Monday, May 26, 2008

Put Your Cat Clothes On

Back in February, Ryan Eldridge (of Westchester is for Lovers fame) asked me to redesign the costume of one of the X-verse's blandest, most generic mutants (and that's really saying something): Rusty Collins.

Rusty_Collins


I remember reading about Rusty in some of Jeremy's old "X-Factor" comics. My impression of him: a nondescript, red-haired "nice guy" with pyrokinetic powers and a pleasant disposition, and that's about it. He and his equally bland girlfriend, "Skids", were like an even less-exciting version of Justice and Firestar, if you can imagine such a thing.

According to the Font Of All Wisdom (Wikipedia), Rusty later adopted the mucho Image-y moniker of "Firefist." *snicker* He got brainwashed by Stryfe -- y'know, the guy with the helmet that looks like a Cuisinart attachment. And then he aligned himself with Magneto. And then he got killed. Because he's boring.

Well, I don't think Rusty would have ended up as just another dead Marvel mutant (there's roughly a bajillion of them at this point), if his creators (Bob Layton and Jackson Guice) had just bothered to toughen his sorry ass up in the first goddamn place. In other words, they could've made him less like Howie Cunningham and more like Fonzie. [Edited to add: As Captain Nice Guy points out in the comments section, I meant to refer to Richie Cunningham, and not his dad. Still, I'm leaving my goof intact, since Rusty was a mite -- to borrow a phrase from Captain Nice Guy -- "Tom Bosley-esque".]

Which brings me to my styling choices. I knew I wanted to make him more like a runaway "street kid" (minus the prostitution) than the square he actually was. That way, he'd be somebody who could handle himself a little better, score a more interesting girlfriend, and not get stuck hanging out with melon-headed twelve-year-olds (Artie and Leech, I'm talking to you). After considering a "grunge" theme for him, I decided to hew to a musical subculture that was actually around when he debuted in the mid-1980's: rockabilly! After all, Layton and Guice had once "humorously" dressed the Beast in a retro-themed suit and glasses, a la Elvis Costello. Why couldn't they have styled Rusty like Brian Setzer?

rustycollins0508


Now, this guy has a yen for twanging guitars, curvaceous dames, and "car culture." Maybe Marvel could have gotten Coop to draw a miniseries about him! And I can guarantee he wouldn't be stuck looking after a couple of macrocephalic twerps. Naw, he'd be too busy scoring.

As you can see, the new-and-improved Rusty has a wicked 80's pompadour (it's fluffy!) and muttonchops, plus some kick-ass arm tattoos. The tattoos are designed like the stylized flames found on the sides of hotrods back then. The silhouette of the boots mirrors the pear shape of the flames. And the entire outfit is leather, natch. The studded belt has a nifty "devil's head" buckle, and it hangs low, just like some actual rockabilly musicians used to wear them in the 1980's. Note also the chain, going to his wallet. I've designed a devilish "R" logo for him. And -- since it makes more sense with his powers, and it just sounds tougher -- I bet he'd change his nickname to "Red." A Spirit-style mask completes the look.

There ya go, Ryan! And it only took me about four months! *chuckles nervously, then looks down at floor*

15 comments:

Comixbear said...

Can I have permission to say 'good job' without any flaming comments?

http://comixbearbarecomix.blogspot.com/

Gustavo said...

Well..."without the prostitution"? I don't know in your century, but in ours, he cannot look any gayer or more prostituted...

You know, I was looking at his original outfit, and if Guice had gone gayer himself and made the trousers more like Tom of Finland britches, it would have looked better and not in such desperate need for a BBoy redesign.

Blockade Boy said...

Comixbear: Permission grunted! Er, granted, I mean.

Gustavo: He couldn't look any gayer? What if his vest was unzipped? What if he was wearing leather Speedos instead of pants? What if -- well, I have a lot of ideas for making it gayer. I just can't stop thinking about them! Oh, and I'm pretty sure the original costume is by Bret Blevins, probably from his "New Mutants" period. Before that, he just wore baggy dress slacks and long-sleeved, button-up shirts. Bland with a capital "B".

Ryan said...

That is AWESOME, B-Boy!

The scary part is, you made his head look almost exactly like me on a windy day...

MaGnUs said...

Yes, he could look gayer, but great job. "Firefist" does deserve a gay look.

captain koma said...

I liked Rusty and Skids. It was kinda like the young mutant version of the Dibney's. At least skids is still around.

Hey can you re-style captain koma???

Chawunky said...

The first depiction of Rusty has a sort of Golden Age feel to it. That said, I think your redesign is definitely more razzamatazz. I like the new logo especially.

LurkerWithout said...

I think when I was trying to fill out 50 Initiative teams I brought Rusty back to life as part of the Boston-Mass team. Where for some reason I decided everyone would go with Celtic code names...

Of course I can't recall who the Irish Fire God is right now. Was it Dagda? Really can't remember...

Blockade Boy said...

Ryan: I'm glad you like it! As for the "windy day" hair, maybe you just need some more pomade. And some muttonchops! Muttonchops are always good.

MaGnUs: Thanks, pal!

Captain Koma: Y'know what? I'd love to restyle Captain Koma! E-mail me (via my old roommate, Jeremy) at jrizza1@cox.net and feel free to include any photo reference you'd like me to incorporate. (For instance, Doctor Tectonic included some photos of his manly, mustachioed cranium.)

Chawunky: The Blevins costume is admittedly nice, and I'd totally forgotten about it. Still, it's a generic old-timey costume, which tells the viewer nothing about the character. Ergo, it needed some "razzmatazz"!

Lurker: Those are some pretty nifty ideas, but "Dagda" sounds like something a dermatologist would remove from your back.

Captain Nice Guy said...

Nice redesign. Definitely not boring!

BTW, I think you meant Richie Cunningham. I would certainly hope no young superheroes look like Howard Cunningham. On the other hand, maybe the world needs a Tom Bosley-esque paragon on virtue. He could call himself Glad Bag Man.

Anonymous said...

Damn, he looks a lot like a character I came up with but haven't gotten around to drawing yet, what with the spikey blond(ish) hair, red leather no- sleeved vest, black pants, red boots and slightly gay look. Oh well.

-Phil

Blockade Boy said...

Captain Nice Guy: Er, oops. I guess I mixed up Ron Howie -- er, I mean, "Howard" -- with the character he played. ("Tom Bosley-esque"--! Heh.)

Phil: Sounds cool! What is your character's "dealio", as the kids like to say?

Ryan said...

Phil, I'm glad you decided to go with a sleeveless vest, as opposed to the kind with sleeves.

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, I changed jacket to vest at the last minute and didn't bother to read the rest of my post. How embarrassing. Now, the only option left for me is a rather showy suicide. I always knew it would eventually come to this.

BB: He's the son of a Cold War era Soviet cyborg, and was born with nanobots in his bloodstream. He can control the nanobots and essentially grow any technology he wants out of his skin. I'm trying to draw it up, but I'm just not feeling it yet. I might finish it by the end of the week.

-Phil

Blockade Boy said...

Sounds cool! Good luck with it, pal!