Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Daemon!

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
The Daemon is another one of my favorite villains... he looks nifty (I wasn't completely satisfied with this coloring job, but it'll work for now), and he's fun to use.

Basically, his real name is unpronounceable by humans... he comes from a distant world where he was his planet's greatest criminal. His race did not believe in executing criminals (because that was, y'know, immoral), but they did believe in banishment. The last time his race captured him, to ensure he'd no longer be a threat to them, they put him in suspended animation, packed him into a spacecraft with FTL capabilities, and shot him off into space (apparently, letting other races deal with him instead wasn't immoral).

His ship eventually reached Earth, where it was detected by Death's Head (there's that name again!). The criminal mastermind was able to teach the Daemon (as he called him, to have something he could pronounce) how to speak and understand English (talented alien, this... his native language is impossible for our tongues, but he can speak ours well enough, although with a lot of sibilance), and employed him for his own criminal purposes.

The Daemon, for his part, is happy to go along with these plans... so long as he's able to maim and destroy and steal and otherwise give in to his impulses along the way.

The Daemon is obviously capable of flight. His scaly skin renders him invulnerable to all small arms fire, and he's tough enough to handle a lot of damage from other weapons. His tail is completely prehensile, and he's able to use it as an extra limb if necessary.

His claws on his hands and feet are razor-sharp, and deadly... they can cut through the metal of an automobile body as easily as rending human flesh.

He is much, much stronger than any normal human being. He is easily capable of swooping down on an SUV fully loaded with passengers and lift it off the street, flying it with him in the air, for at least 50-60 yards before the weight gets to be too much for him.

His senses are all very keen, from sight to hearing to scent to touch. His sense of taste is a bit different than ours... his food preference is for raw meat that is freshly killed. He apparently also absorbs sunlight.

His metabolism seems very adaptable... the theory is that the sunlight absorption allows his system to adapt to whatever protein source he consumes, chemically altering it.

His eyes are capable of generating beams of intense heat (also possibly powered by his sunlight absorption). It is not known if his entire race was able to do this, or if it was just him. He also seems to have some chameleon-like abilties, able to alter the color of his skin at will to help hide, but this ability does not work quickly... it usually takes him at least five to six minutes to change color if the color he's changing to is close to his present color... longer if it's very different (it would take him 20 minutes or more, under most circumstances, to change his skin color to absolute black, for example).

Also unknown is just where his homeworld is, or how long he was in suspended animation before reaching Earth.



Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Preeeesenting... one of my favorites among the villains I've created. This is Crimemaster, a self-styled super-villain mastermind... and yes, I was feeling mighty Kirby when I drew this!

Again, I don't recall his real name, but basically, he considers himself the master of crime, and loves using gadgets built into his costume (especially power rays built into his gloves and helmet antennae).

He's pretty ineffective... hasn't had a single successful crime ever, and usually gets his butt handed to him by whoever happens to show up to deal with him. It's hard to take him seriously, as he's so inept... yet the weapons he uses could be potentially lethal, so when he shows up somewhere, at least a token group of Guardians show up to take him out.

About the only thing Crimemaster is good at is getting out of jail... or avoiding capture completely. And even then, many of the Guardians of Justice figure he must have help!


Friday, May 06, 2005

The Posse!

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
OK, this will be the last villan group from my Champions days I'll post for a while. Geez, I'm doing a lot of these, aren't I?

OK, the Posse is, obviously, a group of western-themed villains. The guy with the glowing ropes is named Lariat, and his lariats are, indeed, electrified.

Going to the left and the rear of the group is the Lash, master of the whip. In front of him is the Four-Gun Kid, named for obvious reasons. Racing ahead of him is Running Deer, a Native American who claims her mystic necklace gives her super-speed.

The big guy in the rear is Buffalo Bill, and he says that his sacred buffalo helm gives him his giant size and strength. The bowman is Straight Arrow, and he's got the requisite gadget arrows. Left of him is the Frisco Kid, who can cause mini-earthquakes. The guy in front of him is Tomahawk, and those tomahawks of his are razor-sharp, and return to his hand after he throws them.

The jumping guy is called Tumbleweed, and he's the token martial artist.

Now... this is a group I was rethinking a bit while colorizing the picture (as well as putting them all into one picture). I'm thinking that the "Native American" members of the group could be completely lying about their heritage. I mean, why would a real Native American dress up like that in this day and age to commit crimes?

I have no idea how these guys got together... never really thought them through that much! They do tend to commit western-related crimes, obviously... stealing artifacts of the old west, kidnapping country music stars (the scenario I used them in had them trying to kidnap a thinly-disguised parody of Garth Brooks called Bart Rivers), that sort of thing.

Of course, they aren't beyond a basic bank robbing!


This Week's "Smallville"

Jessi and I finally got a chance to watch the Wednesday episode of "Smallville" tonight (we would've watched last night, but by the time I got home from work, there wouldn't have been enough time to watch the tape before "The Apprentice" -- and Jessi NEVER misses "The Apprentice.").

So what did I think? It was a good episode, although a bit familiar to me... in many ways, it was a take on two different stories from THE AVENGERS... the first one being the story in which Immortus gets Ms. Marvel pregnant while she's in limbo, and she carries the child to term in a week, and then the son (Marcus) ages rapidly to adulthood. The second was, I believe, from Jim Shooter's later run, in which the Avengers meet a man who ages rapidly, but cannot die... if he's killed, he starts all over again. But this story took things off in a different direction, naturally.

The basic plot: A high school girl and guy go "NC-17" with each other (to use Chloe's line) at a party, and a week later, she gives birth... violently. The birth of her son causes an explosion (the father ran off when things began to get weird and she started glowing) that kills her and destroys the car they were in, leaving a crater in Evans' Field, where Clark and Lana find the baby. They bring him to a hospital, and then after the baby checks out healthy, they take him to the Kent farm. The next day, the baby (which Clark and Lana have named Evan) glows with energy, and suddenly ages to seven years. He apparently learns to read and talk on his own. Still later, he ages to a teenager, and they take him to Lex Luthor, where his scientists realize that Evan's storing energy, and when he's stored enough, he undergoes a rapid aging.

The only way to save him is with a bone marrow transplant from a biological parent... his father's the only one, but they have to find him, which they do with help from Chloe, who can hack into anything. Clark goes to Evan's father, who wants nothing to do with his son. Clark tells Evan this, but later, Evan confronts his father and accidentally kills him, killing all hope. Evan goes to Lana and says before he dies, he wants to see the world from atop a windmill (when he was 7, Lana told him about windmills). Clark is worried, because Lex told him the next aging would not only kill Evan, but also anyone near him. Chloe to the rescue again, as she hacks into the power grid to find where the most recent power fluctuations are to help Clark know where Lana and Evan are.

Clark speeds to the rescue, getting Lana to leave Evan, while he stays with the boy. Evan blows up, but of course Clark's all right. In the denouement, the Kents help Clark feel better... and later, Lex tells Clark the results of the tests done on Evan will be released to research centers all over the world to help fight cancer and age-related disease (after Clark leaves, Lex adds... "eventually."

In the B-plot, Genevieve Teague (Jason's mother) tells Lionel she wants him to get the stone (which they're now calling "The element") that was found in China, and refuses to believe that Jason has it. She thinks Lex has it, and basically threatens Lex if Lionel doesn't do it.

Later, they meet again, but this time, Lex poisons Genevieve's wine, and tells her if she gives him the element she stole from Denise Crosby (the Margot Kidder character who was killed off a few eps ago) and promises to leave Lex alone, she can have the antidote... and the episode fades to black before we learn her decision.

It was a pretty good episode, but I found myself more interested in the B-plot than the A-plot... this whole thing with the stones has been building all season long, and it looks like it'll be resolved in the season finale (with some cliffhangers, no doubt). There wasn't enough Chloe in this episode for my tastes, and she was relegated to being the font of all knowledge Clark needs.

So sue me... I've always thought Chloe was more interesting than Lana!

Only two episodes left in this season... I don't know if the Genevieve thing will be resolved next week or not (I've been avoiding spoilers on Kryptonsite), but the teaser for the season finale (which will be 90 minutes and have 10 minutes from "Batman Begins") does include a scene apparently in the Arctic. I've long felt that when all the stones are gathered together, Clark will learn the real truth about his Kryptonian heritage, and would eventually result in his getting the Fortress of Solitude... this would kind of indicate that.

As with all seasons of Smallville, this one has been hit-and-miss sometimes. I definitely enjoy the episodes with more Chloe, and I've also enjoyed the Lois episodes for the most part, too.

We should be in for a wild ride these next two episodes!


Nemesis and Bane

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Nemesis and Bane were characters I co-created with Glenn King, a friend I sadly lost touch with many years ago (are you out there somewhere, buddy?) for a Champions game.

They were basically our take on Batman and Robin... or rather, Batman and Batman. These two men were twin brothers whose parents were violently murdered, and the brothers each wanted revenge on all criminals in return. Fabulously wealthy, they could easily afford their crimefighting gear and equipment, including the Nemobile, a car that could split into two smaller cars.

Yeah, they also had a subterranean headquarters underneath their mansion.

If anything, Nemesis and Bane were even darker than Batman... or anyway, Bane was. Nemesis (which was one of the names I considered using for Nightfighter, by the way) was more analytical, and wouldn't use excessive force... much. Bane, on the other hand, went with his gut much more, and had a greater tendency to let his rage control him. The two would work together or individually, and didn't have a great relationship with the police.

We only played them in one scenario (which, now that I think of it, we never finished), but I always liked the costume design.


Frosty the Snowman

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
This'll be short: Frosty was an Iceman clone that I created for the Champions game. Basically, I wanted an Iceman style character, and was trying to think of a name, when I thought of using the famous song!

Somehow, I think copyright restrictions will inhibit me from ever publishing him, but I liked the way this pic came out, and wanted to share!


Flashpoint and Blaze

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Here's another pair of characters from my Champions days... except these two weren't villains, they were heroes... characters that at different times, I'd play when someone else in the group game-mastered!

And, as with so many other characters I created for the games I used to run and/or play in, I found myself liking the two of them enough that I've kind of folded them into my already-established universe (not that you'll see any sign of that in subsequent art from my archives).

Flashpoint and Blaze are brother and sister, both mutants with fire-related powers. They're about five or six years apart in age, with Flashpoint in his very early 20s and Blaze in her mid-teens.

Flashpoint didn't know he was a mutant, or that he had any powers of any kind, until he was an adult. As a child, he was inspired by the cartoon "Speed Racer" (and by real-life persons) to become a NASCAR racer. The young, gifted driver didn't win many races, but he certainly performed much better than any of his fellow racers expected from him!

His parents and sister were very supportive of him, and things were going well for the family until one day, just before a race, his parents were killed in an airplane crash. Believing his parents would've wanted him to continue his career, the future super-hero went ahead with the race... but an accident occurred on the track, and his car burst into flames.

Miraculously enough, he left the crash without a single burn, although his clothing was terribly charred.

It was after this that his powers began to emerge, contrary to the usual mutant powers emerging at puberty. As a result of this late-blooming, Flashpoint can only use his fire-based powers when his entire body is ablaze. Initially, he had difficulties using his powers, as whatever he was wearing would completely burn off when he ignited (not that anyone could tell he was naked beneath his flames). He finally sought the help of the Guardians of Justice, Seattle's super-hero team, and through their resources, he was equipped with a costume that wouldn't burn off when he used his powers.

Flashpoint is very powerful, and he has to be very careful when he uses his abilities so as not to create any accidental fires. When his body is ablaze, he naturally tends to float in place.

When Flashpoint's sister realized her brother had these powers, she decided that explained some odd things that had been happening to her... there had been a few small spontaneous fires around her when she was feeling stressed, upset or angry... and there were times when fires near her (such as birthday cake candles, campfires, etc.) would burn much more fiercely when she was near them.

She began experimenting in secret, without telling her brother (who hadn't admitted his super-heroic identity to her yet), but when she felt she had a handle on them, she let her brother know she knew he was Flashpoint, and that she had her own powers, as well.

But she didn't want to be a super-heroine, no! She just wanted to know how to control her powers so there wouldn't be any accidents. She had an interest in the city's super-heroes, naturally... but she always said she didn't want to be one of them.

At least, until one day, when her brother invited her to the Guardians of Justice's floating artificial island base in the Puget Sound. There, she heard LaserAvenger talking about the importance of using one's natural talents and abilities, especially super-powers, and that having powers means having a responsibility to use them. LaserAvenger had long been her favorite of the super-heroes (even more than Flashpoint), and she took his words to heart, and even revealed to him that she had powers of her own!

This got Flashpoint to thinking, and he asked LaserAvenger the next day about a training program for young super-heroes... sort of a Young Guardians of Justice, if you will, where these younger super-heroes could be trained in the proper use of their abilities and guided.

LaserAvenger agreed to this plan, and Flashpoint's sister became Blaze, teaming up with Flashpoint in his solo activities, while undergoing training with all the Guardians of Justice.


The Five-Card Draw!

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
The Five-Card Draw was a super-villain team that I created back in my "Champions" days... and you know, I kind of like 'em enough that if I ever start publishing comics (and aren't you tired of reading variations of that sentence here by now?), I'll likely use them.

Yes, there are significantly more than five members of this team... and no, I didn't miscount! This is a super-villain team for hire, if you will... Team leader Gravitor (the flying guy in the light blue and purple) selects which five members of the team would be best suited for a particular assignment, and sends them out. If any team members get captured, the remainder can rescue them... and if need be, "drawing new cards" to fill out a "winning hand" to complete the assignment.

The characters don't have a lot of development behind them, but I'll tell you what I can remember about each of them.

Gravitor, like I said, is the team leader, and he and his wife, Gravitrix (the blonde chick flying next to him) have similar gravity-based powers... save that their abilities to affect gravity's effect on others is the opposite: Gravitor can increase the effect of gravity on any person or thing, while Gravitrix can decrease it (imagine them working together against one target... first Gravitrix makes the target lighter than air, and when they've reached the right altitude, Gravitor increases the pull several times over, smashing the target into the ground).

Clockwise from Gravitor and Gravitrix, we find the size-changing Two-Way, and as you can see, he can do the shrinking thing and the growing thing equally well. The African-American woman in green and black is Mindboggler, with the standard requisite psychic abilities, most notably telepathy and mental illusion casting.

Next to her is Thunderblow (and I was obviously feeling very Kirby when I drew him!)... Thunderblow is very strong, plus as you can see, his fists are glowing with electricity, so that when he hits a target, the electricity is discharged along with the physical blow, plus a thunderclap.

Next to him is One-Note Johnny... whose power is that of a sonic attack. Next to him is the six-armed martial assassin Kali (and no, I don't recall if the extra arms are real or bionic).

Just in front of Kali is T-Man, who has the ability to teleport himself and others... a handy talent to have when wishing to avoid arrest! He uses T-Discs in conjunction with his teleportation power that allow him to pinpoint a destination for as long as the T-Disc is there... so he can, for example, walk into a museum in his civilian clothes, drop a T-Disc somewhere, and teleport back to that spot after the museum is closed.

And finally... there's Jen X -- and that's "X" as in the Roman numeral for 10. She's also a martial artist and acrobat, but with the power to create nine duplicates of herself!



Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Hmmm... I forgot to mention in the previous entry that Chainsaw, like Cyclone here, pre-dated the Champions group I was a part of!

Anyway, here's Cyclone, a villainous speedster... and don't be too impressed with the art on this one! I'm sure some of you recognize it as a swipe from a Flash cover of some years back!

So... Cyclone is another villain I haven't put that much thought into, honestly. Don't recall his real name or his reason for being a villain! I can tell you that his powers are derived from the costume he wears, and since his body isn't adapted for super-speed, his helmet protects his face and allows him to breathe while running at high speeds.

Yeah, Cyclone does all the standard super-speed stunts we've become accustomed to... nothing real original about his powers, right?

But as I said, if I were ever going to publish these guys, Cyclone would get a lot more development... and I'm sure that like Chainsaw, his suit was invented and given to him by Death's Head (DH has his hand in dang near every villainous activity involving costumed villains... the guy's obsessive!).



Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
OK, first of all... I want to mention that this image, as well as many others I'll be sharing of a single character, came from a 300 dpi graphic that was about 1 inch tall. Why such an odd size? Well, these images were originally created for use with the Champions super-hero RPG I used to run many years back. I'd create a whole page of poses of different characters, formatted so that when printed and cut out, I could fold a them into sort of a tri-fold paper "figure" to use when running the combat stage of the game.

Having looked through all of the ones I had on the computer, I selected the ones that either looked the best, or were the only images I had of the character, or were just too nifty not to share, colored them on the computer, and now I'm showing 'em to you!

I don't recall what Chainsaw's real name was, but he was definitely a villain, probably one of the gimmick villains I intended to have the Ace deal with, if not one of the other heroes.

Yes, that's a chainsaw on his right arm. Is it a prosthetic device, permanently attached to his arm, or is his hand simply inside it? Well... I'm not so sure. Originally, his back story was that he worked for one of the major lumber companies in the Pacific Northwest, until an accident caused him to lose his hand. He was then recruited by Death's Head (a master villain whom I don't seem to have any old drawings of), and given this prosthetic to first get his revenge, and then to use it in service to his new master.

However... nowadays, I'm thinking this whole "I lost a hand, so they must pay" thing may be just a ploy on Chainsaw's part... I certainly designed him in such a way that a hand could conceivably fit in there (comics technology levels being what they are and all). Maybe it was really his brother or best friend who lost a hand, and he's getting revenge for them... or maybe he's just a kook who invented this chainsaw one could wear, but couldn't get anyone interested in buying the design, so he went nuts... or maybe he's just a psycho recruited by Death's Head.

I suppose the whole thing is moot, unless I someday get a chance to publish these characters, eh?


Coming Attractions (Or Are They?)

OK, now that I've posted nearly all the '88 SDCC sketches, in b&w and color, and introduced you guys to some of my characters, what can you expect in the coming days and weeks from me here?

Well, for starters, I've been going through all of my old archives of penciled and inked "art" that I've done in the past (and I mean past -- I doubt any of the stuff I've scanned is more recent than ten years ago, and it's probably closer to 12 or 13), and I'll be presenting some of that stuff here.

Brief aside: as I'm writing this, I'm seeing the first TV commercial for the Fantastic Four movie toys... and while I'm not sure I'll be adding those to my collection, they do look neat!

Back to the art archives: Most of it -- a lot of it -- is sort of the "best" of my own drawings of many of the characters I presented professionally-dawn versions of... but there's also a lot of characters that have only been seen by a handful of people... probably a few nobody but Jessi and I have ever seen! There's also going to be a series of drawings that I did back when I was running a "Champions" super-hero role playing game group, and you'll get a few stories from me of what kind of scenarios I was running then.

There'll even be a few covers that I did for "Parsec Panels," which was the segment I did during the relatively short time I was involved with an APA (Amateur Press Association). Plus a number of drawings of other companies' characters (but only a few of those).

If all of that stuff isn't your cup of tea, I'll also likely be regaling you with stories about my battle with weeds in the yard of the house Jessi and I are renting, latest developments with my Weight Watchers progress... and whatever other random rants and observations that come to mind.

It has occurred to me that while I've mentioned the Krypto the Superdog TV show, I haven't said one word about Smallville since I started this blog! Since it's one of the few shows I do watch every week (even if tape-delayed -- and I haven't watch this week's episode yet), I figure I should say *something* about it every now and then, at least!

I was hoping this weekend, I'd get a chance to see Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and maybe post a short review of that, but it looks like it'll at least be next weekend before I get a chance to do so! Next on the movie list after that will, naturally, be Star Wars Episode 3, still almost two weeks away... and then after that, Fantastic Four (which is a few months away!).

And, of course, every two weeks, when I've read through the new comics I buy, I'll be posting my mini-reviews, usually on Friday of that week!


Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Ace!

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
(c) 2005 Jon B. Knutson

First, a brief intro... the Ace and Nightfighter are the two oldest characters I created and kept an interest in. I started developing them about 1978 or so, and the two of them have always kind of been linked.

When I had hopes of publishing these characters (and really, I hope to still do so some day), my plan was always to put Nightfighter and the Ace in a single comic, a la Tales of Suspense with Sub-Mariner and the Hulk (or, if you prefer, Giant-Man and the Hulk).

So... on to the Ace!

The Ace is really Mark Marvo, a talented stage magician and escape artist, last of a long line of magicians, going back at least a dozen generations.

Mark's career was on the fast track to obscurity... he was performing at two-bit nightclubs, and barely making ends meet. When his last gig went bust on him, he didn't know what to do.

That's when he was recruited to be a crimefighter! A man approached him saying he represented a benefactor who preferred to remain anyonymous, who was concerned about crime in the area. Since Mark was skilled at throwing playing cards (it was a major part of his act), it was decided to make that the focus of his costumed identity... an identity this benefactor would fund.

The job paid well, and Mark went for it, undergoing extensive training in martial arts and motorcycle riding. He was given a modified Honda motorcycle to ride, the costume you see in the drawing, and his weapons... specially created playing cards, each one an ace of one of four suits. These cards, 52 of each could fit in a compartment on his belt, had the following effects:

Ace of Diamonds: These cards had a cutting edge, easily able to slice through rope, slash automobile tires, etc. Of course, they could also be used to injure or kill, but Mark refuses to use them in this manner.

Ace of Clubs: These cards are weighted, with blunt edges. They can be used to knock out a foe.

Ace of Hearts: These cards are chemically impregnated. When exposed to skin temperature (they're stored in insulated compartments, as are the Spades), the chemical is activated, and seconds later, it bursts into a thick cloud of smoke.

Ace of Spades: Perhaps the most dangerous of these cards, like the Hearts, they're chemically impregnated, but this chemical causes an explosive effect.

These cards, as I said before, are stored in compartments on his belt, and can be dispensed by using a slide lever on the side.

Mark is very skilled in using these cards... and not quite as skilled with riding the motorcycle (at least at first, he had a distressing tendency to crash it).

As the Ace, Mark was kept out of touch with the outside world, except when his benefactor got word of a crime. Then, Mark would ride his Acycle to the scene of the crime and defeat the criminals. Upon apprehending them, he was instructed to bring the stolen goods back with him to avoid confrontations with the police, who might ask questions he'd prefer not to answer. The benefactor would see to it that the loot made it back in the hands of the rightful owners.

At least, that's what he was told. In reality, he was being used as the pawn of a criminal mastermind, who would set up crimes for the Ace to undo, and when the Ace recovered the stolen property, the "benefactor" would keep it.

Mark didn't question this... he figured anyone who would go to the expense of setting him up in this identity with all this equipment must be on the up-and-up.

He soon found himself a wanted man, with the task force headed up by Lt. Jon Walker of the Tacoma, Washington police. The police weren't able to apprehend the Ace, but a local bounty hunter named Diana Trammel decided to take matters in her own hands... there was a generous reward offered for information leading to the capture of the Ace, and she was bored going after bail jumpers anyway.

Mark found himself pursued by the police, and after wrecking the motorcycle, he was running away on foot, trying to figure out what happened and how to get out of the situation he was in. Climbing over a high fence to hide, he found himself in the back yard of... Diana Trammel, who planned to turn him in.

Talking quickly, Mark was able to convince Trammel that he was innocent, and that he needed his freedom to prove it and get the real criminals captured. For some reason, Trammel believed him, and let him go.

Mark still didn't know who to turn to... without his motorcycle, he didn't have transportation, and he wasn't sure where to start. That's when things appeared to get worse for him, as he was then confronted by... Nightfighter.

Fortunately, he was able to convince Nightfighter of his innocence, and was able to convince the dark avenger of the night to help him out. Their investigation led them to discover that Mark's "benefactor" was really Karl Rykos, who had long been involved in criminal activities, but nothing had been able to be proven in court.

With Nightfighter's help, all the evidence the Ace needed to prove his innocence was gathered... Nightfighter even helped him remove the records that would show who the Ace really was (he decided he wanted to continue his crime-fighting... but the right way this time around). They also discovered a back-up Acycle as well as a supply of cards that would last for some time (and after all, it was only the Hearts and Spades that weren't recoverable).

His innocence proven, the Ace continued as a costumed crimefighter, eventually joining the Guardians of Justice (who also provided him with the resources to make more of his weapons cards, as well as later on upgrade his Acycle).

When crimefighting, the Ace is known for his sense of humor... he wisecracks his way through battles, although he does take it seriously. He has continued to develop his acrobatic skills and martial arts abilities, but still refuses to intentionally cause injury or death. His costumed foes tend to be rather gimmick-driven, if not downright silly, and sometimes he wonders why his life became so weird once he put on the costume and mask.

After being off the entertainment circuit after beginning his crimefighting career, Mark found himself getting better and better gigs as a magician. He got a better agent, too... although he dropped all parts of his act that he was using as the Ace, trying to find new variations on classic magician's tricks.


The Ace by Howard Chaykin

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
The Ace (c) 2005 by Jon B. Knutson

OK, this will be the last of the 1988 San Diego Comic-Con Artist's Alley drawings for a while... there are two other drawings, but they won't be getting posted... at least for a while.

Why is this? Well, there's a different reason for each one.

Firstly, the drawing done of Avian is pencils only, and I haven't been able to get a good scan of it. Obviously, it needs to be inked before it can be scanned... but frankly, I'm a bit nervous about inking the original art myself!

So... I may see about finding someone who can ink this for me, but using onionskin or some other paper to trace it first. My brother Jeff's an excellent artist, and he's celebrating his 40th birthday on Sunday, so I may ask him then. Or I'll take a shot at it myself first. I don't have a lighttable, so it makes for a "fun" project some day.

The second one, the drawing of Electron by Tom Mandrake... well... that's a whole 'nother ball of wax. Electron was created by Mark Grochowicz, who was a friend of mine (we've kind of lost touch over the past few years, as our interests divided). Since I like to respect other's creative rights, I'm not sure it would be appropriate to post that drawing.

Electron did figure in with my plans for the Guardians of Justice, the super-hero team, but I created a replacement for him named Dynamo. Both characters have electricity-based abilities... but that's about it. Dynamo is very different.

Unfortunately, I haven't come across any of my old drawings of Dynamo so far...

And hey, wasn't this entry supposed to be about the Ace? More about him with the color version.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A Call to Arms (of Sorts)

I recently did something I very rarely ever do... I bid on an item on eBay before reading the complete description, nor did I check the seller's feedback.

This seller, who has a feedback rating of like 19 or so, has several thousand auctions currently running... all of which are "art print posters", some which claim in the title to be "vintage," but when you read further down, the description (which is the same on all his auctions) reads... "Approximate Dimensions: 8 X 10 in. Superb Quality Print. On excellent quality artprint sheet. Beautiful when framed. This unframed print reproduction is brand new and in PERFECT condition. Does not include frame."

Now, unfortunately, I didn't read this before bidding... nor did I make sure he took PayPal. My mistake.

The item I bid on was listed as a "vintage movie poster - superman 1941" -- and appears to be of a promo poster for the Fleischer Superman cartoons. But you know, reading that description... particularly the 8 x 10 dimensions... leads me to believe that this guy is scanning all the items he's selling into his computer and printing them out.

This is a gross violation of copyright law, obviously... he's selling "posters" of Beatles movies, as well.

After I realized this was likely the case, I clicked "Ask seller a question" and asked him about the poster, if it was licensed and so forth. No answer from him. I also emailed the buyers who'd left him negative feedback to see why they did so, but I didn't hear back from them, either.

So, I reported the auction to eBay as a possible counterfeit item, and then sent the seller another email asking to have my bid removed if this was something he made. No answer to that, either.

Now I've won the auction, and got an automated email response for the close of auction.

I think this guy's violating copyrights like crazy, and can't imagine how he could pay for 2000+ auctions and only sell 30 or so items, and be able to afford to pay his eBay fees.

So, the call to arms... When you're looking at stuff on eBay, and you see something that looks like an amazing deal (like, say $3.98 for a "vintage movie poster" that only measures 8 x 10), don't bid until you ask the seller a question about it. If you have any doubt, alert eBay about the auction, but don't bid!

I'm also interested in any suggestions about what I should do about this... I suspect I probably should go ahead and pay for the item, and when it arrives, I'll be able to tell if he printed this out himself, and can further alert eBay about it.


Monday, May 02, 2005

Nightfighter in Color!

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
(c) 2005 Jon B. Knutson

Nightfighter is another Seattle-based crimefighter of mine. He appeared seemingly out of nowhere one dark night, battling and capturing criminals the police couldn't track down.

Not much is known about this mysterious battler... his lenses give him the ability to see in near-complete darkness (working on a similar principle as starlight lenses, save that his automatically polarize so that he's not instantly blinded if there is sudden light.

Strapped to his belt is a collapsible fighting staff. When collapsed, the staff is about the size of a large flashlight. Touching the hidden stud on the side, the staff extends to a full six feet in length, recollapsing when the stud is pressed again. Nightfighter's martial arts skills enable him to make the most use of this staff when battling multiple foes.

Strapped to the other side of his belt is another piece of equipment which resembles the staff when collapsed, save that this gadget fires a grappling hook, attached to very strong rope spooled inside, which Nightfighter uses when swinging around the city.

It's rumored that Nightfighter also possesses some sort of "crime sense" that allows him to zero in on the nearest crime... but it's possible that this is just a manifestation of excellent observation skills.

Among the people interested in Nightfighter's crimefighting activites are Seattle Sentinel reporter Kris DelMundo, who has decided to learn all she can about the mysterious avenger of the night. DelMundo's editor is Chuck Miles, who advises her to be careful in her investigation. On the police force, Lt. Darren Snow is assigned to investigate Nightfighter. Sgt. David Kerry of the vice squad is a Nightfighter supporter.

On the other side of the law, Tyrone Jefferson, a Seattle crimelord, seeks Nightfighter's death, because he is interfering with too many operations. One William "Buck" Wilkes wants nothing to do with this, as he fears Nightfighter.


Nightfighter by Tom Mandrake

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
Continuing with the posts of drawings from 1986's San Diego Comic-Con, here's Nightfighter, one of my favorite characters!

(By the way... I have no idea if any of you guys reading this are enjoying these posts or not!)

Tom was drawing Batman for DC at the time this was done, and since NF was the closest I had to a Batman-style character, I knew he'd do a great job, and he did!

There's only one real criticism about this drawing... he didn't *quite* follow the costume specs... there was supposed to be a stripe going from the neck down each arm along the back to the glove stripes, and a stripe down the side of each leg from the belt to the boot stripes. Still, it looks good!

Visually, I suppose I have to confess that I was inspired by a drawing of the Blue Beetle that appeared on the cover of an issue of the RBCC, one of the classic fanzines.

However, the tone of Nightfighter is definitely miles away from BB! He's a rather dark urban crimefighter, and I'll tell you a little bit more about him with the next post!



Brief Note...

In today's Tony's Online Tips ( there's a photo of Krypto and I, which follows an announcement of Tony's current TonyPolls... and of course, some of Tony's reviews! So check it out, y'hear?


Sunday, May 01, 2005

So Guess How I Spent Sunday Afternoon?

Originally uploaded by waffyjon.
OK, OK, I didn't spend spend *all* of Sunday afternoon mowing... it just kind of felt like it.

Actually, the day began with the promise of a more relaxing day... when Jessi said she didn't want to go to the 9 am dog walk this morning. I figured that's because we had our monthly boxer meetup for later that day.

So, after I made breakfast for us (Jessi had scrambled eggs wrapped in low-fat tortillas with home fries, my home fries also had onion, mushroom and green pepper, with my eggs on top), it was time to do a few things... Jessi started working on the garden in front, while I did housework (cleaning up from breakfast, sweeping & mopping the kitchen floor, vacuuming the carpets, doing laundry), we had turkey sandwiches for lunch, and then I ran Krypto to the vet for his next shots and scheduled his neutering for later this month.

Shortly after that, it was time for the boxer meet-up -- we had 19 boxers there today! -- which lasted about an hour and a half (I wasn't off my feet for most of it). Upon returning home, I borrowed the neighbor's lawn mower, and mowed away!

As a break after that, we got a Papa Murphy's D-Lite Pizza for dinner and watched "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," which is one of our favorite shows.

As I type this, the 60+ pics I took of the meetup are uploading from my camera so I can burn them onto a CD and add them to the ones Jessi took!