Tuesday 30 April 2013

Construct of the Week #24

Construct: Dangerous Games

Generated by: Guy Gardner and Kilowog

Appeared in: Green Lantern #210 (vol.2), 1986

Saturday 27 April 2013

An Emerald Flash…

Green Lantern has joined forces with many heroes over the years in his battle against evil-doers but the team-up that is best loved by most fans is Green Lantern and The Flash.  From the long running partnership of Hal Jordan and Barry Allen to the rivalry turned friendship between Kyle Rayner and Wally West there are few stories that can hold a torch in the heroic stakes to the adventures of the Emerald Crusader and The Fastest Man Alive.
My favourite tale dates back to the Silver Age, 1966 to be precise, when the Green Guardian meets long-time foe Major Disaster for the first time.  The whole rip-roaring saga takes place in the pages of Green Lantern #43, volume 2.

Cleaning up after a series of seemingly natural disasters should have been easy work for our superheroes but right in the middle of their mission both Hal and Barry suddenly lose control of their powers. 
The storms and earthquakes, of course, are far from ordinary occurrences.  Common criminal Paul Booker had learned the secret identities of both GL and The Flash and began to plot their downfall as the pinnacle of his nefarious career.  To this end he hired a group of scientists to create a machine that controlled the weather and could stir up geological catastrophes on his command.
Added to this, in their very own freaky Friday moment, the boffins were able to swap the two heroes powers from one to the other.  Thus far Major Disaster’s plan was working perfectly.  Not realising they had control of their friend’s abilities, Hal and Barry assume they are now completely powerless.  What the Major had not counted on was the heroic spirit possessed by both men.
Rather than pack up and go home our champions resolve to come together to tackle their deadly adversaries.  Relying on fighting spirit and the “Justice League tactics” of working as a team they make swift work of Disaster’s cohorts.
Later, as Hal tries to recharge on his hidden power battery, the true extent of their peculiar position becomes obvious to them.  
Instead of replenishing the Lantern’s ring as expected, the green energies power up the Scarlett Speedster standing next to him.

Naturally Hal has also become lighting fast.  Within moments of making the realisation the two superheroes are back in action.
Meanwhile Major Disaster continues to wreak havoc on a crime spree across Coast City and Central City with his dastardly machine providing cover.  Green Lantern and The Flash follow in his wake rescuing the embattled citizens of both metropolises.  The fact that they are in control of powers that are unfamiliar to them gives them no pause in their pursuit of the rogue weather-master.  Hal zips and zooms around landslides and ice-storms while Barry deftly forms emerald constructs to hold back floods and stem the spread of forest fires.
Although they do eventually work out how to transfer their powers back again it is ironic that they don’t get the chance to bring their opponent to justice.  Feeling the heat of the incredible duo on his tail Booker becomes the architect of his own doom.  In his haste he forgets to don the insulated gloves that protect him from his sinister machine.  The contact causes an explosion that destroys the device and takes the unwitting villain along with it.  In the end it is his lifeless corpse that the superheroes discover in the rubble.

Or is it?  This is comic books after all…

Friday 12 April 2013

Green Is The Colour… And Red… And Blue…

Guy Gardner - Warrior!
This jaw-dropping image leaves little doubt that the most controversial member of the Green Lantern Corps is every inch a hero, from the tips of his spiky red hair to the toes of his shiny green boots.
The artwork is one of many DC Comics inspired creations from the graphic designer known as ColourOnly85.  This uber-talented artist has set himself the extremely bold challenge of producing an illustration of every character appearing in the DC universe before 14 June 2013 – the date that the much anticipated Superman movie, Man of Steel sees general release.
Impossible I hear you say.  And yes, maybe so.  But let me tell you, ColourOnly85 is making a damned good go of it!
I was lucky enough to be able to catch up with the man himself to find out a bit more about the Man of Steel project and the inspiration behind this daunting undertaking.
FP:  Thank you for taking time out of your busy art schedule to share a few words with 'Flodo's Page'.  This is a massive project you have set for yourself - to illustrate all of the DC characters before the Man of Steel movie comes out in June.  What inspired you to create this challenge?
CO85:  Thanks for giving me time to share a little bit about ColourOnly85, very grateful.
Well it all happened a bit randomly.  I got caught up doing a lot of graphic design work and realised I hadn't given much time to just design and create for the fun of it.  At the same time I was getting really excited about the new Man of Steel movie, so I thought it would be fun to do a Superman piece in aid of it.  It was whilst doing the Superman illustration I thought 'why not do some other DC Characters, ' and after that the thought of doing more artwork dedicated to Man of Steel popped into my head.   So I decided to turn what I was doing into a challenge to try and draw all the characters before the movie is released.
FP:  Last I checked you had released character #115 which is an amazing accomplishment but there have been a lot of characters in the DCU over the last 60 years or so!  How many more illustrations have you got left in you?
CO85:  Thanks so much!  I'm now on #120 and in the grand scheme of things I know I've got a LOT of catching up to do.  But I've definitely got it in me to do all the characters (although unfortunately it looks like the bulk will likely come after the deadline).  But I like to stay optimistic, so I'm still going to try and work towards June 14th anyway.
FP:  You obviously love comics and movies. Which do you enjoy more?  Is there a comic book or film that holds a special importance for you?
CO85:  That's a tough one, but I would have to say movies.  I love getting lost in comics and LOVE seeing the talent in the artwork that's created in them.  But there isn't much I enjoy more than going to the cinema or kicking back at home and getting lost in a good film, I love the escape of it.  With today's visual effects at such a high level as well, it just makes me love films even more!
In terms of a favourite film, I can't honestly say I have one.  Sci-Fi and fantasy films are definitely my favourite genre but I couldn't point out a single film as my favourite.  I know that's an 'easy way out answer' but it's true …haha. 
FP:  Your work is awesome and, as your Twitter name suggests, your creations are in colour only.  No lines.  What inspired you to follow this style?
CO85:  In terms of the style, I really wanted to do something different, especially in terms of presenting comic book characters.  I think at the moment, the traditional clean graphic style is what we are very used to seeing and which is incredible.  But I really wanted to come from a totally different angle.  So I took some time to just try a few ideas out and I finally developed the idea of geometric shapes and minimalism without lines to define the object and the ColourOnly85 style was born from that.
FP:  It seems like you produce your illustrations really quickly.  You sometimes post 3 or 4 works at a time on Twitter.  How long does it normally take to create a piece?  What do you use for reference? For example, do you look for lots of images of Kyle Rayner and then pick one you like to base a new illustration on?
CO85:  Producing a piece takes about 2 to 3 hours on average and what I try to do is work on 3 or more at one time.  Jumping between different characters helps me keep the ideas fresh in my head and makes the experience a lot of fun.  Getting the free time to design is the hard part.  Sometimes there are weeks where I will produce lots and weeks where there may only be 1 or 2 designs.  It can be really really tricky.
In terms of the actual designs, I will either use a popular or particularly striking image for reference.  That way I can deliver something fans are familiar with but in a new way.  Or I will use a pose that I think reflects the character well.  I took a lot of time to build a massive library of action poses which I use for reference and which are a massive help when illustration. 
FP:  Of the DC illustrations you have created so far which is your personal favourite and why?  Is there a character that you haven't illustrated yet that you are really excited about producing?
CO85:  Hmm...  At the moment the Batman image is my favourite.  It was the image that really convinced me that the style of illustration I was doing could work.  I also just had a blast doing it, so there are a lot of good memories I have associated to that piece.
In terms of a character I'm looking forward to doing, I'd say Kilowog.  I really like his character and Green Lanterns are my favourite DC Characters so I can't wait to do him.
FP:  I have to ask - apart from DC is there one character, be it comics, movies or the real world even, that you would like to give the ColourOnly85 treatment to?
CO85:  Man, awesome question, so tricky though.  There's so much to choose from!  I'm a MASSIVE Avatar: The Last Airbender fan (and also the new Legend of Korra TV show).  But Toph in particular is my absolute favourite so I would say I would like to do a ColourOnly85 version of her the most.  
FP:  Finally, I don't want to take up too much of you time but I'm sure your fans want to know, is there anywhere they can buy your work, either originals or reprints?
CO85:  I have an Etsy shop but only have two characters available at the moment.  I've decided I'm going to slow down on selling the prints until summer to help me deal with the workload.  There is just so much I'm working on at the moment.  Plus my main concern is getting the artwork out there for the fans to see.  I am in discussion with some individuals where I'm trying to get the prints out more effectively, so watch this space and I'll keep you posted as to how things come along.
FP:  Thanks again for taking the time to do the blog.  I wish you the very best of luck with your Man of Steel challenge and I will certainly be looking out for more of your fantastic creations in the future.  I hope we can expect a few more Green Lanterns in the line-up!  Kilowog maybe?
CO85:  It's been my pleasure and an honour.  Thank you so much for your support and taking the time to do the interview. And again a massive thank you to everyone who has been supporting me so far, the feedback and encouragement and way everyone has been spreading the word about the artwork has blown me away!
Haha…  Kilowog is definitely one of the greats, I'll make sure I add him to the list and see if I can deliver something special just for you.  

You can follow ColourOnly85’s progress on his Tumblr page or catch up with him on Twitter @ColourOnly85 and check out your favourite DC Comics heroes as you have never seen them before!


Thursday 11 April 2013

Construct of the Week #23

Construct: Battle Beast

Generated by: Kyle Rayner

Appeared in: Green Lantern #62 (vol.3), 1995

Sunday 7 April 2013

Yellow Lantern - A Reflection

Yellow.  The colour of fear.  The antithesis of will.  The ying to a Green Lantern's yang.  The reflection in the mirror.

So who was the first Yellow Lantern?

Why, Sinestro of course!  Any half decent comic book fan can tell you that.  And yes, in a sense he was.  After all, Thaal Sinestro has been wielding a yellow power ring since Green Lantern #9 (vol.2) way back in 1961. But he was not the first DC character to wear the uniform of Yellow Lantern.

That honour goes to the Bizarro analogue of Green Lantern who appeared in Superman #379 (1983) and was a member of the Justice League from the suitably bizarre planet Htrae.

The Bizarro Green Lantern was created by Superman's crystaline counterpart using a warped duplicator ray.  In #379 the inhabitants of the strange world began to explode without explanation.  For those of you who are on the edge of your seat over this mystery, it transpired that an ugly giant space cloud was feeding on the Bizarros' energies.  The day was eventually saved when Earth's very own Superman joined forces with a good Bizarro Lex Luthor (opposites remember!) to defeat the creature.  The exploded Bizarros including Yellow Lantern and the Justice League pop back into existence and all's well that ends well.

With the 'Crisis On Infinite Earths' our cowardly hero was retconned out of continuity but a good idea is hard to put down and when the cube shaped planet Htrae is born again into the new DC universe, Geoff Johns and Richard Donner weren't long in writing the yellow clad Bizarro Lantern back into the pages of Action Comics.

Of course, this time the creature wasn't the only ring slinger around sporting a black and yellow jumpsuit.  With Johns on the scene it wasn't long before this new iteration of the character was recruited into the fear worshipping Sinestro Corps.  Perhaps not their most successful warrior but for us readers he is the unsung inspiration of them all.