Sunday, December 23, 2012

Influences and Juda Fist Part 2

Last time we talked. I spoke about how a plethora of art from the 70's help to inform my artistic mantra's as a whole. I want to get a bit more specific now as to some of the direct influences of Juda Fist: 7 Deaths of the Yobi.

I didn't get a chance to mention earlier that I am a HUGE HUGE player of Pen and Paper role playing games. I first played Dungeons in Dragons in 1979 and I was hooked. I loved the challenges and the imaginative aspect of the game. I was also fascinated with the possibility that though played in the ethereal world of the mind, that I could bring my characters into the real world , albeit 2 dimensionally, through drawing.

In 8th grade I got into a unique educational summer program called Horizons Upward Bound. It was there that I finally became serious about comic books. My roommate was a comic fanatic and he introduced me to Marvel Superhero Secret Wars. From then on I was hooked. I loved the fact that most of Marvel's key where in this series. It was with Secret Wars that rediscovered Wolverine. (A character I previously encountered in an X-men themed episode of Spiderman and his Amazing Friends.) 

It was also through my further exploration of Wolverine that I discovered The Uncanny X-Men, and it's penciller and Co-plotter JOHN BYRNE. I never seriously thought about comics, or drawing, as a career choice until I read John's take on this superhero team. Byrne's art had gravitas, his backgrounds and characters felt alive and the stories made me feel for mutants as a whole. This book had DRAMA, and I mean GREAT Drama. It is a crying shame that most of that drama was dismissed in Marvels later attempts to capitalize on it. From this point I devoured anything Byrne did,

I thought that Wolverine was far more visceral than anything that I was familiar with from my early cursory comic readings. He fit the 80's action motif of big dudes, ninjas and impossible action heroes to a tee and I love every minute of it. It was also at this point where my new found comic book fanaticism lead me to a product that was the perfect marriage of comics and pen and paper rpg's, TSR's MARVEL SUPER HEROES RPG.

I really loved the fact that I could create and play my own characters against those from the Marvel Universe. This gave me a huge amount of freedom. It was in this paradigm that I created my very first superhero character, the enigmatic cosmic sentinel and( rip off of Starhawk from Guardians of the Galaxies) Force Phantom.

 I also began to realize that Marvel and DC didn't an shouldn't have a monopoly on cool characters. Later, the catalyst for what would become the most pivotal event in my artist career took root. The discovery of PALLADIUM BOOKS HEROES UNLIMITED RPG. It was in this game that I created THE YOBI a character specifically created to counter Wolverine, to whom over exposure had begun to diminish my favor toward.

In Part 3, we are going to jump head first into two of the most influential mediums of all as it relates to Juda Fist and my process. ANIME and HIP HOP!!!!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Influences and Juda Fist part 1

A few days ago, I finally got a chance to do my influence map. It's a really cool excercise that makes you think alot about what it is that excites you about being creative. After I finished I  just stepped back for a minute and surveyed my life. I have been drawing and creating stuff since I was 3 years old. Then I was a kid whose primary influence was a dynamic family, television and encyclopedias. Man how I loved Ultraman, Giant Robot ( Giant Robo) Godzilla and encyclopedias. I only had a cursory knowledge of comicbooks back then. My uncle Greg, himeself a talented artist , used to draw characters from the comics and since Greg and my youngest uncle Aaron (AD r.i.p) where more like big brothers than uncles, I wanted to do everything they did lol. 

Even at that age, I knew good stuff when I saw it. So I remember at about age 7 seeing the animation "Battle of the Planets"(Gatchman). It was different from most of the animation out there. I had superhero type characters and it took place in space, that was a wrap for me. I had no idea that I was watching the first of many early imported Japanese ANIME at that point. Sorry, I failed to mention that at that age I wanted to be an astronaut lol. So when I also use to watch stuff like Shazam and Isis, Jason of Star Command and movies like Logan's Run I would imagine myself and my friends in those movies, not as the main characters but having our own adventures in that world. I would ultimately draw some of these adventures. Its funny to remember that back then it seemed like myself and my friends, no matter what the backdrop in terms of sci fi tech in these worlds, always dressed in Chinese "Bruce Lee" Suits and or Karate Gi's and we always carried the latest laser guns. We also traveled in one ever the most spectacular, tank tracked, vehicle most popular in sci fi that day LOL. Even back then I was quite creative. Oh, also in my imagination, we never got a spec of dust on our uniforms and we always had perfectly picked Afros picked to the back lol. 

Then it happened. Star Wars and it's television sister Battlestar Galactica, I had no IDEA what the hell I was seeing. NOBODY DID. It is also the first movie that I remember VIVIDLY because it changed my perspective. Then to get that level of special effects on TV in the form of Galactica. I was in HEAVEN at this age. Coolness without end. Still, though my cousin Chris in Akron would let me read his comics when I went to visit my Aunt Della with my Grandparents during our annual trip down south, they still didn't figure prominently into my creative process. That still was all TV and Movies. Then in 1979 another lightening bolt hit, a film by Ridley Scott called Alien. Yeah it scared me to death as it was REAL SCI FI HORROR. The likes of which we haven't seen since, and the Tech was cool. 

I plan to continue this diatribe over the next few days, as I want to talk a bit more about what makes a guy like me and how that has prepared me for working with Imaginos Workshop.