Comics, Concept Art, Creative Ideas...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Shadow

I'm not exactly sure where my appreciation for the character of The Shadow started. I think it probably came from one of the TwoMorrows books, maybe a collected edition of one of the early Comic Book Artist magazines. Whatever the case, it was Denny O'Neil and Mike Kaluta who first hooked me into the character. There's something about Kaluta's art on The Shadow that totally turns me on. He's another one of those artists from the 70s that it seems criminal to have been all but forgotten.

My interest in the character grew even more when I started doing research about the Pulps. I was fascinated that it seemed virtually ignored that the alter ego that The Shadow was normally associated with, Lamont Cranston, wasn't his true identity in the Pulps at all, but another alias that he acquired from one of his agents. His real name was Kent Allard, although you'd never guess it from most of the media out there.

I'd love to be able to work on The Shadow. My way of looking at these characters is always to draw them as the exist, not to redesign them, but to modify my style to best suit the character. The Shadow is a character that I think could look so freakin' badass! He's totally untapped right now and it's a shame because, like Batman, this is a character that has enough universal appeal that he can endure. The fact that he hasn't so well I think is more a sign of a lack of understanding in his potential.

My take on the character here is very much trying to preserve the look and characteristics of the old pulp covers as well as Kaluta's style on those early DC issues. I very much like using solid blacks as a design element, as this is a character that lurks in the shadows. I take a more realisitic approach to The Shadow, than I do with Spider-Man, but I tend to distort the features so as to give it a surreal quality.

I've turned this into a plug for the podcast WordBalloon for a couple of reasons. One is because I'm a big fan of John Siuntres and even though I've emailed him before I'm sure he doesn't know who I am. So I'm hoping that he'll just take notice of me, as well as to draw attention from anyone else out there (unfortunately an artist has to be a pimp and a whore to get attention). The other reason is because I'm such a fan of that podcast I'm hoping that my admirers will check that podcast out.

Also, I'm using Tim Sale's comic font in this (that you might recognize from the show Heroes), so hopefully both Siuntres and Sale will forgive me if they see this. I do neither justice but I am a great admirer of both men's work.

One last thing, I post on the forums for a couple of other podcasts and have friendly relationships with those people. Just so that those people don't think I'm not loyal to them, I have other items in my head for specific shows, and I'll be doing you injustice soon as well...

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