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, I realized that it wasn't really close to what I initially had in mind. The concept was close, but the execution wasn't quite there.
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. I came across the original "My Childhood" picture and 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 by far a better representation of the things that occupied my imagination as a kid. Let's break it down:
1. Darth Vader - this iconic villain represents my favorite movie, Star Wars, the movie that inspired my dreams of being an actor.
2. Batman - the Dark Knight is huge these days, but he was pretty big in the '70s & '80s too. He had his own cartoon, he was one of the Super Friends and he even guest-starred on Scooby Doo.
3. Spider-Man - 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 doing big things in the '80s. The toys and the cartoon...the movie, not so much.
5. Bruce Lee - his famous 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. That dude was simply amazing.
6. Thundarr the Barbarian - Easily in my top 5 of '80s cartoons. The perfect combination of He-Man and Star Wars...without any little 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. Every episode was basically the same, but I watched them all anyway.
8. Optimus Prime - the quintessential leader. No one got their troops to transform and roll out like this robot.
9. Michael Jordan - of course he'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 NBA player.
10. Blackstar's Powersword - In 1981, Blackstar laid the foundation He-Man and his crew to do their thing a few years later. The swords, the look, the sound, the feel, all pretty close.
11. Lion-O - The Thundercats, a solid part of the after-school cartoon rotation. A new episode of Thundercats and a big bowl of cereal. Good times.
I know what you're saying, "No G.I. Joe??" The truth is G.I. Joe was a huge part 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!