Superhero Versus Superhero
Some time ago, my friend Paul, came over to my desk and handed me a drawing. It was a copy of a drawing he had done of Hellboy (Dark Horse comics) filing down the horns of The Demon Atrigan (DC comics) while he struggled to get away.
It was a very silly drawing. He then explained to me that the day before he and Tommy (my friend and my Assistant Director), had gone to lunch and started talking about how there are a lot of comic book characters from different companies who either looked a lot alike, where of the same archetype, or who had similar names.
They thought it would be fun to draw them fighting each other in some way. They even went so far as to write up a list. The drawing he had given me was the first drawing he had thought up to do.
He then asked me to join in. I thought it sounded like fun so I did.
So here are some of the drawings we did:
My first lousy drawing was Superman (DC Comics) versus The Sentry (Marvel Comics). They have to fight because they are practically the same character. Even down to the fact that they get their power from the sun.
My second drawing that day and the one I was a lot more happy with, was The Question (DC comics) versus Rorschach (…er…DC comics. Okay so this is a cheat but at least they are from different comic books universes). They have to fight because they are pretty much the same character as well.
Tommy drew Submariner (Marvel Comics) vs Aquaman (DC comics). They’re fighting because the are both fish controlling, Kings of Atlantis archtypes. Ironically, Aquaman is more famous but Submariner is actually a much older character.
Paul drew a Mad Magazine inspired drawing of Green Arrow (DC comics) vs. Hawkeye (Marvel Comics). They’re fighting because they are basically the same arrow shooting superhero archtype. I like the way that Green Arrow’s arrow went through Hawkeye even thought it was his boxing glove arrow.
I drew Silver Surfer (Marvel Comics) vs. Dr. Manhattan (DC comics). They fight because they are both naked, cosmic, bald guys. Silver Surfer doesn’t quite appreciate Dr. Manhattan’s exibitionism. Not quite sure why I don’t like this drawing much.
My next drawing was of The Hulk (Marvel Comics) vs. Solomon Grundy (DC comics) They fight because they are both the big, strong, dumb, monster archetype. While drawing this one, I made a small brake through on how I could best approach drawing hands.
Paul drew Man Thing (Marvel Comics) Vs. Swamp Thing (DC comics). Not too sure what exactly is going on but I think they are trying to squeeze each other’s hands real tight. They fight because they are pretty much the same archetype. Both are swamp monsters with the word Thing in their name.
I drew Dr. Fate (DC comics) Vs. Dr. Strange (Marvel Comics). Again, these guys are fighting because they are also the same archetype. They are the masters of magic in their respective universes and both have a Doctorate. I always wanted to draw these guys and this was a great excuse. After trying to figure out what I could have them doing, this obvious silly idea struck me. Most of the gags we’ve come up with haven’t really been all that funny, but we actually care less about the gag and more about the excuse to draw the characters. Technically I could just draw them actually fighting without the gag, but it’s just not as entertaining for me. I want to tell a story, even if it’s a light hearted one.
Here’s Tommy‘s version:
Wanted to draw some pretty women for this one. Black Cat (Marvel Comics) Vs. Catwoman (DC comics). Same archetype (ex-female cat burglars with a cat themed costume, who turned into good guys. Or at least aren’t exactly bad guys anymore). This drawing was a complete failure on my part as far as getting the idea of what’s going on across. This was meant to represent them both coming into frame at the exact same time and being surprised that the other person was there grabbing the same thing. Unfortunately, the drawing doesn’t read that way at all.
I drew Black Adam (DC comics) versus Namor (Marvel Comics). They fight because they are often drawn exactly the same. I went out of my way to make them look different but in most comics, if it wasn’t for their costumes, they generally look like the same person. And of course, they both have pointy ears. I also tried drawing Zachary Quinto in there since he’s playing Spock in the new Star Trek movie. Not sure if I quite got his likeness, but I gave it a shot anyway.
And here is my take on the subject:
Meanwhile, Paul is getting himself married over in his home state of Hawaii. Besides, as I mentioned last week, he doesn’t want me to post anymore of his drawings since he’s publishing them in his Sketchbook. He’s probably over there drawing pictures of waterfalls or something and having a great relaxing time with his new wife…Jerk.
It’s the Green Hornet (Harvey, Now, Acme, AC comics) Versus The Spirit (by Will Eisner). They fight because they look very much a like only one is green and the other blue. One of the reasons Raul drew this was because he didn’t think we had thought to put these guys on our list. He was right.
So here’s my drawing for the week:
This is cheat. This is an original idea and not a “comic book versus” idea. It’s the image of a High Fantasy Western. The week I drew this, I wanted to try my hand at something different. I was driving home from work and I was trying to come up with story ideas just for the heck of it. One of the story ideas (or in this case just a random concept) came to me with a fun little image, so I thought I’d try to draw it. This is the first time I’ve attempted a drawing like this. I want to learn to do animated feature “development drawing”. This is my first stab at one. It’s heavily flawed. Especially since I rushed through the drawing of the background, plus I really didn’t make much of an attempt to smooth out the pencil strokes (among other things). I’m only partially happy with it. The idea was to put the generic fantasy archetypes in a western setting. The Native American looking guy being the Warrior. The elf woman in the center would be a Ranger/tracker with a magical, rune encrusted, prosthetic, machine arm. Behind her is the wizard who is also a bit of a Rogue since he’s a Gambler. They’re in the forest trying to track down a dragon that’s sneaking up on them from behind. This was all drawn with some hard and soft pencils on regular old animation paper. I really need to practice this a lot more. I also need to have more patience. I really got tired of the drawing after a while and began rushing it at the end. It looks very sloppy.
My inspiration for this drawing were artist’s like:
- Marcelo Vignali – a good friend of Paul’s who I got to meet one day when I went to The Sony Feature Animation Studios (when they still existed) where Paul was working one year during hiatus. He’s as a great guy and showed me all the drawings he was doing on the movie they were working on. I was a fan of his work before I met him so I was geeking out. I think that helped get me on his good side. He’s amazing. He’s worked almost everywhere in the industry.
- Richie Chavez – another friend of Paul’s and an good acquaintance of mine, ever since we took a Kung Fu class together. He was the art director on Prince of Egypt and he also worked over at Sony when Paul was there. This is another guy that’s worked almost everywhere in the industry. He doesn’t have a website though. One of his drawings is posted in this website: CLICK HERE.
- Paul Felix– he was one of my drawing teachers. He worked over at Disney Feature and TV developing movies and shows. He’s awesome too. He doesn’t have a website but you can look at some of his drawing on this post HERE.
Those three guys are just amazing artists. Talk about being able to draw anything and draw it awesome.
I drew Spider-man (Marvel Comics) Vs. Batman (DC comics). Yeah, this is reeeaaally stretching it. They fight because their main mode of transportation, in their respective comics, is swinging around the city. Which is to say, I was using any excuse to draw these guys together. I couldn’t help myself and gave Batman “Astro Boy” boots.
Interestingly enough, after I finished the drawing and handed a copy to Paul. He told me I should ink it. Paul is really into inking right now. I told him I might but I’d rather start drawing new drawings than keep working on ones I just finished. I then said, I’d probably go back and ink all the other drawings I’d done, just so that I can get some practice in at some point.
The next day, when I got to work, I found this on my desk:
It seems Paul had gotten a bit of extra time and decided to ink my drawing. Not only did he ink it but since he has been obsessing over inking and he’s been studying Michael Golden’s work, he decided to ink my drawing in Michael Golden’s style. The thing I found most interesting about the drawing was that he fixed the things I was most annoyed about in my drawing, namely, that the black had pretty much covered up most of the details of the characters. Paul took in upon himself to add a secondary light source when he inked the drawing, adding a new dynamic to it. Only after seeing what he did, did I kick myself over not having thought to do it myself. It was a good choice on his part.
And then I decided to color it:
Betty and Veronica (Archie Comics) Versus Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy (Marvel Comics). They fight because they’re the same archetype. Betty and Veronica are rivals for Archie’s affections while Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy were once rivals for Peter Parker’s (a.k.a Spider-man) affections.
This was a really fun drawing to do, but it was a difficult one to come up with. I learned a lot about how badly I draw. I also learned a lot about how great Dan Decarlo’s early Archie drawings were. It was tricky to draw Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy and have them “read” as Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy because they aren’t superheroes and they don’t have a “costumes”. In the end, I chose the closest thing they have to an iconic look. I doubt anyone but comic book geeks will know who they are just by looking at the picture.
The thing I learned the most from drawing this, by far, is that I need to do more figure drawing. That and drawing in the Archie style is really, really fun.
And here is in color:
And here it is, in color:
I’ve been wanting to do a version of this one myself. Paul drew this one. It’s Darkseid (DC comics) vs. Thanos (Marvel Comics) . They fight because they’re THE cosmic evil overlords in their respective universes. Both are super powerful bad guys that superheroes have to team up to fight. And they kinda look similar.
Everyone is familiar with Rocket since he’s from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. You’ve probably never heard of Detective Chimp though.
While Rocket’s origins are science fiction based, Chimp’s origins are magic based. And yes, he wears a deer stacker hat, smokes a pipe, and wears a coat. He also has a bit of an attitude, similar to Rocket.
I didn’t realize how much these guys had in common visually until I started drawing them. I had them fight because they’re both android that were created by a bad guy, to fight good guys, but they both turned into heroes instead.
They’re only different because they don’t share the same powers.
But then I started drawing them and they both have Dracula capes, and the capes are attached by a cord. They also both have nobs for ears and no pupils.The rest of their look is different but when drawing those three things, it really felt so similar.
And here it is in color:
Johnny Storm, The Human Torch (Marvel) vs. Fire (DC). Both of them turn on fire powers which make them both become beings of fire. Which of course, would set off the fire sprinklers anywhere they went.
This is Magneto (Marvel) vs Dr. Polaris (DC). They’re both the “masters of magnetism,” of their respective universes. And of course they’re now chibi refrigerator magnets holding up a drawing my son Ambrose drew when he was two.
I never really understood why this was a great super power to have. I just seems like one good smack, and it’s game over.
Peter Porker: The Spectacular Spider-Ham (Marvel) vs. Captain Carrot (DC). They fight because they’re “funny animal” version of human superheroes, in their respective company. Namely Spider-Man and Superman. The drawing above is actually a spoof of a very famous cover. To read more about it, you can click the link HERE.
Some Thoughts About This Whole Project
It’s funny how the same idea can get interpreted in different ways. Tommy was taking his drawings very seriously. He wanted to have the characters he drew, fighting each other in a very dramatic fashion.
Meanwhile, Paul was all about being silly. He wanted to find the humors side to the conflicts. I sided more on Paul’s side than Tommy’s. If I was going to join in, I wanted to find the humor in the situation.
Little did I know how much I was going to get into doing the drawings. Something about the “assignment” really sparked my imagination. During my initial conversation with Paul, and after I had seen the list, I had noticed after looking at the 67 couples they had thought up, they were missing Superman (DC Comics) vs The Sentry (Marvel Comics), which I thought would have been an obvious one.
Paul told me I should probably draw that one. I spent the rest of the day thinking about how to draw them.
In fact, I spent the rest of the day trying to come up with ways to draw many of the characters I had seen on the list. I ended up coming up with quite a few ideas and by the time I got to work the next day, I couldn’t wait to start drawing some of them.
For the rest of the next two days, whenever I had a break or some time (like during lunch), I would spend that time drawing something up.
I quickly found myself at once enjoying the process and getting frustrated at how limited my drawing abilities where. My first drawing was the most painful, mostly because I was trying to get the hang of drawing in a completely different style than I’m used to. Also, I need to come up with the shorthand I needed to be able to produce a drawing in a “comic book style” quickly.
When I was finally done with the first drawing, I was a bit disappointed with myself. Mostly because, (1) it didn’t come out the way I wanted it to and (2) it felt a bit stiff. I had intended to make the drawing a bit more exaggerated and cartoony but somewhere along the way, is went a bit too far in the other direction.
What I ended up with is a weird drawing that is not quite cartoony and not quite realistic, and for some strange reason, The Sentry’s proportions don’t look quite right. Also, the hands I drew are a bit wonky.
You can always tell the quality of an artist’s draftsmanship by how well they draw heads, hands and feet. These are the most difficult part of the body to master. In the end, the result was a drawing that
I was not too happy with, but it was a drawing that helped me gauge where I was at artistically and where I wanted to take the next drawing.
I was much happier with the next drawing. Not only do I think it works much better, not only did I draw what I intended, but I also drew it in a shorter amount of time AND I learned a lot drawing it.
Suddenly, all I wanted to do was draw this stuff all day. I didn’t want to go back to doing my work (although I did). I haven’t had this much fun drawing in a long time.