Character Contest 40 Winners!

The response to Character Contest 40 was great, I appreciate all the hard work and time y'all put into this. I especially loved the chance to read up on some Southern legends I hadn't heard before, so special thanks to everyone who provided links to the myths and legends that inspired your creations.

Having said that, let's get to the Finalists!

First up is Alan Bates' "Bell Witch". There's a nice technique here with the green to black gradient as the background, with the contrasting red of the dress int he foreground, that helps this image out a lot. Nice use of color theory there, Alan.

Next is Atomic Punk's "Bonnie Blue", based on a flag used at various points by rebellious states. He has a really nice back story for the character and I like the use of history.

Cliff's "Big Mama" makes great use of color and proportion to make a convincing character not based on the traditional super-hero stereotypes, which I like.

Danny Beaty put together a fun and kick-ass looking "Daisy Duke" type of character with "Swampwater Molly". On an unrelated note, I sure see a lot of red-heads in the country, both in Texas and here in Colorado. Why is that?

Despite not being a US resident, I think Decolda did a nice job capturing the spirit of New Orleans with his "Saints Necromancer". I can totally see this guy as an actual super villain, using his mandolin to lure the dead from their graves to dance in the streets of the River City. Very cool.

DiCicatriz always has great illustrations, and furthermore he (along with rancid) posted their links perfectly. You right-click on the link, choose "Save Image As" and the file's perfectly formatted with the name, a dash, and the character name. Love it. No having to wait for ImageShack to load, no having to click through three times to get to the character, it's just right there.

Anyway, technical details aside, I was prepared to hate "Mrs. Ippi" just on the name, but he really pulled it off. The use of the water integrated into the clothing and the cool cape effect of the waves behind her make this a very cool looking lady indeed.

I also liked DiCicatriz' Uwasa, particularly the very subtle way he's position the feet to make the character not head-on.

Now, as I said, I'm from the South (born and raised in Louisiana), so I'm a little sensitive to the stereotypes Americans sometimes have about the region. But I still couldn't help but laugh at Gargoyle323's excellent "Redneck Ranger", especially his adorably-named canine sidekick "Hush Puppy". In fact, he bears an uncanny resemblance to the local news' food critic I grew up with, the "Cajun Chowhound". Very funny!

Ian Healy's "Thunderbird" looks like something out of a "Cannonball Run" or "Smoky and the Bandit" nightmare. Or fantasy. Whichever, somewhere Burt Reynolds is smiling -- not that you can tell through the massive amount of plastic surgery he's had, but still, a very fun and cool looking character.

It wouldn't be a contest without me showing some Imp love, and this week is no exception with "The Gracelander". The pants don't quite work for me, but I loved the background a lot, which made up for it. Nice job!

Me, Myself, and I put together a great looking aquatic-themed character. The masking of the wave item onto the costume just works wonderfully, and the whole composition is a winner. Great job on this one.

"Phatchick" submitted "The Flamingo", which is a great idea -- flamingos are definitely a Southern thing without being stereotypical -- and came up with a great Zorro type of vibe I really liked.

Finally, the winning entry this week is one of the strongest overall illustrations I've seen in a long, long time. The character herself is great, with a combination of tattoos and energy effects and clothing that all work well together. Then you've got a wonderful background and setting, all with a somber and dark color palette perfect for the swamps of the South. Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to present your winning entry for the Southern Fried Contest, Haz's "Mysterious Swamp Woman":

Haz wins his choice of either any item he likes, or a portrait, either of which will be included in the final HeroMachine 3 release.

Congratulations to Haz and all the other Finalists, nice job everyone!

50 Responses to Character Contest 40 Winners!

  1. The Doomed Pixel says:

    Congrats, Haz! I wanted to enter this contest, but I simply new nothing about southern culture. The closest I could come up with was the Tengallon Tanker, but that’s Texas, so I had to pass this round. Some great stuff this week, everyone!

  2. Robottick says:

    Alas, I did not win. Congrats 2 finalists, tho.

  3. Tim says:

    Congrats to Haz and the finalists!

  4. Jake says:

    Good job everyone. I was worried that most submissions would be stereotypes. I wanted to do a character from my home state of WV, but wasn’t sure how to do that without further projecting the various stereotypes associated with the region. After seeing these, I think I have a better idea of what I would do for a West Virginian character.

  5. Aaron says:

    hardly any of these show real southern culture my family is from the south i would know more bout southern culture than anyone else here. my entry might not have had any superpowers or be a monster but it showed that people from the south dont need superpowers or transformations to be a hero. people from the south like doin stuff by hand and without superpowers.

  6. The Imp says:

    Congrats to Haz. That is one cool entry.

    @Aaron: Uh… you do know HM is primarily a superhero creation tool, right?

  7. Hakoon1 says:

    Aaron, Jeff is also from the South and he was the judge. Peoples’ views on things like this are all different. Plus as Imp said, it is primarily a tool used for creating superheroes.

  8. Legatus says:

    Congratulations Haz! That’s an amazing creation.

    I also liked MMI’s and the Fire-/Thunderbird.

    @Jeff: please no more of these regional contests, unless you’re willing to include one for us Europeans

  9. Danny Beaty says:

    Congrats Haz!

  10. Danny Beaty says:

    @Jeff: Thanks for the honorable mention! Actually, Molly owes more to the late, great Claudia Jennings than she does to Daisy Duke.

  11. haz says:

    Wow! Thanks for all the congrats, people! And thanks, Jeff, for picking the swamp lady. You make it sound so serious too. Mostly I was just poking fun at a movie cliche.

    If possible, I’d love to see a vertical gradient made available as a pattern item (ideally a two-tone gradient). I know there are gradients under the Patterns tab, but if it were an item, it could be a lot more versatile and allow for all sorts of depth and effects to be added to illustrations.

  12. Gargoyle323 says:

    Congrats Haz and all other finalist.

    Also, no offense was intended with my “Redneck Ranger”. I was trying to give a comical take on stereotypical images. If any were offended, I apologize.

  13. haz says:

    Oh! Forgot to mention in my last comment, the Redneck Ranger cracks me up something fierce, and the effort put into getting those logos on the cans is impressive. Reading the backstory I kept thinking, “I know this guy.”

  14. John says:

    I wuz sorely offended by the “redneck ranger,” sir! Sorely! I shall now go drown my sorrows with a rack of Dreamland BBQ ribs and a six of Dixie beer.

  15. Gargoyle323 says:

    Haz, thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you appreciate the effort that went into the logos. I tried to use brands produced in the South or have main HQ’s in the South. Again, congrats on your win. You deserve it!

  16. Gargoyle323 says:

    John, I raise my Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale to you, good Sir! Salute!

  17. Galactic Ketchup says:

    Congrats everyone, gutted I didn’t make the final 🙁

    Oh well, roll on CC41 😀

  18. rancid says:

    didnt get at least one up there 🙁 love the “bell witch” tho

  19. BangYourHead says:

    Congrats Haz, your entry actually kicked ass 😀

  20. Woohoo! Finalist! Thanks! I enjoyed researching character ideas.

    @haz: “MSW” is just not a stereotype. Great ensemble and swamp effects. I especially like the amoral nature of her character.

    @All: As always, great fun. I’m going to forgo my additional comments post. Just too many awesome entries.

    Though, I do declare. Jake Zegler’s Wonder Gal was my favorite to win. Great re-interpretation of WW.

    As an aside, I think I jinxed Elliot Sadler this weekend with my “19” shout-out.

  21. Jeff Hebert says:

    rancid (#18): I actually had your “Alexis Rage” as a finalist originally Rancid, before deciding she was more Western than Southern (in my own purely subjective opinion).

    Legatus (#8): I very much intend to do other regional themes. If they can have a West Coast Avengers and a Great Lakes Avengers, I don’t think it’s out of bounds to have specific areas of the US with their own HM contests either. I’m sorry you feel left out, but as Decolda proved, you can be from Europe and still grok enough of a given foreign region to make a convincing character for it.

    Aaron (#5): I’m sorry, but that comment sounds like pure 100% sour grapes and reflects very poorly on you.

    Haz (#11): I can add that to the Patterns-Standard set, no problem.

    Gargoyle323 (#16): Yes, those logos were AMAZING! I can’t even imagine the time and effort that went into creating and placing those. Really a superb job.

    Atomic Punk (#20): I loved the Wonder Gal too, that was also in the original set of “Finalists” before I got too nervous about copyright issues.

  22. rancid says:

    for a new yorker i tried my best 😛

  23. Gargoyle323 says:

    Thanks,Jeff. I felt really challenged this week. I hail from the suburbs of Cleveland,Ohio and did a lot of research for my entries. From the Gray Man legend of S.C. to the can logos of the south(such as Cheerwine from N.C.). I hoped that what I learned this week showed in my pictures. I think the work done by everyone this week was exceptional.

    And to Aaron, I hail from NE Ohio. If someone from the South were to create a “Midwest Hero” and win the contest,I would congratulate them and work hard on whatever the next challenge is. Everybody who submits something IS a winner in my book. I am glad there is a forum for us to be able to share and enjoy each others works. I wish the best of luck to you in any upcoming contest. I look forward to seeing what you, and everyone else,creates.

  24. Alan Bates says:

    Great job guys. My particular favorites are the Redneck Ranger and Saints Necromancer.

  25. Me, Myself & I says:

    Congratulations Haz,very deserving indeed.

    Being from Canada and having spent a grant total of 3 days in “The South” I did find this contest to be a bit of a challenge. I actually enjoy a challenge though so I thought the contest was great. All it meant was that I needed to do a little more research.

    Partly due to trying not to depend on the obvious stereotypes and largely due to my research I found I ended up using a common theme throughout my entries. In every case they all had some influence or interaction with historical content. Not being from the culture myself I’m pretty happy with the results.

    Of course I’m likely biased and I may have totally missed the mark. I wouldn’t mind some feedback on whether or not the culture could be felt with my characters though.

  26. VonMalcolm says:

    Grape Attack! Grape Attack! Grape Attack! (Has anyone else seen that SNL skit?)

    My Favs:

    Aaron King
    Bad Moon
    The Intimidator
    Uwasa (Perhaps my top favorite: I love the colors.)
    -and many others from above

    Disqualified: Facebook pics: it’s so frustrating not to be able to see your work!

    Win or Lose I enjoy these contests: See you all next Week! -The Right Hand of God (or Jeff Hebert) Willing! HEE HAW! Oh, I forgot. . . no stereotypes!

  27. Phatchick says:

    Being a BBW myself, I loved Cliff’s “Big Mama”. My fav was the bell witch, I’d never heard that story until now. Great entries and I’m flattered mine was in there.

  28. X-stacy says:

    Hee Haw was created by Canadians who’d never visited the American South, VonMalcolm, so stereotype away!

  29. Aaron says:

    @jeff no disrespect just voicein my opinion and tryin to prove a point that people in the south dont really need super powers to defeat crime. no big more thing can you tell me what i did wrong with my character? and give some improvement tips.

    @THE IMP i do know that this is used primarily for super heroes but why not try somethin different? ive used this to make western characters,rouge agents,street cops,superheroes and many more.

  30. Jeff Hebert says:

    Aaron, that’s not at all how your comment came out, it sounded an awful lot like slapping down everyone but yourself and declaring yourself as some kind of superior Southern being. It was really, really irritating.

    Non-super characters are fine, what matters most is how the final image looks — that’s what I judge on.

    As for specific critiques, I don’t really do those except on some Open Critique Thursdays, it just takes way too much time. Look at the winning entries each week and compare them to yours and see if you can pick out tricks or techniques that work better in theirs.

    Finally, the winners each week are just my subjective, personal opinion. It doesn’t mean yours aren’t good, it just means they didn’t match up with my biases. Art’s like that. Stay true to what you know, create characters that you love, and it’s all good.

  31. Aaron says:

    @jeff understood talk to ya thursday

  32. Nick Hentschel says:

    Why so many redheads, you ask? Because in this country, we have both the balls and the good taste to LIKE them, instead of persecuting them!

    Getting “ginger-baited” in England, ladies? Come to America! We’ll give you SO much more than asylum!

  33. ajw says:

    congrats to the bayou heroes and like a broken record we should have a sith lords contest

  34. Jeff Hebert says:

    ajw, we can’t have a Sith lords contest because Jedi and the Sith and such are copyrighted by LucasFilms.

  35. Galactic Ketchup says:

    @Jeff just a wild thought I had, but the website could maybe hold an annual awards ceremony, and one of the contests could be to design the ‘trophies’.

  36. How about a contest based on the ubiquitous censorhip of “The Copyrighter” and staunch defender of parody “The Fair User”? :9

  37. Nick Hentschel says:

    A little too esoteric, APunk: that’d appeal to long-term users, like you and I, but wouldn’t bring in NEW users, like these contests are (presumably) meant to.

    A general-purpose “Censor” character might be a little better……

  38. Alan Bates says:

    Maybe we can’t do Jedis and Sith, but a more generic Science Fiction Future could work and still allow the same basic entries.

  39. The Imp says:

    @Jeff: I KNEW those pants were gonna kill my entry! 😀 I was originally going to give him some full-on white Elvis bellbottoms with gold sequins, but then I thought, ‘He’s fighting crime; he needs a little functionality too’.

  40. A little too esoteric? The use of “esoteric” alone would scare me away. Just kidding! Point taken. Guess we’ll have to wait for CC41. 🙂

  41. Jeff Hebert says:

    Nick (37): That’s actually a good question — what ARE these contests meant to do?

    For me, there are three main purposes for these contests.

    First, and most important by FAR, is simply to have fun. People like doing them, I like seeing what people create, and we all have a good time. A natural consequence of that is that I get people to come back several times a week, and that’s good for traffic, but that’s sort of a nice, accidental byproduct of the fun-having.

    Second, it gives me an awesome living gallery of kick-ass images made using my program. When someone wants to know what HeroMachine can do, I just point them to the winners and it does all the talking for me. That’s cool.

    And third … I don’t have a third. I think that’s it. I never was much good at math.

  42. C. Baize says:

    Unfortunate The Confederate didn’t make it. 🙂
    But the winner was VERY good.

    And Aaron… I’m from Tennessee. My family is from Tennessee, Alabama, Missouri, and Mississippi. You’re not the only Southerner, here.

    Jeff, excellent contest. Looking forward to future ones.

  43. Nick Hentschel says:

    I should have made a character with liguid/muck/mud feet, and called him, “the Tarheel.” WHY do these ideas only come to me when the contest is over?

  44. @Nick: Coulda-woulda-shoulda… nope, I’m floating along that river. Best ideas and repertoire; the greatest quarterback in the NFL will never be on the field.

    To sum it up best, Pat Benatar “It’s a Little Too Late.”

    CC41 is coming up. When it’s announced, let’s play. Friendly, of course, just want to get you fired up and don’t dwell.

    Great… now I have the Doobie Brothers “It Keeps You Running” in my head. Shows my age… yeah, it keeps you running… B-D-B-D-B-D-D-B… is that right?

    This random inspirational tangent brought to you by Jaegermeister! And a heart of glass, soon found out… Blondie was right.

  45. Cliff says:

    Haz, Congratulations on the win! And Congrats to all the Mentions!
    And thanks Jeff for Mentioning Big Mama, I had a feeling if any got picked it might be her!

    Sorry this is so long, but wanted to comment on some things I liked …

    @Gargoyle323 – Wow! I am SO surprised The Colonel didn’t at
    least get a HM for the sheer humor and execution of it. I give ya one

    @Dude – Really liked Southern Rebel Biker astride his bike.

    @Joel – Arkansaw – I LOVE a good pun-ny name!

    @Ian – Pretty snazzy embodiment of the car! I like the fact you have the black gloves and boots for his “Tires”

    @sutter_kaine – Buford E. Lee. Great concept, writeup and execution. Gotta love this guy.

    @MartianBlue – I was shocked Rockabilly didn’t make the top list. I really loved the entire background too.

    @Ian – Loved Whistling Dixie’s punny name. I would have used the puckered lips to make her whistling or something. But that is me, and you are you. And she’s a great addition to General Lee.

    @Matthew Sheffield – I thought Crude Oil was inspired, this is another I wish I had made. Kewl oil platform background.

    @VonMalcom – The Creeper was definately creepy.
    I was going to do a Deliverance inspired chracter, but when I saw this. I gave it up LOL. This is also when I stopped looking at the posts and just went on my own flood of Southern Heroes, unfettered by ‘oh crap, someone else did it’ I did what I came up with, posted them … now I’m looking at the rest of them. LOL

    @Tim – Great overall scene!

    @Aaron1 – Kentucky Fried Chicken is wonderfully bizzare, he and The Colonel are a great pair LOL
    Not sure Kentucky Fried Chicken would agree though.

    @Idiosyncracy – I would research it, and do the best I could, just like I did on … Femme Fatales and Dinomarines and other things. LOL
    Western Jutland hmmmm?

    @Danny Beaty – Bubba2.0 great concept.
    Crawdad. KEWL!
    Strawboss. Loved the story behind it, and kewl character.

    @Gargoyle323 – Bad Moon looks mega kewl

    @sutter_kaine – Crawdaddy, WOW! This is a WONDERFUL rendition of a down south crawdad man. Kudos!.

    @MarcinMakaj – New Orleans Jazz Player, great job!

    @sutter_kaine – man-igator … ROTFLMAO! Good job on him too

    @MartianBlue – the black and white coal miners news photo is REALLY top notch, just brilliant!

    @Robotick – Glade Ranger Jack was definately a fun character

    @Nightwing203 – I really liked Southern Draw, I even caught the blue and the gray for the floor stripes.

    @Haxxx – Old Man Johnson – WOW you have some subtleties going on that I didn’t catch at first glance, the actual “Red neck” and paler body, the ammo suspender, and I’m still trying to figure out how you did the hole in the shoe/sock and exposed the toe.

    @Alex – Cajun. LOL! Great character on that character

    @GalacticKetchup – Johnny Danials … “parts of his outhouse” BWAH HA HA HA HA! Actually it looks really good, and I do like the story. But “parts of his outhouse” LOL!

    @sutter_kaine – I was going to say Paul the Opossum Boy and
    Possum Pete could be possum buddies and hang out together, but now that I’ve seen him … Paul will just hang out in his neck o’ th’ wood and leave Possum Pete alone. LOL

    @VonMalcolm – Voodoo Medusa – ROTFLMAO
    WOW! and I say again WOW! It starts out funny, and gets deadly. and the pic! GEEZ! A wonderfully packed desent into the front stoop of Hell … as it should be considering the subject. My computer would have SO froze up under the weight of all that. I am very envious! Great work. This should have at LEAST got a mention … oh! and those are some mammoth mammeries on that mumbo jumbo mamma!
    I’ve done a naga (snake woman) before, but she is so “clean” and almost … “boring” compaired to this LOL

    @Gargoyle323 – Intimidator.
    JEEZ! With my eyesight I couldn’t even hope to even see all that, let alone make it. From what I can tell you were as spot on as possible. I’m very impressed and envious.
    How did you deal with Font aura overlap and putting them all in perfect place, after a couple of Font words and I’m going batty!!!

    @Matthew Sheffeild – Freebird Floyd. Probably not the comment you want, but … Sexy!I like. (Just take it as the compliment its intended as LOL)

    @FnordBear – Gray Man of Pawly’s Island, very kewl, and liked the background story.

    @Dave3dclark – Cute. I mean that in a good way LOL. As a “Kid” his enthusiasm shows.

    @Danny Beatty – Nightrider is clean and simple, love the white, gold and gray theme. Nice and tight image.

    @AlanBates – The Deerhunter. Kewl. John Deer and The Deerhunter can go out and get drunk together.

    @Gargoyle323 – Zydeco Man. What a very kewl scene man, animals, props and background! Great work.

    @Knighthawk. You surprised me with Rougurou, didn’t use the muscular hairy torso. It was a nice surprise to see the pot belly werewolf … who’s in there? LOL A GREAT backstory too! This would make a great book. Is this your story or legend?

    @kyle – filled with the devil is pretty kewl.

    @L. D. Moore – Sorry I couldnt see any of yours

    @Ugo users – I can’t see any from UGO, sorry.

    @Nigel – Ms. Desdemona Durham I’m a … (wait for it) .. sucker for a good vampire! Love her.

    @MScat – Hurricane is very kewl, but I think I would have made him female.

    @DiCicatriz – Mrs. Ippi What a kewl backstory and reditioon!!!

    @MScat – The Shrimper – Ya gotta wonder if the winners worry about what their faces will be doing that they may never know about. Kewl pic!
    And I think the seagull was readily apparent.

    @Gargoyle323 – Steamboat Willie is just great, Love the smokestack, his mechanical torso and the robot arms. Also the copy and flipped background is inspired, I love it!

    @Jack Zelger – Wonder Gal. Kewl character and love the tied shirt

    @sutter_kaine – Rebel Son – Nice, clean, sexy hero.

    @rancid – Monster Truck – heh heh very kewl. Surprised there was more Monster Truck characters now that I’ve seen it.

    @suter_kaine – Spirit Of Jazz – Very kewl! Great use of simplicity and limited color palet

    Gargoyle323 – Redneck Ranger – ROTFLMAO!!! What a great back story. Now when I first seen him .. I was PISSED! What a massive use of photoshop! Then I realized you did all that with FONTS! I’m friggin impressed and downright envious! I could NEVER do all that! Great Job!!! And the character and his costume is just great too! Yea Fat Heroes!

    @Rancid – Sherrif Blood, Heh heh very interesting … I mean that in a good way

    @Gargoyle323 – The Harvester, WOW! That mush be a LOT of shoulder pads in that field. I’m not sure my computer would have made it. Nice barn too! Very Kewl!

    @coyote – cutter’s crew. Nice use of some companions! My fave is the vampire!

    @TheAtomicPunk – Cash Town Inn – Kewl illustration of the tale!
    The Gray Ghost – Nice Civil War Centaur!

    @Galactic Ketchup – Fabulous Freddy ROTFLMAO! I love it!!! Too Kewl!

    @Rancid – Steel Magnolia – Very nice, I like her look and the background!

    @Haz – Mysterious Swamp Woman. ROTFLMAO! I love that background. Unfortunately the pic of too dark for me to see well at all. But after I saved it, the zoomed in, she looks kewl.

    Talladega – BWAH HA HA HA HA! Radioactive Lug Nut!!! Kewl costume and pic!

    @TheAtomicPunk – Zoogies! LOL this is great, love the backstory too!

    WOW! That was some ride! Thanks guys! Thanks Jeff!
    Can’t wait for C#41
    and I have already got SEVERAL done this week for Texas whenever it comes around!

  46. Cliff says:

    @Phatchick @27 – Thanks for the commnet, I am glad you liked her! I had a lot of fun making herm and as I said thought she was my strongest possibility. Congrats on Flamingo. I remember you mentioned John Waters in coments, was he your inspiration for her?

  47. Gargoyle323 says:

    Cliff, thank you so much for the very kind words. It means a lot to hear such nice feedback. I worked really hard to make realistic looking logos on Intimidator and Redneck Ranger. Many trials and errors(plus time)went in to it.

    Also let me congratulate you for the OUTSTANDING job on BIG MAMA! I believe it is your best creation out of everything I have seen from you.(And that comes from the mind who has given us a dinosaur taking a dump and a naked super hero in an inner tube!!!) I thought BIG MAMA was going to win this contest. From the colors,patterns and overall look, she was FANTASTIC!!! This was just an excellent all around picture and you captured the feel of a New Orleans voodoo woman perfectly!!! GREAT JOB!!!

  48. VonMalcolm says:


    Big Mama came out very ‘smooth’: as if she were a drawing, not a HeroMachine creation.

    As far as Voodoo Medusa: s… l… o… w… and steady with a helping of patience; also, I think I have a little Russ Meyer in me.

    On first impression I always think Gargoyle323 is cheating too: dude has got some skills and mad patience.

  49. Cliff: welcome to my world!

    I want to give shouts and props to everyone, but it’s time-consuming to acknowledge everyone. Stop being so awesome! There, I said it. 😉

    And @Cliff: Thanks for the props on the Zoogie. I love to twist the contest theme. And the character fit like a Duplo block to a Lego. That’s how I roll.

  50. Gargoyle323 says:

    @Cliff and @VonMalcolm: Y’all gonna make me blush! Thanks for the nice words. There is a lot of patience going into the fonts and logos I use. I laughed at the thought of me cheating on the designs. If you knew me,you would find I am pretty computer illiterate. I honestly don’t know anything about photoshop or how it works! Mrs.Gargoyle helps me ALOT and I have a good friend who does all my IT work.