Monday, May 07, 2007

Rescue Me: Red Skull III

I know assassinations of characters who have appeared in "Captain America" are all the rage nowadays (your time) but I believe my current subject was the first. And unlike a certain chemically-enhanced blonde muscleboy freak I could name, Red Skull III managed to get unexpectedly assassinated without a lot of soft news stories or needless tie-in books. It wasn't one of those queeny, hand-fluttering, melodramatic "oh, look at me!" type of assassinations.

Red Skull III was just one of dozens of second-tier -- oh, alright, make that fifth- or eighth-tier villains who got themselves whacked by Scourge in the 1980's. I've argued before that these deaths were needless, that all these poor bad guys needed were better writers and better costumes, but I can (sort of) understand the reasoning behind whacking Red Skull III. He was a duplicate of a more famous and iconic villain: Red Skull II! Or Red Skull I, if you want to be an annoying entitled retcon-happy fanboy doofus. (Have I mentioned that I didn't really die in "Adventure Comics" #345? ...Oh, I have? Er... um...oh.) See, Red Skull I, the first one to appear in print, was an American businessman. The second and more famous Red Skull was a Nazi, and he was such a smash that it got decided later on that he was actually the first one and that businessman Red Skull was just an employee of Nazi Red skull. Phht! Whatever. The third Red Skull (or second, according to the aforementioned retcon-happy fanboy doofuses) was a Communist phoney (like Michael Moore!) and wound up in the interesting position of fighting one of the fake Captain Americas. Two fakes battling each other... sounds like your typical Presidential debate! Er, anyway, I don't see the problem with having two coexisting villains with the same name. Maybe that's 'cause I'm from the DC Universe, where we have two heroes with the same name all the time. Like the Tornado Twins! Okay, so maybe that's not a great example.

But here's my theory: Red Skull III was already a little different from Red Skull II by dint of political affiliation. All they had to do was give him a different visual theme. And maybe use the Russian version of his code name, whatever that is. Unless it sounds stupid, in which case never mind. So here's how I'd have gussied up Red Skull III:

redskull3

It's Sci-Fi, see? Sweet! The "skull" part is a gas mask, patterned after this Soviet-era model. To rationalize the gas mask, I figure the Commie Skull's modus operandi could be one of the Nazi Red Skull's tricks: hit folks with a face-deforming gas and Red Skullerize 'em. Which he admittedly ripped off from the Joker, but hey! It's a good theme. I initially was just going to pair the gas mask with a Soviet military uniform, but that didn't differentiate him enough from the Nazi Red Skull. But I really liked the combo of the gas mask and the hat -- so much so, in fact, that I was tempted to keep the hat when I changed the outfit to a body suit. But of course, that would have caused the whole ensemble to veer into S&M Territory (a bleak, rubbery wilderness occupying much of what you folks currently call "Massachusetts").

The suit has a big honkin' Soviet star on the front, surrounded by a ribcage design. So it's like the star is his heart... if he'd gotten in a car wreck and the impact had forced it from the left side of his chest to the center of it. Again, bad example.

Style-wise, I tried to emulate Soviet posters, with their simplistic forms, solid blocks of color and charcoal shading.

Next week? Rescue Me: Black Abbott! And the first thing I'm doing is getting rid of the extraneous "t".

Previous "Rescue Me" challenges:

21 comments:

Tyler said...

Awesome. It really differentiates him from Nazi Red Skull. Well done.

Marcos said...

Ì believe the Russian for "red skull" would be Красная череп (krasnaya cherep), your call whether or not that sounds stupid.

Johnathan said...

Y'know, it *would* be kind of neat to have had two Red Skulls running around the Marvel Universe this whole time. They could fight their own enemies and each other (and didn't Commie Skull kill Spider-Man's parents? That's arch-enemy level stuff.). As a friend to all second- through eleventh-tier characters I'm appreciating this feature a whole lot.

Professor Xavier said...

Ooh, Blockade Boy gets political! Take that you fake politicians!

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Very nice redesign. That fake Captain America would still smash that fake Red Skull good though, right?

Blockade Boy said...

Tyler: Thanks!

Marcos: You had me at "krasnaya." (And you lost me at "cherep.")

Jonathan: Exactly right! I don't see why Krasnaya Cherep couldn't been an arch-foe for some other hero. How's about Iron Man? He hates Commies, right?

Prof. X: Do I detect an ass-load of sarcasm? (Ooh!) But yes, I'm nearly as edgy as Jay Leno!

Jon: You bet he would!

MaGnUs said...

Nice redesign. Could you rescue one of your own Legion villains, Starfinger?

Not first one (the bald guy), but the second one, the one with the horrible perm and the two hot genie-chicks inside the funky ring.

The Mutt said...

Very nice, but it's too symetrical to really feel Soviet to me, somehow. Maybe if you did have the star over his heart.

Blockade Boy said...

MaGnUs: That does sound pretty horrible, but I think you're referring to someone from my future. In my own year of 2968, the only Starfinger was a hyp-mo-tized Lighting Lad. And if I prevented Starfinger 2 from happening, I might create a time paradox that could destroy the entire universe! On the other hand, what the hell? Find me a link to his picture and I'll see what I can do.

The Mutt: Soviet = asymmetrical? I had no idea! Do you mean it should look more constructivist or cubist or sumpin'? Hmm. You've perplexed me! (I did at one point consider giving Commie Skull a crazy lot o' medals, kind of like General Georgy Zhukov meets "Annie Get Your Gun.")

Paul said...

I love these Rescue-Me articles, though I have to wonder just how many Scourge victims are left.

Any plans on re-designing creepy overall wearing serial killer The Wrench?

http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/wrnch1.htm

Johnathan said...

Even once the Scourge's list of victims is exhausted there'll be plenty to choose from. Minor villains are all the time getting killed ignominiously - by both Marvel and DC.

Look at Kite-Man. And the original Ani-Men. And Terra-Man. And so forth.

'Rescue Me' can conceivably continue until the Thirtieth Century arrives for us too.

MaGnUs said...

BB, couldn't get good images on the web, I'm gonna have to scan one of my comics... in the meantime, check here, here; and here here.

You can pretty much see his costume on the first image, but I want you to see his face (and perm); and his funky (nacht, groovy, to quote Scipio) flunkie girls. Stay tuned!

Blockade Boy said...

Paul: Yup, I'll redesign the Wrench! Although I was disappointed to learn he was basically a serial killer in overalls. I'd hoped he'd at least had a magic wrench (maybe all hexed up by the Enchantress, like the Wrecking Crew's tools). Ah, well! I'll redesign him anyhow.

According to Wikipedia (so you know it's true) Scourge killed 35 proper villains plus two henchman/minion/boring-ass JayCee's type group members (one of the Watchdogs and one of the Power Broker's guys) so there's still a lot of redesigns to go.

Jonathan: That's a fantastic idea! On the other hand... are you trying to kill me?!

MaGnUs: What a terrifying vision of the future! And his name is "Char"?! Haw! Haw, says Phyl!

The Mutt said...

I not exactly sure why Soviet = asymetrical to me. Maybe it's the way Soviet propaganda imagery seems to move off the page, while a very symmetrical design pulls my eye towards the center. Or maybe it's those kooky buildings with the different-sized turnips on top.

MaGnUs said...

See? Horrible shoulder pads and WHITE LEGGINGS!!! Are you gonna rescue him? Pretty please! I'd do anything (non-sexual, I like the ladiez :P) for you in return!

I'd consider doing something sexual if it involves taking Phantom Girl out for dinner to double date with you and Plant Lad... Mmmm..... Phantom Girl's bossom..... don't let my wife find out!

Blockade Boy said...

The Mutt: Oh! I get what you mean.

MaGnUs: Okay, then! Keep in mind, though, you're referring to someone from several years in my future, so it could take me a while. Luckily I communicate with your era and dimension via time travel. How does two Mondays from now suit you?

MaGnUs said...

Sounds perfect BB, you´re way up there in my costume designers list!

Thank you very mucho! Now, how about that double date?

Yankee Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yankee Jones said...

I luv it. I think he needs something going on it the crotch area though (fashion-wise I mean.)

Blockade Boy said...

MaGnUs: Double date? Sure! But you have to bring your own time bubble.

Yankee Jones: Maybe I should have put the star down there.

MaGnUs said...

I have a Dr. Doom time platform... would it be compatible? Or I could ask Rip Hunter for one of his time backpacks...