Mashups: My Childhood

May 04, 2015

Technically, the first of my series of Mashups was done in 2010. I'd just begun to draw again after a long layoff and I had the idea to combine a bunch of different elements from my childhood into one character. I never finished it.
Before I could add the final missing pieces and details, I realized that it wasn't really close to what I initially had in mind. The concept was there, but the execution wasn't even close.
Over the next few years, I'd spend a lot of time knocking off the rust from my artistic layoff and refining my skills. I also learned how to make Adobe Illustrator do what I wanted instead of relying on its Image Trace feature to do my digital inking. Last month, I happened to come across the original "My Childhood" picture and I decided it was time to take another stab at it. 
This new version has some things in common with the original, but this one is a much better representation of the things that occupied my imagination as a kid, those things that I was really passionate about. Here's the breakdown:

1. Darth Vader - This iconic villain represents my favorite movie, Star Wars, the movie that inspired my dreams of being an actor and initiated my love of sci-fi & fantasy.

2. Batman - The Dark Knight is huge these days, but he was doing big things in the '70s & '80s too. Along with being a mainstay in my comic collection, he had his own cartoon on CBS, he was a member of the Super Friends on ABC and he even guest-starred on Scooby Doo a few times.

3. Spider-Man - It is what it is. Fire is hot. Ice is cold. The Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man is the best superhero of all time. That's all there is to it.

4. He-Man - The Masters of the Universe were huge in the '80s, namely the toys and the cartoon...the movie, not so much.

5. Bruce Lee - The famous yellow and black track suit from his final movie, The Game of Death. I owned a copy of The Chinese Connection and wore out my Betamax player watching it everyday. I was fascinated with Bruce Lee. That dude was simply amazing. An innovator and a legend.

6. Thundarr the Barbarian (the Sun Sword) - Easily in my top 5 of '80s cartoons, Thundarr was a nice combination of He-Man and Star Wars...without any little annoying comic relief characters that were in most cartoons from that era.

7. Voltron - Five adventurers that piloted robotic lions that combined to form a giant robot to fight a giant monster, eventually killing him with a giant sword. Every episode was basically the same, but I watched them all anyway. I couldn't help myself.

8. Optimus Prime/the Transformers - Prime, the robot that sounded like John Wayne, is the quintessential leader. No one got their troops to transform and roll out like this Autobot.

9. Michael Jordan/the Chicago Bulls - Of course MJ's on this list with a bunch of superheroes. I mean, he could fly, right? All it took was one game early in his career for MJ to become my favorite basketball player, the Bulls to become my favorite team and of course, Air Jordans to become my favorite shoe.

10. Blackstar (the Powersword) - In 1981, Blackstar laid the foundation for He-Man and his crew to do their thing a few years later. The swords, the look, the sounds, the feel...all pretty close.

11. Lion-O/Thundercats - The Thundercats were a solid part of the after-school cartoon rotation. A new episode of Thundercats and a big bowl of Fruity Pebbles. Good times. Thundercats Ho!

I know what you're asking, "No G.I. Joe?? No M.A.S.K? Where's Mr. T??" The truth is there were several other influential tv shows, movies and people that were also big parts of my childhood. Halfway into this Mashup project, I realized that I couldn't fit all of my interests onto one character, so there will be a Part 2 coming soon! 

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