Saturday, October 4, 2014

Oh Captain, My Captain

I think it's confession time.

We have a bit of a superhero problem in this house.

It's not uncommon for us to be invaded by Superman, the Flash, random Avengers, Wonder Woman, etc. As a result, our closet has no shortage of costumes for the kids to dress up in (and me from time to time, if we're being honest). The kids have all the action figures, we've seen all the shows (Netflix has proven invaluable with all the cartoons the kids have had access to.) Free Comic Book Day is an annual outing, both the older kids have their favorites. Santa would in fact get hate mail from our address if he didn't provide a little superhero fix on December 25th.

I don't think there is anything wrong with our obsession, mind you. I love the idea of superheroes. They show us a better version of ourselves. They provide an example to aspire to, even if we will never be able to fly or shoot webs from our wrists, or compel the truth from someone by throwing a lasso around them. They vanquish evil, stand up for the weak, and affect change in those around them.

So, we play dress up. We imagine. We let the worlds of Marvel and the DC universe overtake our living room. And soon, the two boys and their heroes will be moving into the same bedroom. A room overrun with mutants and aliens and defenders of truth and justice is exactly what Godzilla wants, and exactly what he wants to share with his baby brother.

A superhero themed room though needs superheroes to fill the walls, so who should go up first, but the first of them all. Action Comics #1 staring Godzilla as the Man of Steel. Maybe you remember it, maybe you don't (go ahead, take a look, he makes a good Superman). The second thing will be the other iconic American hero, Captain America. And what more iconic image of Cap is there than the cover Jack Kirby and Stan Lee put together after JFK's assassination. While this cover may not be as recognizable as AC1, It is one of Marvel's most important.  It was a story of a man out of time who represented the strength of democracy and perseverance. It showed that we can overcome our trials based on our will power and conviction, and that is a message I want my kids to learn. Who wouldn't want to embody such a message? Combine Captain America with Iron Man, Thor, Ant Man, and Wasp, and you have the perfect template to base another anchor to the boy's room.

As always, I started with a copy of the original in hand, and penciled in a rough sketch for scale and positioning.

After filling out the forms and roughing in the shading, I moved on to pen and locked in the outlines.

Next it comes to color, I just stole some of the kid's colored pencils for this cover.

All of this turned out to be the easy part though. Try though I might, I could not pose Godzilla in the same stance Kirby drew the original Cap in. The trickiest part of it all was in the shoulder. It presents great on the March, 1964 cover, but human shoulders just don't seem to bend that way. Ultimately, I had a dozen pictures and had to choose from what I had as the final image.

Two shots though had the best elements to pull from. First is a great pose, but he had a bit of an odd look on his face. Next is a better head shot, though his pose wasn't quite there. What's a dad to do, but cut off his son's head and paste another one back on, as you can see below.

Scale him down, print and cut him out, and before you know it, you're starring in your very own comic book cover!


  1. Sounds like some fun is going on over there. It's cool the way you were able to draw your son on the cover. It looks good.

  2. Nice artwork! This is the kind of thing that might be cool for a minute and forgotten for a while (and how that stings!) but years later he'll be so gratified that you took the time to do it for him.

    1. If he outgrows it, I haven't permanently attached the shot of him, so we'll just move on to his brother, and then someday maybe grandkids.