Star Wars Lite (5 of 6): If you buy a translator be sure that it speaks Bocce…

I was just reading over the past few posts and realizing how monotonous I have become with saying how I had nothing to say. And yet, I have nothing to say! Here’s C3-PO:

See you on Friday for the conclusion of this series. I’m not sure what will follow immediately, but I have a bunch of Street Fighter pieces in the works, a neverending supply of He-Man stuff (naturally), and a smattering of other random nerdy sketches. And as always, thanks for looking in!

Star Wars Lite (1 of 6): That little droid and I have been through a lot together

Plug first, sketch second–you all know my crony/chum Hammers, right? He’s better known to the world as Nathan Hamill, and he’s been interviewed on regarding his participation in the most recent series of Star Wars Galaxies trading cards. Click HERE to read it.

Notably, the article mentions a non-Star Wars item–Nathan’s upcoming foray into designer toys, with a bad-ass vinyl racoon. You read correctly, a bad-ass vinyl racoon.

And as an unintentional coincidence, I’ve prepared a series of Star Wars sketches for the next few weeks. Here’s R2-D2:

You can imagine what might be coming up in the ensuing weeks. And if Star Wars isn’t your cup of tea, you philistine, stay tuned for more Street Fighter and He-Man after I wrap these up.

Brought to you by the letter Q…

My love of obscure characters is no secret. In fact, I hardly ever shut up about it. From Street Fighter III, here’s the mysterious Q:

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Q doesn’t exactly fit in with the assorted commandoes, kickboxers, and karatekas of the Street Fighter universe. Judging by his name and face mask, he appears to be based on Shotaro Ishinomori‘s character Robot Detective K. However, he also bears a strong resemblence to Mitsuteru Yokoyama‘s character Iron Mask (from Babel II), and Osamu Tezuka‘s character Pero (from Astroboy and Metropolis).

Incidentally, all three of the mangaka that I just mentioned were contemporaries. Ishinomori was Tezuka’s assistant at one point (this is well documented), and I’ve read the same thing about Yokoyama (but I couldn’t find a reliable source on that). If you’re a fan of manga, anime, tokusatsu, or even Japanese-made video games, I highly recommend that you check out the works (and derivations there of) of Tezuka, Ishinomori, and Yokoyama. Their influence on is tremendous, and continues to this day.

Think of him as "Malibu Ryu"

The Street Fighter fan art deluge continues–in sharp contrast to the subdued Ryu, here’s Ken:

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This turned out better than Ryu did, but the forced perspective was still unconsciously blunted by my inner desire for boredom.

Red Hot

If my sketch of Ryu represents the Street Fighter franchise in general, today’s sketch represents the most recent installment. Fresh from her debut in Street Fighter IV, here’s Crimson Viper:

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When I first saw the screenshots of this character, I wasn’t that impressed. Her braid seemed a bit too reminiscent of Cammy, while her outfit seemed more appropriate to Street Fighter’s rivals over at the King of Fighters series (not that I have anything against King of Fighters, it just felt like an odd fit). Well, a few rounds of unleahing her bad-ass flaming split-kick (quarter circle back + kick, executable in mid-air) changed all that. Now I’m totally won over by her extravagant pompadour, her Morpheus-esque nose-pinching sunglasses, and yes, her tremendous knockers.

You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance

A few weekends ago, I had a chance to play Street Fighter IV at a friend’s house. Had I been wearing socks while playing, those socks would in fact have been knocked off.

I’m a big fan of Capcom in general, and of their fighting games specifically–however, playing Street Fighter IV really pushed those characters and that franchise to the forefront of my thoughts. I find myself humming the music constantly. My mind has been desperately trying to create scenarios where I can justify buying the game itself, a console, a new television, and two tournament quality arcade sticks. Of course this is all going on while I draw fan art until the sun rises. Here’s Ryu, perhaps the single best-known of the Street Fighter cast:

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I’m going to be honest with you… this one didn’t turn out terribly well. The perspective was supposed to be much more forced and dramatic, but I have this problem where apparently my brain strives desperately for mediocrity, and while drawing, I unconsciously make things moderate and boring instead of extreme and dynamic. Regardless, it’s nice to draw a character like Ryu every now and then–he’s very recognizable in spite of being so visually plain. Those factors make me feel comfortable drawing him from a rare rear view, because I don’t feel like we’re missing any interesting costume details from this angle, and I’m also confident that he’ll still be indentifiable. I thought that showing Ryu’s back turned helped emphasize his aloof demeanor. Likewise, I tried creating poses-reflecting-disposition in the other Street Fighter pieces I drew… which will be flooding this blog shortly. Stay tuned!

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:

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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.

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

Think of the Children!

Drawn for the charming young offspring of an old friend:

A rare foray into traditional media–loosely sketched with a blue pencil, inked with a brush pen, and colored with a random assortment of color pencils.

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 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:

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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…

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Number Sixteen

Abraham Lincoln‘s birthday was yesterday, and Monday we observe President’s Day here in the States, so:

The blog has been a little lethargic recently, due to my preoccupation with plagues and unusually large apples inhabited by millions of people… I’ll be back next week with something elaborate and nerdy, more befitting what you have grown to expect of me.