Again – a color version of a drawing that I’ve shown here in the past as a black & white image: My version of Venus from FIREBALL XL5 with some “tweaking” in both appearance and ability.
(It occurs to me that in our current socio-political environment someone could assume some sort of sordid intent with my use of the word “tweak” but please be reassured there is no ulterior motive.)
There’s a bit of challenge in maintaining uniformity in the XL5 crew (especially after you’ve seen color photos) so I kept the good doctor’s green jumpsuit but gave her a pointy-shouldered jacket to match Steve Zodiac’s uniform.
It also seemed a perfect situation for my beloved Trap-Jaw palette comprised of the tropical magentas/oranges and turquoises of that particular He-Man adversary. However, I was putting this together it occurred to me that those colors just a matter of horking from Filmation’ s color choice – some of those colors can be found in vivid sunsets of both dawn and dusk in Alaska.
…and there’s yet another influence, one that I thought I’d imagined for years – a toy set called Hamilton’s Invaders that was on the market for the blink-of-an-eye in 1964. It also used colors like chartreuse and turquoise found in my “Trap-jaw Palette” and while print advertisements were the only presence Hamilton Invaders had in the Last Frontier, what I saw was intriguing enough to have a permanent aesthetic influence on me.
The only thing better than the stuff Sir Gerry Anderson and his crew thought up is tweaking the details. I love retro-designing vehicles and costumes and when I was dusting some of my “trophies” in the sitting room I got the idea for a uniform for the Moonbase ladies had SHADO been organized in 1908 instead of 1980.
This post is not exactly reeking in Christmas-osity but I wanted to share the latest installment of Dog King John & the Stolen Syrup.
Merry Christmas wishes to you all!
Tesla Strong, daughter of science-hero Tom Strong and a rugged science-hero in her own right. Tom Strong is a creation of Alan Moore/ Chris Sprouse and appeared in America’s Best Comics, part of DC’s Wildstorm imprint. The books ran through most of the 2000s and are among the best comics of the new millennium.
Additional references can be found at:
This dates from back when we were house-sitting for my parents in Sterling in the late 1980s. I sold the original years ago but I think it measured about six inches on the vertical side.
As for inspiration there are three things going on here:
- I’ve always liked the way Val Paul Taylor works Pacific Northwest themes into his work – Val and I were classmates for one all-too-short years at BYU.
- I’ve been a fan of alternate history since Kirk Mitchell’s Procurator series in the mid-Eighties and I take great delight in designing arms and equipment for “What if” scenarios.
- While the Kenai Peninsula art “scene” had opened up immeasurably since I left home in 1971, it was still very much dominated in 1988 by touristy themes such as moose, mountains, the Northern Lights and PUFFINS!
We couldn’t go anywhere without running into paintings of puffins….
I’m not the first artist to hide Easter Eggs in work, but I think I might be in contention for the title of “most obscure reference.”. Take the nice little pen & ink drawing I did in the summer of 1988 depicting a British tank crew on the Western Desert ca. 1941. In the foreground is the commander sipping a mug of tea, in the background was an-obviously-recently-shot-down pterodactyl and on the hull of the tank itself is painting the Cross of St. George.
Unfortunately it all worked out the way a visiting friend predicted: ” Nice drawing but no one will get the reference”
Today’s drawing falls into much the same category…
Never mind the fact that the idea has been retro-designed to approximately TL 1939…
They’re the first thing you see on an episode of Fireball XL5
“OK Venus?” “OK Steve” “Right…let’s go!”
Some guys my age like to golf all the time. Other guys work in their gardens. Me – I like to re-design things just for the h*ll of it. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Fireball XL5, if nothing else but for the fact that it was my favorite show during 5th grade at Woodland Park Elementary in deepest, darkest Spenard…and it was time to give the jetbike a reworking….
My latest effort at re-designing Fireball XL5 involves the Thruster Packs used for either EVA outside of the ship or movement around a planetary surface.
Clunky technology is one of reasons I love Gerry Anderson’s work. The shows have vehicles and equipment that look futuristic but are in fact usually manifestations of a mature (dead-end) technology that will be tossed aside when the Next New Thing comes along. Think 8-track tape players or RCA Selectavision. The Hawker Hurricane vs. the Spitfire. – the sort of thing I’ve referred to as “technodork” in other writings.
The search for a functional reason for those pointy-shouldered uniforms has bedeviled me since 1963 but other than aesthetics their main value was ease of construction and tailoring. I left the pointy shoulders off the regular duty uniforms but incorporated them into the thruster pack design as a multifunctional breastplate of sorts with concealed mounts for accessories, mounting brackets for propulsion units and foldable wings for fuel economy . It also provides measure of protection while looking suitably “outer space-y” with the pointy shoulder features.
…now if I can just figure out how to make those “oxygen pills” work.
It’s pretty obvious that aviation and aircraft rate fairly high on my list of interests (obsessions?). I like classic aircraft best – mostly 1930’s and early World War 2 “stuff”- but I like some of the odder concepts that came out right after World War 2 when the superpowers were in a race to see who could be first to put pilfered German technology to practical use.
Of course American designers came up with some interesting concepts on their own. The Skyshark was an attempt by Douglas Aircraft to combine turbine technology with contra-rotating propellers to get a really, really fast naval attack plane – but unfortunately technology available in the late 1940s was not equal to the task. Once more a beautiful concept was shot down by ugly fact when the gearboxes between the engines and propellers routinely disintegrated into bits of metal during acceleration so the United States Navy wisely went with the A1 Skyraider as the attack plane of choice.
Of course that doesn’t deter me from making whimsical drawings of the plane (in imaginary insignia/markings ) in my sketchbook …
Carrying on with the alternate time-line historically correct superhero idea: CPT Carter Hall, US Army (Airborne) tests his wings. This design actually took some time to come together for me as Hawkman traditionally uses edged weapons and maces (granted they are enchanted edged weapons and maces) but they just didn’t look right. I also briefly considered giving him an officer’s sword ( yes – they still do exist) but in the end I went with just the good old M1911A2.
(answering the age-old question: Why do you use a .45? Answer: Because they don’t make a .46!
I also considered giving him an oxygen mask w/bottle but I don’t think he would routinely fly high enough to need one.