Saturday, July 08, 2006

Rescue Me: Turner D. Century

Yipes! I'm late with the post! But I still posted. Because I love you guys. For what it's worth, tonight the Rizza apartment was in quite the uproar. I had to spend hours calming Jeremy down after the vet told him his oldest, fattest cat had a yeast infection. And that he'd have to apply medicine to it every day for the next ten days. What Jeremy was too busy hysterically sobbing to understand is that the infection is in the cat's ears. Anyway, my method of calming him down involved a lot of pimp-slapping and screaming "stop it" but I think I finally got through to him. I'm typing this while he tries to get the swelling in his cheeks to go down.

Okay, let's get this party started.

Many years ago, Marvel's editors -- er, I mean "Scourge" -- killed off a whole slew of their lamer villains. I think these bad guys would have been more popular and therefore still alive if only they'd dressed better. So starting with this post and continuing sporadically in the future I'm personally redesigning the outfits of every villain Scourge ever killed! Even if it was revealed later that the villain survived, which undoubtedly happened in a case or two, this being comics. Just because I'm so gosh-darned thorough. Now, if I was Bizarro Blockade Boy (who turns into a solid steel welcome mat) I'd use my time bubble and actually give these new costumes to the villains themselves, causing the fanboys to adore them and sparing them from Scourge's wrath. But I'm not that guy so I'll just settle for theorizing.

Say, here's one of Scourge's victims, right now! Isn't that handy? Say hello to one of comic blogdom's favorite whipping boys: Turner D. Century! I have an irrational fondness for Turner. It's probably the handlebar mustache. And the name, with its lip-smackingly delicious pun. But in all other respects he sucks hickory-smoked donkey balls. The suit, the flying bicycle, the rip-off Penguin umbrella, and above all his personality, which makes him essentially Super Bill O'Reilly minus the dirty phone calls. Turner needs a makeover, like, yesterday. Because he's dead!

My idea? Ditch the barbershop quartet outfit and get him something like you'd see on the cover of a circa-1900 science fiction dime novel (ex. "Pluck & Luck").

Here's Turner, in my idea of a Victorian idea of a space suit. Which would look something like a diving suit. Rugged, huh? Slung over his back is his gold-plated Electric Blunderbuss, which packs quite the whallop! His helmet (on the ground next to him) I designed to give him an eerie, inhuman appearance. So the lenses are on the sides, like Black Manta. How does he see out of it? By a series of mirrors, like a periscope. (Of course.) I think Turner would have worked well as a Jules Verne type of villain, raiding the outside world in some sort of strange, majestic airship, and taking his plunder to a high-tech Victorian Utopia on an uncharted island. And of course he'd have henchmen. (Another job for Lenny!) With these enhancements, he'd be a fine villain for Iron Man or Captain America. Just for starters!

I won't be redesigning Scourge's victims in any particular order, so if you have any favorites just let me know and I'll work on those first.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Gender Reassignment Challenge: Marvel Girl To Marvel Boy

With the Gender Reassignment Challenge, I redesign an existing superheroine costume for a superhero. I see how many elements of the original costume I can retain without making the new costume seem feminine. This time out, I chose Marvel Girl, in her Neal Adams design costume.

I figured she'd be an interesting choice. I mean, she's in a dress, for heaven's sake!

To my thinking, putting Marvel Boy in a skirt of some kind, like a kilt of what-have-you, wasn't really an option. It was too "out there" for the character, in my mind. And just putting him in trunks didn't seem to carry over the flavor of the skirt. Especially since I'd feel compelled to add some kind of top, with a neckline and sleeves that mimicked the ones on the dress, just so it wouldn't be a total cop-out. And as long-time readers know, I freakin' hate long sleeves with bare thighs. So here's what I did instead:

Why yes, it is a Nehru jacket! Thank you for playing along at home. But I'd prefer to call it by one of its other names: a Jodhpuri coat. It sounds less tacky that way. The beauty part of the Jodhpuri coat (if you ask me) is its completely straight, level hemline, which at about the same level as the hemline on Marvel Girl's dress. I kept the Marvel Girl's kooky mask, although I was tempted to go simpler when I realized it got in the way of Marvel Boy's shaggy bangs. (Okay, so I could have chosen two better words to end that sentence, but I'm in a time crunch here. Try to work with me.) I had Marvel Boy wear his boots over his trousers so they'd stand out, and even though they wouldn't normally be worn like that with a Jodhpuri suit. But it's more superhero-ish this way! And I put Marvel Girl's X-buckle on a string of groovy love beads. They're way, way out! In more ways than one!

So, whaddaya think?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Moral Realignment Challenge: M.O.D.O.K. And Iron Man

More art! As most of you know, with the moral realignment challenge, I try to figure out how a superhero and a supervillain might appear in the comics with their morality reversed. An anonymous commenter once suggested "Iron Man & M.O.D.O.K. -- and if you can do that one, you're a genius." In a stroke of great fortune for us all, it just so happens I am a genius! (And a modest one at that!) Behold!

From the Earth 73.69-B-XVII version of "Marvel Age" #42 (September, 1986):

BIG-HEAD BOY #14 -- The Big-Head Boy, M.O.D.O.K. (Mentally Overdeveloped Designer Organic Kid) is back in his own dimension after his titanic team-up with Harry Osbird, The Green Gobbler. Then why can't anyone at Advanced Idea Middle School remember who he is? There's a new hero in town -- and it's none other than Earth's vilest villain, the insidious Iron Man! The cad has swiped Victor Von Dream's Time Tumbler, and he's using it to superimpose himself into all of Big-Head Boy's past triumphs! Can Big-Head Boy uncover the shocking secret behind Iron Man's demented plan? And can he fix the timestream before he disappears altogether? "Adventures: Disassembled" is written by Stan Kaye, penciled by Howie Post, and inked by Jon D'Agostino. A Star comic. $0.65.

...My first thought was, how could M.O.D.O.K. be appealing enough to headline his own comic? And my second thought was, "If he was adorable." To me, that meant de-aging him and putting him in a comic specifically targeted to children. It followed, then, that the evil version of Iron Man would look like someone out of a Jonny Quest episode. So I made his armor look more old-timey, with a Romanesque fin on the head and a segmented iron loincloth. The joints at the elbows and shoulders are meant to resemble hexagonal nuts. The mouth slit turns down so it's a permanent frown, and of course both the mouth and the eyes glow. The design on his chest is one of the alchemical symbols for iron, and naturally it's also the symbol of the male gender, which was serendipitous. And I made the color scheme red-and-gray, like magnets and old robot toys.

So, what do you think?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Gender Reassignment Challenge: Storm To... Um... Er... Storm

Curse those gender-neutral superhero codenames!

I haven't done one of these in a while. So if you're new to my blog, here's the deal: the gender reassignment challenge is where I take a very feminine superheroine costume and reimagine it for a male hero, retaining as many of the original costume elements as I can while still keeping it "butch." Dave Cockrum's swimsuit-style designs are probably the most difficult of these for me to do. I've already redone Saturn Girl's outfit -- with limited success. Storm's was much easier. Mainly because it wasn't pink. Here's what I came up with:

So it turns out Jeremy had some watercolor pencils! Thank GOD. I didn't mean for it to look that purple but I was afraid I'd make it too dark and murky otherwise. Ah, well.

The first thing I did with the costume was to detach that cape from the bracelets, because I freaking hate that shit. (Just ask the Black Condor! I bet he's still nursing the split lip I gave him from our rumble over that very issue.) I also did it because I've only ever seen that look on Ziegfield Girls. I gave Man-Storm a beard and modified the tiara-thingie into a wraparound. This was inspired by Kirby's Brother Bear from "The Forever People." I shortened the boots from thigh-high into more of a buccaneer style, and I changed the oval cut-outs into rubies, to match the one on the cape. I did that because cut-outs make me think of go-go dancers and not super-guys. It's the same reason I reinterpreted the cut-outs on the sides of the stomach into a belt -- and to show off a similar amount of skin, I made the outfit topless. But I'd rather not see thighs with buccaneer boots, so I covered those up.

So, what do you think?

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Hell--?! Artwork?!! (Moral Realignment Challenge: Apocalypse And Jubilee)

From Marvel Comics solicitations for October 2005 (on Earth-427B):

Just in time or Halloween, it's a collection of the first and best appearances of everyone's favorite gray goliath, Apocalypse! Includes his debut in 1960's "I Awoke The Mega-Mummy!" from "Journey Into Fantasy" #45, his reappearance as one of the Defenders in 1971's "Marvel Main Attraction" #1 (also featuring Doctor Mordo, Attuma The Aqua-Warrior, and Planet-Eater Lad), his first battle against the psychotic super-powered delinquent Jubilee in the pages of "Red, White & Blue Skull" #183 (1975), the groundbreaking story in which Apocalpyse saves a young man from a gay bashing and also comes to terms with his own homosexuality in "Rampage Of Apocalpyse" #7 (1977), Jubilee's terrifying transformation into the Kree-powered menace "Firestone" in "Awesome Apocalpyse" #54-55 (1978), Apocalpyse's titanic tussle with a fellow hero in "Bullseye: The Man Who Never Misses" #159 (1980), and his triumphant return from Comics Limbo in the mature-readers-only "Apocalpyse: Prince Of Death" #1 (1995).
180 PGS./B&W/MARVEL PSR...$9.99
UPS: 7200411582-00111

Boy, I really need to get that Illustrator program, don't I? I can't seem to get the hang of Jeremy's colored pencils at all. (I lost my pastels; so sue me.)

Annnyhow, here's my interpretation of Steven's idea of realigning Jubilee and Apocalypse. I did some reading-up on Apocalpyse and found out he was an ancient mutant who swiped some Eternals technology for his body-suit. So I figured if he was a good guy, he wouldn't have the suit. Ergo: Mega-Mummy! Good Apocalpyse is strong like the Hulk and has regenerative capabilities. Bad Jubilee is a mutant street-urchin who uses her powers to start fires and kill people, and to make her more of a match for Apocalypse, I juiced her up a la Moonstone. I ended up redrawing her a bunch of times and I'm still not happy with her but to be honest I'm also not that interested in her. What I was most into for this assignment was imagining Good Apocalpyse's publishing history as a cross between a Marvel Monster and the Hulk.

I'll try for more artwork posts this week.