Saturday, September 08, 2007

So Super Duper

Brian Andersen's "So Super Duper" is a fun, frenetic little comic about a motor-mouthed and deeply closeted twink, and his travails as the least-powerful member of a rather bitchy JLA-type team called "the Amazin'naughts." Andersen's artwork is cartoon-styled (it reminded me a lot of DC's old "Angel Love" comic) but his character's faces and poses are so expressive that there's never any doubt as to what's happening in a panel. Also, some of the costumes are so well-designed that I wanted to try my hand at depicting them in a slightly more realistic style.

Here's the star of "So Super Duper", the empathic (and that's it) Psyche. He often strikes these kinds of melodramatic poses in the midst of all his swanning about. To bring a sense of that into my own drawing, I based his posture on a photo of a cheerleader. A teenage, female cheerleader.


One of the many other superheroes to be found in "So Super Duper" is Comet, who is also in denial about his sexuality, and who seems to have a little crush on Psyche. Comet is one of the few genuinely sweet characters in the book. (Seriously, poor Psyche is just surrounded by jerks, the poor guy. Let's hope these two crazy kids manage to hook up!) This is my favorite out of all of Andersen's character designs. The icing on the cake? Comet and his twin sister Star have matching cheek-moles. Adorable!


Remember those jerks I mentioned? Here's one of 'em! ...Okay, so he hasn't had much panel time -- in fact, I have no idea what his boots look like so I just mimicked the style of his gloves -- but he seemed pretty snide to me. And it wasn't even anything he said! I guess it's just his face. Which is par for the course, since he has fire powers. Heck, I can't think of any heroes with fire powers who had gently-arching Joel Hodgson eyebrows. There must be some kind of genetic link between pyrokinetics and angry-looking Romulan eyebrows (with red hair).


There are also a lot of female superheroes in "So Super Duper" but to be honest, most of their outfits either veer perilously close to Hoochie Mama Territory or just flat-out plunge right into it, off a cliff, like Thelma and Louise. But then, Brian told me he wouldn't mind me posting some costume redesigns for his characters, so... I'll work on some for next week!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Just Six More Panels 'Til Lobstertime


Luckily for Slasher, Iron Man is only in the first stage of drunkenness: the "light-hearted, irreverent life-of-the-party" stage. (That's the stage Dean Martin hovered around for most of his benighted existence.) Things might've gone a lot worse if Iron Man had chanced upon them in one of his other five stages of drunkenness. (Depending on the intelligence of the individual, one can experience up to ten distinct stages of drunkenness. Brainiac 5 is rumored to go through thirty-eight stages of drunkenness, Storm Boy has nine stages and Tusker has one-half.) I ran a computer simulation, and here are stages two through six of Iron Man's drunkenness:

Stage Two Drunkenness: "The Benefactor"
Iron Man: Hey! Hey, guys! What's up, buddies?

Slasher: You! Stand back! I'll use my eyes--!

Iron Man [picks up the transmitter, vigorously shakes it]: This broke or sumpin'? Don't worry, I can totally fix it for you. Didja know, did I ever tell you before, I gots my own technology company? I think. I'm like a total expert on these things. Say, what's this do? [presses sequence of buttons]

Slasher: Don't touch that, you fool--!

[They're all vaporized by a small nuclear explosion]
Stage Three Drunkenness: "The Lothario"
Iron Man: Well, hello there, flyboy! I got iron in my pants and I want to dance!

Slasher: You!

Iron Man [seizes Slasher and does wild "Lindy hop" with him around the alley, swinging his body around like a rag doll]: You like polka dots baby? 'Cause I know who I'd like to "polka"...

Slasher: Let go of me, you fool!

Iron Man: Hang on, gorgeous, this next move's a little tricky...

[He tosses Slasher in the air but is distracted by a shiny new nickel and forgets to catch him. Slasher lands on the transmitter, setting off a small nuclear explosion.]
Stage Four Drunkenness: "The Patriotic Homophobe"
Iron Man: Two guys in an alley... in matching jumpsuits?! Aw, hells no.

Slasher: You!

Iron Man: What the fuck kind of accent is that? What're you, a Russkie? Zero tolerance, motherfucker! [He incinerates both Slasher and Demitrius while chanting "U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A.--!"]
Stage Five Drunkenness: "The Bitter A-hole" (note: this is often indistinguishable from Stage Four)
Iron Man: Goddamn it, now what? I suppose I gotta fly down there now and "do something"... Christ, why does it always have to be me?

Slasher: You!

Iron Man: Yeah, "me." It's always goddamn "me", goddamn it! D.C.'s a big town; why can't they get their own goddman superhero? Huh? Answer me that!

Slasher: I must use... my eyes! [He fires laser beams at Iron Man, creating a couple of small, smoking pock-marks in his chestplate]

Iron Man [looks down at damaged chestplate, sighs]: Oh, that tears it.

Slasher: You'll never take us into police custody! So swears the--

Iron Man: Yeah, you got that shit right. [He incinerates Slasher and Demitrius. Then he stands there for a while, looking warily around at the depressing alleyway, at the Capital Building in the distance, and at the moist Washington sky.] Aw, what's the goddamn point? [He twists one of his hip-frisbees a few degrees, setting off a small nuclear explosion]
Stage Six Drunkenness: "The Vegetative Stagesman" (reserved and dignified, yet barely conscious, prone to propping self up in large chairs and occasionally waving or nodding to people)
Slasher: It's Iron Man! And he's headed right for us! Stand back, you fool! He's raised his arm and is going to use his repulsor beams! I must wait until he gets within range of... my eyes! ...He's not firing his repulsor beams! He-- he seems to be... giving us a "thumbs-up"?! He's not slowing down! Run, Demitrius! He's about to--[Iron Man plows into the alleyway, setting off a small nuclear explosion]

Have All My Friends Had Fun at Play?


...Aaaannnd now you know why Demitrius was never hired as host of the DC-area "Romper Room." *points to Storm Boy, who obligingly plays "flashback glissando" on re-rebuilt Electric Sousasaxotimpanibone*
Director: I gotta say, you are acing this audition, Demitrius!

Demitrius: Bolshoi spasibo, tovarisch-- er, um, I mean, thanks.

Director: Let's just skip to then end, then... that'd be the top of page five in your script. And you can just improv the children's names... feel free to "riff" here.

Demitrius [nods, excitedly flips through script]: Romper, bomper, stomper, boo. Tell me, tell me, tell me, do. Magic mirror, tell me today, have all my friends had fun at play? ...I can see Mike, and Skip, and Farrah, and Jon, and... Guss, and, and Maggie, and Phil, I, I can see so many children, oh God! Head... pounding...!

Director: Whoa! You okay there, buddy?

Demitrius [hyperventilating, trembling]: ...And Phil, and Jen, and Aaron! Jayson! Dorian! Sweet Lord, Slasher, their names--!!!

Director [looks around at otherwise empty room]: "Slasher"? Who the hell--?

Demitrius: I can't hold it in any longer!

Director: Oh, uh, if you need to take a bathroom break, that's cool, we can just--

Demitrius: The change... starting!!! [His forehead bulges and bubbles like some guy from "Scanners" and then two prehensile lobster-clawed arms pop out] GRRRRRAAAAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!! MUST... DESTROY...

Director [calmly picks up telephone and punches a button]: Sally, please send in the next applicant... oh, and get the police on the line, would you? Thanks.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I.M. So Glad We Had This Time Together


Much as Carol Burnett used to secretly give a "shout out" to her grandmother by tugging on her ear, Iron Man likes to acknowledge various bystanders he's bedded with a similar gesture. Many a lass (and lad!) has spotted Iron Man weaving tipsily through the troposphere and wondered, "Does he recall that glorious night we spent in (Palm Springs/Omaha/the Motel 6/that abandoned rendering plant/a fugue state)?" And then they see Iron Man giving the "signal" (even as his metal faceplate remains infuriatingly sphinx-like). Their spirits soar, the sun seems to shine a little more brightly, and their day seems suddenly rich with promise. With beaming smiles, they return the signal... and then they see (on average) eight other people, from all walks of life, smiling up at Iron Man and doing the exact same thing.

Extreme Blockadeover: Justin Garrett Blum

This next submission just materialized in the air right in front of me and hung there, floating, while I was in the middle of my morning ablutions. Tusker was so startled he dropped the scrub brush and threw himself back against the nearest wall. His big, dopey head whipped around. "Are we under attack?" he cried. I, of course, didn't even raise a bushy eyebrow. One of my sinewy arms shot out (The speed of a python, I have!) and grabbed it.

I sniffed at the envelope, paused, taking in the scent, and then I ran my nose all over it, inhaling the odor greedily with loud snorfling noises. I waved the letter at Tusker. "Magic," I said with a grim smile. "I'd recognize it anywhere."

"Plus it just appeared out of the blue and it was floating," Tusker pointed out, so of course I had to pummel him for making me look uncool. But I only slapped him around a little, because I'm always in a good mood when somebody sends me a costume design! This one is from Justin Garrett Blum, who starts out with some wholly unnecessary damage control:
Dear Blockade Boy,

Okay, before you view the image, I plead with you to bear with me just a minute. First of all, my apologies for the crappy scan and coloring job. I penciled the image pretty small and then to make it worse, I went over it with a fine-tip sharpie, which bled, so I lost some of the detail, and I couldn’t quite get the detail I wanted in any case, even in pencil. Also, I have a feeling you’re probably going to tear me a new asshole anyway, so I didn’t want to spend a whole night on it or anything. J

The one thing I wish I could go back and do over (but I’m too lazy to) is the face. I was attempting to give you sort of an ursine characteristic with the big, round beard, but I’m afraid that with the scale I was working at, I couldn’t pull it off. Also, I have no idea how to computer color somebody with so much hair. You came out looking sort of like Tygra from Thundercats. Not really bad, just not what I was really going for. But hopefully you get the idea.

Right then, apologies out of the way…

I really only had one goal with this design—and that was to keep it as simple as possible, but without sacrificing style. When I first started reading your blog over a year ago, one of the first posts I read was something you did about Doctor Strange’s kick ass robe. I remembered that—because I thought that robe was the bees knees, as well—so I knew going in that I wanted to give you something floor length and stylin’. At the same time, I wanted your outfit to be as stripped down as possible—literally. I mean, what’s the point of having all that body hair if you can’t show it off, right? With that in mind, I thought, “Let’s see, Blockade Boy is a pirate, and pirates are rough, but at the same time, he’s also a dandy.” I had to merge those two sensibilities somehow.

Then I hit upon it. The Romans. Kick ass mofos, no doubt, but also one of the most indulgent societies to ever exist. Then I was like, “What would a hard-core Roman look like if he were actually a gay fashion designer pirate from the far future?” And, well, this is what I came up with.

Here’s what I like about it: nobody’s going to mess with a dude dressed like this. You know why? Because if a person dresses like this, he’s got to have some serious balls—figuratively and literally.

Anyway, just keep an open mind. That’s all I ask. See, I even let one of your nipples peak out and everything!



Justin, don't worry about the technical quality of your artwork. As long as it gets the basic idea across, I'm cool with it. And that's also why I decided to allow folks to elaborate on their designs with their letters. I should be able to get the gist of what you're trying to sell me with some simple artwork and a paragraph or two. Okay... *breathes deeply* ...Let's take a look at this puppy!


I have just two words for you, Justin: Kick. Ass.

What I especially love about this design is the balance of contrasts. The huge theatrical cape is juxtaposed with the daintier briefs and accessories, and the flamboyance of the costume is set against an animalistic beard and hairstyle (and, of course, my brawny, furry bod). Well done, lad. This one's headed for the finals!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Extreme Blockadeover: Ed Novak

Ah, another missive for me from the 21st Century! This one is from an "Ed Novak" but after that "Loren Lassiter" business (I'm still not convinced, "Loren") I'm treating the name of every new correspondent as a puzzle that must be solved! For example, I see that "Ed Novak" is an anagram for "Oak Vend." Huh. ...Yeah, I got nothin'. I'll have to file that one away for later. You've won this round, "Ed." Go ahead and show me your wares. Speak to me from the dusty eons of yore!
Well, seein' as MaGnUs has managed to prove that an interesting costume can be done with HeroMachine, I've decided to put my limited skills to the test. Hope you think this is as cool as I do!
Yeah. Me too.


Huh. Well, I--
Don't eliminate him yet!
How's about you don't tell me what to do, Mr. Vend or whoever you really are? *grumbles*
Your chest is mostly naked beneath the cowl, including your diamond cutters. The purple leotard ends in a sort of triangular point beneath the cape (y'know, I could probably just make a version without the sec. There we go.) I know you'd prefer your chest exposed at all times, but check this out -- you can show it off whenever you want...WITH A DRAMATIC CAPE FLIP! You'll start a fight with the menacing, cloaked appearance Batman always has, but once you start kicking ass, your rugged shoulders and manly nipples will be out there for your foes (and press) to admire! C'mon, you know that's awesome. And hey, if you want 'em on display all the time, you can just throw the cape back.

Also, the grayness of it kinda evokes the whole "moderately-sized steel wall" thing. And I thought, y' looked nice.
Well, don't tell me, boy! Show me!


Uh-huh. This looks really familiar to me for some reason... where have I seen this before? I know it'll come to me. Any last words while I try to shake a memory out of my battered noggin?
Finally, you're "Blockade" now because the costume makes ya look a little older, wiser, grizzled, and more experienced. Also, it sounds much more badass without the "boy." At least I think so. Please don't hurt me.
You did not just tell me what to do again! *grabs rebuilt Electric Sousasaxotimpanibone from passing Storm Boy and smashes it to bits* Balls. Now see what you made me do. *stews for a minute*

Oh! I just remembered! About the costume... this is almost exactly what I wore to Junior Prom! (And you don't want to know where Weight Wizard wanted me to put the boutonniere.)

Okay, judgment time: I like the idea of the peekaboo cape -- very clever. However, the extreme angle of the "truss" makes it a little too reminiscent of ladies' evening gowns for my tastes. And while it's a good design in general, there's not much in it that makes it stand out to me. (The orange side-patches on the legs remind me of my earlier designs from a couple of years ago... or was it twenty? Damn sliding timeline!) So I'm going to pass on it. Thanks for playin', Oak!

P.S. About the name change... it's so crazy it just might work. I'm still kind of attached to the whole "Boy" thing, though, especially with the Legion still going by "Boy" and "Lad" and "Kid" even while they're pre-registering their kids for private schools and setting up retirement accounts. What do you think, readers? Should I drop the "Boy" from my codename?

We Are Not Amused

...Aw, who am I kiddin'? I was laughing my ass off. Gyuss Baaltar sent me this costume design, prefacing it with:
attached are my ideas for the blockadeover. I thought someone ought to show a costume both in casual and "powered on" mode.

Sorry for the crayon, they don't like us to have pens in here.
Here's the "costume" (Justice is coming, and it wears Converse All-Stars!) in my reg'lar brawling humanoid mode:


And here it is in my "wall" form:


They let this guy teach skydiving?! The man is a Coleman Francis movie just waiting to happen! (He feels real free up there, in the high blue sky...)

Of course my powers don't work like that, thank the Luck Lords. Maybe in the "Tiny Titans" universe. Man, would Blockade Tot ever rock their world...!

To Be Fair, You Have No Way of Knowing Whether or Not He Winked


So... he's got his boxers in a bunch because Iron Man didn't stop to say "Hi" or something. And yet, in the middle of a building collapse (with people possibly missing or maybe even dead) he's just standing there, savoring his stogie and doing nothing to help out. But yeah, it's that Iron Man who's the callous sonuvabitch. I was trying to figure out why he even still had that damn cigar, which he had been puffing on all through Tony Stark's presentation, and then it hit me -- homely middled-aged white guy + paranoia directed towards a superhero + ever-present cigar x facile characterization = J. Jonah Jameson. Your average Young Gerry Conway story didn't feature many character types. Most could be boiled down into two categories: the whiny sadsack loser and the inexplicably hateful asshole. Let's do a quick tally...
  1. Demitrius: whiny sadsack loser.
  2. Slasher: inexplicably hateful asshole.
  3. Marianne: whiny sadsack loser (admittedly, most of her whining is internal).
  4. Christine (the gal falling off the balcony): whiny sadsack loser.
  5. Danny (her Australopithecus boyfriend): inexplicably hateful asshole.
  6. Lucie (she-terrorist/possible umpire): she's only had one line of dialog, but she kind of looks like an asshole to me.
  7. The Dread Mister Kline: no contest. He's an inexplicably hateful asshole.
  8. White-panted samaritan: hard to get a read on this guy, but since he's helpful I bet once you get him talking you'd find out he's a whiny sadsack loser.
  9. Senator Stogie: as previously indicated, inexplicably hateful asshole.
  10. Crandal: whiny sadsack loser.
  11. Tony Stark/Iron Man: as the book's protagonist, Conway makes his character a rich tapestry of fascinating contradictions: he's an inexplicably whiny sadsack asshole!

Extreme Blockadeover: MaGnUs, Part Three

MaGnUs closes out his latest missive with:
I hope I did better this time, if one of them doesn't even fancy you at all, don't waste time commenting it, I'll take the hint. :P
Aw! Don't fret about it, MaGnUs! While you did send me a couple of plain 20th Century street clothes ensembles, I'm going to comment on all of your designs anyway, because your work is so much improved since last time. Also, as smooth 1970's balladeer Walter Egan sang,
With you I'm not shy to show the way I feel
With you I might try my secrets to reveal
For you are a MaGnUs and I am (a) steel (wall)
...Was that weird? Hey, where are you going?! Come back!


Right out of the gate, this is scads better than anything you've sent me before.
Blockade X: This is you, if Cockrum had suffered a rejection on a costume, and reused it for the X-Men. It's inspired in Colossus'
costume, using long boots like you like to use sometimes in your designs. The headset is inspired on Colossal Boy's, and you're wearing some nice shades, plus a pimping goatee. It's all red leather, except for the insides of the shorts, of course, or that'd be very uncomfortable. For the gloves, instead of spikes, I went with some studs.
Nice. It's a solid, well-considered design. The studs on the gloves are a smart use of texture to dress up all that shiny red. I'm still passing on it, but only because I'm not fond of the detached cowl, and the feel of it is a little too masochistic for my tastes. What could have turned this into a "maybe" for me would be covered thighs (although my thighs are "magnificent", or so I've paid people to tell me) and no cowl.


Heh. You should have put him in a Hawaiian shirt and called him "MaGnUs, P.I." *stirring electric guitar theme starts up out of nowhere* ...Hang on. Storm Boy! Cut that shit out! I'm tryin' to blog! ...Sorry.
Detective TJ Blockade: This started out as a suave spy outfit, but turned into a tough cop look, in case you ever need to go to the 70s.
Check the shades, and the police-issue tashe.
This one's automatically out of the running because it's street clothes (but then you probably guessed that) but I did want to say that's one sweet 'stache, and the mirrored shades are a nice touch. Hey, maybe you could combine those two elements with a proper costume, in kind of a superhero/cop mash-up. I remember on "The Ben Stiller Show" from the early days of FOX, they'd do "COPS" parodies set in other eras, like they'd be in Salem during the witch hunts, wearing Puritan costumes, but they'd still have the mirrored sunglasses and cop 'staches.


Blockade Boy: Fashionable Lion Tamer!
Doc Blockade: Pulp time! You're ready to battle Nazi Gorilla Robot Zombie Ninjas in this outfit, complete with riding pants and boots. The purple shirt says "Blockade", and its sleeves are rolled in case you need to get your hands dirty with monkey zombie goo. The whip is a special touch for keeping Storm Boy in check, and the awesome handlebar is sure to draw attention. This is one of my favorites.
Again, this one's out for just putting me in a shirt. (And I only ever use the whip on Tusker.) But it looks great! You definitely took my advice about the use of neutrals.


What-ho! No, seriously... what?
Monsieur Le Blockade: If you ever need to go swashbuckling around 18th Century France, this is the perfect option for you. Leather gloves past the elbow, and riding boots up to your hips, plus a dashing purple tunic with a touch-of-color in the orange sash, matching the band and feather on the hat. The Imperial (I think it's called that) beard and mustache adds overall musketeer cred, and the bare chest underneath the tunic is also a personal touch. I don't think the long, flowing locks are a favorite of yours, but they go with the rest of the outfit.
Once more, great balance of color and neutrals, and bravo for not cluttering up the bottom half with some kind of freaked-out Musketeer shoes. And my problem with the long hair on the last one is that it was that curly French court poodle hair. It was too fussy. I'm going to mull this one over. I'll have an answer for you... at the end of the post.


Muchacho Muro: Not much to say, but a straight-up Mexican Luchador outfit. Rough and mysterious, it says "Fiesta In The Ring!"
The goddamn beard is on the outside of the mask. You're a madman. A MADMAN! But in the good way. This is nuts, and I'm going to pass on it, but I admire your moxie, kid. And yet it's still a good design! I'm just knocked out by how much your stuff has improved, in so short a time.


In Soviet Russia, costume wears you!
Komrade Blockadovsky: Another favorite of mine, this is perfect for gallivanting around Soviet-dominated timelines. The straight gray of Soviet clothing is accentuated here with some red, and I even used the gloves you liked a lot from a previous outfit. In propaganda style, you sport a sickle and hammer, plus the words Blockade Boy in cyrillic-like fonts. The beard just screams "Russia!", and the hairstyle is courtesy of Stalin.
Yeah, I'm not wearing a hammer-and-sickle. Game over just on that account. Also, for my tastes this vodka-soaked confection is way too dour, with all that gray. Still, it's not a bad design.

Now about that "Blockskateer" design of yours... my only issue with it is the hat. ...Although I do own a hat like that, for flourishing at people when I bow, like Tom Wilkinson's character in "Girl With a Pearl Earring." I've mentioned it before a few times, when thanking people in the comment boxes. Anyway, I figured I wouldn't have to wear the hat every waking hour, so I did a little sketch of myself without it.


Hey, I like it! Check me out! *tiger growl* Congratulations, buddy, this one's a "maybe!" (Make Mine MaGnUs!)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Extreme Blockadeover: Loren Lassiter

More mail for me!

This one's from a "Loren Lassiter." Well, that's obviously a made-up name. Where'd you swipe it from, "Loren"? Some old "Superman" comic? Yeah, I thought so. Nothin' gets past Blockade Boy! (Unless it moves a few feet to the left or right, first. Then it's smooth sailing.)


Loren writes:
The lines are reminiscent of Dave Cockrum. You can see the Cosmic Boy influence. The two tone combination is in the style of Steve Lightle. The bracers are Hercules like to give him the air of power and strength. The Interlac "B" is of course a homage to the Superman emblem. I hope you like it, hairy body, nipples and all. Your site has provided me with a good laugh when I really needed it. I love your costume designs.
Thanks, "Loren"! (If that is indeed your real name.)

I love all the detail you put into the costume's story, and the idea of paying tribute to so many Legion fashion designers. Still, I'm sorry to say I'm going to pass on this one. It's almost there, but not quite. I like the bracers, especially combined with the bare arms. The cape is a nice touch. And I love how you played with positive and negative space, joining the sides of the emblem to the collar and to the yellow/gray shapes on the costume. I'm not so sure about the belt. Maybe if it had been larger -- and therefore bolder -- in proportion to the rest of the costume. Also, that long, broad, bright stripe of yellow needs to be broken up by a thicker shape. Stylistically, the belt needs the droopy 1970's boots to keep it from looking out of place, so it was wise to include them. My biggest objections to this costume have to do with the color scheme and the emblem itself. I think gray and yellow can look just fine together. However, when you use them in near-equal amounts, it's a good idea to make one color much darker than the other to keep them from canceling out each other's visual impact. In this case, a much darker gray would have helped. As for the emblem, the red-blue clash with all that yellow and gray, and they're not repeated anywhere else on the costume. And while I understand that you wanted to stylistically mimic the Superman emblem, it still looks kind of chunky and formal compared to the rest of the outfit. I dunno. Maybe that sort of thing only worked with (for example) Kon-El's old costumes because it was the genuine Superman emblem. That thing's become iconic, where you can slap it on anything and nobody notices if it actually looks good or not.

Man, I'm turnin' into a total hard-ass with these critiques, ain't I? I hope I don't scare off any potential contest winners!

658 Windows in the Capital Building, and He Uses None of Them


Iron Man--! Buddy, c'mon! There was a window, like, ten inches below where you tore through the roof! Is that fold-up George Jetson armor of yours so durable you can just pound through walls just to make yourself look cool? I'm having trouble buyin' that, because one piece of plaster falls on you and you freak out like Omarosa on season one of "The Apprentice." Not to mention you can't do three jumping jacks in that get-up without completely draining your batteries. Hell, the impact of your little stunt has apparently sledgehammered your skull halfway into your chest and crushed your legs until they're Posh Spice-sized. Of course, you're so jacked up on your own ego the pain receptors haven't started firing yet. But they will.

So focus up and cool it with the "mad trix", showboat.

I'm onto you.

This Just In: Iron Man Screams Just Like a Capuchin Monkey


Okay, so it's a cheap shot. I just like to imagine Iron Man saying "EEEEEEEEE!" Hell, I'd be screaming too, if I were him -- or savagely roaring or maybe just lowing like a gored bull, anyway -- because it looks like that falling debris busted most of the fingers on his left hand! Either that, or it was redrawn at the last minute by Steve Ditko.

True Senatorial Romance Stories


"Blast it -- let go of my arm. Somebody might be see us. Listen, my wife's out of town and the kids are at their aunt's... meet me tonight around -- hey! You're not a cop, are you? 'Cause you have to tell me if you're a cop."

Meanwhile, Young Gerry Conway's narration foreshadows Iron Man's imminent alcoholism with its trademark hysteria. If I were Marvel's editor-in-chief, I would have created an Iron Man spin-off called "Fragile Web of Iron Man" and shunted Conway's excess caption boxes into it, thereby leaving more room for fightin'. That's "fightin'" pronounced the good old Irish way: "foyt-in"! Also, when you say it that way you're morally obligated to immediately punch somebody in the face. Hard. Storm Boy, if you could step over here for a moment...?

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!

Legion of Substitute Costumes: Dynamo Kid

Hey, everybody? Come here. No, closer. Shh, shh... be cool! Be cool! Wait, don't-- Storm Boy's looking. Just act natural. ...Okay, he's gone. Listen, we have to keep the subject of this post under our collective hats. Why? Because today I'm designing a costume for Storm Boy's ex-husband.


Like Storm Boy, Dynamo Kid tried to con his way into Legion membership by hiding a special device on his person. He didn't count on the presence of Saturn Girl and her power of super-symbolic-emasculation!


And as Storm Boy told you, the Kid turned out to be a money-grubbing asswipe, so he probably never had it in him to be a proper hero. Still, it's not unheard of for that type of person to make a go of it. So if Dynamo Kid ever feels a whim to do something selfless, he can start on his heroic journey by purchasing this costume from me:


I took my design cue from that stupid girdle of his and repeated the cylindrical motif elsewhere on his uniform. That's not Pac-Man licking a light socket on his belt... that's the Interlac "D"... and it's about to get killed by a lightning bolt, I guess. Or else it has a really bad headache. I dunno. The belt, gloves, boots and mask all feature ribbing, which conceals the wiring for his electro-shock weaponry. (The mask shocks anybody else who tries to remove it.) Instead of a cape, I went with a scarf, just like one of my "Enchanter" designs, and just like the original version of Ms. Marvel. It's stuck to his shoulders using Colorforms technology, so nobody can cinch it tight and strangle him with it... no matter how much they might wish to! That said, the Kid can peel it off when necessary and use it as a weapon. When a special contact plate on the scarf touches another contact plate in Dynamo Kid's glove, it can be electrified for locker room towel-snapping action! And the scarf provides a loosey-goosey visual element to contrast with the rigidity of the rest of his costume. The colors are faded into one another, to keep him from looking like Marionette of "Micronauts" fame. And the horizontal shape of his punky haircut is mirrored by his sweet tailback goatee. By the way, don't worry about his ears being covered by the mask. Plenty of heroes have covered ears on their cowls, and they hear just fine. So back off, man. ...Sorry. I'm just a little wound-up lately. You understand.

Oh, and speaking of loosey-goosey, I'm experimenting with a freer, more calligraphic inking style. As you can see, I'm not quite there yet. Maybe next time!

Extreme Blockadeover: MaGnUs, Part One

I was just finishing the last of the fourteen raw porterhouse steaks I always have for breakfast when the e-mail alert sounded. It turned out to be the first three in what promises to be a whole passel of designs from MaGnUs! Bring it, buddy!


MaGnUs writes:
Blockade Boy a la Cockrum: So here I went with a late 60s and full 70s costume for you, with a lot of Cockrum inspiration (as you can see in the boots, belt, and gloves). The scheme is green and steel-grey; the latter because it evokes a blockade wall, and the former because it very well damn pleased me.

Half of your torso and one arm are exposed, and you are wearing steel-grey body paint, except on your nipple. The twin "Bs" back to back are in Interlac, grey on the green side, green on the grey side, matching the gloves. Mind you, the gloves and boots were originally going to be white, a la Star Boy's dazzling starfield costume; but then I settled on green and grey, and gave you a short cape as in Thom's earlier costume (yes, the fuschia one).

I gave you a He-Man kind of haircut, with a beautiful shine and body, because I figured you'd share beauty secrets with Saturn Girl and the likes. I also gave you a headdress, a la Colossal Boy, to keep your fabulous hair out of your face while you kick ass. The three-day growth of stubble is just to show that you're macho, no matter your haircut, and you're holding a cigar that you smoke from time to tome, because it wasn't politically incorrect to do so.
I see what you're going for, pal, but no thanks. I'm not fond of the color scheme, the asymmetry, or (especially) the body paint... although if I ever did indulge in painting my body, I sure as hell would leave my nipples unpainted, the better to show those babies off. And while the hair does look nice 'n' lustrous, it's also about the same shape as Marcel's from "Top Chef" season two. Also, I don't do sharply-defined bangs. I just don't. As for the stubble and cigar, while I'm not opposed to them in principle, I'm manly enough that I don't feel the need to engage in symbolic demonstrations of masculinity. *daintily wipes steak blood from lips with tips of floor-length mustache* What else ya got?


*grits teeth* MaGnUs--! Explain yourself.
Blockade Barbarian: This one started as a He-Man costume, but turned into a barabarian gladiator one. I think the gold-plated spiked shoulderpads and bracers look badass, and you've got a big-ass sword, and a pimpin' mace, as well as a half-dozen knives to throw around.

You can't see the nipples because of the chains, but man, will those chains feel great against them nipples! The fur boots loudly say "I kill stuff", and the matching loincloth is only there for vanity purposes (to match the boots and say "I also kill stuff with my crotch"); since as you can see by looking closely, you're wearing a chainmail brief.

I went with the medieval beard, and the prince valiant haircut, because it was what I wanted for the He-Man look, but decided they looked cool with the barbarian gladiator thing. The belt sports a BB emblem made from lower case Cyrillic style letters, which looks like some sort of hyborean rune.
First of all, I want to give you a jovial, bone-crushing handshake for taking your entry in a direction I haven't seen yet. Way to go! I like the shoulderpads, loincloth, boots, and the kewl weaponry... although I'm not sure about all those knives... after I'd slaughtered a tavern full of thugs I'd have to go around and locate all the knives I'd thrown. And I appreciate your telling me that the yellow parts were gold, because I was on the fence about all that yellow. Gold would look hella better. That said, I'm going to have to say "no" on this one, for three reasons:
  1. The haircut. Again with the bangs, and I know it's a fantasy barbarian staple but I'm just not a fan. I can't look at a picture of Conan the Barbarian without thinking of Jennifer Connelly. That's why I always put my thumb over his head so I can drink in the rest of his body.
  2. The big spikes on the gloves. Hell, any spikes on the gloves. I'd put my gorgeous eye out!
  3. Chainmail briefs? What are you, trying to finish what Weight Wizard started? *points finger* Saboteur!!!
Okay, I'm done ranting. Let's see what's next...


A bottle? Well, this better be good...
Blockade Boozer: This is my rendition of you, should you decide to wear an Iron Man style armor. Of course, it snaps on like legos, and it takes pages and pages of boring sequences to put it on, but what the hell.

I went with one of your early color scheme, purple and orange, because it shocks enemies. I gave you a finned helmet and a huge-ass jetpack (which also keeps your ass warm while flying); to convey a flashgordonesque feeling to the ensemble. Plus, it allowed me to give you an open faced helmet which doesn't look as ridiculous as a fully armored, helmeted but faceplateless Tony Stark.

Like Tony, you have a dashing mustachio, and an itty bitty soul patch. Also, like Tony, you have a bottle of booze in your hand. If you zoom in, you'll see it's Dom Perignon 2097. Oh, and a straight up BB logo is on the chest.
Not bad! I look techno-debonaire! But don't go dissing orange and purple, boy. That's a classic combination. ...It's just that most of the universe hasn't figured it out yet. *scowls, i.e. "man-pouts"* I'm not a fan of the turret shapes on the jetpack (too literal, bordering on cheesy) and I'd rather have seen a tinted goggle/facemask deal on the helmet than to just have my whole face hangin' out there like that. Nice boots, though. This one's another "no", although it was close. Sorry. But I'm sure you'll have more designs for me to consider. Now get back to work!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Extreme Blockadeover: Philip Rice

How manly is my e-mail program? New messages are announced with the sound somewhere between a revving chainsaw and a mortally injured Kodiak, and before I can actually read my mail, I have to wrestle down a robot arm I've mounted next to the keyboard. It's been too easy, lately. I might have to add some spinning blades or poison-tipped darts to the mechanism. Anyway, I've got a trio of costume designs this time! They're all from Philip Rice, who writes:
Uh, hello. I came up with these three designs.

The first is a compilation of elements that I liked from your previous costumes. It's just basic purple faux-leather offset by shiny gold bits. A chunk of hair at the front is also dyed yellow to create a slightly triangular shape from the feet to the head. The jacket can zip up, but I imagine it would be fairly tight.

The second is just a generic superhero costume. I don't think it turned out too well.

The third is for if, Grodd forbid, you re-contact that pesky technorganic virus, get driven insane, and become a villainous space tyrant.

I hope you like them.
Yeah, me too, Philip! Time for a look-see...


Oh, I like! Clean lines, it definitely represents my rough-and-tumble personality, and I like the detail of the gold-toed (and -heeled!) boots. Good job, dyeing that front lock of hair to match. This is another one for the "maybe" pile! (At the end of the contest, I'll choose the winner from all the "maybe" designs.) Next!


Interesting. I dig the Green Lantern-style mask, the cape, and the silhouette. I think it was smart to keep the bottom half simple, or else it would look too cluttered. But I'm not digging the color scheme. Red and purple together make Blockade Boy's eyes hurt. I'm going to have to pass on this one.

Finally, let's see Philip's idea for Dark (or Darth!) Blockade Boy.


Well, let's hope this never happens to me, but if it does I'll give you a call and we can discuss the costume further. (Like if I'm wearing pants under that get-up, or just another robe.) And then I'll telekinetically throttle you. 'Cause I'll be evil!

Blockade Boy: Macho Business Donkey Wrestler

On NewsRadio, "capitalist lion-tamer" Jimmy James' best-selling autobiography had been translated into Japanese, but he tried to finagle yet more profit from his book by having it translated from Japanese back into English. The result? A dadaist tome containing passages like this:
"I had a small house of brokerage on Wall Street. Many days no business come to my hut. But Jimmy has fear? A thousand times no. I never doubted myself for a minute for I knew that my monkey-strong bowels were girded with strength like the loins of a dragon ribboned with fat and the opulence of buffalo dung."
Well, I just noticed that one of my blog's recent posts was linked by a supposedly German site. Don't click on it, though. It's just a trick to advertise discount pharmaceuticals. All the ads are in English, and apparently they just randomly link to blogs to get folks to click back to their own skeevy site. The bastards. However... they translated my post into German. How accurately? Hell if I know. So I thought it would be fun to see how Altavista's Babel Fish program would translate it back into English... Jimmy James style! I was not disappointed! Let us enter "the gorilla fog" and savor the strudel-fied epic that is the re-re-translated "Becalmed Before the Storm"! (Or "Calmed Down Before the Storm" as the Germans like to say.)
"Of the diary by rainbow girl on 23 August, 2987:

everything screwed on.

The large messages? We are at random. Despite steady instructions in the opposite, Tusker found its way into the engine room. After there, it brought it finished to bury the famous doubling plutonium Espresso of a whole gallon the Bismoll the MacMattercuddy into the reactor chamber the one nuclear chain reaction caused, which has melted the core and the hauptmaschine destroyed. We run on strengthstrength strength now directly, therefore the whole lighting is darkly and also RED for no good reason except blockade boys must think that it looks at, "cools down" or something. The machinemachine machine operated by a small hand cranks, which each hour must be turned. Kind of a pain. I will for Tusker makes it to make however I are fearfully it BECAME BREAKING IT off. Oh, and I have we mentioned "to put tiefpunkt" in the gorilla fog, am distant from inhabited planets and act routes? Oh, we are rather perhaps screwed.

I snagged storm boy to help me to solve some ways in order to work the destroyed machine. But now that he is on the car, it is really kind of manisch and useless, and it cannot concentrate for beans. Each piece of the machinery which it has put its eyes on has suggested a strange and unpractical new invention to it. I wanted only the ship to have a working machine and he continued a troubling me with rhapsodies approximately banana clips that hypnotisierten electronically head in working as a lucrative miniature circus measuring ELT, or a Kombinationvakuumdudelsackpfeife, which play music, while you clean. And in the center requiring of all THAT to know Gewichtzauberer, which is appeared in a naked panic, where we kept the Brechstange. And as we it why asked, has it only at its feet down looked at and said, ' no reason ' has.

A few hours later and with very little excellent storm boy and I by the galeere for a breakfast swung. And there were Gewichtzauberer. I could tell immediately that something had operated, because he carried dresses. And it was many friendlier than usual. Normally I cannot receive two words from him. (it is of the blasierten still frosty types... which it always hangs on storm boys, and usually if I try to speak with it it either will say that nothing will grinsen at all or it, and something will whisper, boys to blocking. It provokes). Oh, and even more suspiciously, he tried to make Smalltalk. As we were old friends. But there was something around its eyes, which seemed STARTING FROM. It has bowl shocked looked at. Thus did I ask only it directly, ' where am blockade boy '?

It twitched. ' I am safe it am around here somewhere '. I have to become it asked, if blockade boy were still approximately umgestuerzt, selected starting from next highest hero. He laughed roaring reumuetig. Then it genuschelt something around blockade boy, who has, ' larger material, over to worry '.

In the moment blockade boy slammed shut by the swinging doors. It dragged itself even front on two of its best, the anmassendsten pipes. And the techno organic bug, which had stuck on its legs and dingus, had taken over its arms, shoulders, and much its Torso!

It gehumpelt, over Zauberer to weights, and they argued in calmed tones around something or other. I am rather reliably the word "dingus" used geredt approximately. I have to exist it interrupted that blockade boy goes too sickbay for a detailed investigation. Then storm boy has ME through out-burst with interrupted ' you to look HELLA COOLS down on '! It had its own expression. Kind of a surprised smile, like a child on the first day of Klordney.

It examines showed that all organic and mechanical subject, which became environment mixes itself in blocks the lower half of boys HAD DISAPPEARED everything under its waist a cavity, jointed bowl leaving. How the doll of a belly speaker! Furthermore its magnetically codpiece merged into its hook, where its dingus had been robot technical. And the remainder of it -- bone, nerve ends, courses and faechelt volumes -- tree ELT only there within its chest! In order to be honest, there is no scientific explanation for, why it blocks boys is even STILL LIVING PERSON. It is uncanny. And Gewichtzauberer did not take it well. AT ALL. Blockade boy will try to place its arm around it for support, and Gewichtzauberer to try to shake off therefore blockade boy then its OTHER arm around it place it and stop weights the arm of Zauberer it can leave in such a way there goes, and then the two of them where blocking boy will also always go in the reason of WALZER wants DANCING. It is awkward.

I do not know, what continues.

But whatever it is, it can terminate not possibly well ".