Not Quite Rooftop

Note: Here at Project:Rooftop we receive lots and lots of entries, not all of which fit our narrow guidelines.  However, lots of these entries that are “not quite” what we do here are still pretty great, so we’ve decided to start this new column, Not Quite Rooftop, where every now and then, we’ll feature some of these awesome submissions. Enjoy! – Dean Trippe

Wolverine and Storm by Victor Santos

Jessica: Oh, I just want to give her a bra so badly. I’m sorry, but breasts simply don’t work like that. They would fall out the minute she moved.

Rachel: Oh, god, yeah. Tops like that make me neurotically adjust my bra; it’s why I can’t have my Janissa (from Conan) bust where I can see it at work, or I end up completely tweaked out and picking at my shirt all day. And you notice it’s ALWAYS guys who come up with ’em? Dudes, boobs DO NOT WORK LIKE THAT–at least not without some serious adhesive. And possibly zero-gravity.

Dean: Yeah, that’s not quite battle-ready, but the lightning bolts are great.  Victor’s drawing skills are solid, but in the modern age of serious costumes and (sometimes) believable fabric and seams, these designs look a little silly.  Heck, I’d read a fun 80’s-influenced Storm & Wolverine team-up book anyday, but I don’t see these versions fitting in in the proper Marvel Universe.

Vito:  Personally, I like it!  The one thing that bothers me is that it looks like Wolverine’s face is made entirely of hair!  Individual pieces for each character might make this a winner.

Chris: I really like the linework Victor’s got going on here and the costumes are imaginative, but way far afield from anything that’d be taken seriously in the current scope of comic continuity.

Vito:  That Storm is dangerously close to a Darwyn Cooke heroine.

Joel: If the X-Men were an early-80’s music video (say, Scandal’s “The Warrior”), these would be… well, if not perfect, then at least appropriate. I like Storm’s haircut, and her costume as some interesting graphic moments which work with Santos’ drawing style. But I think it lacks the dignity that we’ve come to associate with Storm. And as far as Wolverine goes: in the wake of 90’s, there can be no satisfactory excuse for superfluous buckles. The belt emblem is clever: it works both as a personal symbol for Wolverine and as a reference to his membership in the X-Men.

Rachel: Oh, there are plenty of excuses for superfluous buckles–see Chris Bachalo’s gorgeous Storm pin-up from [title and issue, once I find ’em] for ample evidence. But the straps here are way too much, especially the way they cut across the pattern on the tights. And that clash is, I think, illustrative of the biggest problem with Wolverine’s costume–there are a couple different aesthetics slugging it out, and the end result looks like a luchador outfit got in a fight with the 1980s and nobody won.

Jon: Going into this, I have to admit that I never much liked Storm as a character. She had a great premise – born in New York, her family moves to Africa where she’s orphaned as her mutant powers develop and she ends up being considered a goddess among…some people…somewhere. But they never fleshed out that original story, and instead just kept piling new things  on her until she was just so unwieldy that I never gave a hoot. BUT. I LOVE this costume, it’s a lot of fun, very strange, lots of beautiful shapes and lines, great use of the storm motif (although I don’t quite get the forehead thing) – it makes me want to like the character. BUT. Whereas I love it to pieces, I’m afraid that it’s one of those designs which relies on the artist to make it work – 90% of X-men artists wouldn’t be able to pull this costume off, and that makes me think that where it’s a really great illustration, it’s not something I’d want to see the character wearing all the time.

Namor the Sub-Mariner by Bob MacNeil

Joel: I love the Sub-Mariner. Not the best name in comics, but what a great design. Created by Bill Everett in 1939 when the Superman imitations couldn’t be rushed to the newsstands quickly enough, our Prince Namor stood out. He seemed inspired from a pulp version of Classical Mythology rather than Supes and his circus suit. All of the character’s internal conflict is right there in the design: the destruction and the vitality, the hyper-masculine physique and strangely feminine face, the regal bearing and the brawler’s crouch. And then there’s the greatest visual non-sequitor in all of comics: the little Hermes ankle wings! The result is a character who is appealing and familiar while at the same time being off-putting and alien. Perfect for a Monarch from Beneath the Waves who is as likely to tear down the Brooklyn Bridge as to plug a scrap metal drive in support of the war effort. You know what else I love? The way Bob MacNeil draws. I love that scratchy, neurotic little ink line combined with bold, scumbly brush strokes and the odd digital effect. He’s got a number of nice superhero drawings over on his website, But, as a redesign goes… uhm, what exactly is Namor wearing? My first impression is that it’s a garbage can with suspenders. A corset, maybe? I’m not really sure. Whatever it is, it doesn’t add anything to the character. Basically, everything is great about this drawing except the actual redesign.

Vito: I love the look, I do, but I don’t get the gist of what he’s wearing.  I’m sure Bob has a reason for it…or he sees it as something other than, like Joel said, “a garbage can with suspenders.”  But that’s what we see.  And is he wearing that big crown?  No, right?  That’s just an artistic element thrown in to let us know he’s king, right?

Rachel: Don’t be so quick to label–it could just as easily be a laundry basket.

Jon: I have to agree that the illustration is lovely, and I think there’s some good starts with the costume design (the colors and ‘stripes’  are both pretty reminiscent of sea life patterning, which would be a nice way to take the costume design for Namor). What doesn’t grab me is the lines, and how they don’t conform to the body in any way. Namor is a swimmer, I would think he’s inclined towards an outfit that flows along the lines of his body, giving the impression of sleekness. Still, love the style.

Dazzler by Paul Maybury

Joel: Okay, that’s hilarious. Spot-on. And I think Marvel should make it cannon. It fits perfectly with the character’s history. No matter how many times they try to update her, the Disco Dazzler just can’t shake her cheesy origins as a committee-designed cross-promotional property intended to cash in on an already cold and moldering music craze. Seriously, go to Wikipedia and read up on the corporate ambitions behind Dazzler’s misbegotten creation. It’s a lot more entertaining than any of her comics ever were. But is this a redesign, or a commentary, or a panel cartoon, or what? It’s a lovely drawing, and it’s pretty danged awesome, but it’s not quite what we were looking for.

Rachel: Wow–it’s a one-panel Lifetime Original Movie!

Vito: Yeah, it’s a funny drawing, but one of the things we want here at P:RT is to see a new interpretation of a classic costume.  Something that old fans will see and recognize the character(s) they love and something that a new fan can look at and say, “You know, I never liked ____, but that costume is great!”  And if you think a new costume can’t sell someone on a character, think again.  First problem with this entry is that we can’t see Dazzler or anything that makes her dazzling.  I totally agree with Joel that this is a great piece of art, but it’s not what P:RT is about.

Dean: Yeah, Paul sent this in really early when we’d just started Project: Rooftop, and the premise was a little unclear back then to a lot of folks.  Still, it’s a crazy fun piece and an awesome drawing.

Chris: Ditto what Dean said. Paul was one of the first artists I invited to contribute to Project: Rooftop, but this submission wasn’t in line with what Dean and I were envisioning. What Paul’s got here is a 1 panel comic with a great comical bit but it wasn’t P:R material.

Dean: Yeah, I’m just glad we finally made up a reason to run it! ;)

Blue Beetle by Jason Reeves

Vito:  I love Blue Beetle.  I don’t even care if they killed of Ted Kord, I just love the character.  Created by Steve Ditko, it was essentially a way for him to continue doing Spider-Man after he left Marvel.  But there was actually a legacy to the character.  Blue Beetle was a Golden Age character long before he became a Charlton mainstay.  Arguably, his biggest moment was during the Giffen/DeMatteis run of Justice League.  But, since this was my personal choice for Not Quite Week, let’s get to what’s going on here with Jason’s submission. I like it, but I want to see more.  What I can see (the knee pads, the gloves) looks great, but what’s going on his chest?  Is the color all that shade of light blue or is there a darker contrast color anywhere?  We need more, Jason!  Please resubmit with a full body shot!  I’d also love to see what he would do with the Bug (Ted’s mode of transportation)!

Chris: The illustration work on this piece is great, but there isn’t a clear stand-up presentation of this new costume enough to warrant it a P:R choice.

Joel: Yup. Need to see more. Great kneepads. Doofy gloves.

Vito: Really?  “Doofy?”  I kind of dig those big buckles.  Totally not functional, but I like the look…kind of like how Eisner did the rolled over gloves on The Spirit.

Joel: The Ditko Blue Beetle was one of those acrobatic heroes that needed a pared-down costume so that he could do all his flipping-and-punching in the middle of a crowd of bad guys. He wouldn’t have big honkin’ buckles on his gloves, because they’re unnecessary weight. The DC Beetle was more the techy-gizmo guy, and wouldn’t have the buckles, because they look like they came off a pair of Pilgrim boots. But, then, see my comments on Wolverine below. Maybe I just have buckles stuck in my craw.

Booster Gold by Caio Mojado

Jessica: I love Booster Gold. I love that he’s flamboyant and vain and fights crime in gold tights so shiny you can see your reflection in his butt. I also love this costume. I love the clean lines of it and the deep, shimmering blues, and the heavy boots and jacket. I do not, however, love them together. Booster’s been through a lot of loss and hardship lately, and I can understand wanting to reflect that via a darker, more serious costume, but I say comics are plenty dark already. Let at least one character keep a shiny butt! I’d love to see this costume with a color change and on Guy Gardner, or a logo shift and on Animal Man – it’s a great structure and would work well on a lot of characters, but not for Booster. Give him something sleeker and save this costume for someone more no-nonsense than Mr. Gold. [Sorry, Vito, I changed it up on you! I can put the thing about the black/blue back…]

Vito:  While most would say that Booster is a bright character and not in need of black in his costume, I don’t mind the darker aspects of the costume…comic books have traditionally treated the color black is if it was navy blue.  I don’t necessarily agree with it, but I don’t have any problems with it.  My only suggestion here would be to show a little more of who Booster is…a former athlete.  There’s not much here that looks like athletic wear.  He does look like a Legionnaire, so that works his futuristic origins in. [No worries, Jess…you’ll see I tailored mine :)]

Chris: While I like the design and how it incorporates Booster’s color scheme, it is rather old-school for the future faring Booster Gold. I sense some inspiration from the Frank Quitely New X-men designs, which isn’t a bad thing.

Joel: I enjoy the notion that, like Batmanuel from the live-action Tick, Booster is too vain to let a mask actually cover up his face. The jacket itself is nicely designed. The boots are boilerplate super-footgear, and warrant more consideration. But, mainly, this dressed-down street-practical take on Booster just seems wrong. If ever there was a character who could legitimately get away with the fantasia-excesses of superhero costumes, it’s Booster Gold.

The Punisher by P.J. Holden

Dean: Paul sent this in before fully understanding what the site is about.  We do have some pretty narrow guidelines, I guess.  Paul took the character and revised his core character, making his religion a more powerful character in his costuming. It’s a really fun piece, but ultimately, too silly to be considered for actual implementation.  That said, some strange things are coming out of Marvel lately…

Vito:  If you darkened it up, it would have been great for the first Marvel Knights mini when he was an avenging angel (thank God, Garth took that out).  I think Paul should be commended for taking the character back to the drawing board, costume and all, but when I look at this, I keep thinking of my Blue Beetle comment…show me the whole costume.  I see his legs bending back, but there might be something on those boots that we can’t see.

Joel: This piece is hilariously kooky. I love the notion of taking a character who, by nature, can’t be anything but dark, and dressing him in colors bright enough to embarrass a fauvist’s teenybopper daughter. The drawing itself is very dynamic, and the costume is great camp. The challenge is trying to figure out where a camp Punisher would fit: his look says “all ages” and his actions say “parental advisory.”

Rachel: No, I’d pretty much say that the costume says “parental advisory” as well. Kids, if you’re going to mix purples and reds, make sure to ask a grown-up to help. Also, I’d like to think that a camp Punisher costume would involve at least one feather boa. Just sayin’.

Jon: Apropros of nothing, I like Punisher’s beady little eyes and furrowed brow. It is as if he is saying “Oh you jerks! How I punish you!”

11 comments to “Not Quite Rooftop”
  1. Aw you guys! I’d forgotten all about that – re reds and purples. Yes. That is a mortal sin – for which I PUNISH YOU BY DEATH!!! AAAIIIIIGGHHHHH!

    – pj

  2. Aw jeez, you’re posting my two year old stuff??

    As Dean mentioned, I did this before PRT took off, and I was invited to do a little something before I really could see what the site was all about. I still actually kind of like this illustration though.

    I really dig the Victor Santos up top.

    Any ways, thanks, jerks.

  3. Wow, cool. I really love that you’re giving us more to enjoy in between contests. I’m also glad that you’re giving consideration to redesigns that fall outside the normal guidelines. I’d love to read a comic with MacNeil’s Sub-Mariner. You know it’d be weird.

    On another (related) note, is there any good way for us to send you examples for consideration? I would (quite selfishly) like to share an X-men redesign/reimagining, and while it might not be worth mentioning in one of these new segments, it would be cool if we could bring interesting redesigns to your attention.

  4. Woahhh- if you’re bothered by the impracticality of that Storm costume I can’t wait to see how you deal with the Vampirella contest! Good luck!!

    That said, thanks for sharing these fun designs. I really like the Blue Beetle pose. :P

  5. I had the same first thought about Vampirella when I looked up some reference images about her. I’m glad to know I won’t be penalized for applying realistic physics to my revamping. :-D

  6. That Blue Beetle costume would look great on Dan Garret, Ted’s predecessor. It has that Golden Age pulp feel, don’t you think? Like Lobster Johnson….

  7. I actually ran across that Blue Beetle picture a couple years back. I was looking for concept art of the third BB, so it was before that series even started up. I hope there’s another Not Quite post soon, some of the others rejects were pretty rad.

  8. All rad and truly bodacious re-designs my good artists but in the Defence of men everywhere, and this is to Rachael mind you, we don’t always design boobs like that.

    Sure we make them bigger than Ben Hur and just as perky to boot but lets think back to all the great, powerful female characters who have been able to keep the twins in check and still looking great curtesy of their greatest fans.Men.

    Catwoman, 1990’s Storm, Zatana, Black Canary, recently She-Hulk and lets not forget the great gradmama of them all, Wonderwoman.

    Yes we may go out there and fulfill some unusual fantasies filled with boob windows and chest poppers, we are still able to give women the support they deserve.

    But they are pretty big….

  9. I’d have to disagree on Booster Gold, there. That costume seems a perfect fit for the character. I don’t know if it was intentional, but the spot where the padding meets in his left elbow and left side gives the illusion that he’s holding a helmet (at a quick glance, and thanks to the pose). For my money, that pic nails the time-travelling super-jock in one. Great way to modernize the character.

  10. I also think the Booster Gold design works quite well myself. It doesn’t have a very dark or overly serious feel to me. In fact, I’m kinda curious how a Blue Beetle might look in that same ‘world’.

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