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Tag: superheroes

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TothPix: Foxes!

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Yes, lets! Here's some of Toth's take on The Fox, the hero first drawn by Irwin Hasen.

These first few are panels from the comics Toth drew for Red Circle in 1983.

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Sketches:

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And a few small sketches of Toth's revamped Fox...

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Let us conclude, wot?

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TothPix: The Fox


You're kiddin' me, yeah? What a great sketch! I'd never seen this one before. Man, so good!

Not much for me to add, except: superb composition, positive/negative space, what balance - you can feel the hero's weight and weightlessness. Every line is in its place, just a smidge of rimlighting here and there, sometimes clean, sometimes with a rough edge. Clever: the space in the "O" is the Fox logo.

I love that The Fox's eyes are different sizes/shapes.

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TothPix: Heroes

Whenever I read somewhere that superheroes were not a strong suit for Alex Toth, I'm like, "WHA-A-A-AT?!"

 

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Wallcrawler

No superhero character got into my brain as a kid and teen like Spider-Man did. I adorned my school folders and book covers and marker boxes with the very flexible hero. My room was covered with Spidey posters and paraphenalia - a clock, pillows, figures, etc.

There's something about the weird costume, the webbing and the red a blue that trips some synapse in my brain and makes it tingle, something of a spider-sense. The costume is a pain to draw, with all that webbing, and the elaborate curves throughout. But somehow the design is elegant and just...works. The design seems at odds with the character's name. One would think with a name like that, he'd be dark and scary and threatening, yet this uniform says something about the character, about the young man beneath the suit, an act of defiance against the sadness and awkwardness in his life. Instead of reacting with a grim focus and vengeance like The Batman, Peter Parker chooses to be bright and cheerful and...Your friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

Update: 9/27/09 - After looking at this piece hanging in my studio the last five days, I decided it could use some more pop and punch. I'd initially figured a yellow webbing design within the circle border would be too busy. But I've added it, as we ll as yellow rim lighting, and violet underlighting. It's in keeping with co-creator Steve Ditko, who utilized the multiple light source on Spidey many times, especially on covers.

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Microsoft Superhero Video Storyboards and Stills

So, after Microsoft decided on a format change from an 8-page comic book to a semi-animated video, I had to rethink the storytelling and change gears. Either format was fine with me; I just had to disregard the comic page layouts I had already begun to formulate in my head and think instead how to tell the story in a fixed widescreen format, with zooms, pans, fades and simple movements and effects. Instead, then, of doing comic book page layouts of varying panel sizes and shapes, I needed to do a series of what amounted to 35-40 "shooting storyboards" to figure and convey the action frame by frame. These were drawn quickly and small, 2" x 3", taking maybe 3-10 minutes each, depending on the degree of complexity. They're not much to look at, they're supposed to be just enough to form the plan to tell the story, a guide for effects and movements, and figure shot compositions. Below is a sampling of the boards alongside the finished color shots. The story begins with the four heroes meeting at their...meeting place, Justice League of America-style:

Nova (kinda like Charlie did with his Angels) speaks to them via intercom, informing them of the situation and and their task. Then, my fave, Affinity affords her mates a glimpse into the Dark World of the Workers they're to aid:

The Workers' World is filled with shadow and devoid of color, as they toil away chained to their desks at their desktops, limited and hampered in their prison-like workplace:

Affinity peers into that Gray World and transports herself and her colorful clan there to perform their task:

But despite their best efforts, the evil force, Pernicious fights back and begins to drain color and energy from the heroes!

Harmony turns on her charm, spreading enthusiasm and sweet color to the workers, freeing them from their sorry state:

The above shots of Harmony leaving her feet we determined to be superfluous, slowing down the action. I'd hoped to see her lower into frame from above, but that action was cut from the final video.

Harmony and the heroes celebrate before returning to their headquarters for kudos from Nova.

In the end, I lost only a few effects and motions I'd planned and hoped to see, and was pleased the animator added effects I hadn't thought of or expected. To view the video for the rest of the story, visit the GXS Facebook page. And now in benediction, Harmony wishes you peace and happiness:

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Microsoft Heroes Character Design Process

While planning their new sales tool, GSX, Microsoft wanted to add some energy and pizazz by utilizing the superhero genre. Initially, they intended to use the comic book format to help get the point across, create interest and enthusiasm within their sales force. So, when I began designing the four heroes, a comic book it was to be. With some superhero illustration projects I've had over the years, clients sometimes lean towards a silly, campy and retro tone, which is fine - it can be fun. Many seem to want to emulate the Batman TV show. Y'know, it comics - it's for kids! I've drawn a Pizza-Man, who wore a hairnet and glasses. Also, heroes who aren't too muscular or curvy, or even in superhero costumes. In this case, Microsoft wanted something cool and edgy. I was on the right track right off the bat with the two heroines, Affinity and Harmony. Affinity has a punk-ish look, with something of a mohawk and lots of leather. I was asked to try leggings instead of the semi-loose leather pants, change out the boots, and then add skirt with chains. Her tattoo was later dropped. Though I think she ended up with kind of a Desperately-Seeking-Susan look, she turned out well, my favorite of the four to draw.

Harmony was to be meditative and calming, so I went with a clean and straightforward super-heroine outfit, borrowing some french curves from the yin/yang symbol. She was good to go from the start.

My initial designs for the two male heroes, PI and Alt leaned towards a sci-fi look, more clean and streamlined, evoking the new Battlestar Galactica. But to their credit, the folks at Microsoft yearned for something less "Star Trek" and more "Watchmen." So it was back to the drawing board for the males. Alt wasn't too big a change, I just added a leather jacket and made his outfit mostly black, darkening his overall look. He became a bit more serious and cocky, rather than too smiley and friendly.

For PI, a complete overhaul was required. He became a more shadowy, detective-like character in a long overcoat and fedora, more like the Watchmen's Rorschach, Will Eisner's Spirit, or DC Comics' Phantom Stranger.

I also designed an Average Joe worker, then named Simon, patterned a bit after "Jim" from The Office. His role decreased as the script was developed, but I used him in the final art when depicting workers in the story.

About halfway through the character design process, the client changed gears and decided to do a semi-animated video instead. That was fine with me. More about that part of the creative process tomorrow, including some storyboards and some of my favorite shots from the video...

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IRREDEEMABLE from BOOM! Studios

It's just been announced at the BOOM! Studios site that my long-time pal, artist Peter Krause is making his return to a regular comic book series With IRREDEEMABLE, a superhero book written by Mark Waid.

Pete and I have been storyboarding buddies here in the Twin Cities for quite some time, but after a decade of that it looks like Pete's gotten itchy to do comics again. Pete's got a naturalistic drawing style, with a fine eye for subtle expressions and actions, but he can also pull out the stops for dynamic hero stuff. And his storytelling is spot-on and solid regardless of the genre. Now teamed with Waid's writing, I'm really looking forward to IRREDEEMABLE. Check out more preview art for the series on Pete's blog, then order IRREDEEMABLE in advance so you don't miss an issue.