Comics, Concept Art, Creative Ideas...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mysterio, Master of Illusion

This commission of Mysterio is requested by Chris Johnson, and I want to thank Chris for supporting my art by subscribing to my art blog.

I have to admit, while I love the way Ditko drew the character, no other artist has made the character appeal to me (perhaps Quesada's version in Daredevil). I think it's probably because he hasn't aged well. His visual appearance, to me, is a mix of 50s EC Sci Fi and Horror, which is exactly what I love about the way Ditko draws the character, and exactly what's missing from any other incarnation of the character.

What's more, the character himself is very dated. Mysterio was a movie special affects artist whom used his techniques to create illusions. Well, all that is done with computers now, although if we're honest, most of these tricks were never in the realm of what Mysterio could do, so the change isn't so much that Mysterio isn't as real as he was back then, it's that comics take themselves so seriously that they take this stuff to literally. None of that is a problem for me, as I prefer comics that sort of have a timeless presence to them, without references that set them to a specific date. Even in the 60s, Ditko's Spider-Man did not exist in the literal world of that time, and if you look at things like The Batman Animated series of the 1990s, there was a surreal mix of 1920s and modern elements. That's really the kind of surroundings I'd like to see Spider-Man placed back into.

In drawing this, I wanted to keep Mysterio's body small, so that he didn't look like a muscle man. I paid a lot of attention to the way Ditko used his hands, it was distinctively different than the way Dr. Strange did, less quirky, more bold and commanding. He was also drawn very upright and almost stiff looking. His arms never looked loose. His poses have that very rigid movements, almost like the Nazi soldiers used.

While I do love Ditko's design for Mysterio, he's not on the top of my list to use, and that's probably because I prefer the crime-elements to Ditko's Spider-Man over the the more fantastic elements. While Spider-Man is not Batman, I think, when done right, he inhabits the same sort of environment. Still, the visual affects Ditko used are so cool, that I'll probably play around with drawing Mysterio again. Thanks Chris, for suggesting this, and pushing me to try something I wouldn't have on my own. Often I discover my appreciation for a character when I draw them.

Chris, by the way, hosts the Amazing Spider-Cast, which is a podcast about Spider-Man. If you're interested in checking that out, I believe this link is the site with all the info.

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