I’d like to start this post with a shout out to a new online friend of mine, John Savage, who just yesterday posted a selection from Quantum Male Art on his own Blog, Rants, Roids, n Rasslin’. As you may surmise, John’s blog is themed on wrestling, albeit with a decidedly gay slant and an acquaintance with comic book art. In fact, some of his recent posts pit a couple of famous characters from a Decidedly Classic comic book company against each other in the ring; they’re characters who have appeared in my own veiled guises on this very Blog. Anyway, to return the favor, I wanted to give an appreciative link back to John this time. Thanks, John, and whatever may be the wrestling equivalent of “break a leg!”
Now, for our usual business, you see above the actual, unveiled versions of the two most famous (male) heroes in comic books. I include them because I consider these the two best drawings I have ever done of these characters (in their actual forms or otherwise). As for the character on the left, his importance can’t be overstated. Though he is neither the first fictional costumed adventurer nor the first fictional do-gooder with super-powers, he is the character to whom history points as the model for all true super-heroes. Heck, his name even says it! They’re called SUPER powers for a reason, and he is it! The character on the right, of course, has lately appeared in this Blog in his J.A. Fluddian guise of Manta Ray. Look back at Manta Ray and then look at where he came from.
The funny thing is that when I was first becoming involved with comics, if there had been nothing in the super-hero genre except the comics to which these characters belonged, and the other comics of that company, I probably would have been like your typical comic book fan who reads comics as a kid and then loses interest when adolescence and the hormones kick in. (Adolescence is the great killer of comic book fans! Suddenly girls and cars and computers and video games become more important than the super-heroes you loved so well, and we lose a lot of kids and never get them back.) I needed something more from comics even as a very young fan, and I got it from another company, the home of the character on whom this next lad is based.
Of course, you shouldn’t need me to tell you who “The Blaze” above really is and where he comes from. The group of characters to which he belongs, and the universe that grew up around them, was what held my interest in comics, precisely because they were never written with pre-teen boys in mind. They were the work of guys in their 30s and older, writing and drawing to please themselves (or “The Man” who was their head writer and editor). Those characters and that universe changed the context in which super-heroes and their adventures were placed, and that, ahem, Marvelous change of context made all the difference. The differences between that company and their Dauntless Competition are much diminished now from what they were when I was a very young boy (the majority of comics today are written, how shall we say, Marvelously), but back then they were enough to keep me interested. Contemplate the, ahem, Fantastic drawing above, and till next time, “Blaze On!”
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
You can substitute the names and designs of the actual characters as you ponder how Manta Ray's original Skate grew up and took on the adult identity of Devil Ray, leaving the Skate identity as a mantle for other adventurous boys to take up. And the legacy of hotness goes on...
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
There is a tradition at a given comic book company to pass on a costumed heroic identity from one character to another, creating generational "dynasties" of heroes. So it is that Manta Ray has had more than one teenage sidekick named Skate. When the original Skate grew up, a new one took over. In his own way, he's at hot as his predecessor.
A skate is a marine animal related to the rays. The dark avenger of the night, Manta Ray, has often been accompanied into battle by teenage sidekicks in the costumed identity of Skate. Here's a shot of the original Skate, whom I designed to avoid, ahem, "Robin" the trademark of a large comic book company.