Friday, October 5, 2012

The Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe- REDUX Edition blog

I had the honor of taking part in the The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe- REDUX Edition blog, which was quite a thrill for me as I am a HUUUGE fan of the book series, which was a giant influence on my childhood obsession with character design. By the time I found out about the project and got ahold of the moderator it was pretty slim pickens, most of the 'cool' characters on the list had been rifled thru, leaving a lot of D-listers and what I like to call the 'single-pagers', which were always the most awesomely lame weirdoes the Marvel U circa the 80's had to offer. I fortunately was able to grab the last girl, being Her, the female counterpart to Adam Warlock, or who I lovingly now refer to as 'Giant Gold Bitch' and chose the awesomely weird Aelfyre 'Whitey' Whitemane, whom I remember even from my childhood as being such a strangely designed character. Plus it's such a departure from my usual pinup art, it was definitely a fun exercise. 

Be sure to check out mine and several other awesome reinterpretations of characters at the 

Her! See the actual entry here!

Whitey! See the actual entry here!
And now I ramble:

I love stats, I love character lineups, I love comparing power levels and surmising whether or not so-and-so could take on so-and-so in some whirlwind street fight. It fills my nerdy little heart with glee. The combination of the OHotMU, the Who's Who in the DC Universe series and various sourcebooks for tabletop roleplaying games I collected over the years resulted in me just spending hours upon hours alone at my parent's dining room table as a kid creating multiple characters and universes of my own design. All thru junior high I had stacks of RPG sourcebooks and stacks of character sheets, but sadly no one to play with. ::insert sad violin:: It wasn't until high school that I found enough sorta-like-minded individuals to get a Vampire: The Masquerade game together. Unfortunately the only way I could get them to play was if I was the DM/Gamemaster/Storyteller and totally threw out the actual dice-rolling process of the game (I know, blasphemy. I think they figured the lack of dice made it less nerdy?). Since everyone I played with had gotten themselves so wrapped up in creating their character, if there was even a possibility of that character getting killed and rendered unusable I could kiss being able to play at all goodbye. So I counted my blessings and just found creative ways to work story arcs where characters got really fucked up, but didn't necessarily die. I think that was a major mistake on my part however with running an RPG, as it gave the player characters (PCs) way more control than they should be allowed. But alas I was young and naive and had a spine made of spaghetti. These game sessions happened about once a week for about 3-5 hours apiece, and each 'Chronicle' (major storyline) lasted about 3 months. We even made different mix tapes for the characters and overall story atmosphere to get my brain going. (Which I still do to this day, but now it's playlists on iTunes.) It was creatively exhausting, writing all these open-ended stories for the PCs to navigate thru and then the times we actually played it would be even more physically exhausting acting out all these characters on the spot. I was seriously performing some sugar and soda-fueled one-woman show shit at that poker table in my parents basement. (I'm sure if I nowadays was a fly on the wall witnessing my antics I would cringe so much at the embarrassing wannabe theater-kid-ness of it I'd collapse in on myself like a dying star.) I apparently did 'such a good job' of DMing that once any of my players decided to step up to the plate and host a session they backed out at the last minute, which was quite a disappointment to me as sweet Christ it's an exhausting job. I have no idea how I did it. So many of the NPCs (non-player characters, essentially supporting cast and extras that were portrayed by me) I created for RPG sessions I still plan to use for my magnum opus comic Pearly Whites, though they have drastically evolved with the times. During my heyday of RPGing back in 10th-12th grade I probably had a backlog of easily over 100 NPCs, not including repeat characters who had multiple alternate universe versions depending on the story. I was so wrapped up in gaming I almost failed Desktop Publishing my Senior year of high school, which would have caused me not to graduate. Oh, the irony. Lookit me now! ;P
Even before all that I had started to make my own awful, derivative-as-hell superhero team and had about 10 pages worth of a fully colored, fully lettered comic back in the 7th-8th grade when I first started really getting into comics (which for a kid that young even I must admit is pretty impressive) which I carried around with me in one of those chincy plastic portfolio books with the clear plastic pages and worked on every chance I got. I had even made my own Handbook-style character entries in the back as a guide that I typed out with a TYPEWRITER and even drew in little fake 'action shots' (that were so totally swiped from everything I could get my hands on, but hey I was only in 7th grade and just learning...) that I had to format my typing around by hand. I probably had about 6-8 completed entries in that book, all illustrated with the original art gluesticked in, with fully realized origin stories. It was awful yet totally charming at the same time and I wish I still had them somewhere so I could show you but I'm pretty sure none of it survived my 'I'm gonna destroy everything remotely embarrassing because I have an ego made of sugar glass'-phase I had in high school. Sometimes really I wish I could go back in time and shake the ever-loving shit out of myself.
Nowadays my more intensive character creation processes has been temporarily retired to my stacks of private sketchbooks, filled with scrawlings that would remind you of some sort of OCD-riddled crazy person. The movie Seven comes to mind. Hopefully with the self-imposed projects I'm planning to inflict on myself in the near future I can actually flex those creative muscles again.

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