Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Bridge)

For your edification, a few pages of Thor from August 1968. Thor_TETU1

That beastie is called the Mangog. The Mangog is very kind and friendly. It wants hugs.

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The ads on the left page are truly special:

Scientific Wonder XRAY GLASSES. It can't be true, but look for yourself. Girls will never trust you with these, but let them look for themselves and apparently see legs right thru your pants. Amaze and embarrass everyone! Only .95.

CHAMELEON. Watch it change color! Wear it on your lapel! Alive! LIVE DELIVERY GUARANTEED. $1.95.

FAMOUS GERMAN MEDALS. Large, full size. Beautiful detail, authentic replica. Luftwaffe Nazi Pilot-Paratrooper $2.50. Nazi SS Swastika $2.50 Iron Cross $2.50.

MAMMOTH 9 FOOT HOT AIR BALLOON. AND 9-FOOT FLYING SAUCER. Ideal for July 4th celebrations, science clubs, or just real fun.

I can only imagine what the parents said when their son got a nine foot flying saucer in the mail.

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Left page is a comic about Pete Duncan the Highschool Dropout and the importance of getting a GED. Great stuff!

Right page: Thor visits a hospital to heal Sif with his hammer's "strange rays." Apparently Mjolnir can create trans-dimensional vortexes, because Thor zaps himself and Sif to the Rainbow Bridge. Sif is no longer in her hospital gown, but wearing the latest in miniskirt armor.

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Meanwhile, Loki has staged his weekly takeover of Asgard.

Left page: Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg are smashing things because they're bored. Right page: Loki shows up and asks (very reasonably) that they stop vandalizing the palace. Or, as the writer puts it:

But suddenly, the shrill, piercing, raucous voice of Loki rents the air like a banshee's wail--!

"DESIST! THY LIEGE COMMANDS."

Mythology 101: Loki is known to the Norse as the Silvertongue.  His words can charm the birds out of the trees and soothe a savage Thor.   It's probably a safe bet that he was never imagined as having a shrill voice.

Anyway, Loki sends Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg off to fight the Mangog.

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Thor and Sif arrive at the palace.   He and Loki turn on Yon Mystic Visi-Crystal (THAT'S REALLY WHAT IT'S CALLED) and watch the Mangog stomping his way towards Asgard in search of hugs.

And that's it.  There are a few more pages, but the issue ends before Thor ever reaches the Mangog.  So I have no idea how that fight ended.  It's a safe bet that Thor won.

Funky Norse Hats

The bad news: my hard drive died this past weekend.  I'm thinking about holding a funeral.  I had lots of documents and image files that were not backed up, so my best hope is that the data recovery autopsy people can somehow get them back. So take warning from my mistake: ALWAYS BACK UP YOUR WORK.

The good news: a friend loaned me some old Thor comics.  They are utterly hilarious.  I don't think they were intended to be hilarious, but...

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This issue is from July 1971.

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The ads seem targeted towards skinny adolescent boys who want to look Thor-ly.

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Now Odin gets blasphemous.  Also, Odin's hat.  ODIN'S HAT.  I can't call it a helmet.   And why does the One-Eyed god have two eyes?

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So eventually Thor and Company return to Asgard, only to find that Loki's taken over by seizing the all-powerful Odin-Ring, which Odin just happened to leave lying around before he went off to rescue Thor.  (Honestly.  Odin just leaves stuff lying around, like the Blue Cube of Doom.)  I think Loki takes over Asgard on a weekly basis.  He doesn't seem to do any lasting harm.  He just cackles and stalks around and banishes people.

Odin's not the only one with a funky hat.  It looks like Loki stole one of the Queen's hats and stuck some horns on it.   And it's pink.  Loki, no one will take you seriously as an evil tyrant if you're wearing a pink hat.

IMC 2013 - Day Four

Today I took the best parts of my sketches and mashed them together in Gimp, blew it up to the size I wanted, reversed the image, printed it, drew over it, flipped it over on top of my illustration board, and did a rubbing transfer. (Yes, it's a weird, complicated process.)

Then I began drawing over the transfer.

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Rebecca Guay helped me design some interesting flowy robes for Loki. (I love Rebecca's paintings. As a child I loved the book covers she painted without ever knowing her name, until last year when I finally connected the name with the illustrations.)

So. Painting tomorrow!

IMC 2013 - Day Three

Today I began by obsessing over bones and muscles. I want my painting to have a very Classical/Grecian statue mood. Florence_statue_hercules_killing_the_centaur

(Update: a reader has informed me that this is a statue of Hercules fighting Nessus, sculpted by Giambologna.)  I found this amazing statue in one of my Google searches, but I can't find the name of the artist. This is Hercules fighting a centaur. I love that hand pressing against Hercules' chest. I want to use that hand.

So I went back to my reference photos and began piecing together arms and legs and torsos.

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At this point Donato told me to stop obsessing over musculature and concentrate on the faces, since the faces are the most important thing-- that's where the viewer's eye will linger, and the emotion on the faces is what will make the painting.

So I went and drew emotive faces.

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James Gurney came today to give a lecture. He walked around the studios and stopped to talk with me for a while. He said he loved those heads!

Several other people thought that these faces weren't expressive enough, so I turned on Youtube and got Tom Hiddleston's face and drew sad Loki and screaming Loki. That ought to be emotive enough.

In the end, I decided I really like that second pair of Thor and Loki heads. Those are the faces I'm going with. This is a moment of calm in the midst of the battle, when Thor has to decide if he really has the strength of will to bring that hammer down on Loki.

IMC 2013 - Day One

I'm back at the IMC! I loved it so much last year that I had to come again. (It's totally worth the money.) The first day was spent in critique groups. My sketches of Thor and Loki were critiqued by Julie Bell and Donato Giancola.

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And the photo is blurry because they were moving so fast for my camera couldn't keep up.

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EVERYONE, including my brother, his wife, other students, Donato, and Julie agreed that the sketch on the bottom right is the best. Thor and Loki are eye-to-eye, staring at each other. The moment before the hammer comes down and the dagger strikes. Old friendship vs. bitter hatred.

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Julie's quick marker drawing of the basic shapes in the design. Ball of lightning in the upper left from Mjölnir. White column-shapes of the bodies. Dark mist around them.

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I went back to Donato for more help with the pose. He did these sketches as suggestions. His paintings are so deeply emotional and epic, and I want to channel as much of that as I can.

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More revised thumbnails. Tomorrow I'll shoot my reference photos. I've already cornered a model for Thor...

Brothers

I'm headed to the IMC again this year.  (YES!!)  One of the illustration assignments is an action sequence involving vikings or Norse mythology.  I don't usually paint muscley men in combat, so I want to give it a shot.  I've also been on a Norse mythology kick recently, triggered by the recently released trailer for Thor 2.  (Loki's HAIR.) In the Norse tales, Loki and Thor were not brothers, though they behaved a lot like brothers.  One was always dragging the other along on some wild quest, and someone (usually Loki) had to get them out of whatever mess Thor's impetuosity caused.

At some point the two became enemies, or rather, Loki became everyone's enemy.  Either way.  At the end of the world, at Ragnarok, Loki will fight on the side of the monsters and the dead, and Thor on the side of men and the gods.

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I did a lot of quick sketches from combat videos on Youtube.  On the right, Loki with his dagger.  On the left, Thor with Mjölnir.  I'm debating about whether a one-handed or two-handed hammer is cooler.

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But I don't want to go completely action-scene-muscley-men-fighting.  The real tension in this battle is bitter, venomous hatred-- and any lingering love.  After all, one of Thor's kennings in mythology is "he who has compassion for Loki," and one of Loki's is "friend of Thor."

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Another sketch for Loki, casting fire.