Skip to content

“That’s right, Woodchuck-Chuckers!”

2013/06/14

Mim 130614

Sorry I haven’t been updating. A lots been going on. For instance, I’m in the middle of moving right now. Anyway, I’ve had a tablet for a bit but only used it sparingly to color things. Being a tight linework-oriented guy, I had a hard time with it cooperating with line qualities being super sensitive & shaky & the disconnect. Today, something suddenly clicked & I did this in the span of about 50 minutes. There’s room for improvement & tightening, but that’ll come with time & practice.

For an upcoming project. You may have seen her before. Her power is Groundhog’s Day.

30Characters 2011

2012/12/31

I never got around to posting these. That’s been part of the hold up with new updates. Now that I’ve finally got these formatted & ready to go, I’ve got this year’s ready to post as well. So let me just get into it. At a certain point, I just started cutting & pasting from the original post at the time. They might be in the context of me in the midst of trying to get these posted as quickly as possible during the challenge itself, so sorry if that seems confusing. But enjoy…

Here’s the first one. The girls are just for ambience:

On the surface, Red Gokaider (formerly Zach Clarke) seems to lead quite a glamourous life. Supermodels. The Hottest Clubs. Multimillion Dollar Endorsement Deals. But looks can be deceiving.
The real story of Red began six years ago. Leading the rest of the Glorious Gokaider Squad into a final, epic battle with their mortal enemy, the Deacon of Demolition, Red prepared to peform his trademark finishing move, the Heaven Splitting Asteroid Kick. Upon delivering the attack with pinpoint accuracy, the Deacon focused his last remaining bit of power on Red’s Transforming Transmogrifier, hoping to cause a cataclysmic explosion & bring, Red, the rest of the Gokaider Squad, & most of the downtown with him. And while it resulted in a pretty modest blast, everyone but the Deacon managed to survive. Red seemed to remain completely unscathed. That was until his fellow Gokaiders started to revert back to their human forms. With his Transmogrifier completely blown, Red realized he was trapped in his Super Sentai form.
College came for the others, & the team went their separate ways, leaving Red behind. Rumor has it, a replacement device’s in transit, but still at least a dozen lightyears out. In the mean time, Red chose to embrace whatever fame the Gokaiders obtained, puts in public appearances, endorse Suntory, & occasionally thwarts some minor nefarious threat to stay relevant. But as time goes on, the celebrity lifestyle offers less & less consulation. More than anything, he just wants to retire, leave the public eye, & go back to leading a normal life. So much so that lately, he’s beginning to lash out.

Slow computers conspired to keep me from posting this on the first day. But here’s my first entry. Anyway, I’ve been itching to do a Sentai character for a while. On my list of jump-off ideas,  I had ‘Suave Power Ranger.’ And I like the idea that he was once this super altruistic do-gooder, but he’s slowly losing his grip on sanity & could slip & pull a 180. The one conceit is that it’s more of an Ultraman kind of transformation, so it’s not just a helmet & spandex he can take off at will.
I have no immediate use for this guy, but I dig the concept. I might end up using him as an Entervoid character.

Years ago, someone in the US Government decided that the most powerful nation on Earth needed an equally powerful team of superhumans to help defend it. So a secret project was started in hopes of creating a national superhuman defense task force from scratch. Billion dollar contracts went out to both defense & pharmaceutical firms, & everyone set out trying to build a better human. After years of research & wasteful spending, the first success story emerges: PFC Regina Carter.

All it took was a simple tweak to her bioharmonics, and like a light being switched, Carter’s psychokinetic potential had been awakened. Working with vibrational frequencies, not only can she manipulate objects with her the power of her mind in the traditional telekinetic sense, she also possesses a spatial awareness so acute, that operates almost like mental sonar. And while she can use her powers to mimic abilities like flight & superstrength, it seems intense heat is generated if she focuses on an object for too long. And while this does also grant her limited pyrokinesis, it’s a bit hard for her to maintain levitation for more than a couple of minutes before overheating & the fear of spontaneous combustion starts to set in.

But before she could ever properly put her newly developed skills to the test, Senate slashed all funding on Superhuman R & D in a round of massive budget cuts. However, still driven by a sense of duty, Regina’s forced to take her superheroic potential to the private sector. Need a hand?

This character was unique for me in that I didn’t know what I wanted exactly as much as I knew what I didn’t want. I was looking to create a flagship-style female superhero, but avoid a lot of the trope bullshit you find in superhero books. I think the biggest source of inspiration for her were mostly all the missteps DC took when resetting their whole Universe, as that was pretty fresh at the time. For the most part, beyond artist error, I think she’s realistically proportioned. She’s not some crazy sexpot, so she could easily serve as a role model. And just because she’s black doesn’t mean she’s “from the mean streets” or the analog for some white character.

In the far future, a small, but devout Tibetan Buddhist sect insists that this particular cyborg’s organic system, while vat-grown & mass produced, is the reincarnation of a great scholar. It is the sixth cyborg in this particular lineage. This one, however, was created by the former PRC as a soldier (the ‘shaolin’-style forehead markings are actually data ports to facilitate programming). It’s never really said anything of major importance since its synthetic development renders it mute. But that hasn’t kept the monks from venerating it for the past one hundred & three years.

At the time, this one set me back a bit. Which sucked for day 3. It was the folds in the robe & trying to come up with tech I was happy enough with. But in order to break the uncharacteristic superhero streak, I decided to veer more cyberpunk.

It was late one night when Peter Longtalon was driving his wife & daughter home from a party with friends. Taking a shortcut through Hollow Tree National Forest, his truck was blocked by an overturned camper in the middle of the road. Forced to stop, Pete got out to inspect the accident seeing if anyone needed help. Instead, he was attacked by an eight foot tall beast. That was the last thing he saw.
One month later, Pete came to in a hospital bed. His sight was gone, & so was his family. According to the police report, Pete had crashed into the wreck, flinging him from the vehicle. The bodies of his wife & daughter were unaccounted for, believed to have either been thrown as well, or wandered away in a state of wounded confusion.
But Pete knew the truth. And two months ago, set out to kill the beast responsible. He hasn’t left the forest since.

Basic idea was ‘Sasquatch Hunter’ but I ended up veering very Frank Castle-meets-Ahab with the final product & I’m not entirely sure why. I’m kind of happy with where this one went, even if it’s a little tropey. And nothing to do with my Slaughterface character on Void. While I probably shouldn’t, I can have more than just the one Bigfoot story in me, guys. Next…

Phione was an orphan, growing up on the cobblestone streets of a steam-powered town built on top of the massive ruins of a long forgotten temple. She looked after a bunch of young pickpockets & thieves almost like a big sister. That was until one day when she just disappeared. Rumors swirled. Some said she had fallen off a high ledge while trying to escape some guards. Others said she had been caught while on a grift & thrown in the dungeon, forgotten about. The gang went on without her & the town changed. More creatures had started appearing & it started to get more & more dangerous. Then one day, when they needed her most, Phione returned. But she wasn’t the same Phione they knew. She was older, battle-hardened. And she spoke of an ominous threat for which they all had to prepare.

So of the categories listed, the year previous I was slow getting around to a Steampunk character. There was a time were I was a bit into it, but I’m burnt out by how much of it you see these days. That said, I wanted to go the full cycle as far as categories for characters. So I decided to do a Final Fantasy type character & get Fantasy out the way too. Looking back, I just had a good idea for a Steampunk/fantasy world & scrambled to come up with a character to fit into it. I don’t think she’s too effective at representing that world. My favorite part of this’s the silly hair.

In the late nineteenth century, a group of gringo treasure hunters popped south of the border hoping to find some fabled Aztec gold. Instead, they left emptyhanded, only leaving about two dozen or so disintered Aztec burial grounds in their greedy wake. One of those tombs was that of the emperor. Shortly thereafter, his sworn protector, Huitzilo felt himself dragged back to the mortal coil only to walk the Earth again, seeking to punish the defilers, even if it takes eternity.
The weapons might be different these days, but brutality never changes.

On the list of jumping off points I had for characters “cowboy mummy” was a joke but was something I kept going back to trying to rationalize. It suddenly clicked when I figured there was a better chance of an Aztec mummy than your garden variety Egyptian bandaged number wandering the old west; so I went that route. His name is based on Huitzilopochtli, who wikipedia told me was the Aztec god of war. The word has something to do with hummingbirds, which I thought would also have a cool connotation as to how quick a shot he is, despite rigor & the frailty of a corpse.

When asked to assist a team of scientists for a secret project at her university, Paleontology Grad student Esme Velez was taken back. There were a couple of students slightly more qualified, but no one had heard from them in a week. Or her professor for that matter. As she was driven to an offcampus facility she met with members of the faculty & an independent security force. That’s when she found out about her mission, as a member of a rescue squad.

You see, the physics department had developed a time machine & as a test, sent her professors & two students to go back in time, testing their new device while giving the palentology department the opportunity to study dinosaurs up close. She decided to accept the mission & joined a team with goal of bringing the original team back alive. Before leaving, the physicists tried to instill the importance of not screwing up the time stream, but there was a reason Esme went into a more biological field of study. She was very lost, & mostly very frightened to do anything.

The time machine was supposed to drop them off in the same exact spot millions of years prior, when it was believed to be a clearing. And it was. What no one would’ve predicted was the stampede of raging sauropods trampling through that very field at that very time. The rescue squad Esme was part of arrived at the same time her professor’s team did, only to watch in horror as they & their only means of getting home were squashed under dino-foot. Esme was among the few survivors. They limped out of the clearing away from the commotion, only to find the cause of the stampede: a pack of hungry velociraptors. Figuring the humans would be an easier meal, they turned their sights, ripping into the remaining mercenaries first. Esme barely got away. She didn’t know who else did. She just ran. And then she got very lost.

Stranded in the late Jurassic alone, Esme was at first paranoid that even just breathing the air funny might cause a ripple in time that would lead to a Hitler presidency or mankind never even existing at all. But after a few days, she began to wonder what the point of being paranoid was. She resigned herself to being stuck & laughed at the idea of how her bones would be found & carbon dated to a time prior to man supposedly existing, & the uproar created. She thought of how to just live comfortably on her own in prehistory. She always liked dinosaurs more than people anyhow. With her new pet, a member of a previously unknown species she named “Martin Riggs”, she sets off just looking to survive, no matter the consequences.

What I wrote then:
So first off, I don’t have proper TV. There are shows I like & I seek them out streaming or buy the dvds. I don’t know what’s new or whatever. But listed as a jump-off idea, I had “stranded time traveler.” My next thought was “when’s a good time to get stranded? Ah, Dinosaurs!” Completely forgetting there’s a show like that now. With the realization coming after drawing this, I debated about including it or not, & ultimately did only because I’m falling so far behind. So because of that, I’m less happy with this than I thought I was.

The bigger idea for the story was a time traveler going back & causing weird changes in the time stream that play out in weird flashes a la Run Lola Run. Like stepping on this twig causes Greenland to never be discovered or something else absurd. It works better in high concept though than execution. The pet dinosaur’s name Martin Riggs comes from of course Lethal Weapon, but also me wanting to name a dog Martin Riggs because I think Martin Riggs is an awesome name for a hyperactive dog. Think like a border collie. Next up:

Courageous acts made him legendary. And after saving the King’s only son, a medieval peasant named Henry, with extraordinary abilities far beyond that of common men, was given the honorary title of Duke of Brixton. That title, along with flight, superstrength, & nigh invulnerability has been passed down from generation to generation ever since. They’ve always stood to protect England & to protect the crown. Nowadays, the threats are even bigger, but the Duke is always at the ready.

The current duke, Simon, has carried the title since 1981. Before that, he was just a kid, listening to ska, wanting nothing to do with his family’s wealth or status. He rebelled against authority, having no intention of ever becoming it. That was until his father died while selflessly thwarting a nuclear blast over Sheffield. It stirred something in the young punk. It was then that he buckled down, realizing that being Duke wasn’t only an obligation, but a symbol of national pride. And in his day, Simon came to be regarded as one of the greatest Dukes in history. He fought terrorists & supervillains. He stopped his own nuclear attacks, & even an alien invasion or two. This also put him directly in the public eye. He had a series of PSA’s with the BBC, he used his likeness to endorse special superscience projects throughout the UK, Hollywood movies based on his exploits, & for a time, his own line of organic yogurts. In the late eighties, he even became a tabloid fixture, sparking a relationship with his then Cold War rival Zavtra, whom he later married & divorced.

More recently, Simon’s fallen out of the limelight. A single father, for a time, he put off superheroics to raise his & Zavtra’s daughter, Alina. When he was ready to come back, the world was different. An influx of other superheroes meant less crises to go around; usually it’d be averted by the time he got there. More than anything these days, The Duke uses his celebrity & pretty substantial means to forward scientific & humanitarian projects at fundraisers & charity dinners, feeling there’s more than one way to be a hero. This, of course does nothing to help the popular belief that he’s too old & washed up to be saving the day. The thing is, he’d retire in a second if his now-grown, & awfully rebellious daughter was ready to assume her inevitable role as the first ‘Duchess of Brixton’. But it seems she’d much rather party & tear up half of London in her own drunken escapades than gear up & save the world. Secretly, Simon can relate. At the same time, he remembers the jarring incident that woke him up, & only hopes Alina pulls herself together before she’s forced to.

From then: Earlier this year, I had an idea for an Entervoid character. She was an entitled, bratty party girl who just happened to be the daughter of superheroes. She was sort of the black sheep & fodder for the tabloids. I started developing her but not much into the family she came from. The furthest I got was that they were a long line of superhumans going far back into the middle ages in the UK, & as a reward for their heroic actions, at some point received an honorary title & were famed protectors of the realm ever since. That was about as far as I got before I got distracted & started doing something else. So here’s her dad. But frankly, if I were to do another void character, I’m thinking right now it’d probably be Glorious Sentai Gokaider Red, my first character from this year. Probably because I think this family has a lot of story to explore, more than you could probably show in character battles.

There of course is no Brixton title in British Heraldry. Figured it was best to make one up as opposed to stepping on a real duke or something. I went with Brixton simply because of the Clash song (& why there’s also maybe a little bit of Paul Simonon going on in the face). Originally, I was just planning to make him look like an upper class, well-yet-casually dressed Englishman in a suit. But I thought that might be a cop out. So I started to work on something that might be his Hero suit, intending it to be something you’d see in like an X-men movie or Wildstorm book from the late nineties/early oughts. Ultimately I’m not super thrilled with it because I don’t think it gets the point across. What I really I wanted, was to kind of give the idea that he’s been a bit vestigial & out of touch, & the last time he was a big deal was that Oasis/Spice Girls sort of era. Oh & he’s supposed to be levitating, not standing on tip toes. It might look a little strange without a point of reference. And again, I’ll give it a proper color job if I ever have the time, but that’s looking less & less likely.

In this day & age, everyone is taking to the skies with planes & all manner of airships. Why should bandits & highwaymen be much different? With the help of her trusty pressure pack Ol’ Gus, The Skybandit Sprawling spends most of her days up in the stratosphere, sticking up any rich, unfortunate soul that enters her airspace. As far as sky bandits go however, pray Beatrix’s the one holding you up. She lives by a series of codes, & she wouldn’t hurt anyone unless she was really forced to hurt them.

Still, it’s best to just hand over your valuables as quickly as possible, as not to test her.

What I wrote from way back:
Since the character I labeled as steampunk the other day wasn’t really that steampunk, here’s something more traditionally in that vein. Though I guess it’s more of a Last Exile/’Dieselpunk’ sort of thing I’m thinking here. The thing I had on my list of jump off ideas was Dieselpunk Aviatrix. Whatever it’s still anachronistic. That propane tank cappuccino machine looking thing’s supposed to be her jetpack. It’s set up to either work like a sled or as a back pack. And the red stuff on her arms were supposed to be tattoos, because it bugs me sometimes that ‘punk’ is part of word but never really paid much mind to. I also made her chunkier for two reasons. Firstly, the variety. I felt like the other girls I was drawing were all pretty close to one shape. And second, I felt for her particular case, it kind of helped give her that old-timey, Rosie the Riveter, up-&-at’em kind of attitude. I think I drew the arms too long, & I’m not entirely happy with the rocket pack, but I do like the detail on the head (goggles/scarf) & how the hair came out. On to #10.

Tall, silent, & elusive.

Much like the sasquatch of the Pacific Northwest, the Upstairs Bigfoot lives in the apartment above our protagonist. For a while, he was thought to only be a legend. The only evidence of his existence would be a slow, lumbering footstep & a waft of faint skunky odor. But Upstairs Bigfoot is real, very real. And though, very quiet, very wise.

Word has it, he used to be a star college athlete until a devastating injury cut his career short. The problem is, no one knows his actual name in order to confirm if this is true or not.

When I first posted this:
I have lofty ideas of doing a comedy strip thing. This is the only solid character idea I have for it so far. The idea came from when I was living at an old apartment, & these stoners would knock on my door at all hours & forget that the apartment they were really looking for was the one upstairs above me (how you forget a flight of stairs…?). It was my guess the guy above me must’ve been their… you know… connection, though I never saw the guy. This comes from that. In the context of the story, the protagonist isn’t so much interested in what it is “Upstairs Bigfoot” is selling, so much as just curious as to his existence, as if he was some sort of cryptozoologic wonder. I also think that while “Upstairs Bigfoot” is essentially mute, he’s one of those characters where people complain about their lives to him, & somehow, in his silence, he somehow helps them come upon an epiphany that solves their problems. And yes, he wears Reebok pumps, but keeps his stock in an old LA Gear box. A women’s LA Gear box.

The services offered by the man simply known as the Uzbek, do not come cheap. But if you have the means, there isn’t a better surveillance package available on the market. Often used to help monitor deals or snoop on targets, the Uzbek uses up to 8 flying camera drones & brain augmenting implants to operate as a walking panopticon. There’s very few places he can’t see, capable of even hacking most existing surveillance set ups on the fly. The Uzbek is capable of seeing all.

But that’s all anyone knows about the man. It’s unclear whether or not the Uzbek is even Uzbeki. All that’s known is that he started surfacing in Tashkent about fifteen years ago.

From way back when:
Did this guy rather quickly on a whim. Originally, in my list of jump off ideas I had “The [Nationality] – Espionage Cyborg” & originally thought it be a nondescript man who transformed into a big mean cyborg killing machine close to what I had with the Red Hammer I posted last year at the end. But instead, I opted for a bit of a smaller scope & decided to make him a surveillance guy. I had in mind the Gargoyle characters from Snow Crash that do nothing but collect data. But with the way technology is, I wasn’t about to encumber this guy with stuff when he probably has maybe six, tiny devices on his person capable of all of that. But ultimately, I wanted a sketchy cyberpunk spy kind of vibe going on here.

Why Uzbekistan? Because I don’t think they get much love is all.

Along the arrid mountain paths of the Silk Road, the Fire Nuns of western deserts were renowned for protecting the caravans with their kung fu. For a small donation to their convent, a pair of nuns would escort merchants to their destination, warding off bandits & raiders with their fiery fighting techniques. In many cases, the nuns would use their pyrokinetic skills to simply scare away adversaries before anyone came to blows. But Xaiyoi was different. She loved to fight. And though it broke with the order’s philosophies, she took an almost sadistic glee in setting wicked people ablaze. The other nuns are starting to get wary of her actions. But she just can’t help herself.

Then:
Another Eurasian character. Overall, not super thrilled about this one. I like how the face turned out but that’s about it. The pose is awkward, especially for a martial artists & I think I started rushing this without giving it a lot of love. I mean the get up she’s wearing feels weak. Retroactively, it looks too similar to certain existing characters & there were easy choices I could’ve made to avoid that. And the name is syllables hodgepodged together. It seems to kind of fit the vibe I was looking for, but I always hate doing that kind of thing. Especially when it’s something I’m trying to do with a kind of historical basis.

The two mysterious sisters, adorning their calavera makeup, are purely driven by revenge. People might credit them with cleaning up the streets of one of the world’s murder capitals, one criminal at a time, one after another. But public safety’s just an all too convenient side effect. It’s simply revenge they’re after, & they’re willing to get it by any means necessary. And they won’t let anyone stand in their way either.

What I said then:
A deeper exploration to an idea I had a very long time ago. I’m calling them Magda & Isa respectively. Originally, I had this on my list of things, but at first thought I wouldn’t do it when I noticed there were several other Day of the Dead styled characters. But the more & more I thought of it, the cooler & cooler I thought it would be to have murderous sister vigilantes. So here we are. I don’t know why I made one extra girly, while giving the other one a mariachi sort of get up. I’m happy with these, even if I feel like weak sauce having to count the duo individually. I think the thing I regret more is putting them off, & not cleaning & coloring this one for full effect. If I ever do go back & color, this might be the first one.

The “Big Bad 3,” of which Skaggs is a member, rule the road. While they may not be the most gentlemanly of truckers, they are certainly the most revered. No one messes with them.

Skaggs isn’t right. His short fuse is thought to be the product of never sleeping. Ever. He also “sees things differently” too. While he’s well respected as one of the kings of the road, people mostly just try to stay out of his way, lest they get a katana blade put through them.

And so:
So currently, the project I’m giving the most attention too is about Samurai Truckers. It all started as a stupid set up to have a sword fight on the roof of a moving semi & slowly turned into a revenge epic. I’ve had the main character designed for a while now, but no one else. Originally, I intended one main antagonist that the main character’s seeking for revenge. Then I though why not make it three guys? So that’s where I’m at. Skaggs is the first & you’ll see the other two next. I don’t know if that’s what I’m sticking with, but that’s where I’m at right now.

Of the three, Skaggs would be the wild card. I’m thinking a super lanky Steve Buscemi with permanent kabuki intensity brought on by years of trucker speed abuse. In context of the story, I’d like to think that he’s one of those characters that gets dispatched almost too easily. But whenever you think he’s gone, he some how comes back. And he’s even more wall-eyed & jittery than ever. I tried giving him the feudal Japan/redneck aesthetic I want to give everything in the comic but I don’t think I pushed it far enough. I do like the idea of a Richard Petty hat with a tsuba on it though. Still he’s going to need some tweaks.

You don’t earn the distinction of “Big Bad 3″ through works of philanthropy. Of the three legendary truckers, Goroh’s the only one with a shred of conscience left. While he’s often a laid back & jovial sort of fellow, moments of quiet bring about introspection. Racked with overwhelming guilt, Goroh’s outlet is drink. And lots of it. Rumor has it, his kin were road bandits back in the day. The family tradition looked down on bladed weapons as being sissy. When it comes to protection, Goroh goes with the manly option, a big, giant, eff-off kanabo club.

What was I thinking:
Two of Three in the samurai trucker gang series. I think of the three, I’m the most happy with how he turned out. I’m going to tweak it a lot more before the final draft, but I think I got off to a good start with him.

The de facto leader of the trio of drivers that became known as the “Big Bad 3,” Munson is a big, bad man. Few people know where the truth ends & the lore begins with him, but not a lick of it’s very nice. That being said, nobody has as many miles under their belt as him. And that gives him status. So don’t mess with him, or he will cut you down like the scores of others over all those miles. Maybe roadhaul you too just for good measure.

The behind the scenes:
The original antagonist of the samurai trucker tale & the last of the three. I’m not thrilled with his look as it’s not nearly intimidating enough. I want him to be this Akuma like figure of evil power. Down right scary. The coveralls & samurai armor I like, just not for him. But whatever, I needed to start somewhere. I think I might swap & give him swords & Skaggs the naginata. Anyway, be on the look out because I hope to get back to work on that story shortly.

Bow down to Quozark, for he is the Unflinching One.

Nothing shocks Quozark for he sees all & knows most. He comes from the 43rd dimension. How is that even possible you ask? Quozark’s only response will probably involve him commanding you to pleasure him in a lewd & untoward way. And if you knew anything about his physiology, the very idea of the mechanics involved would mortify you. So you’re probably way better off just letting it slide.

Then, I said this:
Drawn entirely on a whim in about twenty minutes. Proud of the outcome, though not entirely sure as of why. He wasn’t made with the intention of being a part of it, but a while ago I had this kind of comedy idea involving aliens from different races disguising themselves as humans while scouting out for their respective invasion forces. Problem is they were each so equally unaware of what actual humans were like, they had no idea & ended up all roommating together. Hijinks ensue. While Quozark is clearly not people-shaped, I think I could pretty easily incorporate him into that somehow.

Though growing increasingly more & more obsolete as time goes on, TheBinMan.EXE is a good tool to have. A limited edition construct developed by German Digital Artist & Programmer M3nsch3nfr3ss3r, the first 500 downloads received BinMan as freeware.

BinMan is programmed to remember every bit of data that comes across your machine, especially the data you trash, & act as a quick index to it. He does this securely, only granting you the ability to recall it. The data somehow incorporates itself up into BinMan’s programming without ever actually taking up more storage space than the BinMan.EXE’s standard thirteen gigs. In that regard, BinMan is among one of the first “thinking” AI constructs with its own progressive memory evolution.

The only downside is that he’s absolutely horrifying to look at it. That’s becausenM3nsch3nfr3ss3r, a fan of body horror films & industrial music based the look of BinMan off the idea of discarded items & their anachronistic need. That’s why there are elements of late model combustion engines & spoiled stem cell biomass making his head.

Commentary Track:
Just wanted to go off on a little twisted tangent. Originally, I started this without a plan thinking I would turn it into some generic video game baddie, like a licker from Resident Evil. But the more & more I messed with it, I thought about what a weird contrast it’d be to put him in a suit & tie. Then I thought that’d be a pretty cool idea for a digital avatar, eventually bringing me to daemon construct program. Spent too much time on the head so really rushed the body just to be done on it. Another one I wish I could spend time on, making sure it got the attention it deserved.

In other news, hey, I listen to podcasts a lot & I found it weird that of the about ten or so I listen to, almost everyone got going onto a conversation about the singularity recently. And mostly, those were comedy podcasts. Guys, what the hell? Creepy. I think that might’ve influenced where I went with this guy ultimately.

Since his childhood in Mumbai, Vinod Patel knew he had been given gifts that most mortals lacked. His affinity to the mystic arts made him different. He was clairvoyant, a remote viewer, empathic, & even able to conjure up illusions. He wanted to use these abilities for the betterment of mankind. He wanted to make a difference. That’s why he applied to the International Union of Superheroes. On the application form, Vinod very plainly put “The Magic Man” the line marked “code name,” unaware that a man in Dover, New Jersey already had laid claim to that moniker. That’s when a very insensitive processing clerk at the Union decided to take matters into his own hands. When Vinod got his official Union card, it was stamped with the name Outsorceror. He was not pleased.

He did happen to hold a day job at a call center, but that was entirely besides the point. A defamation law suit is still pending. Infuriated, he has yet to join up with the International Union of Superheroes in an official capacity, only acting as a consultant on magical matters occasionally. He’s continued to work at his day job. Scorned, he has begun to daydream about the world of supervillainy.

So then I said:
When the 30Characters started this year, I was really digging what I saw DC Stuelpner doing with his superheroes with kind of punny names. They were awesome. I decided to give it a shot, but didn’t fair nearly as well. The two names I ended up with were rather unfortunate. This was one. The other will get posted soon. Maybe. It the guilt doesn’t stop me.

The wealthy playboy known simply as Ivan is the heir to the Blacktower Defense fortune. Someone as notable as him receives a lot of different threats on a daily basis, some much larger than others. That’s why it helps to have Fe-Male on retainer as his primary bodyguard. While Fe-Male doesn’t make many public appearances, Ivan is happy to speak for & about the mysterious, mechanical stranger. Able to go toe to toe with entire tank battalions, Fe-Male shows not only flight, durability, & energy projection; but also style & finesse, two things Ivan believes are sorely missing among superheroes today. Speaking of things gone missing, the press often finds it strange that Ivan & Fe-Male are rarely ever seen together.

Ivan is fooling no one.

Then I had this to say:
Get it? Periodic Table humor.

The second of the punny-name-making-the-hero ideas I went with. I hated them both but they almost seemed too bad not to use. Can’t take full credit as I saw a philosoraptor meme image with the text “Iron man. Fe Male?” I just ran with the name. I wanted to play it up & go fierce. Instead, I pulled it back a little just to kind of be practical from a battle standpoint. That being said, I’m guessing the exposed skin is far from practical when bullets & laser blasts are flying around. I just figured it’d help sell the idea. I think my favorite thing about any of this is the leaning on the repulsor. Might’ve goofed the feet a little, but I like the pose.

Among the truckers, there is talk of an old man. They call him Mr. Daruma, on account of the large daruma statue he carries around with him. He walks along secluded bits of highway, waiting on trucks to pass. When he sees one, he extends his thumb, hoping to catch a ride. If asked where he’s going, he will remain perfectly silent, signaling for them to simply go ahead. He’ll ride with them for miles & miles, not saying a word. Eventually, when the trucker’s guard is down, they will look over & see no one there.

This story has prevailed for years. Everyone knows someone that knows someone who helped Mr. Daruma along, but no one directly. No one knows if he’s human or some kind of spirit. It is widely believed though, that crossing paths with him will result in tremendous luck. So if you see a little old man out along the road, don’t hesitate.

And also:
Got the idea for him while I was typing up the spiel on #15, #16, & #17, & just decided to bust him out right quick. He lives in the same world of trucker samurais. I might even make it so he wears the daruma on his head, but I like the scrunched up old man face. Should’ve spent a little more time thinking about the rest of his get up but I was going with an old depression era dustbowl drifter meets sensei look. Ultimately, I think giving that story a kind of traditional Japanese Supernatural edge might be pretty cool. Or lame. Gotta keep working on it to see.

Her parents, firm believers in specialized education, proudly enrolled their daughter in the Starling Academy. The top school in the arts of assassination & espionage they really hoped their daughter would follow in their footsteps. They had high hopes for her, but even they were pleasantly surprised to see how well she was excelling. Only one other student in the school’s storied history has shown as much overall promise & potential. But at present, there’s no better student enrolled than the one designated Mynah.

Her specialty is disguise & mimicry. With enough time & planning, there’s nowhere she wouldn’t be able to infiltrate. And she’s still got two years until graduation, meaning she can only improve.

Running out of fun things to say about the non-bio bits:
A character I’m shoehorning into an old story idea, because I saw a neat coat I couldn’t replicate in the drawing. Basically it’s about this girl who got shipped off to an all-girls’ assassin school. She excelled & pissed off a lot of students & faculty, only to go off & live a quiet life of medical administration in the big city. Scorned, the classmates & teachers occasionally show up to try & seek their revenge. When the protagionist finally gets fed up, she goes back to shut down the school so people will just leave her the hell alone. The cheesy gimmick was that all of the girls were given bird species code names (Goldfinch, Cardinal, Ptarmigan, etc), & the staff had legendary bird names (Phoenix, Roc, Ziz, Etc). The main character was the only person who found it extremely cheesy too, with the other characters way into it.

While I don’t have much intention of ever going back to this story, I saw a girl wearing a coat with ridiculous feathers on it. She looked non-descript otherwise, but the coat was a bit over the top. Anyway, it made me think of this story & I decided to try & wedge another character into it. I started rushing & the coat turned out pretty crappy though. Anyway, in the context of the story, it only seemed to make sense that if you’re trying to shut down a school, there would be some star student somehow involved in the fray. The whole premise is very manga to me so I marked it as such even if it’s not overtly so.

Volcano Nymph from way back in the Roman Empire.

She’s a real hothead. Amirite?

Her real name’s Etna.

(No but seriously. I didn’t really have much in a back story for her so this text is pretty much me trying to pad the quotes to keep the format going, really. But it doesn’t seem to be working all too well. So whatever. It probably doesn’t even matter to anyone but me & my weird ocd about the presentation.

Hey, alright.)

More filling:
Sorry. The one character I don’t really have much in the way of back story of, & quite frankly, I would bullshit one but I’d rather just keep moving. My jump off list had ‘Roman Volcano Goddess’ & I just thought it’d be interesting to draw. The idea of course is that the back of her head is a constant eruption, but I think I spazzed on that some so it’s a bit of a crummy interpretation. If colored, her skintone would be a maroonish, pumice-y gray, & the cracks by the ridges in her head & the corner of her eyes would be bright magma orange. Man I wish I had the time to color it. It’d help sell it so much more.

When she was younger, Biata’s parents would drive from their home in the suburbs to Kiev’s premier ice skating rink. They had aspired to have a gold medalist in the family. However, once she was dropped off, Biata would wave, watch their car drive around the block & instead head the complete opposite direction to a derelict warehouse. It was there where Biata engaged in rap battle after rap battle, gaining chops & becoming Ukraine’s preeminent MC.

Fast forward to the present day, where the 19 year old is Europe’s top grossing hip hop act & a worldwide sensation. Selling out shows from St. Petersburg to Johanesburg, Biata is a fullblown hip hop phenom. A few times, certain venues barred her, citing her management’s mafia ties. But rabid fans petitioned social media & made those concerts happen. The only market she’s yet to fully crack is the US. But she’s slowly gaining steam through featured appearances & the occasional mixtape. Her next album though, slated to be titled “AKA Kalashnikov” is sure to change all that.

Then there was some of this:
‘Female Russian Rap Prodigy’ was on my jumpoff list. I opted Ukraine instead, but you get the idea. I created her less with a story in mind, but thinking a lot more that at some point, I’m going to have a story where characters are listening to ridiculous music, why not make that up now. Originally, I was toying with making her a supervillain, with like terrorist ties & maybe explosive powers of some kind. But I think it’s better if I just play it kind of plain & normal on this one. Never had to draw a fur coat before. That was new. That aside, I like this character a lot. I’d like imagine that her MC style is pretty grimey & rough given the accent but it contrasts soaring Southern rap synths she’s over top of well. But it’s music in a mute medium so ultimately it’s up to you.

Oosailoo is a grand scholar among the race known as the Mu. The Mu were at one point a warrior race known for their cold efficiency on the battle field until the first Grand Scholar Oosasoso stopped to read a piece of debris. The message on the paper stopped that war & ever since, the Mu have prided information above all else. Every couple cycles, they send thousands of observers out to gain data, almost as a kind of religious pilgrimage. This year, Oosailoo sends his grandson Oosho. Rite of passage or not, he still worries, as Oosho has always been a bit… stunted.

But also:
From a story I’m working on called TransModo. In the story, Oosho, mentioned above acts kind of as a sidekick to one of the characters. I marked this scifi in the sense that this character is an alien & the story he comes from takes place in the future. Otherwise there’s nothing particularly scifi about him. I’m a big proponent of making aliens nothing like humans. Having any human characteristics whatsoever kind of defies probability. Still, that’s a tough order when you got to build something to empathize with. So the Mu characters are kind of stubby white, sloth creatures for the sake of ease. Otherwise, most of the other races are radically different. Another thing was that the planet the Mu’s inhabit is marsh. I meant to kind of dirty up this guy’s robes but it was either dingy it or try to keep reaching for 30. So I’m shooting for the 30.

When you’ve got an army that outnumbers you ten to one, it’s good to have someone on your side with the strength of twenty to level the playing field. While Wee Andrew may not be the sharpest person on the battlefield, he’s big & strong & you don’t want to be on the business end of his caber pole.

That’s right. He uses a caber pole. Because swords are too small for his massive hands.

More:
I had the idea ‘Brutal Scot’ on my jumpoff list. From there, I thought I should give the guy a Caber to use as a weapon. So he swings this thing around & flattens skulls with it.

Sig was from Denmark. One day, he decided he was going to go to Burning Man. Yeah, he was one of those types of people. While out in the middle of the desert, a bad acid trip & the scorching desert climate worked in concert to fry his brain. It started as a spiritual journey in what he believed the desert he was in wasn’t in Nevada, but the Australian Outback. He wandered through the Dreamtime, hoping to find himself. But Sig didn’t come out of it. Something calling itself the Dingo Demon did. And it dawned a paper mache mask as it wandered out into the high arid plain. Shortly there after, it started stalking, stabbing, & slashing any hapless victims it came across.

Almost there with these:
Originally, I had Dingo Demon on my list thinking it was going to be some sort of anthropomorphic anime ninja sort of thing. I don’t know why, but instead, I veered more what if Technoviking goes crazy & becomes fixated on the idea that he’s some sort of nasty predatory spirit.

Rumors about him abound. Things like at the age of eight, the boy who would be known as Rowdy was already running with raider parties, attacking the precious mineral mining operations of the Kinshasa Asteroid Belt. That’s where it’s said he learned warring. And killing. They say that when the raiders refused to let him leave to start his own faction, he wiped each former ally out one by one, before feeding their ship & any traces of their existence into a black hole.

Give atrocities he still sometimes commits, some would argue that he hasn’t quite reformed as much as just shift allegiances. After a meteoric rise through the ranks, the Colonial Space Marine Commander Rowdy spends most of his days defending some of the same Mining colonies he supposedly used to loot. The rough & ready battalion he commands, nicknamed the Tungsten Rhinos have yet to find a fight they couldn’t finish. A dozen or so of the hardest, meanest men ever to call themselves human. With a leader like Tremendous Rowdy, why would you expect anything less?

What helps them operate at such an efficient level is a good support staff. Nothing’s worse than a hydraulic malfunction with your battle armor. That’s why mechanics like Dom & Hideo (picture) play such a vital role. While they might not have received the same amount of genetic & cybernetic enhancements the Tungsten Rhinos got, they are no less important.

Finally:
Tremendous Rowdy was a character I was really looking forward to working on & actually started around the same time as the first character I did this year, the Sentai guy. While I did have to kind of truncate it a bit, I’m pretty happy with him. The support guys were included originally & only became their own character as I started getting down to the wire, I admit.

I’ve got a story involving Rowdy that in a round about way may also tie into my TransModo story. I feel it’s a pretty good framing device by which to tell a space marine story, but the meat of it isn’t ready yet. What I did know is that I was looking to make the head of the unit equal parts badass & scary. And after hearing a lot lately about conflict minerals & general disarray across Africa, I figured this would be best. That & I came up with the name first & figured he’d have to be some crazy warlord like figure.

Gah… Finally. So yeah. That was from last year. Or year before last I guess as this goes up.

Just in case you want to go check it out on their site, here’s the thumbnails to the respective posts. Just click away:

#1 Glorious Sentai Gokaider Red#2 Aurora#3 Sixth Carbon Lama#4 Longtalon#5 Phione

#6 Deadeye Huitzilo the Vaquerohttp://www.30characters.com/2011/11/14/7-esme-velez-martin-riggs/#8 The Duke of Brixton#9 The Sky Bandit Beatrix Sprawling#10 “Upstairs Bigfoot”

#11 The Uzbek#12 Xaiyoi#13 & #14 Las Hermanas de La Sombras Vigilantes (Isa)#13 & #14 Las Hermanas de La Sombras Vigilantes (Magda)#15 Skaggs

#16 Goroh#17 Munson#18 Quozark the Unflinching#19 TheBinMan.EXE#20 The Outsorceror

#21 Fe-Male#21 Fe-Male#23 Mynah#24 Caldera#25 Biata Boombata

#26 Oosailoo#27 Wee Andrew of Glenclover#28 The Dingo Demon Formerly Known as Sig#29 The Tungsten Rhino Support Crew#30 Tremendous Rowdy

Thanks!!

JON-A-THAN! JON-A-THAN! JON-A-THAN!

2012/07/27

7/27/12 - Jonathan E.Houston. Jonathan E. Rollerball. 1975. If you don’t know it, we’re not friends. I’m serious. It’s awesome. And anyone who doesn’t get excited hearing the phrase “futuristic bloodsport” in any context? What the fuck is wrong with you? It’s a genre we need a lot more of.

I was going for something a little different when I started this one. Trying to do some Kirby foreshortening. Ultimately though, I should’ve started this on a new page of sketchbook, as it suddenly got really cramped & ended up stiff & boring as a result. And it looks little to nothing like James Caan. Whatever. It’s still a good movie. And you should watch it. Now. Even if you’ve already seen it before. And allow me to preemptively apologize ruining the upcoming Olympic Games for you. Because they won’t be as cool.

This is the last of the backlog I was posting. I keep trying to start this page, but of course it’s a real dick to get the perspective right in the panel that takes up nearly 2/3rds of it. So much so, I’ve actually taken it into a 3D program, which I think I’ve only done once before. Anyway, I’m going to try & have it ready in time for tomorrow. But if I don’t, know I’m working on it & you’ll see it soon.

Avalanche

2012/07/26

Here is a go at a mech robot design for a story I’ve been talking about since forever. One of the major hold ups is that I want to make a simple, yet iconic design for the mechs involved. I think this is the closest I’ve come to finding what I’m looking for. The top heavy, long armed frame is a nice start. I kind of spazzed on the head & hands a bit though as I was starting to spend a little too much time on them. And the abdomen. I figured it might be exposed gears, & maybe they pull this sort of sheet over those spots so there’s no detritus & micro meteorites getting lodged in there. Should probably do the same for the arm & leg joints too. All that & a few lines aside, this might be pretty close to a final design. Maybe a little boxier. Also, I feel obligated to put on some sort of kabuto horns like a gundam, but it really doesn’t feel all that natural & I can’t find a configuration that works for me. There’s no frame of reference for scale, but I’d imagine an average human would be 3/4′s of the head of this thing tall. They’d operate it through a cockpit up around the chest.

Now in the context of the story, imagine this thing, after crash landing on a planet with extreme climates, with a few makeshift parts, carrying a cable sword (Basically, think a crane arm with a superstrong, high tension wire  on the side acting as a swiping blade), fighting bandits & perhaps a giant alien or two. Yeah.

It’s a bummer the practicality of giant robots is so goddamn low. And while I’m usually that asshole that picks apart the practicality of something in fiction, I’ve always maintained a deliberate blindspot when it comes to giant robots. Because frankly, few things rank cooler.

The Briney

2012/07/25

So among the whole bunch of stories I keep threatening to do is a shonen dieselpunk whaler/mariner adventure tale. Kid set off to a boarding school in a port town, instead stows away on a ship that hunts down legendary sea monsters, only to find the real monsters are actually some of the hunters (kill… me). Anyway, it’d probably be an all ages thing, which in reality, for me would probably be a PG13 thing in that people don’t swear as much, & no one’s actually shown being ripped in half, in frame. If that shit happens, it’s off panel. So you know, safe for the whole family. And don’t worry. Way more Cabin Boy than One Piece.

Boy, do I sure hate them Fancy Lads.

Say a Prayer for Surfboy

2012/07/24

Adios, EspositoHeaven & Hell. A play by Max Fischer. Performed by the Max Fischer Players. Staged at Rushmore Academy.

Sorry there’s no thin Futura anywhere in this post. Might’ve seen a camera phone pic the other day. But here it is just slightly clearer. Drawn mostly from memory.

In other news, I think in the future, instead of pin ups & fanart, I might try to stick an honest to god comic page up in here among the dailies. It’s ambitious for me, but I really need to work on my speed. And while I’ll keep them chronological, it might be a page of whatever thing I feel like working on that day. Because in my case, speed takes practice, but focus may require medication. So be on the look out. Eventually. Right now, I’m still posting from a bit of a backlog.

Pulling a Trigger is like Ordering Takeout

2012/07/23

The Raid is still my movie of the year. Only thing left that looks to possibly fucks with it any in my books, is probably Looper. But lemme tell ya, that’s got some goddamn stiff competition.

If you haven’t seen it, the best way to describe The Raid, speaking of time travel, is an action movie cast back to our time from a brutal future. Like an evolutionary epoch. There’s hardly any bullshit & the chaos pops off immediately. And while the whole thing’s got some pretty awesome things happening throughout (machete death squads, capoeira sweep kicks on tables covered in cocaine, etc), nothing compare to Yayan Ruhian’s Mad Dog.

It may say something about me as a person, but I found myself rooting for him at times, despite the fact he’s a murderous psychopath. I mean he’s got that Akuma thing. He’s giving you all the opportunity in the world to beat him. He’s actually looking for a challenge. You’re just going to have to kill him. Which, given his skill is a damn near impossible feat.

Basically, in a movie that’s got the best fight scenes in almost a decade, this guy is easily the best fighter, bad guy or not.

Spoiler Alert: He broke that guy’s neck & now he’s collecting a bounty.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.