Monday, September 03, 2007

Extreme Blockadeover: MaGnUs, Part Two

Another batch of designs from MaGnUs! Five this time! And he promises to send fifteen more! At least! Well, let's see what the industrious fellow has for me tonight.


Yow! Care to elaborate, MaGnUs?
Blockade Gaijin: This is a cyberpunk look, seeing as to how someone beat me to my all-time favorite of steampunk. In going with Shadowrun tradition, there's some Native American elements (the mohawk and the breastplate), that'd make you look like a wild warrior, with a lot of exposed skin if you don't wear the overcoat.
The coat, pants and boot add an urban flavor, while the sunglasses scream "this is what the future looked like in the 1980s". The facial hair is biker style, to go with the leathers. There's a uzi for drive-bys, a baseball bat for some legbreaking, and the obligatory cyberpunk monofilante swords.
I like the two different colors in the mohawk. And I like that one of those colors is repeated in the swords. It was smart of you to keep the other colors muted, to keep it from looking too busy. Still, it's not so much a costume as an outfit. Don't get me wrong -- it rocks 'n' all, but I'm afraid there's just not much to it. Next?


Those shoulderpads look familiar...
Neobarbarian Blockade: Since you liked the spiked shoulderpads, I decided to do something with them, only now they're more of a tarnished gold color, and the bracers no longer have spikes. I decided to go Mad Max on you, hence the combat boots and eyepatch, as well as the shotgun.

Yes, I gave you a kilt, I think it looks good on you, and the braided beard adds to the highlander effect, with the white of it and the hair probably being due to some weird acid rain. The hammer is just there because it makes you look more badass, while the kilt had (with your beloved purple and orange scheme) to go with the fur loincloth that still says "I kill stuff".
Now, this is too busy. MaGnUs, I love your enthusiasm. But dude, simplify. Yeah, I know you were going for eclecticism with this particular design, but I'm not just referring to this design. Maybe if I break down why this one doesn't ultimately work for me, you'll understand where I'm coming from.
  • The shoulderpads, chain, and bracers? Excellent. You took away that knife sash and now they have more visual presence. Well done.
  • The kilt? Great. I love it. It has a pattern on it, which draws the eye. This would be a problem except for a few important things. For one, the kilt is a simple shape -- no scallops or crenellation or jagged edges, just a rectangular piece of fabric. That makes the kilt's pattern more readable and therefore easier for the mind to register. Secondly, there is no other piece in this costume that has a pattern, so that limits the possibility that something would clash with it.
  • Unfortunately, the greenish "tarnished gold" color of the shoulderpads and bracers do clash with it. It would have been better for you to make the shoulderpads and bracers a neutral color like a grayish silver or a bronze or copper that was chiefly brown but with a hint of red -- red being the unifying color between orange and purple.
  • The loincloth. You didn't have to keep it. And you especially didn't have to layer it over the kilt. Sure, I've layered loincloths over metal leggings, but the difference there is a strong contrast in texture (smooth shiny metal/shaggy fur) and length (everything below waist covered/just the naughty bits and ass crack) -- not to mention a more striking temporal distance between the two items. If you wanted to use the loincloth's fur on a sporran -- those little pouches that hang in front of kilts on chains -- that would have worked better, because sporrans are smaller and less obtrusive, and they go with kilts anyway. The brown would also have looked better in a smaller ratio to all that orange and purple.
  • The combat boots work with everything else because they are a neutral (black) and their silhouette is not complicated. You have a lot of complicated shapes and a loud, colorful pattern higher up on this design, so it's a good idea to keep some parts of the ensemble simple, so the eye isn't constantly drawn to many different parts of the body.
  • White is fine for the hair and beard (up to a point, and I'll address that in a bit). Really, any natural color would have been fine, since "red" hair -- which is really closer to orange -- goes with the orange on the kilt, and most other natural colors are neutrals. Even natural blond hair (i.e. not the screaming lemon-yellow of Aquaman's or Oliver Queen's) is "neutralized" because the yellow hues in it are not pure yellow, but are mixed with brown and/or white.
  • The beard is a problem for me. I'm not a tremendous fan of "pigtail beards" anyway, but where this one fails for me, design-wise, is in the way the lines of the two tails interrupt the thicker, sweeping line of the chain. It's distracting. You should have gone with either the big chain or the pigtails. And the ribbons or rubber bands or whatever in the beard are red, which is nowhere else to be found on the costume. Again, a neutral would have been better. Okay, sure, so I could just unbraid the dang thing. My problem then is the mammoth disconnect between a guy with a long white beard and his name containing the word "boy." With a beard this length, another color would ultimately have been better. (Yes, a guy with a long beard can still look young, even on your wimpy planet. Heck, if I recall my history books correctly, the winner of the natural beard category in the 2007 World Beard and Mustache Championships was twenty-three!)
  • The mohawk with the long beard? Great contrast. Love it. And it helps that size-wise, it's not trying to compete.
  • The eyepatch. Aaaarrgh. With everything else that's going on, it's the accessory that broke the model's back. And from a conceptual standpoint, why would I even have an eyepatch? Is it because I already poked my eye out on the previous versions of the bracers? First Phillip Rice plans on me re-contracting that techno-organic virus, and now you want to take my eye! I just want people to design a kick-ass costume for me; I don't need them to be fantasizing about me getting some horrible injury. Even if the eyepatch is meant to be an affectation, it's not very practical. I suppose I could flip it up right before I get into a fight, but then I'd look like a total phony-baloney. No thanks.
To bottom-line it... when I design a costume, I try to keep the silhouette of it fairly iconic and simple, and I try to keep the various design elements -- color, pattern, texture, etc. -- in balance so they don't become overwhelming to look at. You have a ton of energy and some good ideas -- you just need to pull it back a little. I hope you didn't find this too "serious" or "boring" for what's meant to be a fun little contest. At any rate, I won't go into that kind of detail with you again. (For one thing, it took me about an hour-and-a-half to write!)

Okay! Next slide, please!


MaGnUs says:
Blockade San: Not much to say about this one, other than it fits a time travel trip to feudal Japan. Plus, you can twirl those fu-manchus like there's no tomorrow.
Hey, I enjoy twirling fu-manchus as much as the next guy, but this just looks like a generic ol' historical costume and that's it. I can see you put a lot of time and detail in it, but I just don't get the connection to me -- my personality or my powers or anything. Sorry, dude. Remember when I went all dandy-fied in Ye Olde Weste? I didn't just put on any ol' clothes I found. I put my signature colors and a logo on my vest, and I tied into those colors with my bandanna and hatband. If you're going to dress me in a historical costume, you need to give it something to make it unique.

Let's move on!


Magnus says:
Reboot Blockade: This is my take on how you would look if you'd been part of the reboot LSH, and Tom Peyer had designed you a new outfit.
Central color line flanked by secondary color, buckled gloves, and fold-flap ankle booties. Plus, an utility belt, and random pouches everywhere. Verrrry 1990s haircut, with an awful (but fitting for the era) jawline beard. Note the very subtle BB logo on the belt.
Better! I like the detail of the big snap on the side of the glove. Because I don't see that all the time. And I like that you designed a belt-logo for me. The rest of it's a little too familiar, though, and even if it's "historical" (in an alternate universe, from my perspective) I don't care for the thigh pouches.

And finally...


MaGnUs writes:
Blockade Boy-Five Years Later: This what I think what you'd worn after the collapse of the UP. Faux-Versailles chic, with ruffles and puffy sleeves, funky shoes, and British parliament hair, along with scruffy stubble and post-apocalyptic trenchcoat.
Yeah, I've peeked into that universe (Rond, I'll never forget that night as long as I live) and I think I can safely say I wouldn't have been caught dead wearing this. This foppish frippery may have been good enough for a douche like Sun Boy but I like to think I would have rebelled against the ruffled majority by wearing something figure-hugging and sleek, like that boring cipher man of mystery, Kent Shakespeare. So no thanks.

I hope all this helps. If you remember what I said here, I'll bet you'll get a costume (or three!) into my "maybe" pile. Good luck!


MaGnUs said...

Thanks for the comments, I did not find them boring. I truly find them enlightening, seeing as how I'm not a designer, I love the advice.

I agree the samurai one is not the best design I've ever made...

Gotcha on the busy... I'm sure that with the amount of costumes I'm throwing your way ONE might get into the maybe pile. :P

Scipio said...

"Reboot Blockade: This is my take on how you would look if you'd been part of the reboot LSH, and Tom Peyer had designed you a new outfit."

I just LOVE those pouches. I sure they contain a myriad of sins, or the implements therefor.

Jeremy Rizza said...

MaGnUs: I'm looking forward to your new stuff! And I'm glad my critique came off as I'd intended... just friendly advice. (I did some checking around, and it turns out I'm not the boss of you!)

Scipio: Or maybe they're full of HeroClix!

MaGnUs said...

No, no HeroClix... they're actually miniaturized legionnaires from different timelines to carry around and apply water as necessary... SeaMonkeys!

And yes, as far as I know, you're not the boss of me BB... though I wouldn't have minded being part HMS Exquisite's crew for a while.

MaGnUs said...

I just realized that on the cyberpunk outfit, my hasty typing turned "monophilament" or "monofilament" into "monofilante"...