Mark Neumayer

author of the Valda & the Valkyries series

Tag: comic characters (page 1 of 3)

Jack Kirby’s Birthday


Portrait of the King found at

I can’t believe I did not know this before today, but Jack Kirby and I share the same birthday – August 28.  I have always loved his art from the minute I saw it staring out at me from those old spinner racks at the corner drugstore. I would happily plunk down my allowance to get his latest work on Fantastic Four, the Hulk and especially Thor.

Yeah, I’m late to the party this year but I do want to give a shout-out to an incredibly talented and influential artist.


Cover art from Tales of Asgard #1

Here we have the inked pencils for the first issue of Tales of Asgard. You might want to click through to see it large enough to do the piece justice.


Even though Odin would have never called it an “imperial bath” this scene could have happened. The Viking Answer Lady has a post that tells the story of an English cleric complaining about the men of the Danelaw combing their hair, bathing on Saturdays and generally making themselves look good so they could pick up more noble women.kirby

Hulk Smash

Because sometimes I get an idea in my head and I have to make it before I can do anything else.hulk smash

Answers to the Superhero Silhouette Quiz

SilhouetteAnswersLast week I posted a series of silhouettes and asked you to try and identify the hero or villain. This week we have the answers. Here they are from left to right:

Top row: Wolverine, Galactus, Mr. Freeze, Harley Quinn, Havok
Second Row: Hellboy, Beast, Big Barda, Savage Dragon, Flash
Third row: Mysterio, Black Bolt, Hawkman, Electro, Scarlket Witch
Fourth row: Captain America, Catwoman, Judge Dredd, High Evolutionary, Thor

How many of them did you get right?

I will be honest that this probably was a lot harder than the emblem quiz. I ran it by a couple of my friends and none of them got 100%. The problem is that there are a number of characters that could easily pass for each other in silhouette form. There are some of the obvious cases where two characters wear a variation of the same uniform – think Captain America and US Agent or are intentionally meant to look almost the same like the Flash and Professor Zoom. But there are other characters who just kind of look the same. In silhouette Mr. Fantastic and the Elongated Man are practically indistinguishable.

How about the original Marvel Girl of the X-Men and the Scarlet Witch? That doesn’t even get into how hard it is to find a female hero who isn’t just a variation on a domino mask and long flowing hair. Is this a bad thing? Let’s face it, Havok and Electro have very distinctive profiles but they do look a little silly. What are your thoughts?

Another Superhero Quiz

SilhouetteQuiz Since my superhero quiz continues to be wildly popular I decided to make another one. I built this one a little differently, though. Instead of looking at logos and trying to decide who they belong to, this time around I have a series of silhouettes and you try to guess the hero or villain. I tried to go with some of the more distinctive silhouettes out there. (It wouldn’t be any fun trying to guess between Mr. Fantastic and The Elongated Man for instance.) I have characters from a number of different companies and there are even some women in the mix. Some of these are fairly simple, but you will need to be pretty good to get them all.

Have at it and see if you can guess all of them before I put the answers up next week!

Doctor Strange

Dr_StrangeGetting a little Saturday superhero action in here. Today, for the second time, we are featuring a kawaii version of a doctor – Doctor Strange, Master of the Manly Mustache, I mean Master of the Mystic Arts. Seriously, though, the man rocks that facial hair. You can try drawing him without it but he just isn’t the same. My version owes most of its look to the classic Steve Ditko design. Part of my fondness for the character might be due to the fact that I could reasonably pull off a Doctor Strange cosplay (except for the levitation part.) I don’t have a huge number of his comics but I like the ones I do have.
If you want to see the different versions of the costume that he has worn over the years check out this web page.

Robin, The Boy Wonder

Kawaii_RobinMy nephew’s birthday is tomorrow. Since the little guy is a huge fan of Robin I wanted to do a piece of fan-art for him this week.

My god there are a lot of Robins these days! I grew up with Dick Grayson/Robin. That was it, kids. You had the live action TV show and the cartoons and the comics but they were all Dick Grayson. Then along came Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Stephanie Brown, and Damian Wayne. That’s without even touching on the others such as Carrie Kelly from the Dark Knight. I had to go to the DC wiki just to make sure I had them all straight.

But you know what? I’m fine with all of that. I have no problem with heroes “passing the torch,” with someone new taking on the heroic identity of a familiar character. It is one way to tell new stories without having to change the existing character’s personality in odd ways (I’m looking at you Man of Steel movie.) To be honest, I haven’t read any comics with Stephanie Brown or Damian Wayne in them. Not because I think they’re not the real Robin but because I have drifted away from the mainstream comic world. Life goes on, things change. A new Robin does nothing at all to harm the great memories I have of the one I grew up with. The newer versions are thrilling and entertaining people as well. I see nothing wrong with any of that.


TerraI was sorely tempted to do a couple of different things this week, but I finally settled on Terra from the Teen Titans. I have only seen a couple of the Titans cartoon episodes that featured her but the glimpses they gave into her personality were pretty intriguing. See you next time!

Posted by Mark Neumayer


Ultraman_CrimeSyndicateThis week my super Saturday kawaii offering is Ultraman. Not the hero of Japanese TV and manga fame (although I loved watching those shows as a kid) but the DC villain from Earth 2’s Crime Syndicate. Briefly, the Crime Syndicate was an evil version of the Justice League from another dimension and Ultraman was their version of Superman. There have been a number of costumes for this guy over the years but my hands down favorite has to be the one by Frank Quitely. It captures the elements of classic Superman’s costume but strips out all of the unnecessary detail. The kicker for me is the U logo. Other artists have used a stylized letter U or replaced the S with a U in Superman’s normal logo. Quitely flipped the pentagon shape and stylized the U to the extent that it also works visually as an arrow. Flipping the pentagon is a nice visual representation that this guy stands for the opposite of everything Superman supports. Pushing the letterform into a stylized version that serves double duty is just icing on the cake for me.

The Red Scare

TheRedScareNo, we’re not talking about politics and that little era of insanity certain elements of the United States went through – we’re talking about the guy from Villains, Inc. In The Tick comic universe there was an organization called Villains, Inc. This was obviously a consortium of evil super villains bent on taking over the world, right? Wrong! (You have read The Tick, haven’t you?) Villains, Inc was basically a rent-a-villain shop. If you were an aspiring hero looking to make a name for yourself you could pay to have a costumed crook wreak some havoc and then allow you to defeat him in an epic staged battle. The Tick would never stoop so low, but a hero-wannabe named Fast Guy was more than willing. Unfortunately for Running Guy, The Tick came across the pseudo Soviet first and proceeded to beat him up pretty good. There are a number of great lines in this comic but one of the best has to be when Running Guy shows up to find the Tick battling the bad guy he has paid for and reacts like this:


  See you next time!

  Posted by Mark Neumayer

Princess Verdena

PrincessVerdena1This week I headed out into the world of indie comics to find my inspiration and I found it in the G-Man universe of writer/artist Chris Giarrusso. I will be honest that I don’t know anything about the story behind this character other than the small blurb I came across. But I am digging the art style and intend to order a copy of the graphic novel when I get a few extra bucks. There are some cool all-ages/family comics out there and they deserve our attention and support. See you next time!

Posted by Mark Neumayer

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