Monday, May 16, 2016

My Characters: Art Gallery!


Time for another installment of "My Characters," in which I post old drawings of characters I've created and provide some backstory for them... because they'll probably never get published, and I want to get some use out of these!

Today's post is a bit different than usual: In the past, each post has been about the origin, history and powers of different characters, but my files also include some group shots and sample pages, so I thought for a change of pace, I'd post those this time around!

Here's one of those sample pages, which I believe I drew back in the 1980s. It features some characters you may recognize, and some you won't! Let's start with the top panel first: There you see an attack on the headquarters of ISAAC, which was my not-so-top-secret government agency established to help keep the world safe. The mustached gentleman is Jason O'Brien, one of their top agents and a liaison to the superteam, the Guardians of Justice. The base is being attacked by members of Death's Head's Deathsquad (you can't see the skull insignia very well on their facemarks).

The call goes out to the Guardians, clockwise from the top: Avian (from an earlier design of his costume, before I decided to extend his wings all the way down his arms, the original design called for them to fold in behind his forearms) and Electron (a character created by a friend of mine who lost interest in creating comics, so I created a replacement for him some time ago, but never updated this page... yes, that's supposed to be the Space Needle in the background); Nightstar and Battlestar (both of whom you've seen before... in the background you can see what's supposed to be the Kingdome, which used to be a Seattle fixture before it was demolished to build a new stadium); on the bottom you have Cosmos (a cosmically-powered superhero I haven't told you about before) and one of my speedster characters (I have several, and given that some have had redesigns, I forget of this was supposed to be Tornado, Cyclone, or Slipstream) with the Narrows Bridge in the background; and finally, LaserAvenger and the Ace zipping down Interstate 5. I can tell from the effects I did this was supposed to be taking place at nighttime!

Next, we have what would've been a cover concept for a Guardians of Justice issue. In the background, we have Battlestar being double-teamed by Roller King and Torpedo, while one of my villains named Starburst is sneaking up on Titan and Micron. Roller King, although you can't see it from this shot, wears a reinforced helmet with points on it, similar to a crown, and travels on roller skates that allow him to travel at high speeds. Torpedo is similar, except he uses a jetpack. Both like to run into and through things that get in their way. Starburst is named that because of the energy pulse she generates in her firsts, which she uses with devastating effect. I have another villain named Starburst as well, completely by accident, and instead of changing one of their names, I decided they'd have a bit of a rivalry over the name (usually fighting each other when they meet). Titan and Micron are twin brothers who have opposite powers, which you can probably guess from their name and appearance. Like the Wonder Twins, these two have to be in contact with each other in order to activate their growing and shrinking powers, as well as to change back to normal size (originally they thought they exchanged mass, but that explanation doesn't really work).

Here's another Guardians of Justice concept cover, probably for what would have been the fifth or sixth issue of the title. Here you can see familiar faces Nightstar, LaserAvenger, and Battlestar, with Avian in his revised wings, and a better shot of Electron. One of these days, I'll get around to giving you the lowdown on Cosmos, but this would've been for the issue introducing him to the team (just an issue or so after Nightstar and Battlestar joined up).

Here's an oldie that shows just how much ideas can change and evolve over time. My original plan behind my superteam was that the founding members were originally recruited to be super soldiers in the waning days of the US' involvement in the Vietnam War. The idea here was that with the US not gaining ground in the conflict, unusual people would be recruited to use their abilities to turn the tide, but after a few successful missions, the team would be disbanded as the US pulled out. When I was working on this in the early 1980s, it made sense to me, as the characters would've been in their early 20s in their Vietnam-era experiences, and in their mid 40s by the time they would've come out of retirement to form a new team... these days, that idea doesn't work at all, even in Marvel Time!

You might be able to figure out a few of the characters... here's Avian in an older costume design, as well as Electron, LaserAvenger, and Titan and Micron. The ones you don't recognize are Bomburst (the guy with the glowing field and energy out of his eyes... the aura around him lets him fly at high speeds, and causes an explosive effect when it comes into contact with non-living matter), Null (you can probably figure him out, he can become intangible and invisible), and then there's the strong guy, whose name I've completely forgotten these days.

That's it for now!

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