Ultra Mega Super Post (CAUTION: contains He-Man related content)

Very quickly, for those of you who can’t get enough of me: Karen was kind enough to ask me eleven questions, and post my answers on the Paper Lotus Blog. I hesitate to call it an interview, because that would imply that people have any idea who I am or have any interest in what I have to say, but nevertheless you can read the post HERE.

Make sure you check out the rest of the Paper Lotus blog and Karen‘s own blog too! And in case you want to know what kind of a person Karen is, she gave me some cheeseless (vegan, I think?) macaroni and cheese today, and it was delicious.

Today’s post is another He-Man piece. Actually, it’s multiple He-Man related pieces combined into one giant montage for a re-design challenge at the He-Man.org fan-art forums. The subject is the Talon Fighter and Point Dread. The thread is here, my post is here. The voting thread is here–my entry landed first place!

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Woof, there’s a lot to cover here, so I’m going bullet-point:

  • The Talon Fighter is very close to the design of the original toy, but I gave it room for four (the toy seated two, but I seem to recall that it could carry more passengers in the classic cartoon–I may be wrong).
  • General notes on all Talon Fighters shown–the original toy had a handle, like a gun, so that kids could hold the Talon Fighter… um… like a gun, I guess. I replaced this “handle” with a tail section to make the fighter even more bird-like. I gave the legs, feet, and claws a more mechanized design, as I imagined them being used in combat, almost like a real bird of prey, thus making the name Talon Fighter even more appropriate. The clawed limbs can also be used to let the vehicles walk or climb. And I added racing stripes, which I feel are pretty sharp.
  • The Point Dread playset was a single tower, and source material from the era indicated that it was located on an island. I decided to portray Point dread as an entire outpost, used as a base of operations for the Talon Fighter (more on that below, in my in-fiction background material).
  • The Prototype XTF-1′s are based on the Monogram model kit version of the Talon Fighter. The box depicted the Talon Fighter in yellow and scarlet, but photos I’ve seen of the model itself have the colors reversed, hence the two versions shown. As far as changes, I added visible engine units, with air intakes, and gave the cockpit a two-seat configuration like something you might see in a military helicopter.
  • The TF-2 variations are all pretty self-explanatory. The standard version of the TF-2 has a small radar dish, not so different from the original Talon Fighter, while the Long Range Scout (TF-2LR) has a large dish, inspired by real life AWAC systems. Extrapolating from the colors of Man-At-Arms‘s uniform and the Wind Raider, I deducted that green/yellow/orange must be Eternian military colors–thus the coloring of the basic TF-2 model depicts “standard issue” coloration. The other TF-2 variations are depicted in colors from specific squadrons. Of particular note–the XTF-2E is colored to resemble either Zoar or the Sorceress.

Now, how about some in-depth, in-fiction info?

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Point Dread: In the distant days of King Grayskull, the children of Zoar the falcon god flew freely in the sky. These giant birds of prey were friends to good, and enemies of evil. Point Dread, was originally a meeting place for the children of Zoar and their humanoid allies, an outpost against the forces of evil. Today, Point Dread has been reclaimed by a small force commanded by Man-At-Arms, once again establishing an outpost against the many dangers that threaten Eternia. The giant perches where Zoar’s brood once roosted are now occupied by squadrons of Talon Fighters.

Talon Fighter: Talon, Zoar’s youngest child, was an ally and close friend of King Grayskull. He was widely known for his bravery, but also for his stubborn recklessness. Disobeying his father’s warnings of caution, Talon fell in battle, mortally wounded. Zoar would not heal his foolhardy and arrogant son, so King Grayskull ordered his followers to rebuild Talon’s body from sacred metal that had fallen from the skies. Even in his new form as the Talon Fighter, the son of Zoar was willful and reckless–only his good friend King Grayskull could calm him and fly him into battle. In the modern age, only He-Man can pilot the Talon Fighter, due to his genetic lineage to King Grayskull.

Talon, the Son of Zoar Reborn: With He-Man missing, and Eternia in dire need of heroes, Zoar has decided to give his brash son another chance to prove himself. Talon’s consciousness has been fully restored, and he can shapeshift freely between the the shape of the Talon Fighter and his new humanoid form.

Prototype XTF-1 (Experimental Twin-Seat Fighter): Charged with fortifying Eternian defenses in the face of invasion, Man-At-Arms has been researching new technologies from Point Dread. Seeking to duplicate the awesome power of the Talon Fighter in a more controllable form, Man-At-Arms and his team of scientists and engineers created the XTF-1. Mass-production of the XTF-1 was scrapped, but its creation did eventually lead to the development of the TF-2 series. Only two XTF-1′s are in existence, and are still used on a limited basis. The XTF-1 has speed and firepower comparable to the original Talon Fighter, but has slightly weaker armor, reduced maneuverability, and poor fuel efficiency.

TF-2 Series (Mass Production Single-Seat Fighters): With the help of newly discovered partial blueprints from the original Talon Fighter, and the Sorceress’s arcane knowledge, Man-At-Arms has successfully perfected a Talon Fighter design suitable for mass production. Faster, and drastically smaller, the TF-2 series are invaluable in the aerial defense of Eternia against the forces of evil. Several variations have arisen for specific uses, including the TF-2LR (Long Range Scout Fighter), and the TF-2H (Heavy Assault Fighter).

XTF-2E (Elite Space Fighter): Still considered to be somewhat experimental, though already approved for field use and eventual mass-production, the XTF-2E is the crowning achievement of Man-At-Arms’s Talon Fighter program. Capable of space flight, and equipped with the latest in hi-tech armaments, only 15 XTF-2E’s are in existence. Talon Fighter pilots are already regarded as elite amongst the Eternian military, and the pilots of the XTF-2E are regarded as the elite among the elite. Historians may also note that while Man-At-Arms and the Sorceress had begun to slowly rebuild their personal relationship during the development of the TF-2, it was during the development of the Elite Space Fighter that the two finally rekindled their long dormant romance.

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If you picked up the Simpsons reference in here, you get a gold star. Two gold stars if you know which episode it’s from.

Monsters of Breakfast (5 of 5): The Bite Stuff… PLUS WALLPAPER!

The Subject: General Mills cereal monsters.

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

It’s Halloween, and here’s the dude everyone has been waiting for–Count Chocula! Okay, maybe not everyone has been waiting for him, but the handful of people interested in this series of sketches have been waiting. Probably.

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Naturally, my interpretation of Count Chocula is based on his vampiric Darkstalkers counterpart, Demitri. This one was a lot of fun for me. I couldn’t tell you why exactly… it’s possible that I just enjoyed it more because it came together pretty easily. In particular, I’m happy with how the purply-brown color scheme and billowing cape turned out.

The pieces in this series were designed with a group composition in mind, so I’ve whipped up some wallpapers. For your convienience, both fullscreen and widescreen versions are available below. Happy Halloween!

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Monsters of Breakfast (4 of 5): Keep ‘Em In Stitches

The Subject: General Mills cereal monsters.

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

Now we’re finally getting to the heavy hitters–I present to you, Franken Berry! He’s alive… HE’S ALIVE!

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Rather than ramble on about whatever, I’ll let you all go about your business–you probably need to finish the last minute touches on your Halloween costumes. I’m dressing as a weirdo cartoonist who barricades himself in his apartment drawing obscure nerdy characters while watching cartoons and The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. I guess it’s not so much a costume as much as on-going performance art. On-going for the past 31 years.

Monsters of Breakfast (3 of 5): Ghost of a Chance

The Subject: General Mills cereal monsters.

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

In terms of recognizability, today’s subject probably falls on the median–surely many of you must be accquainted with Boo Berry. In terms of back-story, I imagine Boo Berry was a jazz singer (something of a dandy) from New Orleans, who got involved with some criminals and was killed. His ghost can be seen haunting the New Orleans night, singing mournful jazz ballads, and battling supernatural creatures with his powerful super moves and combos. I’m not sure where the blueberries enter into the equation.

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I’m unsatisfied with how Boo Berry’s ghostly aura turned out… it doesn’t really read.

Is anyone sick of my punny non-sequitur titles? I know I am, but I’ve set a precedent, so my hands are tied.

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.

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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.

Something for the Season…

I’m very excited–Dear Dracula, a 48-page hardcover children’s book, published by Image Comics, and created by my dear friends, Josh and Vinny, will be available for purchase this Wednesday (October 15, 2008)! If you can’t find it at your local comic book shop or book store, you might try Amazon.com.

The book tells the story of a funny kid named Sam, who’s obsessed with Dracula, and decides to write him a letter–honestly folks, a fantastic all-ages book, especially for the Halloween season.

In honor of this momentous occasion, I was inspired to cook up a little Dear Dracula fan art:

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I promised something more substantial today, and I delivered, right? I mean, come on, background, multiple characters, what more could you ask for? A better composition you say? Yeah, okay, this composition is a little weird. Bah, forget my fan art, just go buy the real thing. Seriously.

Laugh it up, Fuzzball…

I was playing with a sepia colored brush pen, and this is what happened:

That’s the not the actual piece of paper that I drew the wookie on, I just complusively felt the need to dress up this otherwise simple sketch. I confess, this is a somewhat lazy post. Let’s see if I can cook up something substantial for my next post.

Going Green (Part 4 of 4)

When I was kicking around this impossible-in-reality idea for the Green Lantern Corps, the idea of using alien species from non-DC Universe franchises, was really just for flavor–I had some actual plot ideas as well. The biggest plot point was that Sinestro would be reinstated into the Green Lantern Corps (as he had been during the events of Emerald Twilight). The key to this idea was that it wasn’t a short term turn of events to be quickly undone, rather it would be the new status quo–whatever his intentions, Sinestro would have been working with the good guys for an extended period of time:

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Believe it or not, I drew this sketch some time ago, long before the Rebirth storyline–so the resemblance to Sinestro’s current uniform is actually just a coincidence. Of course, as a result of the aforementioned Rebirth storyline, it would be difficult (if not impossible) to write a credible story rehabilitating Sinestro in any way, shape, or form. I’m okay with that, because not only do I dig Sinestro’s current uniform (I even drew it once… sort of), I think the storyline of the Green Lantern(s) has been hitting all the right notes in recent years. But if Geoff Johns ever gets sick of his job, I’ll be glad to take over.

Going Green (Part 3 of 4)

Today’s post is probably my favorite of the set (I know, I always seem to shoot myself in the foot by posting my favorite sketch in a set second-to-last, but there’s a good reason the next post is the last in the set). Anyways, here’s a rookie Rodian Green Lantern:

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For my first take on this guy (left), I gave him the traditional Green Lantern insignia, but on the second take (right), I gave him Kyle Rayner‘s insignia, to emphasize his rookie persona. The next post is NOT a Green Lantern whose species originates from outside the DC Universe.

Going Green (Part 1 of 4)

Let’s dial up the nerdiness here… a while back, I had an idea for the Green Lantern Corps which could never ever be officially made–the gist of it was to populate the Corps with aliens from various science fiction franchises. And even though it could never be officially produced, I still drew up a bunch of character designs. Yes folks, this is how I choose to spend my free time.

These sketches were done quite some time ago–for the first installment, a Skrull and a Wookie:

As you might notice, these are blue pencil sketches, hastily inked and colored with marker. I basically just wanted to get these down on paper, rather than stress out over them. I’m not trying to make excuses though–that Skrull’s foot is terribly contorted and way too big. The next installment will be better, promise.

Cue Jazzy Theme Music, Appendix (2 of 2): Solid as a Rock

Concluding a brief series that I started last time. I’ll dispense with the small talk–today’s post features a character who debuted in The New Adventures of Jonny Quest, Hardrock:

Hardrock was a living statue who joined up with Jonny Quest and friends. I honestly don’t know how to expand upon that. Oh well, here’s a clip:

In case you missed my take on the Jonny Quest cast a few months ago, here they are:

Cue Jazzy Theme Music, Appendix (1 of 2): Seeing Red

I posted my interpretations of the main cast from Jonny Quest a little while ago, and while I was working on those sketches, I waffled back and forth on including Jessie, a character who was introduced during The New Adventures of Jonny Quest, and later became a core member of the Quest team in The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest. She was originally depicted as a friend of the family, and was later retconned into being Race Bannon’s daughter. At any rate, here she is:

I honestly wasn’t trying to make her color scheme particularly “girly”–things just naturally went in that direction as I attempted to keep the colors consistent with her hair. Next time, I’ll treat you to the most obscure member of team Quest, hands down!

In case you missed my take on the Jonny Quest cast a few months ago, here they are:

The Man Himself

I’m showing my age again… here’s the Batman–not Bruce Timm and Paul Dini‘s, not Cliff Chiang‘s, not Christian Bale‘s, or Michael Keaton‘s. Not Bill Finger‘s, or Jim Lee‘s, or Alex Ross‘s, or Dustin Nguyen‘s, or Jeff Matsuda‘s, or Jeph Loeb‘s or Grant Morrison‘s, or Brian Bolland‘s. Not Bob Kane‘s, not Frank Miller‘s, and not even Darwyn Cooke‘s or Kevin Conroy‘s.

I love all those versions of Batman–but to me, this is the guy. The Batman of Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams:

He’s lean, he’s mean, he’s blue and grey, and he’s got the yellow oval (though I drew it a tad too big). And I’m waffling… he might sound like Kevin Conroy.

The Commish

I never followed up after mentioning that I was heading out to watch The Dark Knight. No surprise–I really liked it. What might surprise you, is that my favorite element in both movies is Gary Oldman‘s performance as Lieutenant Jim Gordon, later promoted to his trademark rank of Commissioner.

I drew this right after seeing the movie, but it’s only loosely based on Gary Oldman, drawn without looking at reference. More Bat-stuff next time. Perhaps even the Man himself?

TMNT Tuesdays (Part 4 of 4): Ravishing Reporter

When I titled last Tuesday’s Krang sketch, Brains Before Beauty, I meant it. Here’s the Turtle Boys’ resourceful (and foxxy) gal pal, April O’Neil:

Like the aforementioned Krang sketch, as well as Splinter, and Shredder, April is modelled after the 90′s cartoon version, and the title for this post is a tagline from one of April’s 90′s action figure incarnations. For those of you who are too young to remember this, reporters in the 1990′s were all extremely attractive women who wore brightly colored jumpsuits, usually made out of vinyl.

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This series illustrating TMNT supporting cast members follows a series from last year depicting the Turtles themselves:

(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.

TMNT Tuesdays (Part 3 of 4): Brains Before Beauty

My drawing of Splinter may have sent some mixed signals, and you might not have noticed the pertinent details in my depiction of Shredder–but today it should be perfectly clear that I’m drawing upon the 90′s cartoon version of the Ninja Turtles. Here’s Krang (with the Technodrome silhouetted in the background):

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This is my favorite of the current batch, which may be an unwise thing to say before I post the final one, but I’m satisfied with the others as well. There’s just something about the way the colors turned out on this particular one that makes me think I’m starting to get it. I’m also pretty happy with the irate parallel motion of Krang and his dopey android body.

This series illustrating TMNT supporting cast members follows a series from last year depicting the Turtles themselves:

Ridiculous.

Excitement and intrigue follow you closely wherever you go!
Lucky numbers 12, 14, 17, 27, 30, 45

Really, fortune cookie? Really??

Just a little painting practice in Photoshop, with a random subject. I looked at a fortune cookie for reference, but this isn’t a depiction of that exact cookie. If that makes any sense. I mean, it makes sense to me, but it might not make sense to you.