Posts Tagged ‘Reptillian Sci-Fi Badass’

6 Degrees of Francis Bacon: Day 1

Friday, July 17th, 2009

In the interests of drawing a broader range of subjects than I would ordinarily (my comics generally consist of people wearing t shirts swearing at eachother) I am embarking upon a project that I have given the  unwieldy and slightly nonsensical title of 6 Degrees of Francis Bacon. This is inspired by various Facebook groups where artists have drawn an illustration for each letter of the alphabet,  taking suggestions from groupmembers, blogreaders and twitterers (notably Neill Cameron’s A-Z of Awesomeness and Garen Ewing’s A-Z of Comic Strip Characters).

6 Degrees of Francis Bacon

I’m not going to tackle an A-Z (because that means I would definitely have to do 26 pieces, and this way I can pretend that I was only ever going to do three pieces if no one’s interested), but I am taking my cues from The Chain, a regular feature on Mark Radcliffe & Stuart Maconie’s BBC Radio 2 show, a “never-ending list of records, with every new track somehow connected to the last”. And like The Chain, your connections can be as direct or convoluted, as clever or stupid as you like, as long as it’s an interesting character from the world of Movies, TV, books, comics, music, art etc.

I suspect the vast majority will be from the area of Sci-Fi/Fantasy, as most people who read this, like me, are undoubtedly geeks (I have a theory that everyone has a geek inside them – you can write your own punchline to that). So with the geek centric nature of this project established, here is 6 Degrees of Francis Bacon: Day 1 –

Bossk

Bossk is a reptillian bounty hunter, briefly seen in The Empire Strikes Back, hissing irascibly at Admiral Piett, hired, among several others, to find and capture the crew of The Millennium Falcon. He’s probably better remembered for his action figure, back in the days when being immortalised in plastic was an honour only afforded to a (relative) handful of background characters. Now of course even Ackmena has one. Obviously common sense suggests that I should have started this with an interpretation of one of the paintings of the eponymous intense and cage obsessed Irish artist, but my initial plan was to do an A-Z of minor Star Wars characters. I scrapped this when I a) kept mucking up “A” for Aayla Secura, and b) realised that there’s a gazillion pieces of Star Wars fan art out there (and even some pretty damn impressive A-Zs too).

So where do we go from Bossk? It could be anything, from Masters of the Universe character redesigns, to an hilarious mashup of Hellraiser and Archie Comics,  or Flowers For Algernon fanart. The possibilities are endless, well, not that endless, I won’t draw that Twilight shit. Stay tuned. And be sure to make your suggestions, along with your connection, for future pictures in the blog comments, on my Twitter feed, or at the Facebook Group.

Share

6 Degrees of Francis Bacon: Day 2

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

So, last time we had Bossk, a reptillian badass from a sprawling SciFi franchise. Today we have another reptillian badass from a sprawling SciFi franchise. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome The Gorn

6gorn

The Gorn appeared in the Star Trek episode Arena, in which Captain Kirk was stranded on a remote planet that resembled Vasquez Rocks with only his cunning and his FISTS. Of course, in reality James T would have had his ass handed to him by the lumbering loincloth wearing space pimp, but William Shatner had it written in his contract that if he was to go mano a gorno on a distant Californian planetoid he would always emerge victorious. That and all the green skinned venusian babes his tongue could handle.

This pic is clearly a T Shirt design, based on a popular idiotic theme. Yes, some of these illustrations will be in different styles. Feel free to print this off, wear it with pride, and no doubt get sued by Paramount.

Join us again in a few days for the third installment. Oooh what’s it gonna be? Actually I know. But feel free to guess. And after that, I am at your mercy… make your suggestions, along with your connection, for future pictures in the blog comments, on my Twitter feed, or at the Facebook Group.

Share

Mon Calamari Monday

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Here’s a quick sketch of Admiral Ackbar, in honour of #MonCalamariMonday.  The Mon Calamari are, of course, the best “Mon” in the Star Wars Universe, closely followed by Mon Mothma, Ephant Mon, and Mon Julpa (I had to look that last one up on Wookieepedia).

Share

One Season More…

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

After an inessential movie, and a patchy, but sporadically impressive first run, Clone Wars returned for a second season and has vastly improved (and also managed to cram in fan pleasing appearances by Bossk and Boba Fett).

While being ostensibly aimed at a younger audience, and certainly having plenty of fans among the Ben 10 constituency, it seems the Star Wars saga just can’t get away from a (mostly) healthy seam of nastiness. Most startlingly, we have our central character Anakin Skywalker playing bad cop and secretly torturing information out of insectoid Seperatist bigwig Poggle The Lesser, in a clear foreshadowing of the monster he will inevitably become. In another episode, Duchess of Mandalore, he impales some dude through the back with his lightsaber. Hardly the actions of your average protagonist in a kids’ cartoon, and it’s played for laughs too.

For the most part, it’s a regular kid’s show with regular kid’s show plots. The Zillo Beast and Brain Invaders employ standard tropes for pulp space opera, that shift the series away from the source movies, but closer to the original inspiration. Formulaic and familiar they might be, but they look great, and have a wide eyed, “everything but the kitchen sink” charm.

A common discussion point on the Star Wars movies is in which order should they be first viewed (the obvious answer being the release order. Duh!). However we now have fans of the TV show who have seen none of the original movies. As long as they don’t push the foreshadowing too far, or ever employ flashbacks/forwards, the series could be watched as a prelude to the movies, as they would not reveal any of the saga’s pivotal plot points. Anakin would merely be the brave (if rash and occasionally troubled) hero of The Clone Wars, with Obi-Wan as his loyal friend and brother in arms. When the series was over the films could be watched, with the appropriate backstory told, but with none of the characters’ fates revealed.

The central problem of creating tension in plots that centre on those whose fates are known (at least by older audiences) remains, but has been somewhat minimised by concentrating on new or marginal characters. In Weapons Factory and Brain Invaders, padawans Ahsoka Tano and Barriss Offee, seem to be genuinely in peril. Ahsoka in particular, originally loathed by fans as a hybrid of Wesley Crusher and Hannah Montana, is coming into her own as a worthwhile addition, and Anakin’s (negative) influence on her is revealing itself. I still don’t know about her outfit though. She’s supposed to be a Jedi warrior, not Christina Aguilera.

Something that has always bugged me about The Clone Wars is that so far everything we have seen of it has been a war, (singular), between The Republic and The Separatists. Calling them “Wars” always implied that there were several separate conflicts going on. During the Mandalore trilogy of episodes, we see a gathering army of the Boba Fett armour wearing mercenary badasses. This is exciting to aging fanboys such as myself because Fett’s initial backstory, sketchily intimated the the Empire Strikes Back novelisation, was that the Mandalorians were warriors that fought The Jedi during The Clone Wars. Could there be a a separate conflict within the larger one in the coming seasons? Yes please!

Some fans were not happy about The Mandalorians showing up, as it didn’t quite jibe with some of the existing spin off novels, which is a bit like being upset that Owen Lars turns out not to be the brother of Obi-Wan Kenobi after all, but I see their point. Lucasfilm has always been cagey about the place of the old Marvel Comics in the current continuity, and who can blame them when you consider it involved six foot tall green rabbits, telepathic pink hamsters and the invasion of the manga goths. But I have a lot of affection for some of those stories because I grew up with them, so when I see an episode like The Deserter, it takes me right back to The Alderaan Factor. This, and light hearted one off stories like Lightsaber Lost, remind me of some of the issues of that series, as well as the slightly grungier videogames but truthfully, they’re much, much better.

A common discussion point on the Star Wars movies is in which order should they be first viewed (the obvious answer being the release order. Duh!). However we now have fans of the TV show who have seen none of the original movies. As long as they don’t push the foreshadowing too far, or ever employ flashbacks/forwards, the series could be watched as a prelude to the movies, as they would not reveal any of the saga’s pivotal plot points. Anakin would merely be the brave (if rash and occasionally troubled) hero of The Clone Wars, with Obi Wan as his loyal friend and brother in arms. When the series was over the films could be watched, with the appropriate backstory told, but with none of the characters’ fates revealed.
Share

May The d4s Be With You

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

My journey back through the mystical labyrinths of Role Playing Games led me to the most predictable point possible – The Star Wars RPG. We played quite a lot of this as teenagers  and my memory is that the books published by West End Games were always really well produced and entertaining. This game actually created a lot of what was later to become known as The Expanded Universe. Prior to this, we only had those jokey nicknames like Hammerhead, Squidhead and Motorhead (One of these may be falsified). I still love the fact that there was a character whose given name (or the name of his race) was Snaggletooth. Actually maybe it was both: Snaggletooth The Snaggletooth. Who has a snaggle tooth.

Other stuff from that original RPG that was ace:

  • Anyone can fly any ship – this is quite an important distinction from things like the Star Trek game in which you could only do something if you’d spent a couple of years at the Academy taking exams – here, like in the movies you can just just leap into some bucket of bolts, start flipping switches and be doing The Kessel Run in an unspecified amount of time and/or distance
  • One of the starting “character templates” was called “Quixotic Jedi
  • It taught me the meaning of the phrase “In Media Res” – According to the rulebook, all Star Wars movies start in the middle of the action. Except they don’t – only Star Wars (and, later Revenge Of The Sith)  actually do.
  • It was more about heroically doing faintly ridiculous things, rather than collecting gold pieces and +2 Vorpal Swords
I guess if I’m going to run any RPGs, that’s the one, right? I mean I’ve spent the last 36 years filling my head with made up space nonsense, I may as well put it to some use. So, after a quick trip to eBay I bought up a bunch of the more recent (but now over a decade old) Wizards Of The Coast published RPG books. I think the edition I have is officially called “The One with Episode 2 Shit In It”. Since then my internet research has told me that the later “Saga Edition” (aka “The One With Episode 3 Shit In It”) is better, but even that’s been replaced by Edge Of The Empire published by Fantasy Flight. Even though this brings out a primal urge in me to get back on eBay and spend a ton more money, I suspect it doesn’t matter what system you use. With the old West End Games version, after a while you used to have to throw a bucketfull of d6 dice to do anything at all and I don’t recall anyone complaining.
For a scenario I bashed together a bunch of bits of the movies, along with references to some of my favourite stuff from the Expanded Universe (Purely for my own amusement, there is a casino on Nar Shaddaa called The Kopa Khan). I had a out-of-time Jedi that had been frozen in carbonite since The Clone Wars, a starship chase through the aforementioned cityplanet, Trandoshan Bounty Hunters and a sneaky doublecrossing Duro. Everything came to a head on the Moon of Sulon, purely because I liked the old Dark Forces/Jedi Knight games. No “Grave Tuskens” though – that’s the beauty of this shit – you can ignore anything you don’t like. Now, roll for your Midichlorian count…
Seeing as the game was relatively well received (ie. no one fell asleep, set fire to their character sheet or punched me in the face) now I’m continuing a campaign for these characters – luckily, there are a ton of published adventures out there on the web. Next up is Dawn Of Defiance, a ten part adventure, that I’m not sure we’ll get all the way through, but I’m going to have fun redrawing all the characters from it. And also my own. I guess doodling the most obscure characters I could find from the Star Wars Universe wasn’t quite niche enough – I eventually had to start making them up.
Share