Why hello there!
If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve stuck with us for all of Issue #1 of TURNCOAT. If this is true, I can’t thank you enough. The amount of support we’ve received from friends, family, and…uh…complete strangers has been absolutely overwhelming. Both me and Klaus look forward to entertaining you with many more issues following the adventures of Duke, the world’s worst superhero hitman.
Now, with Issue #1 of Turncoat now finished, I thought it’d be pretty cool if my artistic brother-in-arms did a little write-up of the character designs we’ve seen thus far. Issue #2 is going to start later today. But in the mean-time, here’s Klaus talking shop.
Over to you, buddy!
Thanks, Ryan! Hello everyone!
First off, welcome to the Turncoat Universe! Thank you for spending some time with the characters Ryan and I have brought forth into existence. Their lives are filled with the same monotony and drudgery of everyday work life, only in between collecting their pay checks and taking a smoke breaks, they’re busy planning hits on super heroes. It’s a fun world to play around in, especially once Ryan explained to me that the crux of the story isn’t about super heroes, it’s about the sad life of Duke as he goes through a mid-life crisis. So, let’s talk about how the design of Duke came about…
In the early concepts, I started out building Duke up as a giant powerful, “Hit-Man” following the feel of the Punisher or Hellboy. However, Duke isn’t a giant machine of destruction, he’s more of a sad everyman. Working with the character write ups from Ryan, I focused on his description of Duke as, Pierrot, the pantomime clown of Commedia dell’Arte fame. I pulled some of the elements from the traditional French costume, mostly white, hints of black, including Duke’s tie (mimicking Pierrot’s three fuzzy buttons). The mask was of primary importance, it’s the actual emotional state that Duke feels inside; he’s a sad and broken clown. When Duke removes the mask, he shows the mask he has developed for the world, the mask of an angry insecure man dealing with his world falling apart around him. I made him extra lanky to drive home his vulnerability and physical inadequacies, and to top it off gave him three stray hairs acting as a comb over. The three again repeats the visual of the 3 fuzzy buttons. Lastly, I gave him incredibly dark circles under his eyes, this create a nice balance with the rest of his black/white uniform, helping his frustrated eyes to jump out at the reader.
Bernard acts as Duke’s foundation, his steady ground. I wanted him to be a ‘roll with the flow’ type of guy, to balance Duke’s obsession with the ills of the world. I tried to capture the age-wise, soft hippy vibe found in the San Fran. tech world. He’s so amazing at his job, that it’s ok he rolls out of bed with torn jeans and plaid shirts. Basically, his look is disjointed, messy but inviting and confident.
To counter Duke’s disheveled appearance is Sharon. The epitome of what Duke is not. Perfect at her job, confident, deadly, sleek and put together. Her very presence is a reminder to Duke that he can’t put his own life in order.
Bug Boy and Crusha needed to feel like the classic hero/villain team. We needed to trick the viewer into thinking this book was about super heroes by setting up a traditional pair of ‘polyester and metal’ combatants. It was also important to show the size difference between the two characters, one is a featherweight the other a heavyweight. I gave Crusha the classic neanderthal forehead to drive home his simplicity; he’s a villain but not even sure why. As we went on developing the rest of the cast, I felt more comfortable playing more with costumes and the “looks” of each player in the Turncoat world.
So, stick around for the rest of the journey and enjoy meeting the full cast! There’s plenty more to come.