Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Rescue Me: Lionfang

Scourge killed a lot of Marvel bad guys, probably because their costumes sucked so badly. I think I can do better.

The circumstances of Lionfang's death are pretty sketchy. He seemed to have died at the end of "Luke Cage, Power Man" #13 (September, 1973) when Power Man caused him to fall from a trapeze. Eighteen years later, in Captain America #394, Scourge claimed to have killed him. (He also got rid of that pesky John Wilkes Booth!) So if, in fact, Scourge did kill him, poor ol' Lionfang didn't even get to die on panel.

And I think that's a shame, because Lionfang had hella potential as a villain. A scientist with a helmet that allowed him to transfer the strength, agility, and ferocity of jungle cats into his own body, and to transfer human intelligence and the ability to speak into jungle cats? I'm sorry, but that's kind of awesome. Throw in the fact he was hiding out in a circus, working as a lion tamer, and you've got four-color magic. A vengeful scientist masquerading under the big top? Pure Lon Chaney. (As in "He Who Gets Slapped.") Okay, so giving him the ability to shoot lightning out of his hands was watering down the concept slightly. But on the whole, the crazy fucker could have rocked. All he needed was a little love.

mylionfang

I know, I promised a beard and I didn't deliver. But dig the helmet! I thought it looked better with the chin covered. There could still be a beard behind there; it's just you can't see it right now. I pared the nutty color scheme from his original outfit down to red and black. The pointy deals on the shoulderpads are antennae for sending and receiving various powers to and from his jungle cats. I put them there because they had no place on the lion-head helmet. The helmet itself? It's a little Hawkman-like. But mainly I was thinking of that one guy with the tigers from "Gladiator." Rawr! The big difference between Lionfang's helmet and Hawkman's helmet is that Lionfang is wearing a black mask under his. That way he can enjoy the "shadowed eyes" look all the time without breaking the laws of physics. The black mane on the back is attached to the helmet. I can just see Lionfang all alone in his circus wagon, late at night, fine-tuning the controls on his helmet and grooming his wig...

Next: Rescue Me: The Miracle Man!

9 comments:

Phillip said...

It's certainly an improvement over his original costume. Those antennas, though, they look like they'd poke him in the eyes if he lifted his arms! Also, his waistline seems to have gone down considerably since his last appearance. Workout or surgery? Personally, I suspect corsetry.

Kevin said...

Perhaps he had a couple of ribs removed, a'la Cher? Which might also explain the abdominal plate.

Anonymous said...

But you didn't have a problem with the clown shoes, the dislocated shoulders or the swollen, infected calves? Good to know.

I guess I should have toned down the antennae. In retrospect, that part looks like Storm Boy's design for Nova in that Annihilation crossover thingie. In a word, DAMMIT! Also, it looks like he's playing air guitar.

Blockade Boy said...

D'oh! That above comment was me, by the way.

The Thing That Walks Like A Man said...

I have to say that this re-imagining ranks right up there with the Melter Mk II. Awesome job.

However...

"...antennae...had no place on the lion-head helmet." -- Our Host

I dunno...if you remember my previous comments on Bird-Man (hint, hint!), antennae on animal-themed headgear can be pretty freakin' sweet. Maybe if you made the mane bushier, they would look less conspicuous? (And little teeth on the helmet would rock, too--you know, giving a more "Cottonmouth" and less "Grizzly" vibe.)

Chawunky said...

Man, Lionfang looks straight outta the Golden Age in the first image at that link. But it doesn't say "big cat-theme" to me.

Your redesign? Pretty cool. Certainly a vast improvement over the outfits he previously wore.

simon said...

I love this series. But when will you get around to construction-themed nutcase Steeplejack? (Not the butch original, Steeplejack II who looked like one of those workers in Fraggle Rock.)

crowdedhouse said...

After seeing Lionfang's original costume, all I can say is thank God the "Essentials" line is in black and white, cause I'm pretty sure I would have laughed myself silly if I had seen THAT in Power Man Volume 1.

Blockade Boy said...

The Thing: I moved the antennae off the helmet because with the mane and the ears I couldn't find any room for them! And I toned down the mane because it looked kind of insane at its full volume on my sketches. When I redesign Bird-Man (next week) I'll try to find a way to work those antennae into the helmet. It'll be a good design challenge, that's for sure.

Chawunky: Thanks! And you're right about the Golden Age vibe. Not just the costume, but the whole power-transfer deal. It sounds like something that would have happened to Jimmy Olsen. (Thought balloon: "Jeepers! I thought when the circus train crashed I could capture one of the tigers and get a huge cash reward but instead I seem to have absorbed the beast's strength and savage, growling voice! And my ability to speak has been transferred to the tiger! I bet it's due to the water in that natural spring, which I now see is glowing strangely!")

Simon: Steeplejack will get the Blockade Boy treatment next week!

Crowded House: Yup! It's somehow even worse with the droopy mane headdress on.