Thursday, August 5, 2010


Lately, I’ve been writing for a website called Thoughtballoons, where they pick a different comic book character every week, and anyone can write a single-page comic script for that character. I’ve been finding this very fun, and so thought I would just take a quick look back at my own pieces, to see what made them work… or not:


A favourite of mine, Spider-Man, was the first character off the blocks, which was a good place for me to start. It should be noted that the site had already featured Iron Man, Molecule Man, Mephisto, Doctor Doom, Superman, and Blonde Phantom by the time I started playing along.

Anyway, in thinking of an idea, the first thing that came to mind was his costume. Now Spider-Man’s not exactly the think-and-ponder type, so what I ended up with was a script called, “Idle Hands”, about Spidey pondering the idea of the super-hero costume… but overlaid upon a bit of trademark mischievousness.

Because I was new to the game, and thinking about it frequently, I also wrote a second script that was a cross-over with the Lovecraft Mythos, specifically, “A Shadow out of Time”. In reality, it was more the Lovecraft part I wanted to show, so the character could have been any super-hero. It just happened to be Spidey seeing as he was the star of the week.


This was a hard one for me to have as only my second character because I’ve never really been much of a DC Comics fan, so I knew very little about the character. All I really knew was that he lived in the sea, so I started tossing up any ocean-related ideas I could think of.

My first instinct was to go with Lovecraft’s Deep Ones, but I didn’t want to go with just a straight-up cross-over seeing as I had already done so in my last script, so I thought I’d add in a little reality and include The Bloop… though still ended up with Cthulhu and the Deep Ones.

I wasn’t entirely happy with that effort, so I tried to come up with another idea as well. It occurred to me that Aquaman’s “jurisdiction” was actually quite big—70% of the planet in fact—so I decided to run with that. Another writer had written of in-fighting within the Justice League of America (JLA), so I also took that on board as well and wrote I piece where an angry Aquaman makes a deal with the devil so that his colleagues can “understand” his efforts. I liked it more than my first one, but only wished I knew more of the DC universe so that I could have picked a character other than Lucifer.

The Penguin…

Another DC character had me out of my element again, and I started tossing up any idea I could think of to do with penguins or umbrellas… and then my girlfriend jokingly suggested having him fight with Catwoman over a fish… so I did! I wrote a page where Catwoman brings a “fish” to the Penguin’s house and it is only revealed on the last panel that they’re referring to Aquaman. This may have been subconscious payback for being such a terrible character the week before, I’m not sure, but no matter, I was quite happy with this one.

Again, I wrote a second piece, and again it was more the gag I wanted to show than the character. It was called, “I Couldn’t Draw To Save My Life”, but as one commenter suggested, it would have suited The Joker better. I wonder if he’ll ever pop up as a character of the week?

The Punisher…

I know of the Punisher, and I do like him more than the last two characters, but I still don’t know that much about him. I know his family was killed and he’s taking it out on… well, everyone… and he has a thing for guns, but that’s about it. My first instinct when dealing with unfamiliar characters is to turn to humour—as the Penguin’s week shows—because people don’t expect continuity when they’re getting a laugh out of it.

My first idea tied with the character’s gun obsession, and I was going to write something about him having a Customer Loyalty Card at the local gun shop, but as I sat down to write it, another idea came to me which I believe was the funnier option. It was called, “Hunting Season”, and featured a scene that was clearly—subconsciously—inspired by the film, Predator.

I only wrote one script this week—probably to everyone’s relief—because I drew some art for the site.


Unlike the previous “unfamiliar” characters, this was one I’d straight-up never even heard of, which made things quite hard. I did a bit of research, and found out that she’s a green-skinned, barbarian-like, alien woman… and that was about it. No powers, no nothing—even harder!

Again, being well out of my comfort zone, I went for the comedy route, and wrote a piece about the only interesting feature of this character: her green skin.

Where Now?...

Hopefully we’ll get back to some characters I know of—or have at least heard of—so that I can break away from these comedy sketches I’ve been falling back on lately. Only time till tell. For now, it’s all in the hands of the Tenures

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Horror in Clay

—Part II—

As part of an on-going effort to find an artistic medium I feel comfortable in, I have recently started sculpting, and I'm writing this series to track my progress...

And A Shape Takes Form...

So the next step from the wire armature seen in Part I was to simply encase the frame in clay. As you can see below, doing this makes it much easier to visual the end product:

From here it's time to start adding some details. I decided to start at the torso and work my way out. I don't have a very good understanding of anatomy, but I figured that working on a fantasy creature such as this, it would not matter too much if the physique was slightly off. So in this picture you can see that I've added back, neck, and shoulder muscles, as well as a spine:

I also detailed the under-side with pectoralis muscles (a.k.a. "pecs") and a rib-cage. You can also faintly see abdominals as well:

Once I was satisfied with the torso, I moved out to the arms. These turned out to be quite difficult as the clay kept twisting around the smooth wire inside it, so I'll have to find a way to counter this in the future. After the arms were as good as I could get them, I started on the head...

Because the creature is simply called The Three-Lobed Burning Eye, I wanted to make sure that I put as much detail into the head as I could, so I started with the Lovecraft-obligatory tentacles:

As you can see, I also whipped up some claws just so I had them made in advance.

And Time Goes On By...

All of the above happened in the space of 4 days back in June, but due to my re-found love of comics and writing (thanks, in part, to Thoughtballoons), my sculpting activities were put on hold...

So here I am, 6 weeks later, on holidays, and I've just decided to start back on it. I felt I at least needed to get the head finished, so in the time it took for Muse's Absolution to once again play through, I had finished off the beast's head, which now includes the titular three-lobed eye:

So now all that's left are the wings and tail...

See you in Part 3!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


DISCLAIMER: They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and if that is the case, then the team over at Thoughtballoons must be really chuffed right now because the whole idea behind this Blog entry is ripped directly from them! Thanks, guys :-D

So anyway, I wanted to write a piece about one of my favourite Marvel characters because I don't feel he gets the props he deserves. He goes by the name of Omega Red, but unfortunately, outside of Wolverine circles, he is pretty-much unknown, so here is my spotlight on him:

Omega Red's first-ever appearance.

Why Omega Red?

Omega Red (aka Arkady Gregorivich) has always held a place in my heart, in that he was my first-ever comic book villain. Back in the early ‘90s, my first (and possibly only) comic was X-Men #4, which featured Omega Red as the lead antagonist against the X-Men. I’ve since learned that this was in fact his first ever appearance, so if you think about it, Arkady and I came into the world of comics together.

And so it begins.

He was quite the villain too: He appears to have a “Healing Factor” on par with Wolverine’s, except that his needs to be recharged from time to time by draining the life-force from others, and is therefore referred to as his “Death Factor”. He is also able to secrete pheromones that are deadly to anyone in his immediate vicinity and has long Carbonadium tentacles that he can extend and retract through openings in the undersides of his wrists, which “serve as both conduit and stabilizing factor for his mutant pheromones.” So basically, he’s just a serious bad-ass!

A more recent incarnation.

Anyway, since his appearance in the story arc of X-Men #4-7, he had a steady stream of cameos for the next 2-3 years, but these soon dwindled to yearly appearances. From the start of 1999, there was a 3 year gap where ol' Red was laying low, until he popped up again in Wolverine #170 for a brief arc, and then returned to a 4-year-long hibernation.

Through this time he has not only fought Wolverine and the X-Men, but the likes of Iron Man, Chamber, Sabretooth, Daredevil & Black Widow!

Ultimately, however, it was his buddy Wolverine who plucked him from the archives to feature in a Wolverine: Origins arc lasting 5 issues. There was then another year’s break until finding a few more sporadic gigs, and even popped back up in Wolverine: Origins… only to be killed! Poor Arkady…

That's gotta hurt!

Will we ever see Omega Red again? Who knows? If the past has shown us anything, it is that if a comic book character dies… it doesn’t necessarily mean they are dead!

In keeping with Thoughtballoons' tradition, I've also prepared a comic script based on this character. I'm not sure where it would fit into his chronology, or even if it could, but I feel it sums the character up pretty well, so I hope you enjoy...


We see a close-up of Omega Red looking straight at us with flaring red eyes. He has a slight grin on his face.

CAPTION: Most call me a murderer.
CAPTION: Which is an accurate-enough title, I suppose.
CAPTION: You must remember, however, that I never asked for this...

We see that he is sitting on a self-made throne of sorts, his carbonadium tentacles hanging off the ends of the armrests. He is now smiling.

CAPTION: I admit, I do enjoy it.
CAPTION: But only so much as a smoker enjoys a cigarette--or an alcoholic, a bottle of whiskey.

We can now see the whole scene with two energy-giving mutants on the floor before him (e.g. Gambit). He has a tentacle wrapped around each. They both look malnourished and barely conscious. Omega Red is now laughing.

CAPTION: The good news is--
CAPTION: --I've discovered a way that I no longer need to kill.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Horror in Clay

—Part I—

As part of an on-going effort to find an artistic medium I feel comfortable in, I have recently started sculpting, and it occurred to me tonight that it would make a good blog topic to show my progression as I go.


As a frequent browser of DeviantArt, I had come across various sculptures before, and so looking back on some I found that the most common medium was a product called Super Sculpey. My first instinct was to buy some off Amazon, but as it turned out, they cannot ship it to Australia. I'm not sure why, but nevertheless, I had to find another supplier. I found it at my local art supply, though it was $39 ($33US) for 454g (1 lb)—much more than the $25US it would have cost from Amazon!

Anyway, one night after work, with Muse's Absolution playing on my iPhone, I sat down and just started playing with a piece. By the time the album had finished (roughly an hour), I had created this:

Though obviously no masterpiece, I was quite happy with the result of this first ever sculpting attempt, and was inspired to continue.

The Next Step...

Due to my Lovecraftian proclivities, it did not take a mind-reader to know that I would be wanting to create one of his beasties as soon as possible. As shown in my previous post, I have seen many renditions before, yet one I found very few images of was the Haunter of the Dark (aka the Three-lobed Burning Eye). Coincidentally, there had been talk of this very creature on the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast forums only recently, which only fuelled my desire to create its image. So I set about drawing a few sketches...

First was a rough isometric:

Then I did some slightly more detailed plans:

As can (hopefully) be seen, I had the creature simply "perched" on the ground. However, after a few days to stew over the idea, I realised that this pose was really very boring, and even though this is to be my first ever full sculpt, so should be fairly simple, I still felt it needed a bit more... character.

Through most of the related story, the narrator only knows of the creature due to its motions in a small room above his head, so it came to me that I should try and make it kind of low, as if stalking or listening through the floor-boards, and so I came up with this modified front-on sketch:

From this, I then drew the armature "skeleton" pose design:

It might appear slightly confusing, but they are actually the isometric, side, and top-down views of how I wanted the armature wire to look.

Which then brings me to tonight, when I got home from work and actually made the armature:

You can see in this photo that I have made one wing out in front, low to the ground, while the other is upright, supporting the weight. At the back is the arch of the body/tail, that will continue to snake along the ground (the foil is there to bulk out the body a bit as well as hold the wire together a bit tighter).

And so there you have the lead up to what will eventually become a clay sculpture of Nyarlathotep/The Haunter of the Dark/The Three-lobed Burning Eye. I hope someone out there has found this interesting and that you will keep an eye on my progress and the sculpture takes form.

See you in Part 2!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mythos Art

As I've mentioned before, the thing that keeps me hooked on Lovecraft is actually not his stories (as I've read them all now), but their potential for being used in various other media. There are not many Lovecraftian films being made, so when they do sprout up, they are fairly easy to get a hold of and watch. This infrequency means that they do little to quench my thirst. One outlet I've discovered, however, has the regularity to make up for this: Art!

With tools such as Google Images, and sites such as DeviantArt, you can find all sorts of Mythos-related imagery. Every once and a while I do just that, and thought I would share some of my favourites with everyone. In alphabetical order, here they are:

Beings of Ib

Though I do like "The Doom That Came To Sarnath", I wouldn't say it was one of my favourite stories. However, this picture is particularly well-made, so won me over.


These creatures are pretty simplistic—worms with tentacles—but again, the quality of the artwork was enough for me to be impressed.


As you can imagine, being Lovecraft's most famous creation, there are endless pictures of the ol' Cthulhu. Here are a few that I think are particularly noteworthy.

And a few scupltures:

Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath

These creatures, although not actually Lovecraft's creation, are probably one of my favourites. With their 3 legs, multiple mouths, and mass of tentacles, just are just so creepily cool. I have a few pics of these guys, but only one is of a decent standard. If you're a fan of the Mythos, you've more than likely seen it around.


Much like the Cthonian, there is not much to this beast, but I just think this image really sells it.

Dimensional Shambler

This is another of my favourite creatures, not so much for how they look—wrinkled ape—but what they do. They are described in the Mythos as appearing from another dimension, abducting someone, and then returning back to their dimension, with no known reasons or motives. Creepy!

Flying Polyp

These creatures, from "The Shadow Out of Time", are just plain weird, and I've found that the majority of renditions look much like this one from a well-known book.


The Gugs are from Lovecraft's "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" and are particularly interesting due to their split arms and vertical mouth. I've seen many pictures of them, but most are rather poorly done. This is probably the best of the lot.

There was also a cool 3D model I found I liked due to the pose and thought of it being in a computer game of some sort:

The Haunter of the Dark

Though not an image of the actual "haunter", I believe this image captures the essence of the story more than any I've seen.


The Mi-Go are another favourite, again, due to their strangeness. This is probably the best (and goriest) rendition of one I've found.


One of the "Gods" of the Mythos, Yog-Sothoth is described as "only a congeries of iridescent globes, yet stupendous in its malign suggestiveness", so is pretty-much open to creative license, but these 2 images are the closest I've found to how I, personally, imagine it.

And so there you have some of my personal favourite Mythos imagery. If anyone has any of their own favourites to share, please feel free to leave a comment!