Femme Fatales of the Fantasy Genre.
Normally, I don’t start with text, I start with an image and jump in afterward. Today’s post is different for two reasons. One…artistically, this post is longer, but really is a bunch of sketches done to start to get a handle on fantasy settings. I don’t imagine that I’ll stop using the term Darth…it’s just so clear that it means someone punitive and evil. Still the Edu-Mountain setting has clear differences from the Negative Zone and the Five Hundred Building, and the types of characters are still a work in progress.
I’ve been searching for a look and feel, and still haven’t found it yet. I also don’t really have any characters as adversaries, although I notice that in any endeavour, adversaries multiply fairly rapidly. Still, I want to get ahead of the idea of a new look and feel, a new Science Fantasy setting that has homage to the kinds of influences I mentioned yesterday. The kind of creative mish mosh that the “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” series, and “Thundercats” had going on.
Ironically, today, as I was working out various fantasy setting bad guys…Evil Antler Queens, hunchbacked Beast Men, hooved Dark Valkyries and Goblin Queens, I got a letter from the district. It’s the official letter confirming my new place of employment, at the High School. It was good news, and refrigerator worthy news…the document is now proudly displayed on the front of the freezer. That one piece of paper makes the change of setting very real, printed in black and white ink. No turning back, for me or the district.
It’s a good thing, I think. Definitely appropriate to get on the day that I post these explorations of the news setting, the new genre conventions.
On to the first piece:
So…in all of the Frazetta art from Conan, in huge volumes of Boris Valejo’s fantasy art, the sorceress characters tend to have very, very scanty outfits. The sorceress also usually turns out to be evil, which seems odd. The ability to read, and thus cast spells, makes a person evil? Or is it the knowledge of the workings of the universe? I don’t know, but in a huge amount of fantasy, there seems to be a direct relationship bewtween depth of magical knowledge and a fundamental lack of class in your attire. Maleficent might be the exception to that rule, but of course, Disney isn’t going to have her running around all age inappropriate.
She has major horns and Antlers going on, in fact someone else’s Antlers are holding up her cape. I’ve been using Antlers a lot…in the first image, there’s the Deer Man on the Robot Pony, with a full on Deer head. There’s the guy with the Moose antlers and ears, who seems to be becoming a series regular. I figured the way that she would show her dominance over the average Bestial would in part be her crazy complex, massive horns and antlers. Sort of like deer in the wild, as I understand it.
This piece is heavily influenced by Art Adams, who is also known for scanty ensembles, as well as excellent monster art. The best men tend to be ape like or dog like, I was looking for a primitive Orc Like pack here. What’s neat about them is they had to be symmetrical but…not. Bad teeth and scars are fine, sloping foreheads and scruffiness. The kind of thing that as an artist I don’t practice enough…you actually have to work at ugliness. It was a fascinating experiment.
I can’t say for certain we will see the Antler Queen at all. If so, her ensemble will be a bit more comics code approved, although we are still within 1970’s and 1980’s tolerances here, True Believers. Her overall look would need to be simplified, to do more regularly. The Beast Men were a vital thought experiment, and will almost certainly be informing the look and feel of certain “extras,” since Clones aren’t employed by the school to my knowledge. Remember…clones actually had a narrative reason to be used…the hiring of near identical young teachers from TFA.
We don’t have that.
Anyway…moving on…I really like the next one.
I wanted to move away from only giving the properties of mammals to the Beastials, but failed a bit here. I was looking at a mess of old Art Adams Marvel art, and was fascinated by his visual of a fully evil Ilyanna in “The Asgardian Wars.” He always presents her as still very human, though, so using the costume as a reference, I wanted to get a feel for a few things.
1. How annoying is it to draw ring mail. Answer…VERY.
2. Why not mix and match fantastic animal parts? Tails, hooves, legs, etc.
3. Are the Horns part of her head, or the helmet? I meant them to be coming from holes in the helmet, but like the ambiguity.
4. Running on animal legs. I love the way it looks…but if she’s at rest, she would be crazy tall, having a whole other set of bones in her legs. Probably why Art Adams didn’t draw her with serious hooved legs.
All told, a useful experiment in making the animalistic elements in the lower torso, not just on the head. Possibly not useful narratively, though. I’m not sure.
And finally, since I was thinking about reptiles, and sorceresses, and fantasy settings…a review of old X-Men always brings up “Inferno,” especially now that “Inferno” is far of the current “Secret Wars.” I drew the Goblin Queen once before, but far more stylized and strip friendly…you know, a simplicity for repetition that I never did with the character. This time, I wanted to have her setting be the kind of abstract fantasy hell beasts that she winds up in charge of as the Goblin Queen…
I like how much more directly Evil she looks, compared to the Antler Queen in image one. Also, the random beasts around her aren’t even part human…she’s very much more about chaos and so forth than the possibly coup d’etat ready Queen of Antlers. The dragon was the best part to work out, coming up with ways to imply a whole dragon, and scales, without having to draw the scales, or a whole dragon for that matter.
Again…the focus here is in the creatures as setting, as a vital part of the background of conflict. Without clones or robots, there need to be vast hordes of expendables, and this art was in part a workshop in the expendables of the setting.
Some of us have been interested in the process, and without much plot right now, i can take a bit of time on the process. Hope the post was enjoyable.