Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Spider-Man Week - Part 2

Vulture and Kraven
Vulture - Adrian Toomes used his skills as an electronics engineer to invent a flight harness. Then, like The Shocker, he decided not to sell this brilliant invention for millions but instead begin a life of crime with it. What's wrong with these people?

I like that the character is old, it's rare for a supervillain and adds extra vivere to his desire for flight. It's be interesting if more emphasis was put on the 'Vulture' aspect too, wherein he steals from other criminals rather than commiting crimes of his own. Otherwise, he might as well be another bird. A bald eagle, perhaps.

Kraven - Considering Spider-Man's plethora of villains using animal themes it was a fine idea to add a hunter to the mix, someone who's as interested in defeating them as Peter Parker is. Unfortunately, his theme is animal too. Not many hunters consider spiders worthy prey, so maybe Peter could take it as a compliment.

Morbius, Jack O' Lantern, Tombstone
Whilst thinking of who else to draw from Spider-Man's rogues gallery I realised that, along with animals, he seems to be regularly bothered by Halloween-themed folk too. I decided to put these 3 together.

Morbius - This character has some interesting trivia beyond his fictional story. He debuted in 1971, shortly after the Comics Code Authority updated its rules. These new rules now allowed sympathetic portrayals of criminals, corruption among public officials, the deaths of law-enforcement officers by criminals and stories involving seduction - although the seduction has to be suggested, not shown. No kissy lips or bum bums. How bizarre is it that these things were banned in the past? Hard to imagine such strict rules in any medium these days. We're even allowed to show kissy lips and bum bums now.

One of the other things allowed after the Comics Code Authority updated its rules was the portrayal of supernatural characters such as vampires, ghouls and werewolves. Thus, the appearence of Morbius that same year in Spider-Man #101. This was also the first Spider-Man comic not written by Stan Lee.

I've drawn Morbius as a scruffy, desperate creature because his backstory is pretty tragic. He became a vampire when trying to cure his own rare blood disease with an experimental treatment involving bats and electroshock therapy. Unfortunately, this made things worse and he turned into a bat-like creature hungry for blood.

Jack O' Lantern - I don't know anything about this character, aside from the fact I always liked his flaming pumpkin head. That's really the only reason I included him. He never turned up in any of the comics I had. From what I've read, he's an ex-CIA operative named Jason Macendale who was disgraced from the organisation for being violent and amoral. Sounds like perfect CIA material to me?

He began a new career as a freelance mercenary - although I can't find any specific reason why he chose Jack O' Lantern as a persona. Maybe he likes pumpkins so much he just needed an excuse to snack on them while he's working. I myself am thinking of becoming 'Toast Master'. He flies around on a flat circular disc but that's pretty dull, so I equipped spinning blades to it too.

Tombstone - Lonnie Thompson was born albino and teased for it, eventually using that to his advantage by filing his teeth and nails to sharp points to resemble a vampire. From a story perspective, we already have Morbius... Lonnie is a stronger, more physical character though so I focused my drawing on that. He's a hitman and enforcer so I should probably have drawn him more gangster than I have here. But I had this idea that these two urban horrors could be the counter-point henchmen to Jack O' Lantern; a more intelligent, dapper and archaically dressed villain.

That's all for today! Tomorrow: Green Goblin, Electro, Rhino and Chameleon!