Friday, June 25, 2010

Catman Strikes!

David Drake was born to a wealthy family that unfortunately did not have the intelligence to match their wealth. His parents were killed by local bandits while visiting Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Left alone David was eventually raised by Gaia, the Goddess of the Earth itself. Gaia was intrigued by a white child and so she blessed him with supernatural abilities just as she had done for a young Indian boy 100 years earlier. That boy went on to become the Jungle King. Like the Jungle King, Drake was given enhanced speed, agility, strength and toughness. However Drake was not raised by various animals in the jungle, he was given to a pride of lions who took care of him until he was 18. The Barbary lion pride was the largest in Africa and so was their king. As the last of a royal line of lions, the pride would fade with the passing of their male leader. When the pride passed away the king passed his essence and that of his 8 pride members on to their human son, David Drake. Drake gained impressive abilities from the lions; superhuman vision, hearing and an incredible sense of smell as well as night vision like that of a predatory cat.

For a while David travelled across Australia with his fiance Terry West. Terry was a conservationist who David met in Africa who convinced him to come to Australia with her. Unfortunately Terry also suffered from pancreatic cancer and their time together was short. After her death David did not know what to do with himself. Eventually he stumbled upon the Dreamtime, an alternate dimension located somewhere in Australia for spiritual travel. This was the same Dreamtime that Lady Devil would visit the same year, a place where the Spirit-God would reveal truth and destiny to certain people whose lives were born for such things. It was soon after that David began wearing the Catman suit and it is his primary mission to protect the remaining species of tigers and lions.

Catman is officially listed as an Omega threat. This means, according to the UN Charter, he has used his powers to commit, cover-up, or assisted in the committing of a crime. What actually happened was a group of wealthy English tourists killed a wild tiger for sport and in return, Catman forced them all to fight in unarmed combat against the tiger's mate. One member of the group managed to survive and petitioned the British government to go after Catman. This means that at some point the Canadian Legion will have to bring him in for questioning and to possibly stand trial.

Catman possesses acute senses that were comparable to those possessed by certain animals. Catman is able to see objects with greater clarity and at much greater distances than an ordinary human. His sight was enhanced to the point that he could see with this same level of clarity in almost complete darkness, just like a nocturnal cat. This may have been in part a result of being able to see into the infrared and ultraviolet portions of the spectrum. His sense of hearing was enhanced in a similar manner, allowing him to hear sounds that humans could not. Catman is also able to use his highly developed sense of smell to track targets by scent. His agility and reflexes were enhanced beyond the human body's natural limits. With an ability to flex, relax, and reflex his musculature at dramatically improved speeds, Catman can pounce much like a real cat.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Why the costume?

So you might be wondering at this point why I chose those elements of the costume what is with the guy cut-off on the bottom there? The bottom half of the image would normally be sent as a separate file from the main "frankensteined" image. It is to show the artist how to give the costume some depth. At this point most artists can easily do spandex but to really make it look like real material you have to go the extra step. So Catman will have tiger stripes that are raised up like the designs of Bianchi's X-Men.
Check out an example here:
Catman's costume will have a zipper directly down the middle, as I explained it to my wife, so we can get a bit of beefcake and he can show off the chest. :)
So body in the picture will be the same, with the black gloves but with tiger stripes that more closely match the mask. I liked Alex Ross's Cat-Man design because it actually looks like a cat.
But one thing I find absolutely ridiculous is the cape. It works for a Bat-Man, but a cat should be smooth, efficient and streamlined. The cape had to go. The mane was something I'd wanted to for a character for a while. Only two characters besides Sabretooth were ever really able to pull off a mane, one was Kraven the Hunter, the other was the Creeper (sort of). Since neither character is around anymore, I figured it would be a nice touch.
Last but not least the knives. This was the last minute impulse, I was originally going to go with a more cat-like dark metal claw hand that could retract the blades like a real cat. But at the last minute I thought why not just use knives? Otherwise he would have looked too much like Sabretooth. Tomorrow I will put up a proper write-up of the characters history.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Catman "Frankenstein" mock-up.

So this is what I will be sending to the artist to turn into the Canadian Legion version of Catman.
Tomorrow I will tell you why I chose the pieces I did choose, as well as the history of the character.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Catman Part 5 - More Artwork

I have files and files full of stuff like this.
More DC/Dynamite and assorted artwork of cat people from the web.
Just wanted to post a copyright notice, Cat-Man is owned by DC Comics, Man-Cat is property of Dynamite Entertainment, all artwork posted so far belongs to the respective owners and is used only to compare the different versions of the characters.

Thanks you.

Catman Part 4

Now here is the difference between those are committed to their craft and the guys who half-ass it.
Even though I stopped working on this by noon yesterday, the ideas for Catman continued to spin through my head all day. People will be talking to me and I am thinking of what type of material a furry Catman could wear.

Yesterday I went through all the characters named Cat-Man to see what other people had done, but today we widen the circle and bring in anything that could possibly be used as my Catman, in each of the pictures I post there is a seed of possibility that could spark the design idea. My main concern right now is those damn shorts. Everyone else has replaced them but I want to find a way to make a cool costume with shorts and I am not sure it can be done.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Catman Part 3 - Other Designs

So DC, AC and Dynamite all have their own version of Cat-Man. Dynamite is calling their Man-Cat which I think is a great idea.

Here is the Australian version of Cat-Man:

And the Canadian version:

Both of these are at least 20-30 years old.
Now the more modern stuff:
Dynamite's Man-Cat

And DC's version, my favorite, Cat-Man.

Catman Part 2

From living with tigers for years, he gained superhuman abilities, such as super-strength, enhanced agility, natural night vision and the legendary "9 lives" of cats. Eventually, David returned to the U.S., where he was horrified by criminals preying on the innocent. To stop this, he became a private investigator; later, he would become an officer in the Army. Assigned to stateside duties, he donned an olive and orange costume with a black cat's-head symbol and became Cat-Man.

Cat-Man proved popular enough to earn his own series in May, 1941. In issue #5(V2#10), Cat-Man encountered Katie Conn, an 11-year-old circus acrobat who fell under the guardianship of her unscrupulous uncle after her parents died in the fire. The uncle forced Katie to steal things for him. Cat-Man intervened on her behalf and made sure her uncle was brought to justice. Since she no longer had a guardian, David adopted Katie. She tried to help him fight crime, sewing a matching red and yellow costume and calling herself the Kitten. At first, David tried to keep her from helping him, but Katie eventually proved herself and the two became partners. As the series continued, Katie matured and David was promoted to the rank of captain.

You might have noticed I am spelling his name Catman as opposed to Cat-Man. That is because there is a Canadian superhero named Catman and simply spelling it differently I homage that less popular Catman from Canada.

So onto the Kitten. So here you have a young boy raised to manhood by an older woman in the jungle, who later finds an 11 year old girl thief who becomes his sidekick.
11 is too young, as a parent I can't ever be convinced to use children as crime-fighters. So let's say she was at least 15-16, a little more mature and capable of dealing with the horrors in the world. However, I really can't get past the Sex Kitten aspects of her name, so let's toss it out and call her Ladycat. More class and style I think. But that doesn't have the same Catman and Kitten ring to it does it? Well lets leave that for another time. . .

Na-na-na-na-nanana! Cat-Man!

The first character of the pair I am revamping here is Catman.
From the Web:

The Merrywether family was traveling through the jungles of Burma when bandits killed the mother, father, and sister. Young David was the only survivor. He was found and raised by a Tigress and gradually gained all the powers of the cat family. When he became an adult, he decided to return to the United States. Upon arriving there, he was appalled to discover that the city was full of crime and evil he found. He decided to fight it, both as a private eye in his civilian identity and as the costumed Cat-Man.

So we start with the origin story and the character. Right off the bat there is some interesting stuff there, but I hate his name. David Merrywether? Right off I am going to change that to David Drake. Drake is shorter, easier and frankly I like the Canadian rapper. "Dave" is not a suitable handle for my Catman. Since all Raven Studio comics are for adults, I will point out the obvious sexual issues at play with this character; raised by a Tigress in the woods? Like a couger/sugar mama? So let's assume a beautiful black female hunter takes him under her paw and makes a man out of him. Not a bad origin, huh? Sure it sucks your parents died, but I am sure with all the hot jungle sex and killing he was able to cope.

So Drake becomes a Catman of the jungle, killing poachers and hunters and criminals alone for years. These would be considered the "dark years", the times where he was not strong or morally guided and made mistakes. Like Bat-Man, Catman needs someone to ride along with him and keep the beast inside under control. Which brings us to Kitten.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I am considering teaching a little writing/creating lesson on Facebook using Public Domain characters without getting sued and making them unique, because a lot of people like these characters but don't know how to use them properly.

Either post comments here or on the blog. Which of these two current DC characters, both of which are in public domain, should I redo?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

So as a little creative lesson I am going to let facebook friends pick which of these characters I will revamp. Both characters are popular at DC right now so this really raises the stakes, don't you think?

Whichever one gets the most votes will get redone, Raven Studio style.