Marvel Two In One: The Protagonist and Fred in Kaiju Madness!

I'm kind of done with the segmented cover style.

I’m kind of done with the segmented cover style.

Not that I don’t like the way that came out…it just feels like if I’m doing panels, I should do a strip, or a page…if I’m doing a cover, it should be of a more unified design. Here, I’m pretty happy with the busy, later Silver Age feel that has been produced.

My friends made me see “Big Hero 6” recently. I had wanted to see it, but getting me into a movie theatre really involves overcoming a large amount of intertia. The film was great…not as good as “Frozen” but very, very good. I think a very large amount of its goodness is wrapped up in not being afraid to stray from the source material, both visually and narratively.

In the comics, of which there are very few, Fred can manifest a huge ‘solid’ Godzilla-like creature aura. Okay, that’s a thing.

In the film, he is depicted as a laid-back comic-book fan who also plays the mascot at San Fransokyo Institute of Technology. As the plot develops, Fred has a suit built for him which resembles a giant lizard and allows him to shoot fire. In the post-credits, Fred accidentally opens a secret door and finds weapons and superhero gear at his mansion. His father (voiced by Stan Lee) arrives and embraces Fred, admitting they both have plenty to talk about.

Comics Fred.

Comics Fred.

Animated Fred.

Animated Fred.

His superhero form is a battle suit with the appearance of a traditional Japanese Kaiju monster based on his favorite kaiju, Krogar. The beast mostly consists of the colors blue and orange, in addition to having black, spiky, claw-like nails, a tail with similar features, and three eyes (with the top notably acting as Fred’s access to vision). Its four-fanged “mouth” is the only opening the suit has. The soles on the suit’s feet enable Fred to perform high jumps.

Kaijū is a Japanese word that literally translates to “strange creature,” and is used to refer to a genre of tokusatsu entertainment. Kaiju films usually showcase monsters of any form, usually attacking a major Japanese city or engaging another, or multiple, monsters in battle.

You know, like Godzilla.

That’s why the Kaiju Madness plot banner at the bottom of the cover, with a giant lizard happily eating a building. Still, I didn’t feel like I had completely captured all of the Japanese pop culture influences that I loved in childhood…there was one thing missing.

When the giant kaiju attack the city, you either call the army, or go get a giant mecha. There’s a whole genre of anime and manga about this very point, the Super Robot genre. No joke.

In manga and anime, a Super Robot (スーパーロボット Sūpā Robotto?) is a gigantic robotic, mechanized, or golem-construct, with an arsenal of fantastic super-powered weapons, extreme resistance to damage unless the plot calls for it, sometimes transformable or combined from two or more robots or vehicles usually piloted by young, daring heroes, and often with mystical or legendary origins. This is distinct from a Real Robot, which is a mecha portrayed as a relatively common and plausible item, used by military organizations in the same manner as tanks or aircraft.

And that’s where I dug up the mecha art of the Robot warrior. I was a little unhappy because the contrast levels are so highly different between Fred and our hero, and the Mecha piece, but I was a bit too lazy to correct it. At this point in time, I’m very happy to finally be a few days ahead, so contrast correction of something workable was not a priority. If I had inked Fred and our hero, the balance would have been a bit better.

The art without cover treatment.

The art without cover treatment.

Still…I can’t speak highly enough of Big Hero 6. The film takes a book that really isn’t very good, and forges it into a charming coming of age story about acceptance and loss. Pretty tall order.

Not exactly a film review, this…more like a quick book report on Japanese pop culture, and how it was merged with Marvel Comics and Disney to bring home Box Office receipts.

Next Issue: Tacos!

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