Monday, May 13, 2013

Blackmail Material

If you're an artist, who's been doing this comic thing for a while, it's guaranteed you've had a period of time in your art where you've experimented with different art styles. Sometimes they turn out nicely and you end up embracing them and it becomes what you're known for. Other times? Yeeeeah, holy crap you want to forget that experimental phase ever existed. This is the story of one of those times. About ten years ago, I was playing around with art styles. (I think sometime before, I've shown off my older artwork, if not... Just take my word for it.) I was heavily influenced by Bruce Timm's art style, and I was trying to play with it and branch out. So during this brief period a little under ten years ago, I tried this... For lack of better words... attempt at a merger of Bruce Timm's style with Peter Chung's style. And it was godawful. Proportions were borked and my attempts to streamline resulted in the style looking so damn amateurish. And well, let's be honest. There's just certain things that just don't mix. (Like steak and ice cream.) At this tie, I was still on my old, old, OLD computer, and I saved things to zipdisks and had hard copies. (I didn't have a CD burner yet. That wouldn't come for at least another year.) So there's a lot of my old artwork I had actually FORGOTTEN about. Thus, I had forgotten I tried this old merger of styles.

Until last week.

Stop laughing.
I guess during this time period I had drawn a picture for a friend, and she came across it and posted it on Facebook. It literally took me a minute before the horror sunk in and I realized I drew it. As my geologist told me, she should have saved it for blackmail material. So just on the principle of the issue, I wanted to redraw it. So I did, keeping the same look and ridiculous outfit (or lack of one) that the character was drawn in back then. (That's the picture up at the top.) I do like how it turned out, but like I said, we all have those period of times in our artwork.

Now it was mentioned to me that she looks a lot like Shadowgirls' Becka. Well, there's a fun bit of history with that. Going into the wayback machine here. Now I had been working on Shadowgirls (then called 'Threshold') since 2000, and it went through slew of different supporting cast members. And there was a rather important cast member named Marica Kitamer. (Not to be confused with the other character that's on the back burner, Firecracker, who shares the same name. There's no relation. I'm just lazy and reused the same name.)

Yeah, she also had elf ears. Bite me.
I came up with Marica during my freshman spring break in art school. (So 1996?) Essentially back then I was working on a comic called Doctor Aeon. (Which yes, there is a relation to The Third Accelerator. That's a story for later.) Marica was created as basically the sidekick tot he main character. She was an “Avian”, a secretive but endangered splinter species of people, with flight capabilities. Like fleeting glimpses of them flying gave rise to legends of harpies and stuff. I have no pictures of her from back then, but she sported more bat-like wings, and later feathery ones. (She also used to have clawed hands and feet too, but that's not important.) Throughout the years, her personality stayed the same. She was that fun and happy, somewhat crazy girl, who was never judgmental to anyone. She was a lot smarter than she ever let on, and she always have a somewhat Goth fashion design to her. Now that I think about it, she's actually a lot like Abby from NCIS.

As new comics came and went, she eventually ended up appearing in just about every single comic project I ever worked on. Even the ones where I was drawing someone else's story. I'd work her in as a cameo background appearance. EVEN the Transformers stuff! When Shadowgirls' Charon McKay was created... She was imported in and became Charon's sidekick and friend. (And occasionally more, depending on how big of a perv I was at the time.) In fact, she was involved in every single early incarnation of Shadowgirls/Shadowgirl/Threshold/whatever it was called. Whatever the take on Charon that I was coming up with, Marica was basically there.

The biggest problem was that her back story was always a pain in the ass to work in the origin story, when you're focusing on the main character's problems. She was always overpowering the other characters. Eventually I found the best way to make it work was to take all the vital character elements that I liked, and make it into a new character, that was more directly tied into the main story. And this character was Rebecca McKay. You can tell in some of the earlier drawing of Becka, that she was always drawn with goth style apparel, fishnets and her infamous collar. Hell, that's the reason Becka got her collar. It was a callback to an earlier design.

If you check the background image, you can see
Marica just off to Charon's side there.

So yeah, it's not so much that Marica here looks like Becka, but that Becka looks like Marica. And I was reminded that I kinda like this design. I think I want to use her again. Her back story was pretty decent, and I already know where she'd fit... I just got to come up with a new name. (Because Firecracker took it.)

But that's okay... I got something in mind and I think it'll be perfectly fitting.


Heather Delgado said...

I'm begging you, though. Never give a character such a horrible boob job as that black and white profile shot ever again. My chest hurts just looking at it. :P

Dave Reynolds said...

Yeah, yeah. Make fun of my old art's shortcomings. :P

Heather Delgado said...

Wouldn't dream of it, babe. ;) Just reminding you that anatomy doesn't work that way (in case you'd forgotten how boobs work). *laugh*