Avengers Week: Tony Stark Tuesday

In preparation for next month’s Avengers movie, I will be re watching all five lead-in movies. I’m basing my viewing order on this timeline. As I watch each movie, I will sketch one piece of fan art inspired by that movie’s characters.

Tony Stark Tuesday- Iron Man

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Avengers Week: First Marvel Monday

In preparation for next month’s Avengers movie, I will be re watching all five lead-in movies. I’m basing my viewing order on this timeline. As I watch each movie, I will sketch one piece of fan art inspired by that movie’s characters.

First Marvel Monday- Captain America: The First Avenger

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Wednesday's Web Comic of the Week: Want to Buy Dignity

As I mentioned in the first entry in this series, some of the web comics featured would be from my insanely talented classmates from SCAD. This week, we feature a comic written by Aaron Sinn and drawn by Michael Weisner, a fellow artist from SCAD’s 2007 Animation class.

Written by Aaron Sinn

Art by Michael Weisner

Website: hawkvspigeon.com

Updates: Irregularly

Want To Buy Dignity is the story of Harold Bloodeagle, an orc sorcerer sent on a quest to infiltrate the kingdom of Braetoria, and the band of misfits who invite themselves to join him on his quest. His party includes the murderous and simple minded skeleton warrior Razputhen, blood elf ranger Kyliana and her platypus, Frumpy, the (dead) boy-crazy necromancer in training Nyota, and a troll assassin Regerar who follows the adventurers in order to make certain he isn’t cheated out of a contract.

The party faces off against engine worshiping kobolds, a bandit king who insists upon being remembered, and a number of other problems that are largely of their own making. It’s a story full of adventure, violence, and a good deal of character-based and referential humor.

Sinn and Weisner run Hawk vs Pigeon Productions, a team that creates animation, comics, web marketing, and whatever other media is needed to fulfill the needs of their clients. The also run the web comic We Live in Atlanta.

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Wednesday's Web Comic of the Week- The DM of The Rings

This Wednesday’s Web Comic of the Week is an epic fan undertaking, and the first comic in this series that is a completed work rather than an ongoing. What happens when you mix The Lord of the Rings with table top roleplayers? You get-

The DM of the Rings

Written and assembled by Shamus Young

Images from New Line Cinema’s The Lord of the Rings film adaptations

Website: http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale

Updates: Completed

DM of the Rings is based on a simple premise-retelling the Lord of the Rings as though it were a game of Dungeons and Dragons. The DM would probably be better of writing a fantasy novel, since his game is not offering the players much chance to interact with the world. As such, the players then attempt to break the game as often as possible.

The characters exhibit behaviors that will be familiar to anyone who’s ever quested with dice and graph paper. Aragorn is always trying to score. Legolas appears to be constantly on some energy drink. Gimli is a veteran player with complete mastery of the rules and no qualms about comparing this campaign to others. And of course, Frodo is convinced his dice are cursed.

Shamus Young is a programmer who has also created the web comic Chainmail Bikini. You can see his work at his site. His current project is Stolen Pixels for the Escapist.

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Wednesday's Web Comic of the Week (on Thursday) - Gutters

This is blog post is part of a regular series on my web comic's site, http://www.cockroachman.com/. Although it went up there on Wednesday, I am only now getting around to copying it over here.

This week, instead of featuring another story-form web comic, we take a look at a satirical series of one-shots. If you follow comics, you’ll find something to love about Gutters.

Gutters

Written by Ryan Sohmer

Art Direction by Lar deSouza

Colors by Ed Ryzowski

Art by various guest artists

Website: www.the-gutters.com

Updates: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday

Gutters is a comic that anybody who follows the world of comic books should be reading. Between deftly lampooning the latest news and showcasing a wide range of artist’s talents, it has a lot to offer. Looking forward to a new series launch? Want to complain about your favorite hero’s new costume? Read about a business decision by a major publisher that has you scratching your head? Chances are, Mr. Sohmer and his team have something hilarious to say about it.

Ryan Sohmer and Lar deSouza are web comic triathletes. Check out their other comics, Least I Could Do and Looking for Group, and also look for Gutters’ first collection from Dynamite comics.

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Wednesday's Web Comic of the Week: Battlepug

What happens when you cross Frazetta with Cute Overload? You get this week’s featured web comic, Battlepug.

Battlepug

Written and Drawn by Mike Norton

Colors by Allen Passalaqua

Website: http://battlepug.com/

Updates: Mondays

Framed within the backdrop of a young woman telling a bedtime story to two dogs, Battlepug bears all of the marks of a standard barbarian revenge tale. It focuses on the Kinmundian, the last survivor of a destroyed village out to avenge his friends and family. It takes a sharp turn, however, when you see just what destroyed his village.

The world of Battlepug includes beast masters, who instead of having mastery over panthers and bears control gargantuan baby seals and puppies. On his quest for vengeance, the Kinmundian learns that he may very well have this power, which puts him into an at first uneasy alliance with the Battlepug, and a crazy old hermit named Scrabbly.

Mike Norton is a professional comic artist who draws Battlepug in between drawing comics for publishers such as Marvel and DC. He currently draws Young Justice and is the co-creator of Gravity. He is a also a founding member of Double Feature Comics.

Oh, and did I mention there was a scene taking place at Santa’s workshop?

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Wednesday's Web Comic of the Week: Chorus of the Neverborn

I'm going to try and be somewhat regular with these posts, sharing other web comics that I find interesting or entertaining. Some of the comics shared will be the work of the talented people I got to know by attending the Savannah College of Art and Design, while others will simply be cool comics I came across through web browsing and recommendations of others. This week's debut entry is of the former variety.

Chorus of the Neverborn

Written by Kyle Strickland

Art by Laurel Shelley-Reuss

Website: neverborncomic.com

Updates: Every Wednesday

Chorus of the Neverborn was born out of a year-long campaign in White Wolf's Exalted role playing game which was run by Kyle. In the world of Exalted, select mortals were once given great power by the gods in order to fight their battles against the primordials (think titans in Greek mythology.) Over time, the most powerful exalts were cursed with corruption and insanity, and entire branches of celestial politics sprang into being based upon how to handle this development. In recent events, the powerful Solar exalts have re-emerged in creation, as well as various exalt types based upon tampered and corrupted versions of their souls.

The campaign which inspired Chorus focused on a band of Abyssal exalts, given twisted Solar exaltations by the rulers of the underworld. After the campaign ended, Kyle and Laurel created the comic as an epilogue, starring Laurel's character, The Contessa Who Wears No Shoes, and her husband, The Crimson Lance of Bloodied Revenge. Lance and Contessa have left the service of their Death Lords and started a life in the trade city of Nexus. Simply because they have left the service of their masters, however, does not make them good people.

The other main character of the comic is their neglected son, The Inspector. Inspector can here the voices of the Neverborn, and their guidance may lead not only to his own ruin, but the destruction of all of creation. Add in a Death Lord who desperately wants to reclaim Contessa, and the stakes could not be higher.

Kyle also writes my web comic, The Interminable Cockroach Man, as well as several works for Matter Deep Publishing. You can view his personal website here. Look for his upcoming works Say No to Sparkles and Mars-1 in 2012.

Laurel also writes and draws the comic Olive Peril, and has published art in the Exalted source book Graceful Wicked Masques. You can view her personal site here.

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Sharp Dressed Heroes Who Needed Early Fashion Advice

A lot of thought and effort needs to be put into designing a superhero. The costume makes them stand out from the crowd, and gives a strong indication of who they are. When done right, you have a character who can be identified on the spot with bold visual impact. However, not every design is knocked out of the park on the first printing. Some characters needed to be sent back for revisions. Below are some extremely well designed heroes, and the costumes they burned long ago.

Wolverine

Wolverine's classic tiger-striped blue and yellow costume is memorable to just about anyone familiar with the X-Men. This costume premiered in Giant Size X-Men #1, Wolverine's second appearance. So what did he wear on his first outing?

This is an example of one detail making or breaking a design. The mask just doesn't have any impact. Instead of evoking whiskers, like originally intended, the lines around the mouth seem like a construction detail. To me, they've always looked like the elastic waistband from a pair of underwear.

Much like popsicles and potato chips, Wolverine's iconic mask was created completely by accident. Cover artist Gil Kane didn't properly consult his reference material, and regular artist Dave Cockrum liked the mistake so much that he kept it. Without this unintentional stroke of brilliance, Wolverine may have looked too goofy to be taken seriously and become the force he is today.

Daredevil

Daredevil's solid red costume keeps things simple, relying on it's outline and the bold association between red and both action and Matt Murdock's devil theme. It makes sense for a blind superhero to fashion a monochromatic costume, allowing him to use his enhanced sense of touch to worry about shape, but not factoring in an element that he cannot perceive. The billy club also is an interesting element, with multiple configurations allowing for interesting fight choreography.

So how did the defender of Hell's Kitchen dress before his redesign?

That's right, in bright yellow. Artist Wally Wood made the observation that it seemed a little off for a character billed as "The Man Without Fear" to dress in the color commonly used to symbolize fear, and changed his design to the red costume we know today. The leotard piece, though evoking Matt's pro boxer father in it's time, would today evoke a women's one-piece bathing suit. The upgrade from the single D to the double D design also helps to give Daredevil more of a logo than a generic typeset.

Kid Flash

Sometimes a costume is great on it's own, but simply doesn't work in the context of the book it's used in. Case in point, Kid Flash. His iconic costume is a red and yellow bodysuit that evokes the same sense of speed as his mentor and ties in with it's color scheme. It's so successful that it's in use on Young Justice with only an updated logo and the addition of a pair of goggles. So what was wrong with Wally's original costume?

Carmine Infantino's Flash costume is one of the best designed superhero costumes of all time, ranking right up there with Steve Ditko's Spider-Man. What's not as inspired is putting his sidekick in the exact same outfit. It requires the reader to constantly stop and check scale and facial details to be sure which character they're reading, breaking the pace and immersion of the comic.

Fortunately for the kid, Barry shot a Tim Gunn Ray out of his chest that gave KF a more fitting costume.

Angel

Warren Worthington III, the winged X-Man known as Angel (and later Archangel) has one of the handful of costumes created in the sixties that can stand up today without any alterations. It's sleek, with a simple logo and a clever cutting of the white elements around the neck and shoulders to evoke his wings. It needs no alterations, but has taken to the ones it has received extremely well, with the blue sometimes being traded out for red and the head piece often being removed. It works with both his white and blue skinned forms, as well as with his feathered and metal wings. Warren started out in the traditional Jack Kirby designed X-Men team uniform, and was the only X-Man to get a new uniform between the introduction of the individual graduation costumes and the original cancellation of the book. Why did he need that redesign, when none of his teammates did?

Yeeeeeeeeaaaaaahhhh..... that's why. While using all of the primary colors can be striking on characters like Superman and Wonder Woman, here it comes off as garish. The striped cuffs are over designed, and the suspender stripes just make him look like pigeon Urkel.

Of course, he wouldn't learn to just stick with what works. When Warren formed the short lived Champions of Los Angeles with Iceman, Hercules, Ghost Rider and Black Widow, this is what he wore:

It certainly doesn't evoke an Angel. More like a bad eighties workout video.

Wonder Man

Simon Williams was caught embezzling from his family's company that was failing due to competition from Tony Stark, and accepted a bargain with the Masters of Evil to infiltrate and destroy the Avengers in exchange for powers and freedom. He eventually decided to stand by the Avengers, and seemingly died due to lack of treatments from his former villainous masters. He would eventually return from the dead, join the Avengers, and start an acting career. There's something very Hollywood about Wonder Man's simple black and red design and it's sunglasses. But, like the rest of the characters on this list, it wasn't struck on right away. Here's what he first looked like:

As Luke Cage would say, Sweet Christmas! The red and green color palette's association with the holidays is so entrenched in the minds of American's that it's not a wise choice for a superhero who doesn't secretly operate out of Santa's Workshop.

And of course, some people......

take a long time.....

to learn.

The DC Universe

While technically not the same characters, the names for many of DC's Golden Age heroes were re-purposed and redesigned as the basis for their Silver Age lineup. Superhero comics fell out of favor with readers after World War II, causing DC to cancel all but their best selling trio of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. In the mid 1950's, it was time for a revival with classic characters such as the Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, and the Atom receiving space age makeovers to reflect the more scientific bend of Cold War America. And with the new origins and secret identities came new costumes.

Barry Allen's sleek red Flash costume replaced Jay Garrick's mythically inspired getup. Test pilot Hal Jordan gained a sleek, authoritarian Green Lantern uniform as opposed to engineer Alan Scott's caped costume that looked like crayola was paying his artist by the color and once again, was far too Christmasy. Katar Hol, a space cop from Thanagar replacing his Pharaoh-reincarnated-as-an-archeologist counterpart, would have more modest improvements over Carter Hall's Hawkman costume, including a new logo and finally settling on a mask design that worked. Shrinking college professor Ray Palmer would replace diminutive student scrapper Al Pratt as the Atom, and bring a simple red and blue spandex costume to replace the predecessor's bare legged caped costume with a plunging neckline.

Of course, it wouldn't be fair to talk about the missteps of professional artists without allowing you a peak behind the curtain and showing some of Cockroach Man's earlier looks. Though the original drawings were incomprehensible childhood scribblings, I've reconstructed some of Cockroach Man's designs from his earliest incarnations below. Enjoy!

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