Monthly Archives: December 2007

The Crossdressing Power of Deimos!

I say, if you’re a man about to take on the world in a masterful plot of pure evil, why not put on a sexy red velvet, midriff-baring, slit-up-to-the-hips, wide-sleeved dress, with matching pointy slippers? And heck, while you’re at it, get yourself a nice, long-nailed manicure, because if you look good, you’ll defeat good.

Deimos

Image and character © DC Comics, Inc., 1985, from “Who’s Who” volume VI.

Cool Hero: Copperskin

Thanks to Pesky for this characer, posted on the UGO Forums:

Copperskin

I think he uses transparency well here, making the green part of the wings look translucent, for example, without going quite too far. I also like the use of the new Expansion hover-platform beneath the character to ground it a bit more, and the diamond background gives it all the feeling of a real character illustration.

Nice job, Pesky, keep up the good work!

Cool Character: Spectre

Over on the UGO Forums, “thedoompixel” has a thread showing off some characters he’s made. One in particular jumped out at me and I thought you might enjoy seeing what he’s done:

Spectre

One of the things I like about this character is the way he’s made the “skin” component completely transparent, allowing the clothing items to take the weight of giving the figure form. I also like the clean and simple color palette, with just the eyes in a bold red against black and white. This is a really innovative design, an excellent example of “less is more”. You don’t have to load your character down with an item from every single component, sometimes (usually!) it’s better to rely on a few simple choices to carry the narrative forward.

There are several other characters in that thread that are well worth your time, so head on over and take a gander when you get a chance.

Well done, thedoompixel!

Good costuming

I certainly have written enough words at this point about bad super-hero costumes, but I wanted to take advantage of the tidings of joy in the air at this time of year to point you to a site that features nothing but great design — Project Rooftop. From their “About” section:

Project Rooftop is where cartoonists and illustrators bring their costume design skills to task in tribute to the superheroes and villains we’ve grown up with. This site is intended to promote excellence in costume design as well as foster continued interest for these amazing characters.

All characters are copyrights and trademarks of the respective publishers and creators. All of the designs here were created not for profit and this site is used solely for artistic enjoyment.

Whenever you feel the urge to see what other really creative, talented people can do with super-heroes, I urge you to browse through the Rooftop archives. They’re really something special.

Super Bad Breasts

Look, I like a full-figured gal as much as any red-blooded heterosexual American male, but super-hero breasts are just too ridiculous for words. You’re flying around at high rates of speed without benefit of an airplane. The wind gusts are incredible. And all you have between your quadruple-D cups and two bloody black eyes is spandex. Not a good design.

The latest example that got me irritated is from the pages of Marvel’s execrable “Ultimates 3, Issue 1″. Out of nowhere a teenage Valkyrie leaps from her flying horse, sword held high, to slash at Venom. Look at this photo and see if there’s anything amiss here:

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Interest in Making Your Own HM Items?

I was wondering if there would be interest out there in making your own actual HeroMachine items, which would be Flash objects just like everything else — colorable, selectable, and usable on any of the six bodies. The idea is that I would release the Flash source files (like m1-RightHand-Expansion1.fla for instance) and write up some instructions for how to create your own items. People would draw their own items and send me their versions of the source files, and I’d compile them up into further expansion pack releases for others to use.

The source file for the main engine, heromachine.fla, would not be released.

The thing is, you’d have to own Flash and know how to use it. The code on the item files is very simple, all you have to do basically is change the name of the item in three places and you’re good to go. What I don’t know is how many people would be interested in something like that, and then how many would follow through and actually do something.

Thoughts?

Night Girl

Sometimes a good idea, a good costume design, and a good logo can all combine in an unexpected way to make something that is, if not exactly “bad”, at least worthy of junior high jokes about boobies. Case in point, DC Comics’ “Night Girl” from the “Legion of Super-Heroes”:

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Desktop Inspiration

Sometimes when inspiration strikes from your immediate surroundings, it strikes you upside the head and knocks you silly. This is particularly dangerous for comic book creators, who work in a fairly silly field already and whose immediate environment is pretty much their desk:

Calculator and Calendar Man

Yes, you’re reading that right — this is “The Calculator” and “Calendar Man”, deliciously featured on the same DC “Who’s Who” page. I anxiously await the introduction of “Blotter”, “The Stapler”, and the ever-intrepid “The Mouse”, usually found in his secret hideout, named (inevitably ) “The Mouse Pad”.

(All images and characters ©DC Comics, Inc., from “Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe” #4, 1985.)

Angar the Screamer

If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if a rock singer dressed like a hippie became endowed with the power to scream people into horrifying visions and occasional amnesia, then go to a White Snake concert. I kid! Seriously, if you’ve ever wondered that, then the odds are fairly good that you have at least one thing in common with said hippies, and I’m not talking about wearing a peace symbol.

Regardless, Marvel Comics has beaten you to the punch, my brownie-munching friend, because Daredevil #100 brought us the sonic aweseomeness that is …

ANGAR THE SCREAMER!

Angar the Screamer

The description of Angar (get it? Angar=Anger!) accompanying this image in “The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #1″ says he was a rock singer, but come on, clearly this is a hippie. I live in Austin, Stoner Capital of the South; I know me some hippies, and Angar the Screamer would be right at home on Sixth Street.

And if there’s one thing hippies don’t do, it’s scream. At least, not in angar. Anger. Whatever. If he were named “Melloe the Crooner” I could buy that, because this guy seems more likely to be sitting in the middle of the street, staring at his hand saying “Dude, the colors are so intense“. As for leading a life of crime and trying to duke it out with Daredevil, I don’t think so. I could see him trying to crash on Daredevil’s couch and making a move on his “old lady” after an all-nighter with a peace pipe and “The Doors” playing on the wi-fi, but not all-out fisticuffs.

Still, Daredevil’s about the only super-hero in the Marvel universe I could see lasting more than a page with Angar, because a hero who wasn’t literally blind would immediately know he’s just a lonely hippie, bring him to a head shop, and be done with it. But then, Daredevil always has had Angar management issues …

(Image and character © Marvel Comics, from “Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #1″, 1983.)

Tutorial: The Power of Layers

You don’t have to know how to draw to create characters with the HeroMachine, but there’s still nothing like making your very own custom illustrations. So from time to time, I’ll be posting suggestions on how you can use your computer to do just that.

Before I start, I wanted to say a brief word about the tools you’ll need. At a basic minimum you’ll need a computer (duh) and some software to draw in. I use Flash because I like its organic feel, plus the fact that it outputs vector art means I can give my client an image at literally any size they want, from a small web graphic to a giant mural, and it’ll always look sharp. I also use a Wacom Graphire 4″x5″ pen tablet for the actual drawing. It lets me vary the thickness of the line just like I was inking with a brush, but you can just use your mouse if that’s what you have. For software, I’ll be using Flash MX throughout this tutorial.

And now, on to our first lesson — layers!

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