Author Archives: JR19759

Character Of The Week: Altalyrius by Blastermasterism324 & Amanacer-Fiend0

So, not often I do one of these anymore, but sometimes a piece comes along that just blows me away so much that I feel the need to showcase it. Well, here's one of those:

Now, there is a lot I could talk about when it comes to this picture. The head, with a mixture of masking (the helmet) and resizing (the tusks) shows how you can make an effective 3/4 turned head without it looking a mess, or how I love the contrasting colours between the foreground character and the background that really make the character pop. Also, the backstory these guys  came up with adds so much to the character.

But what really tips this over the edge for me into exceptional territory is the background and lighting effects. I mean, wow. One of the most eyecatching and well executed backgrounds I have ever seen in heromachine, based purely on the sky alone. The mixing of the cooler blues and purples being (literally) outshone by the central white, that then fades outwards with the sky then becoming enveloped by the green glow and the green clouds that eminate from the ground level area of the background. The colour composition is excellent. It really sells the alienness of the world. Also, neat little bit I only noticed after reading the story, the buildings in the background have an in story reason for being all over the place (and it's not just because the buildings do be like that in heromachine), it's because the area the picture is set in is called "The Ever-Changing City", the city is constantly changing, so the buildings look like they're shifting (I hope this was diliberate and I haven't just made this up, because it's such a cool way to work within the limitations of the program).

Anyway, if you want to check the guys out, here are their links:

Amanacer-Fiend0: Deviantart

Blastermasterism324- Forums & Deviantart

What Were They Thinking: New Worriers

Haven't done one of these in a while. Not likely to be a recurring thing, sorry. And, yes I know this is old news, but this is prime, prime, prime WWTT fodder and just got back on my radar because I just saw a very excellent video by KatBlaque, who is a black trans youtuber and artist, who went a redesigned two of the characters we will be looking at today and it made me realise just how little thought was actually put into these characters. So we're going to talk about them.


The New Warriors

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The List: Top 10 Greatest Couples In Comics

Well, I can say one thing for definate looking at the results we got for this poll. That thing being; nobody on this site reads Archie comics. Nobody even nominated any couples from outside the superhero genre, which I suppose helps me, means I don't actually have to go away and do any research on characters I don't read so thanks guys. So, yeah, we have our 10 and, as previously stated, they're all superhero couples. Let's dive in.

Hon Mentions: Batwoman & Maggie Sawyer, Gambit & Rogue, Colossus & Kitty Pryde

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Character Of The Week: Livewire by nerd0and0proud

Ok, first off, no. This is a one off, COTW isn't coming back full time. I honestly don't have the time, there's a reason lists only happen every other week. But I wanted to showcase this because it makes a good example of how small changes and improvements can make a character go from good to excellent.

So, as we can see, we have two pictures of the same character from different points of the year side-by-side. You can immediately tell it's the same character, the colour scheme is the same, the face is still recognisable and we have broadly the same pose with the characters powers on display. However, each of those things has also been tweeked to give the character that little bit more... well, character.

Pose wise, the characters arms and legs are now slightly further apart, giving a wider stance which suggests power, authority and readiness, this guy is here and in control of whatever situation he has found himself in. We also have an extension to the display of his energy powers as well, which add a nice little bit of life to a static (no-pun) picture.

Facially there have been some more obvious changes, most obvious being the transferral of hair from the scalp to the chin. Maybe this is just personal taste ut superheroes with moustaches never really worked for me, they always made it harder to take the character seriously. Villains, on the otherhand, suit moustaches down to the ground, but that might just be because they always have magnificent facial adornments. Anyway, bit off topic there, but yeah, switching from 'tache to goatee and losing the receeding hairline has really done wonders, as has the switch to thicker framed glasses, which look much more practical for action (well, as practical as glasses can be in a fight, but at least with sturdy rims you aren't going to have to worry about getting glass in your eye if you get punched in the face). Also, the previous glasses were positioned in such a way that they covered up the eyebrows too much, where as the new pair have been positioned to show the eyebrows more, adding a more agressive facial expression that was hidden behind moustache and glasses in the older version.

And then we have the costume. Whilst the colour scheme may have stayed the same, the usage certainly hasn't. A more liberal use of darker tones and the accentuating black, once again, gives a more agressive, action-like feel to the character and really sets off the lighter colours of the energy in front of the character, making it really pop and add extra depth without needing to do much, if any shading to the actual character. The new costume design is also more cohesive, the old version had that shirt and trousers look with the legs being a different colour to the top and, whilst that can work, it gives the character a slightly dated look. The new design, with all colours consistant on both top and bottom, flows so much better, following the sort of design philosophy you see in classic costumes from heros such as Green Lantern or Spider-Man, one main colour, one accent and an eye-catching logo of a third colour and that's all you need. Oh and big props for masking spandex to the logo so the highlight/lowlight shading of the tops are continuous, it's one of my favourite techniques and one a lot of people should look into doing more often, it makes the logo look like part of the costume rather than floating on top of it.

And lastly we must talk about the change in background, because it's obviously the biggest and most obvious change. Full colour scenery backgrounds are often very awkward in heromachine, unless done right and very subtly they can almost swamp the character, especially when using flat colours. This is why you'll see a lot of people only use white (myself included) and nerd0and0proud has gone for the simpler approach in this redesing, though, to his credit, he has done something in the background. He's only added a shading circle of lavender and reduced the opacity a little bit, but considering that the characters costume is dark and the energy effect is very light, what we have in the background is a perfect middle ground, it's not so dark that it merges with the costume and not so light that it swamps the energy. It just makes both stand out even more than they would if it was only them on a plain background. It's just a really simple and subtle thing that easily could have been left out, but wasn't and it completes the picture.

And what really amazes me is that these two pictures were done only 10 months appart. Personally, I find that very impressive. That's the sort of improvement I'd expect to see after a few years.

And with that

JR out.

Art Thief Found

Just to let you guys all know, it has brought it to our attention that a WordPress Blog by the name of Sunburst Comics and it's owner Andrew Burke has been stealing a lot of peoples Heromachine characters for his character profile images.

I would advise going to the blog, looking through as much as you can and flagging everything that is yours if you don't want it used. I've so far found three of my works in only one section and we've also found art by djuby, Trekkie, Funkmachine7, DiCicatriz & Madjack, so that should give you an idea of how bad this is. The guy has changed the names of all the characters (appart from the DC ones he's included) so it's not easy to find everything.

If you find something of yours and want to take it down there is a little ... symbol that appears in the bottom right of the screen that brings up a pop up menu of actions, the report this content option is in there. Make sure you have links to both the offending page on Sunburst and your original posting. So far, it seems he's only using characters posted on Deviantart, so if you're on Deviantart DEFINATELY CHECK IT. If you're not, it may be worth checking just in case, because we don't know if he's going to other sites as well.

Credit to Blastermasterism for discovering this, his original journal can be found here

Poll Position: The Greatest Couples In Comics

DC may have decreed back in 2013 that "heroes shouldn't have happy personal lives" but we here at Heromachine beg to differ (or at the very least, I do). The personal lives of characters in comics can often be just as engrossing as their many battles with their various villains and there are entire genres of comics based entirely around personal relationships as the main hook. And often the relationships we get the most invested in are the romantic ones, whether it be the rollercoaster of Archie Andrews love octagon (Jesus, I had to leave him off the poll to start with just because I could have made the poll be just him and his various love interests) or the long lasting love of Reed Richards and Sue Storm, the interplay between these characters and their emotional ups and downs are just as special as any antagonistic relationship between the hero and the villain. So this time out we're going to try and find which couple is the greatest in comics history. This is going to be interesting.

So, few rules. You can nominate your own answers as per usual, but I want to try and stick to purely cannon romances, so no alterniverse pairings or one-off "what-if's" or potential future couples, just couples that are cannon to their tilte's main continuity. And as we are talking about the greatest couples in comics the list doesn't have to only include superhero pairings, you can also include villainous couples and non-superhero genre couples as well (I've only started us off with 10 heroes because I couldn't decide between either Betty or Veronica (much like Archie) and I personally wouldn't put Joker and Harley in the top 10), as long as both characters originated in comics and not any other medium. Oh and as per usual, if you add a character to the poll that has had multiple people use the same identity (e.g. The Flash) can you specify which version of the character it is.

The poll closes a week on Friday (8th November) and you can select as many answers as you like per day and add one answer to the poll per day.

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The List: Top 10 Greatest DC Villains

So, we had a much lower turn out this time compared to our other recent polls. To compare, when we did Marvel's greatest villains a while back, the vote count broke 300. For DC we barely scraped 200. Maybe it's because of how obvious the winner was for this poll (spoilers, just in case you couldn't work out who was going to win). But that doesn't mean that the poll didn't throw a few surprises up along the way, including one character that I'm sure is going to raise a few eyebrows. So let's get into the results.

Dishonourable Mentions: Black Adam, The Riddler, Anti-Monitor, Captain Cold

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Poll Position: DC’s Greatest Villain

So, considering last time out we looked at DC's greatest heroes, let's be utterly predictable and this week look at DC's greatest villains. And as with last time, it is utterly predictable who is going to win: it's Joker, with Darkseid and Lex Luthor rounding out the top 3. However, after that trio, I really don't know who will make the top 10 this time. I've got some good predictions, they're our starting 10, but I'm looking forward to seeing a lot more names added. I mean, you can make a seperate top 10 just out of Batman villains and still leave out some amazing candidates so there'd better be some good names added when considering we've also got The Flash, Superman and Green Lantern's top tier rogues galleries and that's before we get to Teen Titans, Wonder Woman, The Legion Of Superheroes and Justice League amongst the many, many others.

Anyway, as usual, you can add your own answers once per day and vote for as many entries as you want, again once per day, poll closes a week on Friday (Oct 18th).

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The List: Top 10 DC Superheroes

So, in our last poll we asked the question: "who is DC's greatest superhero" and I made some predictions as to what the line up would be. Unfortunately Aquaman let me down, getting bumped into 11th place and thus ruining my clean sweep, but that's ok, it saves you all from the numerous sea based puns I had planned for his entry. Also, I'm going to put the surprisingly large gap in voter participation between this and the Marvel version (over 100 votes less for DC than Marvel) down to the predictability of the result, but we still have a list, so let's get to it.

Hon Mentions: Aquaman (Arthur Curry), The Flash (Wally West), Rorschach (Walter Joseph Kovacs)

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Poll Position: The Greatest DC Superhero

Ok, I guess we've got to do this. So, we've done Marvel's best heroes and villains and we took a break to cover the greatest superteams last time out, but I guess we've got to do DC now. So yeah, Batman is going to win, it'll be between Superman and Wonder Woman who comes in second, a Flash and a Green Lantern (probably the ones already in the poll) will round out the top 5 and the rest of the poll will be made up of the other classic justice leaguers (Aquaman probably coming 6th because of his movie) with the 10th spot being open to the possible surprise nomination that isn't on the poll or a legacy version of one of the characters on the poll. I'll change the settings the day before the poll closes (which is a week on Friday, so the 27th Sept) so people can see if I was right or not before we put the list up.

Oh and obviously, you can enter your own nomination once per day, make sure you put the secret identity of the character if the superhero name has been taken by multiple characters (e.g. Green Lantern- Hal Jordan or Green Lantern- John Stewart).

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