Monday, June 20, 2011

Roulette City Audition PREVIEW

So to keep my comics skills sharp (or attempt to, anyway) over the summer, I decided to try out for the Roulette City Original Character Tournament on deviantART.  For the unaware, Original Character Tournaments (OCTs for short) are like a cross between an art contest and Dungeons & Dragons; the host of the tournament determines the setting and premise (here, it's a high-stakes fighting tournament being held by a skeezy businessman in a mysterious gambling city), and anyone who's interested can enter their characters.  Round match-ups pit two artists' characters against each other, and each artist creates a piece (depending on the rules of the OCT, it can range anywhere between still images to prose and comics) detailing their version of the characters' encounter.  The judges then select the winning entry, and that entry becomes part of the tournament's storyline as the artist advances to the next round.  The winner of the tournament receives a prize predetermined at the tournament's beginning.

Anyway, despite the presence of real deadlines for round entries, my work ethic is still so poor that I've decided to post my in-progress pieces here to try to keep me focused and on some type of schedule.  (Just like with school assignments, if nobody's checking to make sure I've been doing my work throughout, I'm far more likely to try to do it all the night before...)

So here are the penciled versions of my three-page audition comic (plus a pinup to serve as the cover for the "series"), showing my characters receiving their invitation to the tournament.  The text on the letter is taken from the official Roulette City invitation.

Reference sheets and more information on my characters can be found here: Heroina Reference Sheet | Butch Reference Sheet

The deadline for entries is the 23rd, with a three-day grace period afterwards.  I'm already hard at work inking, and have extra incentive to be done before the 23rd (Gasp! An actual planned social encounter!), so hopefully I'll have it done well before the last minute.

Keep checking back for more!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The One And Only Birds Of Prey

Cross-posting this from my deviantART account, because hey, why not, it's comics-related.

So about a year ago I decided that DC should do a Birds of Prey cartoon TV show, because there are so few truly fun action shows starring girls nowadays, or if there are, I'm not watching them.  And because the series deserves much better than that unspectacular live-action TV show from ten years ago.  The main problem with this, though, is that if such a show were to be made, I'd want it to be "made right", which of course roughly translates to "made exactly the way I think it should be made".

Thus, some character designs:

The three main characters would be Oracle, Black Canary and Huntress, with the secondary characters being Batgirl (Cassandra Cain edition), Spoiler and Misfit, who might be allowed starring roles in one or two episodes per season, but would mostly just cameo in the backgrounds of episodes while training in the clocktower (the Birds' HQ). The show would also be pretty Brave And The Bold-esque in terms of using cameos and guest stars from across the DCU, mainly female characters, and in the fact that there'd be very little (if any) focus on the characters' civilian lives.

For the costumes I decided to synthesize different aspects of the costumes from different eras; Huntress's is mostly a mashup of her original Earth-2 costume and her early/mid-nineties costume, while Canary's is mostly a mashup of her early/mid-nineties costume and early/mid-2000's costume (so from the beginning of Chuck Dixon's run on BOP and from the beginning of Gail Simone's). Since the younger heroes haven't been around long enough to have had any major alterations to their costumes in continuity, those I just customized based on my personal preferences.

The traits in boxes on the image are broad gestures for determining the way they fight and think, ie Oracle is brains so she's very intellectual and often overthinks things, Batgirl is precision so she's very reserved and only says or does exactly what is needed (no more no less), etc. The phrases in quotes are for a similar purpose, showing the general stereotype each falls into as their role in the group as a whole, to inform their characterizations and interactions with each other.

Oracle is the "woman behind the curtain", who monitors her field agents' movements remotely and directs their plans accordingly, supplementing her almost limitless knowledge (she has an eidetic memory) with what new information she's able to gain through her ability to hack into any computer system on the planet, as well as her all-access pass to the Justice League and Batcave computer records. She's under a lot of stress from having to deal with her teammates risking their lives while she remains safe in their HQ, but still maintains a sharp wit and sense of humor.

Huntress is more or less the stand-in Batman; she's tough, stoic, and prefers to work alone and make her own decisions. However, a lot of this is just a show she puts on to cover up how vulnerable and self-doubting she really is. Her developing friendship with Oracle and Canary, however, is helping to break through this fa├žade.

Black Canary is cheerful and upbeat, a dazzlingly distracting lady who uses her good looks and excessively dance-like movements to put her opponents off-guard. She's sensitive to the needs of others around her, and takes it upon herself to lighten the mood when need be. Occasionally overconfident.

Batgirl is very silent and reserved, mostly because she has only a very vague grasp of language and social interaction due to her upbringing as an assassin trained only to communicate through body motion. The most effective fighter on the team, she's less "disciplined in martial arts" and more "knows exactly where and how to strike at any given time". Doesn't like to ask for help with anything ever, even if she knows she needs it.

Spoiler is a struggling vigilante who always found herself needing to be bailed out by other heroes (usually Batman and Robin), but refused to give up trying. Oracle took pity on her and brought her onto the team to be trained. Although skilled, she has a tendency to always underestimate situations and get in over her head. Generally upbeat, but easily frustrated and depressed by her own failings.

Misfit is a gung-ho girl with the ability to teleport but little to no fighting skills. Oracle took her in mostly to keep her from getting herself hurt. Misfit doesn't entirely understand the concept of "consequences" and almost never thinks things through or listens to directions. A wild card in every sense of the term.

Each episode would focus on a separate mission/storyline, though with the possibility of having running storylines that develop over the course of the season to be resolved in the season finale (as was done on the Teen Titans cartoon, as well as the current Young Justice show).  The overall tone would be fairly lighthearted and all-ages appropriate, though not without a fair element of danger and threat of serious consequences to actions.

Also on my deviantART, I posted a sketchdump using these designs, though mostly focusing on the younger heroes:

Let me know what you think!  Whether or not I or my designs would be involved, I think Birds Of Prey could be a great cartoon show for a female-hero-starved young audience.

And because it's beautiful and hilarious and everybody in the world should have to listen to it at least once, here's a link to the (original and unedited) Birds Of Prey song from Batman: The Brave And The Bold

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Time For Elisabeth


And that's all I really have to say about my recent lack of updates.

Anyhow, the last assignment we did in my Intro to Sequential class was to do one single story first in comic strip form, then as a one-page comic, then as a three-page comic story, changing and adding things in each incarnation but never straying from the basic plot of a character trying to overcome a physical obstacle.  I'm planning on submitting the three-page version to an anthology, so I won't reprint it here, but I thought I'd show off the other pieces.

The character I created for mine was called Elisabeth, hence the title of this blog post.

The first version of the story, done up as a comic strip with far too many panels:

And the second version, the one-page gag:

I'm really proud of my use of black and white placement in these pages, it shows that I've at least learned something over the past few months.  Now I just have to see if I can keep it up...