My 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.
This 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.
At least she is the way they depict her in Neil Gaman’s Sandman universe. Just a spunky Goth girl who seems like she’d be a lot of fun to hang out with – not that I’m anxious to meet her. I imagine she and Hela would have gotten along fine as kids. Maybe I should do a kawaii Hela and Death having a little tea party together.
Besides the issue of dealing with all that black clothing, I had another challenge with this sketch – the hair. You may have noticed that I cheat a little bit and choose a lot of subjects that don’t have much of their hair showing. There was bald Mr. Freeze; Galactus, Nova and Big Barda all wear helmets; even Hawkwoman has a mask that covers most of her head. But I decided I need to do more work at the areas where I am weak. So you’ll be seeing more characters with more hair. I’m not saying I’m ready to feature Medusa of the Inhumans just yet, but I want to push myself a bit.
Are there any characters that you all would like to see me kawaii-ify? I’d love to hear your suggestions. See you next time!
Posted by Mark Neumayer
It’s been a crazy week, folks. I wasn’t able to get my Norse artwork to a point where I was happy with it and things haven’t gotten any less busy for me. But I am happy to say that I was able to put together this kawaii version of Hawkwoman from the DC Comics universe. I don’t know that I can draw any deep revelations from the fact that I could finish this, but not the other one. The kawaii stuff just flows a lot easier for me.
My favorite Hawkwoman story is not from the comics but from the excellent Justice League story arc “Starcrossed” which features a Thanagarian invasion of the Earth and the exposure of Hawkwoman as an advance scout for their army. Great stuff- as most of the animated series was, to be frank. See you next time!
Posted by Mark Neumayer