Friday, January 27, 2012

Hollywood Swinging

I remember... Not too long ago... I went to the city... And I saw the Kool and the Gang show!

Is that song stuck in your head now? That was my goal, just so everybody is aware of that.

At any rate... SIX days!? We've gone six days without a post, people. That's no good. Luckily, I'm here to save the day with a post so incredible that it's sure to be talked about for at least a few minutes by, y'know... somebody or other. Right!?

Anyway, I'm working on this story (and by working on, I mean I'm waiting for the art to be finished so I can beg a colorist to do it on the cheap -- hint hint, colorists!) featuring an original creation of mine called Megastar. Megastar is one of the dozens of characters featured in the very cool War of the Independents series being put out by Dave Ryan (plug!). In fact, if you look closely at one of the pictures in that second link you'll spot Megastar amidst a gaggle of other independent heroes. Megastar is an idea I had way back in the early 2000s that went something like this:

"What if an established, wildly successful celebrity woke up with super powers?"

Eventually the idea morphed into a play on the Milestone Universe created by Dwayne McDuffie. If you're unfamiliar with the Milestone Universe, shame on you! Click that link and start reading! But if you absolutely refuse to do that, it basically consisted of a "big bang" going off that gave a bunch of people in an urban, socially and politically unequal environment super powers. But seriously, that description does not do the concept any justice whatsoever. Click the link! For Megastar, I decided to have a "big bang" go off in a Hollywood-type of environment that gave a bunch of privileged, shallow people super powers.

Hey, I never said it was the BEST idea I ever had... it's a parody, people!

The main character is Michael Whitman, also known as Megastar. He doesn't keep his identity secret. He operates in Crescent City (Hollywood, basically), in full view of the public, because that's the best way for him to gain more fame and notoriety from his exploits. The more famous he is, the more products he can endorse, the more movies he can star in, and oh, yeah! The more people he can save! Mmm hmm, yep... he cares about that stuff too. Honest!

Because there was a big bang that resulted in Megastar gaining his powers, other people in Crescent City were impacted as well. I created an entire Rouge's Gallery for Megastar featuring villains based on how I thought a mutagenic event would affect various types of entertainers or musicians or what have you.

Anyway, the story I'm trying to get finished was written quite a while ago, way back in 2006 (yikes!), and originally the art for all 14 pages was completed by an artist named Jake Bilbao. Jake is a fantastic artist, and I've worked with him on a few things over the years we've known one another. He has an incredibly realistic style that reminds me a bit of Bryan Hitch.

The story featured a villain called SFX (above, courtesy of Mr. Bilbao), who was formerly a special effects developer or coordinator (whatever you call them), that was transformed into an actual magician. So instead of creating movie magic, now he creates actual magic (gasp!). He has a mad-on for Megastar for reasons that are made apparent in the story, and basically uses his abilities to shunt Megastar into a cartoon pilot created by Michael Whitman's no account brother, Sammy. A whole lotta hilarity and hijinks ensue from there...

As I said before, Jake originally did the entire story, including the part where Megastar was placed into a cartoon. And he did an excellent job. But I wanted a style that was a bit more recognizable as a cartoon, and also one that really contrasted with Jake's detailed, realistic lines. So I recently turned to my good friend, and an incredible artist to boot, Dario Carrasco to re-create the "animated" pages. Here's a blueline sketch he did of both SFX and Megastar's brother, Sammy Whitman.

The styles are so different, that when Megastar is transported into the cartoon, it actually seems like he's in an entirely different world where anything can happen. Anyway, I'll talk more about Megastar as the story gets closer to completion... and publication! In the meantime, here's another sketch by Dario Carrasco of the "animated" Megastar, with inks by the equally talented Mark Stegbauer.

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