Character Contest 60 Winners!

For Character Contest 60, I challenged you all to take an existing character done in HeroMachine 2, and revamp it using HeroMachine 3. The response was overwhelming and awesome at the same time, featuring some truly inspired re-imaginings. I doff my hat to you, HeroMachine creators, because you truly put out some exceptional art this time around.

I could only pick a handful of examples that I thought were particularly inspiring, but I definitely commend everyone who entered. Please check out the entire set of entries on the original post, they're well worth your time.

Having said that, here are the two dozen or so I thought were the best of an already excellent group. I'm just going to put up the original and then the revamp right after, without comment, so the work can speak for itself.

Atomic Punk chose "Ghost Monk", originally by Muhammet:

Blue Blazer had a catalog of characters he'd already revamped over the years, but four of them in particular stood out for me. They're all great and show what a revamp really should be about.




Ursa Major:

dblade, "Icy Fairy":

DiCicatriz had three that I thought stood out.

Hammerknight, "Cavalry":

Iflyte had two really nice conversions:

Seventies Man:

(Click to embiggen.)

Black Hole:

Imp, "Shadowjack":

Jack Zelger took on one of my favorite HM2 creations, "Ninja Librarian":

Lawrence did two amazing group shots based on Imp's also-amazing group shots:

Lime's "Myzithra":

Me, Myself, and I:



PapaKrok, Anubis:


Black Ghost:

(Click to embiggen.)

Doctor Oddity:

(Click to embiggen.)

Sutter Kaine, "Kid Death":

Unknownblackpaper, "Black and White":

Watson Bradshaw, "Union Jack, aka Black Jack":


Gold Warrior:

(Click to embiggen.)

Ojos Azules:

(Click to embiggen.)

I went back and forth over who to pick as the winner. I actually had to take a half hour break away from the computer, thinking about something else, so I could come back to it with fresh eyes.

Ultimately it came down to Rancid, Lawrence, Zyp, and Blue Blazer, all of whom had multiple outstanding entries.

Rancid's Black Ghost catapulted the Western-era character into a modern setting effectively, and turned Doctor Oddity from a Dr. Strange-style knock-off to something much more interesting and Baroque.

I was impressed with Lawrence's composition, putting together multiple figures into what could pass for a really nice comic book cover. The drawback to that approach is, I didn't get a really good look at any one character's redesign.

Zyp's poses were both incredibly dynamic and powerful, particularly "Ojos Azules". Several people took a crack at that one, and I thought Zyp's stripped-down, back-to-basics approach really enhanced the character. The pose and the cape and the lightning all combined to inject the depiction with pure energy. On the down side, both of the redesigns themselves were sort of the same, removing the boots in favor of black leggings and taking away extraneous stuff.

Blue Blazer's remakes were all fantastic. I thought the improvements were all spot-on, the colors were great, and he managed to retain the essence of each character while making it moreso. Of course that's a bit easier when it's your own characters you're remaking, and these were all done over a longer period of time than just one contest, so I have to factor that in.

You can see why it's such a hard decision for me.

I think, though, I have to go with Blue Blazer for the win. Each character exemplifies what I think of when I hear "redesign" or "revamp". The end result is a great illustration, that enhances the original while retaining its essence. And of the three, I think the "Jester" one is the pinnacle. A truly exceptional update.

Congratulations to Blue Blazer for another win, and to everyone who participated!

28 Responses to Character Contest 60 Winners!

  1. Wierdrocks says:

    Aww yea! BB for the win! Booya! Blazer, Blazer, Blazer, Blazer, Blazer, ect. ect.

  2. unknownblackpaper says:

    Congrats Blue Blazer

  3. zaheelee says:

    Wow, I sincerely admire your ability to win so many contests! Congratulations! You deserved it! πŸ™‚

  4. Hammerknight says:

    Way to go Blue.

  5. tj church says:

    congratz BB

    I think the entries for this contest were the best yet

  6. Me, Myself & I says:

    Good for you Blue Blazer!

  7. @Blue Blazer: Congratulations

    Solid contest all around. Have to repeat, this really highlights the evolution of HeroMachine.. No offense to Jeff, but the prior to 3 Alpha, the characters were mere “cardboard cut-outs.” Now look! It just keeps getting better.

    @Jeff: Thanks for the Honorable Mention. I wanted Ghost Monk to be an example of HM3’s flexibility. And special thanks to Muhammet for the original creation.

    Going back to Jeff’s question of “ownership”, best analogy that I came up with is HM is a “mix tape.” Jeff is the original artist but we arrange his works to express ourselves. Mix tape… you see, there were these things called “cassettes”… oh, nevermind.

    Some of my notable re-vamps (alphabetically):
    * dblade’s Icy – spunky
    * DiCicatriz’ David Curry – I have a new arch-nemesis!
    * Imp’s Shadowjack – Pose and the shadow on the rail is a great effect
    * Kytana’s Lils – Wading barefoot, with the boots in the background
    * Lawrence’s Ninja – Charging, his opponent facing him down
    * Lime’s Acelyn – From “cookie cutter” to a character that conveys emotion
    * MrMatt’s Tommy Gun – Both characters are tough. The re-vamp says “One of us dies tonight.”
    * Mysterious Zed’s Man in Black – Removing the glasses, tilting head, another attitude pose
    * Sutter Kaine’s Kid Death – Rising from the darkness, guns at the ready, eerie glow under the coat
    * unknownblackpaper’s Red – Shielding her eyes from the snow, offset from the bleak, rocky background

    Wheh, no wonder it took Jeff so long to post a winner.

  8. VonMalcolm says:

    DiCicatriz and Iflyte stood out for me in this group: cool characters accentuated with really cool light effects.

  9. Gero says:

    Cograts, Blazer. This was an amazing contest, and had some incredible entries, and everyone would benefit from going back to the contest page and looking through the literally dozens that Jeff wasn’t able to fit on here…

  10. Blue Blazer says:

    Wow, I am genuinely shocked that I won this one, considering the ridiculously awesome competition. What a great way to start the week! Great job to everybody who entered.

  11. The Imp says:

    Congrats, BB!

    I gotta say though, I’ve become a Zyp fanboy. Every contest for the last month or two he’s just been hitting them out of the park.

    I also really loved DiCicatriz’s remake of Ojos Azules – those are some of the best special effects I’ve seen. Awesome.

  12. Jeff Hebert says:

    Yeah, I was really on the fence with Zyp’s. When I first put together the Finalists, I thought I was going with his. Then the more I looked at the two I liked most, I just thought that while the pose was fantastic, I wasn’t totally sold on the actual character redesign itself. Had “Is the final image awesome” been the only criteria, I might have still gone with his. But I really wanted to have the redesign be just as important, and I felt like Blue Blazer’s edged Zyp’s out in that regard, though Zyp’s poses were more dynamic.

  13. MartianBlue says:

    I was really impressed with these winners Jeff. These are by far some of the best I have seen. They are simply amazing, and you can tell how much time the creators must have taken.

    Congrats all.

    PapaKrok’s Anubis (for it’s out of the box thinking) and Ayph’s Gold Warrior (for one of the coolest and most convincing poses I’ve ever seen) are probably my favorite two, but almost every single one of these was pleasing to the eye. I was like wow, what’s next, I like this one, no this one. Again congrats all.

  14. DiCicatriz says:

    Congratulations, Blue πŸ˜€

    Great entries all around. This was a fun contest πŸ™‚ Thanks for all the kind words everybody. Shout out to Lawrence for those amazing group shots! Also, I might have to steal that triple wolf insignia from PapaKrok’s Anubis for a personal project down the line. It’s just so cool πŸ˜‰

  15. tool says:

    alot of these are really cool, i would love to try and participate in a contest sometime but i only ever see it when the contest is over. and where do you go to add you pic in the mix?

  16. CPrime says:

    Congrats, Blazer, as usual.

    I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty disappointed that mine didn’t even get mentioned, but it is what it is. You do good work and you deserve every contest you win.

  17. Myro says:

    I’m actually not that disappointed (only a little) that I failed to even make honorable mention this time around. There was a lot of good work all around, but finding the silver lining, this contest did light a fire under me to work on upgrading my old HM2 designs, and while not all my upgrades even made it into the contest, I did manage to get a handful of them checked off the list, including a couple I was really having problems with.

    Congrats Blazer, I have to commend you on your ability to look at your work and find ways to change your design with the new program. One of my problems was that I was so convinced I knew what I was doing the first time around in the costume design, I just couldn’t do a revamp on the old costume, and pretty much remade it in HM3.

  18. Lawrence says:

    I’m so happy to be amongst some great entries here. Thanks for the great words Jeff.

    Congrats Blue Blazer, I loved Jester straight away when I saw it on the main page.

    I also loved DiCicatriz with David Curry’s punk guy and all of Zyp’s stuff.

    I managed to miss Walton Bradshaw’s Black Jack though. Loads of attention to detail like the smoking bullet holes. Ripples in the puddles around the feet. Very cool.

    @ 14. tool:
    The competitions alternate between caption contests and character ones. They’re every monday. Next week will be the next chance to enter a character design so look out of the post. Jeff will set the theme on next week’s post. All the rules to enter will be on it but essentially you post a link to your character under the competition post. Look back to last monday to get an idea of what I mean if I haven’t explained this too well.

  19. Lawrence says:

    @16 Myro: I’m with you. I struggled being able to redesign my old characters. I found it a lot more freeing taking a stab at others. Thanks again to Imp for letting me have a chance to bring some great characters to life.

    I loved this competition Jeff. I really felt like a new artist at a comic company adding my touch to some established characters.

    There was a lot of variety too, which was great. It really worked having a good choice of designs to recreate.

  20. Kytana says:

    Congratulations, the winner.
    For me i see next time i worked not for six hours to create three entrys. ItΒ΄s better one for short time without to try make it perfect with little details and anything that takes to long. Because everytime i see that i am not under the best that disappointed me. And i hate this to feel bad.
    So next time i post the better picture for that critique-day.

  21. Jack Zelger says:

    Thanks for the tip of the hat to the ninja librarian, Jeff! I thought it was a fun character. It’s always interesting to see what you choose, because out of the three I entered, I liked the other two better than the one you chose to show.

    Congrats to everyone! And the stuff from all those HM2 creators was great inspiration!

  22. ams says:

    Bravo Blue Blazer! And thanks for the loan on your character for my entry. I’m still looking through your archive even though the contest is over. Great stuff!

  23. Gargoyle323 says:

    Congrats Blazer! Great work by all! I think this was a neat theme for the contest and some really amazing work done by all that entered!

  24. Lime says:

    Everybody brought on the awesome this week! I’d have had a beast of a time picking, too. πŸ™‚

  25. Gene says:

    All great entries guys and gals, really good stuff, congrats to all.

  26. Sammy N says:

    Question Regarding Ojos Both Versions & The Girl in Sinister 6 How did you guys make the Lotus Position in Ojos #1 & the Arm Point upwards in Ojos #2 & How do you make the Right leg go over the left or vice versa & make the character sit down?

  27. Tool says:

    @Hammerknight, ok yous was pretty good newer version but i have been looking over alot of the older post of contest, and hints, and everything and I gotta say I think your work is awesome. Some really good works of art and tips.

  28. Zyp says:

    Jeff, yeah I totally get it no hard feelings… That’s my greatest weakness: always going for the too pretty. D:
    but anyways congratulations to Blue Blazer! Love the Ursa Major!

    Sammy N(26): If you meant my version by #2, it’s just two round insignias behind the outwards turned upper arm to make up for the muscles missing there. πŸ˜‰