Friday, August 28, 2009

Building Character

Well I've been busy-busy working on my comic, Abnormals, and I'll be posting the whole first issue once I've finished the whole thing (instead of uploading a page at a time.) But in the meantime, allow me to present these concept sketches of my crazy crime-fighting super team starting with... the new and improved Paradoc!

Man of mystery. That's where I started when conceptualizing The Paradoctor. A man of mystery, but an eccentric man of mystery none-the-less. He's basically Howard Hughes, David Bowie, and Willy Wonka, all rolled up into a super-hero. Armed with a derby, a hovercraft, a vapor-gun, and a belt of various test-tubes and super-science devices, The Paradoc is ready to study or combat any super-natural occurrence.

The characters in the Abnormals are costumed crime-fighters but i wanted their gimmicks to be a little more... abnormal. Doll-Face is perhaps the most unorthodox example. Mainly, I wanted her to be the opposite of most female super-heroes, who tend to wear super-tight, super-revealing spandex and leather (not that there's anything wrong with that, if Superman can pull it off, so can Wonder Woman). Doll-Face on the other hand wants to play off her enemies' preconceptions and hopefully catch them off guard. She's pretty cute, but she's also pretty tough.

I wanted the ultra-limber Contortionist to look the most like a vigilante crime-fighter. The idea is that he was fighting the good fight on the streets of Curio City long before joining up with the other Abnormals. To him the whole costumed hero thing is a romantic ideal and he is attracted to the idea of a secret identity and a double life. By the way, he has white tights, not bare legs. It gets cold in the city at night.

With Eddie, I wanted to create a superhero whose special power would be absolutely of no use to him. Characters like Beast and Nightcrawler from X-men tend to compensate of their unusual appearances with great physical capabilities. Eddie has the physique of a pre-pubescent girl and the self-confidence of a wet noodle. I also really like the idea of a furry guy who wears turtlenecks.

John Stone, aka The Slate, is a man of little embellishment, so the disheveled detective look suits him just fine. If you look at some of the earlier posts on the blog, you'll see that I've decided to make him a little more distinct. Initially, I wanted him to look like a living greek statue-- this human physical ideal that contains thousands of years of human emotional damage. That idea is still at the heart of John Stone, but I've now designed him so that his features betray a little more of his hardened personality. Despite his loner mentality, he's still a very strong, sturdy character. I started by giving him the powerful square nose, and worked out from there. Now he resembles the stone figures from more ancient civilizations.

These are some early concepts (not super early, but that's for another post). As you can see from my other drawings of the Paradoctor, his look has changed quite a bit. Then again, he is sort of the David Bowie of crimefighters, so some of these other fashions may come back...

Not-So-Lovable Rogues

What's a team of Paranormal Crimefighters without a gallery of Paranormal Rogues? Below are a few of the villains that will be terrorizing Curio City with what the police call "Crimes of an Abnormal Nature". 

I wanted the villains in Abnormals to range from the terrifying to the just-plain-bizarre. Hive Head here, is a little of both. This bee-themed villain has a voice as sweet as honey, but let him get too close and he'll turn you into one of his drones (pictured to the right). His nickname in high school was "Sticky-Fingers" for a reason.

One of the first villains introduced is The Gingerbread Man, a brutal gangster who injects his victims with a petrifying serum that reduces them to a brittle and dried up corpse. 

Hansel and Gretel provide some of the most powerful hired muscle in Curio City, imported from Germany of course. These terrible twins get their start working as henchmen for The Gingerbread Man.

Mr. Ka is one of the big-time mob bosses in Curio City. He rarely gets his own hands dirty, but his influence in the criminal underworld is substantial. 
The Puppeteer factors into the Abnormals story in a big way. Aside from being a creepy psychopath, he'll be directly involved with Doll-Face's origins.

Among the Puppeteer's toy henchmen are a robotic Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. See if you can figure out which one's which.

... and lastly, these are some different heads of villain types. Many of my criminals started out this way. There is also what appears to be an evil version of the Paradoctor... hmmmm....