not national, but a local phenomenon. They were most recognizable for their two cartoon mascots, Shorty (a man in overalls and a painter’s cap) and Cheap Chicken (obligatory wise-ass animal sidekick). National Lumber’s catalogs and mailers were peppered with comic strips and gags featuring Shorty and Cheap. It wasn’t amazing material, corny with crudely executed art–but it was pretty funny stuff for hardware flyers! And as a kid with a modest allowance, who had to scrape together 75 cents to buy a “real” comic book, those catalogs were a good diversion while I was trying to gradually accumulate three quarters. National Lumber even had a series of commercials, featuring Shorty and Cheap in animation, and their catchy jingle:

It’s the good stuff, at the right price,
Na-tio-nal Lum-ber!

Whenever my parents needed something from the hardware store, I would ask them if they were going to National Lumber. The answer invariably was no, due to their prices and/or geographical distance. Well sadly, National Lumber went out of business, sometime in the mid-to-late eighties. I probably hadn’t thought of Shorty and Cheap Chicken in over a decade, but someone at work brought them up, and we looked up the commercials on YouTube.

After being reminded of these obscure characters, I naturally felt the need to draw my take on them:

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This was a lot of fun, and actually quite a challenge. In situations like this, I typically don’t like to do draw the characters in their native style, because if you want to see that, you can go right to the source. But at the same time, you don’t want them to be unrecognizable. Hopefully this piece walks the line. I’m pretty happy with how the wood grain turned out, but I’m not so sure about the background color.

That jingle is gonna be in my head all day!

For more on National Lumber

  • See some photos on Flickr, here.
  • And watch some commercials on YouTube:

  • Plenty more commercials here.

Way Past Random

While I was sketching over the weekend, I had the Sonic Underground DVDs playing in he background (yes, my life is ridiculous). An episode came up with a cool-looking robotic hair-dresser named Do-Bot, so I decided to make a quick sketch of her. The sketch turned out okay, so I quickly colored her with some color pencils. And here she is:

I adjusted the scan so that the colors match the physical piece and added type–other than those small changes, I’m giving this one to you warts and all. Typically I’m overly-focused on over-producing slick artwork, but every now and then I get some artsy notion that it’s cool and “raw” to show off the gritty details of reality, like the gibberish on the scratch paper that I drew on.

Lately I’ve been feeling the need for a more tactile sensation while producing my sketches, so maybe we’ll see some more quick and dirty traditional media in the near future? There’s no way to know for sure… I’m a wild card these days.

What’s a Skull Man?

Back in the 80′s, the action figure aisles were ruled by four archetypes–robots, commandoes, ninjas, and barbarians. Of the barbarians, Masters of the Universe was the most prominent line. A few other action figure brands wisely chose to mimic the proportions of Masters of the Universe figures, and marketed their lesser known figures as being compatible with all popular 5.5″ figure lines. Perhaps the best known manufacturer of such figures was Remco–they produced figures based on DC Comics’ Warlord, and the companion line to Warlord was The Warrior Beasts–which brings me to today’s post.

The Warrior Beasts consisted of a group of beastly humanoids and a few monstrous mounts who could all act as antagonists for your Warlord figures (or other 5.5″ action figures). But strangely, in the midst of this group of beasts and beast-headed humanoids, there was a skull-headed Skeletor-esque figure appropriately named Skull Man (not to be confused with a hero of the same name). Here’s my interpretation of the character, drawn to fit in with my various Masters of the Universe drawings:

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But how would he fit into the world of Masters of the Universe, you ask? Well, here’s some nerdy background info I concocted for Skull Man:

* * *

PROFILE: Cold and efficient, SKULL MAN is not only a mercenary, but an expert tracker and sleuth, armed with a cunning intellect. His hand-to-hand combat abilities hint at extensive training in martial arts from across the galaxy–this expertise allows his him to match up against opponents who would otherwise outmatch him in brute strength. Skull Man’s favored weapons are the bow and dagger.

HISTORY: The enigmatic mercenary SKULL MAN operates under his own rules, sometimes working for the forces of good, and sometimes working for the forces of evil. He has his own motivations, but those motivations are as unknown as his true identity. He has been known to operate in Skartaris, but most recently has been sighted on Eternia, allied with the Raqquill Rqazz’s personal army, the Warrior Beasts of Berserker Island.

* * *

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

Super-Obscure (Part 2 of 2)

In the late 80′s, Taito produced a Superman arcade game. Last Friday’s post depicted a female character who appeared in some unused sprites from said game–people speculate that she was intended to be a Player 2 sprite. The actual Player 2 sprite in the game was a red and grey palette swap of Superman.

Check out the original sprites in question here, and below is my own interpretation of Player 2:

This piece and the previous one were both drawn rather small, probably because they were done somewhat spontaneously. I interpreted the Player 2 Superman’s grey and yellow colors as silver and gold–in my opinion this clashed a little less. I was somewhat at a loss when it came to rendering the hairstyle of the unused Wonder Woman-esque character, but I finally settled on a somewhat anachronistic feathered Farrah Fawcett-esque style.

Who are these characters? Do they hail from an alternate reality known as Earth-Taito? Or perhaps they’re modified clones created from the DNA of Superman and Wonder Woman? Maybe they’re descendents of the heroes we know so well?

I’ve mentioned it on this blog before, but it bears repeating–I really love obscure characters. Obscure + mysterious is a bonus. I also have a fascination for bootleg toys (hence the blog URL), and these two characters have such a charming bootleggy/knock-offish quality about them, I can just imagine discovering cheap action figures of them in Chinatown.

Ape in a Cape

Drawn for a re-design challenge at the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The subject is Gygor, a never-made concept for a He-Man toy, as described by a former Mattel employee. Read up on Gygor, and check out the other entries in the challenge’s thread. My post can be seen here. First round polls are here and here. Final poll is here.

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It was tough making the colors from Gygor’s description work. Maybe they don’t work? On the other hand, the description of Gygor’s colors very much paralleled the garish colors of Battle Cat, so maybe if the colors don’t work that means they are working? Anyways, I designed Gygor’s helmet to mirror Battle Cat’s as well. The guns are all modelled on Stridor‘s armaments. The chair mounted on Gygor’s backpack should give you a sense of his scale.

A garishly colored giant gorilla decked out in a cape and high-tech energy weapons… hmmm… something’s missing. Oh, I know–how about some supplemental nerdy background info, written by yours truly? Here you go:

* * *

PROFILE: Standing at well over 13 feet tall, the ancient being known as GYGOR is one of the most powerful entities on Eternia. His physical strength surpasses that of He-Man, his wisdom rivals that of the Sorceress, and his knowledge encompasses aeons of Eternia’s rich history. His helm is made from the hide of a powerful prehistoric Eternian beast, and he is outfitted with a battle harness powered by an enchanted gem. The harness is armed with two heavy shoulder blasters, two hip mounted stun rays, and rotating light rapid fire blasters mounted on the back turret. Gygor rarely needs to rely on more than his brute strength and great wisdom, but he has also demonstrated powerful spellcasting abilities from time to time.

HISTORY: Gygor was already ancient in the days of King Grayskull, and in fact, records indicate that Gygor was a staunch ally and advisor to the legendary king. Allegedly, in modern day Eternia, Gygor has been sighted travelling towards Castle Grayskull. Has Gygor returned to aid the heroes of the land in the dark times that have descended upon Eternia? Only time will tell…

* * *

That Girl(?) is Poison

Today’s post is for yet another re-design challenge at the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here, my post is here. The first round voting threads are here and here (my entry didn’t get enough votes to proceed), and the final vote is here.

Apparently, in an issue of the UK He-Man comics, Hordak disguised himself as the “Dream Mistress,” and tried to deceive Stonedar… Stonedar didn’t fall for it (lucky for him). [Place your own cross-dressing joke here]

I chose to interpret the Dream Mistress as a shapeshifting entity who works for Hordak as a spy and saboteur. Here she/it is, in both Horde (right) and non-Horde (left) garb:

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The non-Horde version isn’t significantly altered, so I threw in the Horde version as a re-design (or alternate costume, at the very least). The pose is rather generic, pretty much just a minor variation of a standby that I go to when drawing women (or shapeshifters that look like women). I was a bit short on time for this one.

Monsters of Breakfast (2 of 5): Fur Real

The Subject: General Mills cereal monsters.

The Twist: Drawing them in the style of Capcom‘s fighting game franchise, Darkstalkers.

Today, I present the most obscure of the General Mills monster pantheon, Fruit Brute. You will note that I maturely refrain from making any jokes about his name.

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I basically drew Fruit Brute as a palette swap of Jon Talbain wearing overalls. Horrible, multi-colored overalls, as per the source material. So, yeah… werewolves are cool.

._.

Monsters of Breakfast (1 of 5): All Wrapped Up

The Subject: General Mills cereal monsters.

The Twist: Drawing them in the style of Capcom‘s fighting game franchise, Darkstalkers.

The Reason: I love Capcom’s character design style. Capcom’s art direction is amongst the most influential in video games in general, and particularly with 2-D fighting games. I often find myself looking at a random character and wondering what it would look like as a character in a Capcom fighting game. So, fusing that mode of thinking with breakfast cereal and the Halloween season, here we are.

First up, Yummy Mummy:

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I kept Yummy Mummy’s basic colors, but rather than giving him multi-colored bandages, I redistributed those colors to parts of his re-designed costume. The added accoutrements are based loosely on those of Anakaris (the mummy character from Darkstalkers). The ceremonial thingy (i think that’s the technical term) draped over his shoulders looks awkward–I was trying to emulate the geometric, almost blocky quality of Anakaris’s design, but it didn’t quite work out.

(indecipherable snarling)

I had no luck finding it on Youtube, but back in the day, Cartoon Network used to run a hilarious commercial featuring Thundarr the Barbarian and Ookla the Mok. To the best of my recollection, it went a little somthing like this:

Cheesy sax music plays in BG.

OOKLA: (indecipherable snarling)
THUNDARR: Ookla, I think you’re very handsome.
OOKLA: (indecipherable snarling)
THUNDARR: No, really.

That will probably be a lot funnier to you if you are familiar with the characters. Here’s Ookla:

Ookla the Mok, for those who don’t know, was actually designed by the late great Alex Toth. Toth is best known for designing Space Ghost, and while he is very much regarded as an artist’s artist in comic book and animation circles, really he was a master of drawing, period. Be sure to check out the image gallery at the official Toth website.

Big Brother Is Watching (Triple Post!)

(Posting early… )

For a re-design challenge at the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The thread is here, my post is here. The first round voting polls are here and here, and the final vote can be found here–I placed 4th out of the finalists.

The subject this time around is Horde Prime, Hordak‘s brother and leader.

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The scene in the center is a revision of my previous drawing of Horde Prime–in fact, the secondary head and the silhouette of Hordak on the platform were both directly lifted from the original piece. The figures on the left and right, however, are all new. The entire basis for my interpretation of Horde Prime is the theory that Horde Prime himself was the basis for the symbol of the Horde. The little guy on the left is based on an accessory that came with the original Hordak action figure. The throne room in the center piece is based on scenes from the cartoon. Finally, the Horde Prime on the right combines elements of Hordak’s costume (cartoon version) and the UK comic book version. In-fiction descriptions follow…

* * *

Horde Prime’s Throne Room (center): Centuries before the Horde invasion of Etheria, Horde Prime engaged the heroic champion Light Hope in a battle of apocalyptic proportions. The battle ended in a stalemate, both combatants having received near-fatal wounds. Light Hope sacrificed his wounded physical form to become caretaker of the Crystal Castle and protector of Etheria. His power was greatly increased but his new discorporate form was bound to the castle itself.

Meanwhile, suffering under the effects of Light Hope’s powerful magic attacks, Horde Prime found himself crippled and trapped in his giant form, unable to shapeshift back. He retreated to his flagship, the Velvet Glove, and there, with a combination of advanced Horde science and pirated Infinitan magic, his servants built a sarcophagus-like regeneration chamber. The chamber, combined with Horde Prime’s shapeshifting abilities, allowed him to slowly form a new body, gestating within the colossal rotting husk of his old form. This embryonic body often manifested itself as a secondary head, sprouting from the eye socket of Horde Prime.

Horde Prime’s twisted body renewed itself in a twisted mockery of life and birth over the course of centuries, and in the meantime he plotted revenge against Light Hope and Etheria (it was during this time that Horde Prime’s younger brother and trusted disciple Hordak became the de facto leader of the Horde).

Horde Familiar (left): Through the use of his shapeshifting and magical abilities, Horde Prime can focus his life force to temporarily create a small demonic familiar to act as a spy or messenger. Horde Prime can see through the eyes of these creatures, and act through them. These extensions of Horde Prime were generally reserved for the gravest situations, such as delivering critical information to Hordak without risk of interception. Many rebels have made the fatal mistake of judging Horde Familiars by their relatively small size, failing to realize that a creature with even just a fraction of Horde Prime’s cosmic power is still a formidable foe.

Horde Prime Reborn (right): With the revelation that the two most powerful beings on Eternia (He-Man and Skeletor) had disappeared from the planet, Horde Prime realized that it was the time to strike. Forcing an acceleration of his regeneration, through arcane lore and untested science, Horde Prime is reborn! The cruel leader of the Horde is still regaining his god-like levels of power, but even still he is perhaps the most feared being in the universe. While Hordak holds the Etherian front, Horde Prime leads the invasion of Eternia. Horde Prime seeks nothing less than the utter subjugation of He-Man’s homeworld, after which he will return to Etheria to crush his old enemy Light Hope.

* * *

If this were a toy, I would see Horde Prime’s throne room as a playset, with his giant form being molded into the facade of the regeneration chamber, and his giant arm being a spring-loaded capture claw. Of course, the highly sought-after Horde Prime Reborn action figure would be packed in exclusively with the playset.

It Takes Guts!

(Posting early… )

If your travels don’t bring you within certain specific nerdy circles, today’s post will be particularly obscure. Basically, in the early 70′s, the large sized GI Joe line gave rise to a toyline in Japan called Henshin Cyborg (in which Henshin means “transformation”). Henshin Cyborg eventually gave rise to Microman, which in turn gave rise to Diaclone, and then Transformers. And in fact, Microman’s 3.75″ scale figures had probable influence on GI Joe converting to that scale in the 80′s, bringing things full circle, but I digress.

Today’s post is Dokuro King (dokuro is Japanese for skeleton, incidentally), a villain from Henshin Cyborg:

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I drew this some time ago, shortly after the Skeletor sketch that I used to launch this blog. Back then, my thinking was focused on skull-themed villains rather than He-Man in general, believe it or not. The coloring was something I only got around to recently, and hopefully it is clear that his guts are visible through his transparent purple body, as per the original toy. As is my custom, I have given a bad-ass villain a bat-cape, in the hopes of making him even more bad-ass. hopefully you will find this to be the case. In retrospect, I wish I had deviated from the toy and drawn a skeleton under the King’s transparent skin as well.

There will be more skull-themed villains and Henshin Cyborg to come in the future, I assure you–though it might not be soon.

For More on Henshin Cyborg and Dokuro King:

  • To see a photo of the original Dokuro King toy, go here and scroll to the bottom. And more general Henshin Cyborg info can be found here.
  • And check out Visible Innards for an excellent Henshin Cyborg-centric forum.

The Other Bat Sidekicks (Part 2 of 2)

Finishing up this two-part series, it’s Bat-Mite, Batman and Robin’s number one fan from another dimension:

If anyone from DC editorial is reading this, please hire me to write and draw a new Bat-Mite series, co-starring Ace the Bat-Hound. Thank you.

Sincerely,
J.Ho

Post Script: Here is a wallpaper as incentive, conveniently available in both fullscreen and widescreen:

click above for 1280 x 1024 (Fullscreen)

click above for 1920 x 1200 (Widescreen)