2019: RLGAV (Part Seven)

(Seventh in an intermittent series on Real-Life Gerry Anderson Vehicles – RLGAV)

https://arstechnica.com/cars/2019/06/radical-new-airliner-could-save-fuel-but-ride-like-a-roller-coaster/?fbclid=IwAR2O_8dzuI6ClgL_ukH4SEHU4F149xGuDbUteJFMyxr1GNKda9EiUjmC7JA

I figured that with Amazon’s Thunderbirds Are Go series ramping up for another season the only hardware with that Meddings/Trim “vibe” would be on the small screen, but this design could easily be Fireflash 2.0.

Flying V

Fireball XL5 (CGI version)

 

While shuffling through YouTube the other day I  found this CGI adaptation of Fireball XL5.  HarborsidePress LLC has produced a first and second half of the Granatoid Tanks story along similar treatment of the Planet 46 episode. All four offerings are a qualified success; it’s incredibly cool that someone would rework Fireball but there are several aspects of the production that have been done better.

While I kind of like the jet-bikes it’s a given that I am going to prefer my own reboot designs , and Venus’ clothing feels more like off-duty dress than a uniform. There are serious problems with both the structure and animation of the faces but in Harborside’s defense no one has come up with a decent treatment of a human face working through speech.

 

UFO: 1908 Moonbase Commander

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.

2018-12-03 UFO Moonbase 1908

 

 

Unto the Third and Fourth Generation

Working with my Star Pupil doesn’t always entail slaving over the drawing board. This picture documents one of the many breaks we take in between drawing and sculpting,  though you could refer to this as yet another study session.

Art history –  because we are analyzing a classic television program…

Unto the third and fourth generation

I definitely I learned a lot from this session – as in discovering  the degree to which my hair has gone  thin and white…

Phagor

PhagorThis is one of my earlier sculpts – a phagor from the Brian Aldiss Helliconia trilogy.  In the fall of 1991 Easton Press gave me an assignment to create a frontspiece illustration for their signed limited hardbound decision of Helliconia Spring. Most of the other figures and elements involved were fairly straightforward but I had never been happy with any previous version of the goat-like phagors  I had seen so I made the bust and shot reference photos.

Production notes: Super Sculpey with a metal armature on a wooden base and painted with acrylics

2018-11-03 Tesla Strong

2018-11-03 Tesla

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:

  •  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Strong
  •  https://www.amazon.com/Tom-Strong-Deluxe-Vol-1/dp/1401225365/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1543168999&sr=8-5&keywords=tom+strong+book+1

 

 

 

 

Artists: Val & Ron Lindahn

ValAndRonLindahn

Three of the most physically demanding experiences of my life

  • Two-a-day football practice
  • Basic Airborne course – “jump school”
  • Confederation 44

Confederation 44 AKA the 1986 World Science Fiction convention was not the type event you’d usually associate with strenuous physical activity but as I was in the midst of the initial  flare of ankylosing spondylitis it became an endurance test of sorts. The attendant severe pain along my spine and hips made getting both baggage and artwork from airport to hotel a definite challenge.

I would survive that Labor Day weekend on Motrin and Tylenol 3.

The Atlanta WORLDCON had not been on my schedule; not only did I have the physical discomfort to contend with – for the first time in my freelance career  I was bringing in enough work for a decent income, so I didn’t see a need for making what would be a miserable trip. However at the last minute a New York book publisher told me in a phone conversation that meeting at WORLDCON was all that lay between me and more lucrative book cover assignments.

$KA-CHING$

The  happy ending would have me making my way to Atlanta, inking a multi-book deal and selling several paintings in the art show – all while enjoying a miraculous remission of my physical ailments. Unfortunately reality was more a matter of pain and disappointment: travel aggravated the spasms, I sold nothing in the art show and my meeting with the publisher was a bust as in “ I don’t know what I was thinking when I told you that”,

….but in the middle of it all was a definite “silver lining in dark cloud” moment,

I was standing in the art show next to my panel and feeling totally overwhelmed  at having my work hung next to the stellar work of Steve Hickman when a total stranger walked up, shook my hand and said “Hi, I’m Ron Lindahn. Val and I have been looking at your work. It’s good and I just thought I’d introduce myself”.

I stood there for a moment then replied with something snappy like “Argle bargle urk”. At the time convention art shows were dominated by the book publishing industry and my entry from the role-playing game ghetto had been met with a cool response. Val and Ron Lindahn were definitely “names” in the business and I had difficulty processing what the h*ll they saw in me.

I’d seen their work and admired it from afar for a couple of years – there was a confidence in excellence that I’ve tried and failed to achieve in my own work. I’ve also liked they way they’d experiment and use non-traditional media – one of the most interesting conversations of the weekend revolved around unwinding and fraying coarse twine to use as stencil in rendering undersea plant life.

They are just as ‘excellent” in real-life as well;  I spent the rest of the Atlanta WORLDCON in their company and despite the elevated level of pain I was dealing with I had  a marvelous time, if nothing than for the fact that it was the first large S/F convention where I didn’t feel like a little kid with my nose pressed on the window glass, on the outside looking in.

It’s been a few years since I’ve seen them – the A/S is in full force and I don’t get out much, but I will always remember their kindness.

Easter Eggs and Retro-Design

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.

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…

2018-10-01 SkyDiver 1939

Never mind the fact that the idea has been retro-designed to approximately TL 1939…

Star Boy

Star BoyIt was  another one of those nights where I felt like I was breathing through a soda straw so at  2:00 AM I finally surrendered and left bed for the studio where I spent an hour or so reading a trade paperback collection of THE LEGION OF SUPERHEROES. Reprints of comics I’d read in the mid-1960s, the Legion stories are set in the 30th century and feature the wonderfully clunky art of John Forte. In my youthful estimation the Legion ran a close second to Batman because:

  •  The stories drew in both the superhero and science fiction genre
  •  The stories were about kids that I could readily identify with
  •   There was such a wide variety of both good and evil characters

 However, in some respects  that large number of characters could be a liability as well as an asset. Not only could it be difficult for an eleven-year old mind to keep up with all of the interweaving plot lines, I think that in the beginning the rush to pad out the roster gave us some fairly one-dimensional characters.

 A prime example is Star Boy, born Thom Kallor to parents living on an orbital platform about the planet Xanthu. While the character was eventually fleshed out and linked to several other notable DC heroes, in the earlier Legion stories his sole super power was the ability to make things heavy, and I’m not talking mother-in-law poundage: Heavy as in up to the weight of a planet.

 Hmmm. A superhero that can make things heavy, as in:

  • Helping  construction workers by making foundation blocks sink into the ground
  • Hiding  valuable objects by making them so heavy they’d sink into the ground
  •  Stop fleeing villains by making them so heavy they’d sink into the ground

 …and at this point I run out of ideas…Other than the “sinking into the ground” bit the main benefit to Star Boy’s power would be helping Kate Moss to get across the street on a windy day. Even as a kid I couldn’t figure out how he’s managed to stay on the Legion roster with such limitations, but as I drove past a city maintenance crew the other day I finally figured it all out.

 It was the stereotypical nine-guys-standing-around-one-guy-with-a-shovel scenario, but that mob was not what caught my interest. It was the older guy sitting sideways out of the passenger seat in the truck, doing absolutely nothing but drinking coffee. That’s when it hit me:  The Legion of Super Heroes is a union shop! Star Boy was hired early on and has so much seniority he can’t be “downsized” no matter how limited his powers may be.