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Public Domain Superheroes

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Nov. 17th, 2010 | 11:54 pm

So I recently completed a series of illustrations for the upcoming issue of Panel to Panel magazine. The idea was to take Golden Age public domain superheroes and put your own spin on them, and all three of the ones I chose ended up being a total blast to draw.

Mr Satan

This first one is Mr. Satan. What I liked about him is that despite his ridiculous name, he has absolutely no super powers. He's just a rich dude who one day decided to go out, buy a devil costume, and start beating people up, just because he was bored! What kind of person would do that?! I figured he clearly has a flare for the dramatic with a name like Mr. Satan, so I decided to model him a bit after a modern stage magician, sort of a David Blane type. His mask wouldn't obscure his face very much, because clearly showing off is part of the point. At the same time I wanted to give him a bare-knuckled brawler, roll-up your sleeves, devil-may-care sort of feel. This guy has no issues getting his hands dirty - in fact that's the entire point!


Next up is Skywolf. His is probably the most radical departure from the original of the three. Golden Age Skywolf was a World War II flying ace who for some reason felt the urge to wear a wolf pelt on his head when flying into battle. For some reason the first thing that came to my mind when thinking of people wearing animal pelts was the lost boys from Disney's Peter Pan, so my Skywolf ended up being largely based on that. This Skywolf is just a kid, and his "flying team" is a gang of homeless street youth that guard the city rooftops. I tried to keep the flying ace theme, however, through the oversized flight jacket and the toy planes. Figured there's no reason he can't still be obsessed with flying, even if he isn't a pilot anymore.

The Magician from Mars

Jane Gem, The Magician from Mars is the one where I stuck closest to the original design. I might have liked to depart further, especially with a premise as wacky as hers, but there was just so much to love about the original I couldn't resist! The hat clearly had to stay, as well as the cape and the puffy sleeves. My main goal became just to simplify and maybe add a bit more of a retro 80s feel. I could easily imagine her going out disco dancing or hanging out at the roller rink. I honestly came this close to giving her legwarmers too, but ultimately decided I didn't want to overdo it. (PS: if you want the full effect for this one, click to view larger)

The magazine isn't scheduled to come out 'till January, but in the meanwhile you can find out more about it through the Panel to Panel facebook page, and about Panel to Panel in general through their website. And if the wait for the magazine to be released is still incredibly unbearable, then you can pass the time by checking out some further public domain superhero drawings that my friend Bryan posted on his blog as well!

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