Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Amazing Jumping Spider-Man

This old redesign/re-imaging I did of spidey has recently had a surge of praise/success over on tumblr, so I did a clearer, front-view version of it. I also extended the spider/man symbol legs so that they fed into the sleeve and trouser stripes. I removed the backpack but left the pouch-laden gadget belt.
Let me know what you think. Do you still like this take on spidey?
Thanks for reading! TF

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Project: Rooftop Storm Redesign

Project Rooftop have officially revealed their next contest subject: Ororo Munroe, a.k.a Storm!
Once again I put my thinking cap on and tried to imagine how Storm would dress in my own crazy imaginary alternate comic book universe. 
I remembered that Storm was part of the second generation team of X-men, along with Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Colossus et al. My redesigned First Class X-men wore a selection of dark blue jumpsuits with stylised white 'X' motifs, each one reflecting the character's individual power. 
If Storm is next generation, then her outfit should look like a stylistic continuation of that look, but with even more personalisation. 
First, I wanted her hairstyle to be a mix between her two most famous looks: the mohawk and the big eighties mane. From that everything else followed. The hairstyle is asymmetrical, so I thought I'd complement that in the suit, reflecting the two sides of her character (goddess and down to earth team leader).
I turned the X into a lightning bolt and tried to make it a wrap-around symbol (see additional sketches on the right), which goes down the front of her right leg, and the back of her left.
The poofy, see-through sleeves are meant to evoke clouds, with the lightning bolt shooting down from them. The ear-rings can either be little tornados or more lightning bolts, it's up for debate :)
So that's my redesign, I'm hoping it at least gets a runner-up/honorable mention position.
Thanks for reading! TF

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Not-So-Fan Fan-Art: Daredevil!

It turns out that I genuinely feel more inspired when doing fan-art for a character I've never been a fan of. Project: Rooftop's latest FF subject is the Man without Fear himself, Daredevil.
There are many reasons why I have never cared for Matt Murdock.
He's a lawyer. He's religious. His costume (all red jumpsuit with two giant 'D's on his chest and little cartoon bump-on-the-head style horns on his head) looks ridiculous/boring. The blind-but-with-super-senses angle always intrigued me, but the other stuff always kept me from being all that interested in him.
So, here is my 'sort of fan-art'/redesign of DD. The popped collar and various textures are meant to remind one of traditional stuntman/biker garb. I added the original costume's yellow just to break up all that red, and I added some features to the helmet/mask to make it look properly devilish.
Thanks for reading and let me know what you think! TF

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Justice League / Society Redux!

Click to embiggen.

From Left to Right:

Mr. Terrific Redesign

Here's the last member of my re-imagined, redesigned Justice League line-up: Michael Holt, alias Mr. Terrific! 
I really played off the name with this redesign, wanting to have him look dashing, intelligent and debonair. The suit hopefully looks like a mix between a more old-fashioned jacket/waistcoat combo and more futuristic garb, blending college professor with tech wizard. I took away the mask as I imagined Michael being a little like Mr. Fantastic from the F4, with his identity out in the open. An inventor, a teacher, a hero, a promulgator of critical thinking and scientific knowledge, he's a bit of a celebrity, but he uses his image and wealth to fund schools and educational programmes. 
And that's all :) Stay tuned for a group shot of the full team!
Thanks for reading. TF

Friday, 19 July 2013

Hawkwoman Redesign

Well this one was certainly a hard one to do. I couldn't decide whether to draw her in civilian-looking clothes or armour. I opted for armour, but then I couldn't decide how to design it! Should it look bulky? Light? Colourful? Detailed? Minimalist?
In the end I just went for a standard-looking padded get up, with a more rectangular motif, emphasizing her rough, stubborn attitude. I didn't want it to look too boring, however, so I made the mace look almost jewel encrusted and strangely ornate, as well as adding a long aquamarine crest/mohawk on her helmet. 
Only one more JL member to go. Can you guess who it is?

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Miss Martian Redesign

Here's Miss Martian redesigned for my redux Justice League line-up.
I tend to think of the trinity (Supes, Bats and WW) as being a little lofty and hyped, so let's say that in my DC universe, they'd have their own special team/trio, called... well, let's go with 'The Trinity'. 
Perhaps they were the first three superheroes ever, but over the years they grew distant from the people they were supposed to be protecting and became either bitter, disillusioned or totalitarian. 
That's when my Justice League would come along: a team of more down-to-earth, friendly heroes, who aren't really that different from regular people aside from their gizmos/powers.
So, you're probably thinking, what the hell is Miss M doing on this regular joe/joanne team of mine?
Here's my reasoning. Every good superhero team, in my eyes, needs the following:

1 or 2 technology-based heroes (no powers)
1 or 2 human mutates (got powers in an accident)
1 or 2 aliens (born with powers).

Furthermore, of the two aliens, one should be a bruiser, and the other should be more agile.
Miss M is my JL's bruiser alien, and I've redesigned her quite a bit:
First off, she's in her natural white form. This is mainly because I thought in my reimagined universe J'onn never landed and she's the first martian we humans meet. 
Secondly she's insectoid in form: she can lift immense weights and can fly using retractable wings on her arms. I don't see her as a shape-shifter, but I'd st
ill give her mental powers (perhaps being able to influence people's minds so that they perceive her differently).

And that's all folks. Let me know what you think, and more JLredesigns coming soon!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Zatanna Redesign

Ok, so I'm basically doing my own Justice League Redesigned line-up at this point.
After two high profile characters, I thought I'd put some slightly lower-key supers on the team. Third member of the JL is Zatanna the Magician.
I've always found her glorified showgirl fish-net stockings and corset outfit insulting and ridiculous, so I dressed her as I would an actual female magician. I tried to add a little more colour and flare to her as well, to make her look really magical.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Green Arrow Redesign

Here's my Green Arrow redesign. I really like the idea of a more socially-minded vigilante like Green Arrow: as a lefty myself (putting it mildly) I really appreciate the existence of a 'super'-hero representing the poor and disadvantaged in society. I tried to give Ollie's outfit a mix of influences: there's a bit of Hollywood Errol Flynn Robin Hood (the beard and goatee are fake), a bit of guerrilla fighter (the pouches on the jacket and war-paint style mask a-la Defendor) and a smidge of tech wizadry (trick arrows, belt-mounted quiver, etc). Let me know what you think!

Monday, 8 July 2013

The Flash Redesign

Here's a quick Flash redesign/tribute, as I only recently realised that he's the one of the very few 100% likable and genuinely caring DC superheroes, who can't be read as some kind of Jesus or fascist super-cop allegory but is, plainly and simply, a nice guy with a big heart who puts his skills to good use. Might do a Green Arrow soon too :)

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Another PDSH Redesign: Microface!

Ah, Microface.
I first found out about good old MF quite a few years ago. Definitely one of the most interesting and bizarre-looking public domain characters out there. Here's what the PDSH website has to say about him:

"Tom Wood was a factory worker and a failed inventor. Years ago, he invented a "Micro-Mask" - a full-face mask that contained a built-in microphone (which allowed hm to amplify and throw his voice), a hearing amplifier, and "photoelectric lenses" that gave him x-ray vision. He could also attach telephone wires to his mask to make phone calls. Tom offered the invention to the U.S. government, only to be turned down.
When his brother, Jim Wood, was shot by gunfire of gangsters, Tom promised to avenge his death.To that end, he decided to use his invention and an old masquarade costume to costumed crime-fighter known as Micro-Face."

Now, clearly, the most important and therefore interesting thing about this character is his mask and costume. A piece of high-tech spy-ware, mixed with a gaudy masquarade costume. Just look at it for a second. Isn't it the most deliciously kooky outfit ever? How could I resist redesigning him?

Step one was the tech behind the mask. What would it look like? Certainly not as streamlined as it looks in that picture. Surely all the wires and doo-hickeys must be hidden beneath that deceptively simple exterior. So, I did some sketches of what I imagined all the layers of Tom's invention would look like:

I tried to make the under-layer of Tom's gear look like a hodgepodge of all the different technology needed to afford him his abilities (top centre sketch). We have a set of night-vision/thermal/telescopic goggles (no x-ray), two augmented hearing aids with high-powered microphone sensors positioned at various angles all over the head to pick up noise from any location and distance, and finally the mouthpiece, which would contain a microphone, speaker and voice distorter. All the wires and cables draping down from the mask terminate in a power-pack belt (see sketch in the bottom left-hand corner) which carries all the batteries and chargers necessary to keep all the tech going. In my revised origin of Microface, I can picture this bare-bones version of the mask being the one Tom pitched to the government, before being rejected. It would only be after the murder of his brother that Tom would attempt to cover all the tech with a more stream-lined and resistant casing (see sketches to the right-hand side)

I wanted to keep the homemade aspect of the original Micro-face, which definitely affords it most of its charm. Instead of a masquarade costume, I figured Tom would base his look on basic comic book lore. And so he puts on a jumpsuit, pair of shorts, knee-high doctor martin-style laced boots, gloves and, complete with a bullet-proof vest, knee and elbow pads, his super-hero outfit is complete. 
On his first night on patrol, fittingly, he uses his equipment to track down the mobsters who killed his brother to an abandoned warehouse where they are holding a secret meeting. He records all the incriminating dialogue he can, before using his new powers of ventriloquism and voice distortion to frighten the gangsters into running outside where, unbeknownst to them, the police have already been summoned by Tom. A skirmish ensues, wherein Tom intervenes to save a police officer and some passers by, before disappearing into the night. A child witness claims their saviour 'looked like a robot with a microphone face. A micro-face!" The name sticks, and Micro-Face is born: a hero to some, a common crooks to others, another bizarre vigilante is unleashed, to wreak justice upon the criminal underworld!

And there you have it :) Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Holy Brightly-Coloured Decoy, Batman!

Here's a redesign/sketch/thing I did of the latest Robin, Damian Wayne, for Project: Rooftop.
I know very little about this character aside from the fact that he is Bruce's son, Ra's al Ghul's grandson, a ninja, a bit of spoiled brat and - very recently - dead.
As somebody who has fallen very much out of love with the whole Batman mythos, I can't help but dislike the concept of the boy sidekick. I think the only Robins I ever really liked were Dick (but as Nightwing) and Tim Drake (but as Red Robin). The idea of making Robin even more crazy and violent than Batman (Jason Todd/Red Hood) just seemed awful to me, so Damian being not only more ruthless but also rude and up his own arse, pretty much guaranteed I'd never read any story featuring him.
With this offering, I just tried to make all those characteristics come to the surface: essentially, what would a young and emotionally volatile Bruce Wayne look like in the altogether ridiculous red-yellow-green Robin suit?
So yeah, this isn't really 'fan'-art, but hey, what the hell.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Tribute to Margherita Hack 1922 - 2013

I've been pretty busy lately, so I've only had a chance to write/draw about this now.
One of my heroes, Italian astrophysicist Margherita Hack, died yesterday. As you'll read in the news article linked, she was a plain-speaking, brilliant and incredibly principled woman, who loved life, science and sharing knowledge. She always swum against the current, not because it was cool, but because she campaigned for what she thought was right, and the current in Italy seems to inevitably flow the wrong way. I tried to come up with a form of fitting tribute, and - realising that Margherita never lost her sense of childlike enthusiasm and wonder - I decided to depict her (along with another wonderful astrophysicist who is sadly no longer with us) as a child. She's holding a telescope to symbolise, amongst other things, her role as first female director of an astronomical observatory in Italy, and the muddy tracksuit and shirt relate to her youth, when apparently she would regularly return home from school covered in mud, having had several adventures. 
"I'm only concerned with life, not with the afterlife. I don't mind at all if people don't remember me after I'm gone"
I'll always remember you, Margherita.