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Thanks to HeroMachine, now if you can imagine it, you can create it, absolutely free. With thousands of hand-drawn custom-colorable line art, you can outfit any character from any genre. Whether you're an RPGer who wants to bring a character sketch to the game, a novelist who wants to capture that perfect face to refer to as you write, or a gamer who wants a more comics-style rendering of your warrior, ninja, wizard, or archer, HeroMachine can bring that illustration to life.

Just choose the type of item you want, click on it to add it to the canvas, and choose your colors. In minutes you can build your very own customized, beautiful character sketch.

CDC #451 – Team Building – Volume 3 – Prizes for HerrD and ForgivenMonster

HerrD and ForgivenMonster's winning designs...

My versions of their original characters...

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Rewatching the Marvel Movies

I've been on a kick for the last few days of re-watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies in chronological order, as opposed to release order. And I. Am. LOVING IT!

Seriously, I haven't been this geeked up in a long, long time. I think I went through a period of super-hero fatigue towards the end of the last Marvel Phase -- just too many movies in a row, leading to a "resolve your problems by punching them" fatigue. But I signed up for Disney+ and thought this might be a fun way to experience the films now that the first decade is complete.

I hadn't seen "Captain Marvel" before. When it came out, I was turned off by negative reviews and, frankly, the burning mohawk.

But I watched it after "Captain America: First Avenger" and it held up really well! I thought it was basically the same movie as the first Cap installment, and I got a lot of pleasure out of seeing a young Nick Fury and Agent Coulson, particularly with the perspective of knowing what would eventually befall them.

In fact, that nostalgia, that foreknowledge of what was yet to come, has informed a lot of my enjoyment of the films so far. It adds an element of timelessness that was missing on the first go-around for those films I'd seen before.

I just finished "Iron Man 2" and so far, they're all still excellent movies that hold up well, even 10+ years later. Without getting too far into the weeds, here's how I'd rank them so far:

  1. Iron Man: An exceptional super-hero movie, head and shoulders above the rest. Pitch-perfect on every note, successful at everything it attempted. It's clear with the perspective of a decade of experience that this was indeed the affirmation Marvel needed that They. Could. Do. This.
  2. Incredible Hulk: Norton's performance is great and the overall production excellent. I found myself wondering how I'd react to the Ruffalo takeover, but setting that aside, the movie just hums. I remember being blown away by the "Origin story recapped in the opening credits" approach when I first saw it and that is very much reinforced on a later viewing. Non-stop awesome action and story from the get-go, an assertive and confident refutation of the turgid, overly-in-their-heads Ang Lee approach. This is Marvel Studios saying "This is what we're about and what we're about is unapologetic super-hero AWESOMENESS!"
  3. Captain America: First Avenger: I just love Steve Rogers. His spirit, his can-do American underdog-ism, everything about him. The movie dragged a little in the second act but I think maybe knowing how Cap 2 and 3 turn out influenced me to bump this one a little higher than I might have otherwise. Hugo Weaving is great, as always.
  4. Captain Marvel: As I said, I was disincentivized from seeing this the first time due to negative reviews from friends and the Internet. Also the aforementioned flaming space-mohawk. But I really enjoyed it! Brie Larson's performance was sometimes strangely disaffected, but I think that must have been at directorial instruction -- "Super-heroes are very serious, don't take this lightly." I think ultimately what bumped this down slightly below Cap's intro is that with Cap, we have a character who becomes more of what he already is when the movie starts, whereas Marvel is discovering who she was all along. It's also harder to do a movie where the main character is fighting against institutional oppression rather than, say, a guy with a big red skull for a face. Still, a thoroughly enjoyable and well-done movie.
  5. Iron Man 2: Fun, but ultimately it felt a little soulless. I think mostly it suffers from being a sequel -- it's hard to match the interest and drama from an origin movie. Though as we'll see from Ragnarok, not an impossible challenge! Still, just a little too much CGI slugfesty for me to match the appeal of the other offerings.

Next up is "Thor" and I have to say, I haven't been this excited to watch a movie I've already seen once in ... well, maybe ever. I liked the film quite a bit on first release and now, knowing what is to come for the character and the franchise, I look forward to experiencing it again.

CDC #452 – Team Building – Volume 3 – Part 9

The premise of this contest is that over the next number of weeks we will build a team of superheroes and a team of villains. Each week I will supply you with a role, name, or list of powers of one of the team members and you will use HM3 to create the character.

The winner each week will win a version of their character created on HM by yours truly.

This week we move onto the speedster of the hero team – the alien known only as Warp V.

Age: 17 in earth years

Planet of origin: unknown

Powers: Warp V can travel across land and fly through space at many times the speed of light.

Enter as often as you like!

Rules for posts, contests, and challenges: Original characters only, no copyrighted characters, no characters based on copyrighted characters, no characters based on RPG’s or other games. The characters must be your own design and not based on any character that might be copyrighted in any way. Please keep all submissions PG13: full or partial nudity is prohibited. I have the right to delete any post that I believe crosses this line without warning. Only post characters that have been created solely using Hero Machine, and that you know for certain have never been entered in a contest before. If you aren’t certain, don’t enter it, because I’m not going to go back through all of the contests and check.

All entries must be in JPG or PNG form (BMPs are too big), posted to a publicly accessible website (like the HeroMachine :,ImageShack, Deviant Art or whatever);Do not use Photobucket.

  • Entries must be made as a comment or comments to this post, containing a link directly to the image and the character name;
  • No copyrighted characters please – they will be deleted.
  • Please name your filesas [your name]-[character name].[file extension] before you upload it. So DiCicatriz, for instance, would save his “Bayou Belle” character image as DiCicatriz-BayouBelle.png.

Please make the link go directly to the image (like this) and not to a hosting jump page (like this).

This contest will close at 6pm Eastern on Monday, March 2nd.

CDC #451 – Team Building – Volume 3 – Part 8

A luke warm response to the CDC this week.

But there were two entries that really nailed the brief. So it is a tie between...

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CDC #450 – Team Building – Volume 3 – Part 7 – Prize for Xinmodic

Xinmodic's original Madam Ambassador

My take inspired by this design...

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CDC #451 – Team Building – Volume 3 – Part 8

The premise of this contest is that over the next number of weeks we will build a team of superheroes and a team of villains. Each week I will supply you with a role, name, or list of powers of one of the team members and you will use HM3 to create the character.

The winner each week will win a version of their character created on HM by yours truly.

This week we move onto a unpredictable member of the villain squad  - Baby Face Muldoon.

Orphaned as an infant on his home planet – Doon Mul – Saun Fre was raised by loving human parents on earth. His adoptive father, whom he adored, instilled his love of classic earth gangster movies in his young charge. After the death of his father in a freak accident, Saun took on the responsibility of supporting his adoptive mother in her grief. He soon learned that crime does in fact pay after hooking up with a gang of intergalactic pirates who wandered earth’s upper atmosphere robbing unsuspecting travellers. His life changed the day they quite by accident attacked Invidia’s ship. She quickly dispatched his associates, but spared Saun’s life. She was intrigued by the hideous little being dressed like James Cagney with an attitude to match. It was Invidia who gifted him “Tommy” – a laser weapon shaped just like a classic tommy gun that he cherishes.

Enter as often as you like!

Rules for posts, contests, and challenges: Original characters only, no copyrighted characters, no characters based on copyrighted characters, no characters based on RPG’s or other games. The characters must be your own design and not based on any character that might be copyrighted in any way. Please keep all submissions PG13: full or partial nudity is prohibited. I have the right to delete any post that I believe crosses this line without warning. Only post characters that have been created solely using Hero Machine, and that you know for certain have never been entered in a contest before. If you aren’t certain, don’t enter it, because I’m not going to go back through all of the contests and check.

All entries must be in JPG or PNG form (BMPs are too big), posted to a publicly accessible website (like the HeroMachine :,ImageShack, Deviant Art or whatever);Do not use Photobucket.

  • Entries must be made as a comment or comments to this post, containing a link directly to the image and the character name;
  • No copyrighted characters please – they will be deleted.
  • Please name your filesas [your name]-[character name].[file extension] before you upload it. So DiCicatriz, for instance, would save his “Bayou Belle” character image as DiCicatriz-BayouBelle.png.

Please make the link go directly to the image (like this) and not to a hosting jump page (like this).

This contest will close at 6pm Eastern on Monday, February 24th.

CDC #450 – Team Building – Volume 3 – Part 7 – Results

Great work again this week guys, so let's break this down.

For me the key word was elegant. Some of you went for a warrior look which I get, but they lacked in the elegance department.

Honourable mention goes to ForgivenMonster.

Great attention to detail, just a bit "nursey" for a character named Madame Ambassador. Awesome background as well.

Runner up this week is Thundersong.

Nice idea having her draw energy from the earth to speed healing. I think that a colour other than pink might have read as somewhat more elegant.

And the win this week goes to...

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CDC #449 – Team Building – Volume 3 – Part 6 – Prize for Kellkin

Kellkin's version of Mirage...

My version based ob Kellkin's design...

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CDC #450 – Team Building – Volume 3 – Part 7

The premise of this contest is that over the next number of weeks we will build a team of superheroes and a team of villains. Each week I will supply you with a role, name, or list of powers of one of the team members and you will use HM3 to create the character.

The winner each week will win a version of their character created on HM by yours truly.

This week we move onto a unique member of the hero squad Madame Ambassador.

At an early age, her family, and much of her planet were assimilated by a malevolent species known only as Species A. Species A are part biological and part android beings who adopt the strengths of those they assimilate, and disregard their weaker aspects but unlike the Borg they do not seek perfection; they seek pure domination of the galaxy. Cara – Madame Ambassador’s birth name – spent many years in Species A’s diplomatic corps, identifying worlds and species for assimilation, and while she performed her duties with ruthless efficiency Cara never completely left her. After witnessing the brutal assimilation of a young family, she escaped from the Species A mothership, and headed…well…anywhere else. She met The One while hold up in an Earth refugee camp and he convinced her that she still had much to offer. He told her that her knowledge of species and her gift for languages, would be invaluable to his team.

Madame Ambassador is largely android in composition but still carries traces of her former life. She is an elegant being of vast intelligence and kindness who still carries one gift from her home planet: the ability to heal herself and others.

Enter as often as you like!

Rules for posts, contests, and challenges: Original characters only, no copyrighted characters, no characters based on copyrighted characters, no characters based on RPG’s or other games. The characters must be your own design and not based on any character that might be copyrighted in any way. Please keep all submissions PG13: full or partial nudity is prohibited. I have the right to delete any post that I believe crosses this line without warning. Only post characters that have been created solely using Hero Machine, and that you know for certain have never been entered in a contest before. If you aren’t certain, don’t enter it, because I’m not going to go back through all of the contests and check.

All entries must be in JPG or PNG form (BMPs are too big), posted to a publicly accessible website (like the HeroMachine :,ImageShack, Deviant Art or whatever);Do not use Photobucket.

  • Entries must be made as a comment or comments to this post, containing a link directly to the image and the character name;
  • No copyrighted characters please – they will be deleted.
  • Please name your filesas [your name]-[character name].[file extension] before you upload it. So DiCicatriz, for instance, would save his “Bayou Belle” character image as DiCicatriz-BayouBelle.png.

Please make the link go directly to the image (like this) and not to a hosting jump page (like this).

This contest will close at 6pm Eastern on Monday, February 17th.

CDC #449 – Team Building – Volume 3 – Part 6 – Results

Well that is more like it!

Tied for runner up status this week is...

 Scott Weyers who nailed both the alien and androgyny vibes beautifully, and...

 Thundersong - really great ideas beautifully realized.

And the win this week goes to...

Continue reading