Welcome to the second installmentof the DCG Flashback. Once again, we hope you'll join us as we take a look intothe hidden depths of the C2F vaults and unearth some of the classic art ofyesteryear.
I've been a member of this place for so many years now, seen a lot of artistscome and go, and seen a lot of art come through the gallery. But none ever stuckin my mind as much as this piece. As someone who often strayed into the 'scene'genre, I was perhaps more interested in other such pieces, and this was a standout for me. Not only was Marcelo technically excellent, creating realism withoutsacrificing the fantasy of the comic characters, but he also proved here to bea master of composition. You truly get a sense of action, dynamism and energyfrom the positions, and positioning, of the characters. There's a genuine senseof scale, there's great use of foreground and background. And then there's thelighting. Consistent shadows. Glows from Cyclops' energy bean and the Torch'sflames. There's blurring on the characters that are moving. Marcelo goes intogreat detail on all the characters, aiming for a real-world feel to all theircostumes and achieving it, especially on Sue and Iron Man (who, in my mind, isone of the hardest characters to appear 'realistic'). But he was also unafraid ofsacrificing this detail for the greater realism- most of Captain America is inshadows, while Panther, Doom, Wolverine are so small that you can hardly make outthe detail, but you can be sure that he made them as detailed as the foregroundcharacters. I think this piece is truly representative of putting 110% into everyaspect of your art, and four years on, this is still the piece that I go backto before starting any of my own. Marcelo hasn't been around for a while, andboy do I miss stuff like this.
- Pirate King 2000
I strongly wanted to write about one of Marrow's pics for this feature soonerrather than later. He's one of my favourite DCG artists and one of those folkswho inspired me to try my hand at this stuff. Although he's been pretty muchinactive in the DCG the last couple years, I'm sure anyone who was around whilehe was posting regularly would count him among the best ever artists the DCG hasever been graced with. After a bit of thought, I decided to write a few wordsabout this particular pic. It's probably not his best, but I rather liked theCrossGen comics, and this image was in part responsible for me checking themout... I'd heard good reviews as well, but the first time I looked at a CrossGenbook I did so because I recognized Giselle from this image by Marrow! Truestory. So there's the (totally subjective and personal) reason why I still havea soft spot for this one. But even if this manip hadn't been to blame forconvincing me to spend money (Damn you, David!), I'd still point to it as agreat example of Marrow's work and a fine demonstration of some of his greateststrengths as an artist. First, look at the lighting: Marrow was (and is) one ofthe best artists in the photomanipping world when it came to dynamic lighting,and this is a great example thereof. Most people wouldn't even dare try to stickone light source in an image; Marrow has two, both perfectly achieved,strong enough to enliven the image without overpowering it. They're expertlyplaced too and believe me, it's not easy to figure out which bits should belit up and which shouldn't be. The actual power signatures are very nicelydone as well. A lot of people will just slap on a lens flare and be done withit, but Marrow takes the time and effort to make each power effect unique anddistinctive. Then there's the costume. The various folds and wrinkles are allbeautifully done), with a natural flow that enhances the character's physique.The flow of her cape is great too... and again, it's not something most peoplecan manage successfully. Overall, this image is a very good example of Marrow'ssmooth, sexy, airbrushed style... when people talk about how a pic doesn't haveto exploitative to be sexy, this is what they mean. This likely isn't Marrow'sbest pic, sure, but when even his average pieces are this good, who are we tocomplain?
Over the years I've gotten better at art, mostly due to this site and how it makesme work harder. With that time the wonderment that I once had at looking at someof the pieces here has worn off. Mainly because those early pieces that made mestare at them for hours... well, I learned from them. Anyone who says lightingis an afterthought in an image... take a look at this work by Mystic Morgan.If you fully lit this piece, the entire mood changes from somber and reflective,to Spidey with his head hung low for the sake of having his head hung low. If theblues get lit they would change their color entirely... making the image loseits wonderfully cold feel to it. I learned from Mystic that lighting can reallychange a piece from something average (this is not average) to something out ofthe ballpark. The musculature of this piece had me staring for days, justbecause I could really feel the weight of them by looking at the piece. And tome, this seemed like an older, more mature Spiderman... a Spiderman that youdon't see a lot of. Spidey is a character a lot of artists really enjoy doing,but it's one I stay away from because of the costume (I would skip the red andblue costume and go black....I would soooo cheat). With these flashbacks, I thinkit's important to tell a story, to say why you think this piece is groundbreakingenough for you to comment on it. I can't remember a funny story for this one, Ijust know what the image means to me. It made me realize that a really great pieceof work conveys emotion to the viewer... it's those pieces that make you rememberthem, hence why I remembered this one. I started off saying that I lost thewonderment I used to have looking at some of the images here. I didn't mean that asan insult, it's the ultimate compliment. This piece by Mystic was an art coursecondensed into a 90k image for me. Believe me, I took so much from this imageand have tried to apply to my trade down the road. I only hope that I can do theteacher justice.
Everybody knows that Welshcat is the king when it comes to metallic characters, especially Iron Man. When focusing on an Iron Man manip from Welshcat, you'd have a lot to choose from. One of my personal favourites is Casino Fatale as it not only features awesome costumes and colours, but it also has a really fun and interesting layout. Welshcat has always made exceptional scenes, but it was with this submission that I felt he really reached a new level with his costuming and also just with the full integration of each character's lighting.
All of the costuming in Casino Fatale is done with perfect precision, from the small folds on Blizzard's limbs to the slight transparency of Bethany's dress. The colours are beautifully lush and they only look better on top of the glitzy casino background. It also goes without saying that Iron Man looks fantastic and is actually one of Welshcat's best representations of the character. To top it all off, Welshcat chose a different layout style than usual and created the really cool and slightly kitschy roulette wheel frame.
In the end, Welshcat created a wonderfully rendered image that exudes a kind of retro fun that can barely be described. It is surely one of his greatest creations and a highlight in the gallery as a whole.
Sure it's simple, and it borrows heavily from the base image, but it is freakyextraordinaire. The painterly look, the lighting, the insane idea of using MarilynManson all make for a unique take on Dark Phoenix. It's a bent and dark view of acharacter that we are all familiar with, but certainly not in this way. Bothchilling and twisted, this image certainly effectively portrays an alien presence.There is no mistaking this for Jean Grey. I don't what the reaction to this imagewas when it was first posted, but it seems like a gutsy and risky image to post.Stripping the character of gender Bullsik delves into character. This is not animage of a woman possessed, but rather of (somewhat) humanized alienconsciousness.
Rogue is one of those characters that I swear gets manipped by someone,somewhere every day. And twice on weekends. Yet, of all the hundreds(and hundreds, and hundreds) of Rogue manips out there, this is still my votefor the best of the lot. It's also my favourite of Lady D's contributions tothe gallery. And there's a lot to choose from! Lady D is still, I think, themost prolific DCG artist. Yet despite the impressive quantity of work sheproduces, the quality of her work never suffers. This image, aninstallment in one of Debbie's many series, is a case in point. This has finecostuming, with a very impressive rubber/wetsuit type texture... which is notat all easy to accomplish... the skunk-stripe in her hair (which everyone seems toscrew up) works nicely... ditto the (standard for the series) background... andit'd be remiss of me not to mention that this is still one of the best uses I haveever seen of a poser base in a manip... lots of people use Poser. Some (mostobviously, Bill Turner) have specialized in "de-Posering" their work... and yetthis is just about the only image I can recall where I was surprised to read in theart notes that it involved Poser... Lady D could always get naturalistic poses outof that hideous, demonic piece of software better than anyone else I can think of,and this is probably the best example of that ability. But, never mind all that.There's loads of manips out there that were on a similar level to this in terms oftechnique. So, what's so special about this one? Simple: Atmosphere. Mood. Withoutany fancy lighting or effects, without any blood and gore, and without any overtlystylistic elements, this image manages to perfectly showcase the character'spersonality. "Destitute, lonely, untouchable..." these words aren't just floatingaround in the background, they're implicit in the character's pose and bodylanguage... her whole look and feel is quiet, melancholy, and (as the backgroundsays), lonely. She's so introverted, turned so much inwards, that she comes acrossas almost defensive. And that's Rogue (particularly the younger, less experiencedUltimate Rogue) all over.
When it comes to crazy Joker is the king. His physical attributes while strangedo not in and of themselves denote his mental state. This portrait is instantlyrecognizable as the Joker, but dseid decided to take the image beyond simplelikeness. The text looks disturbingly like drying blood. His green hair explodesfrom his head as if his insane mind is bursting violently free. The trademarkgrin is filled with overly large teeth and it seems to simultaneously be bothsmiling and snarling like a pitbull. His face is scarred and stained with blood.Blood covered cards in the background also mark his forehead as if to let you knowwhat he has on his mind, which is clearly all we need or want to know of it. Allof the elements are expertly laid out and blended together to portray comics mostenduring psychotic in all his criminally insane glory. This image marks a level ofartistry where technique and expertise are clearly at a high level, but are adistant second to artistic vision.
Well, in light of recent events on the boards this flashback takes on a differentform. This flashback is not done out of guilt, it's done because I think it's acool piece. When this piece was first posted, I instantly thought of KellyLeBrock and Weird Science. You know the scene when she first is brought to life? The only thing this image lacked was the smoke and panties (ironically a fetishporn video). Point being, this image has a touch of sexuality to it, yet remainstrue to the character and doesn't oversell sexiness. I was totallyfloored by the metal and it's reflectivity. The reflections take the metal to awhole new level, without them, the piece wouldn't be what it is... which isawesome. The metal is gorgeous; you don't see metal like that everyday, people.I mean really... at the time, the only person that I had seen do metal that goodthat I could pull of the top of my head was Welshcat (stubborn cat still won'tshare his metallurgy secrets... of course, neither has Ed). Another reason thispiece grabbed me was that Ultron was one of my favorite villains, and I read alot of Avengers stuff when I was younger. I remember Jocasta and the whole storyarc. To me that's one of the best compliments you can give an artist... thisimage took me back to that time. I remember sitting in my bedroom fascinated bythe artwork and these stories... and this piece just brings it all back. Also,this is a character that hasn't been manipped too many times or at all (justdoing a quick Jocasta search at C2F, and this is the lone piece). I love theobscure characters, like a Jocasta, Ultron, Molecule Man, etc... and kudos toEd for bringing one to life so brilliantly.
I have always loved this piecebecause it is different from your standard manip. Localhero mentions inhis art notes that this started out as a standard manipulation and endedup as something rather unique.The subtle black edging, diagonal white falsebrush strokes, and perfectly chosen background takes what started as a regularbase pic to a piece that looks more like a slightly impressionistic paintingon canvas is the result. The different approach made what would have been anice manip a beautiful standout piece.