Monday, February 16, 2015

Secret Identities designs: Part 2

Here's the second part of the presentation of the character design process for the Frontliners, the heroes of SECRET IDENTITIES, the brand new Image comic by Jay Faerber, Brian Joines and me.
It debuts this Wednesday, 18th of February!
Check out Part 1 also.

 PUNCHLINE is a wise-ass with super-strength. In her civilian identity, she's a struggling stand-up comedian.
Yeah, she was a difficult one. I know I wanted to base her on Samantha Wright but we had a lot of trouble settling on a costume design all three of us, Jay, Brian and me, liked. Her first [D] we had to change cause her logo was too similiar with another hero's. And then, after Image's suggestion, we tried to modernize her look a bit. I had a small breakthrough [V] when I went back to the stand-up roots of the character and incorporated elements from Eddie Murphy's Raw and Delirious appearances. The whole thing came together when I combined these with Wright's sportswear [W].
I quite like some of the other costumes too though, I hope to bring them into play. I see Punchline as someone who'll have various outfits down the line... but I wanted to keep it simple for the first story arc.

 THE RECLUSE is a part dark urban vigilante, part pulp hero adventurer with a spider motif and an ancient curse hanging around his neck.
I nailed this guy's look pretty quikly. I was just asked to make him younger-looking and I changed a few details of his costume to make it more "pulp-y". My favorite detail is his handgun that he carries for no practical reason. It means something for him to have a gun. Because reasons. Secret, story reasons. 

 HELOT I usually describe as a heavy metal album cover come to life. A hard as nails, Spartan-LOOKING cyborg warrior on the run from his slave-masters. He doesn't really care to be any of these things, especially the “warrior” part.Well, as you can see, Helot ("Spartan" was just a working name) wasn't always a cyborg. We were looking for a super-soldier type of character but the cyborg angle gave him the edge his was missing. The man inside the helmet, I was pretty set I didn't want him to look Greek. There's an in-story reason for this that'll make perfect sense when revealed. The other reason was that I wanted to make sure that Greek neo-nazis, who try to adopt all things ancient Greek, hated the character.

 VESUVIUS is a former Roman Centurion caught in the blast at Pompeii who was dug up a few centuries later as a creature made of molten rock. 
My main problem with this guy was that I did not want him to look like Clayface on fire. He was big lava monster but the way I saw to make him different that all the other lava mosters was to bring in his Roman heritage. The rocks on his body resemble a centurion armour. He initially had a head that looked like a Roman helmet too but that made him look too aloof. Between the cracked rocks and the flames he is a very fun character to draw... quite relaxing really.

So that's our team, the Front Line. And here's the image that accompanied our pitch at Image. Crosswind and Punchline were redesigned after that.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Secret Identities designs: Part 1

 Secret Identities, the brand new Image superhero series by Jay Faerber, Brian Joines and me debuts this Wednesday, 18th of February! Check the list of reviews if there's any doubt in your mind about how awesome it'll be! ;)
 Anyway, this is the pefect time for me to share with some of the earlier designs and talk about the process of creating the look of our main characters, the heroes of the Front Line.
GAIJIN is an alien creature whose ship crashed in Japan, and she was raised by a Japanese crime family.
She was right there in the very first sketch I did for the series. Her chameleon skin and Japanese upbringing dictated her look and the above pic was finished and enthousiastically approved in record time. The rest would not be that easy...

CROSSWIND is the team mole, on the surface a cheery, slightly naïve hero with wind powers, but in reality a scheming sociopath looking to bring the team down. 
Ok, he has a difficult one. I tried the naïve, idealistic angle first. I knew we wanted him to look a little retro (from the good old days. gee whiz!) and since he had wind powers I wanted him to have elements tha could flap around. The cowboy look (the pure heart of America and all that) [A] was dropped because of this guy. The hipster look [B], that came from the "retro" thing, I liked  but was not really fitting for the character. We settled on a quite traditional look [E] and pitched the book to Image.
Crosswind (along with Punchline, see Part 2) was one of the characters Image felt could be improved and we came to agree with them. We set our sights for a more modern look. Some of the results I really liked, the "C" logo looking like a tornado and such [J],[K],[L].
The thing really clicked when Jay suggested that instead of innate powers the character could use a high tec suit. Metal suit, a "C" element and flapping things on his arms and here we were.

 RUNDOWN is our speedster. He's a scientist in his civilian identity, and there's more to him, but it's best that you discover that in the book itself.
Another one that took some effort to nail down. And that's because because "speedster" for me meant fun and bright colors and Speed Racer. When I really got the character, that he is many things but "carefree" is not one of them, I started to move in the right direction. And then Brian suggested the green-black color scheme and that was it.

LUMINARY is the team leader. She's also America's super-powered, light-manipulating darling and the daughter of the President of the United States. The fact that her first super hero team is based in Canada doesn't win her a lot of fans in the White House. Also, while everyone around her seems happy to ignore it she's more troubled than she seems to be.
Another relatively easy one. A red-white-blue American superhero but not too in-your-face. We opted for the more superhero-y costume on the left rather than the Navy-inspired one.

That's it for now... expect a new post this Monday with Punchline, Helot, Recluse and Vesuvious!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Daughters of Oz

Artwork for another pitch that did not came to be. It was a "daughters of Oz" type of thing and I was never 100% sure how "sexy" were they supposed to be. I started from cute cartoon kids and each bunch of sketches I sent got the same reply: "draw them sexier". We reached a happy compromise but the project got delayed a couple of times and then disappeared.