“Shadowman: In A New Light” Runner-Ups!

Note: There could be only three winners of our Shadowman: In A New Light redesign contest, but that doesn’t mean we were short on great entries. Here’s the rest of the Top 20, our runner-ups. Thanks again to the judges and the artists who submitted! – Chris A.

Thomas Fummo
Score: 46 out of 60

Chris: 7. Long-time P:R commenter and submitter Thomas Fummo has turned in his best work yet. I feel like Fummo really understand’s this character, and brings a more classic superhero look to him akin to Jack Kirby’s Creeper. I especially love the flat black of the costume with the skull imposed on the face.

Vito: 7.5. Yeah, and that “S” logo on his chest isn’t so overt. It’s subtle enough to not distract. I like it, but I don’t love it. It’s certainly fitting, and in light of the current costume, it’s appropriate. It just seems a little flat to me. I’ve seen it before though…

Joel: 7. The costume has a nice silhouette, which is good as it’s pretty much all silhouette. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that it bugs me when a character has one torn and raggedy element in an otherwise immaculate and clearly high-maintenance outfit. But it works here, because this costume needs the smaller shape-details on the boots and gloves to contrast with the stark graphic flatness of the rest of the design. This is, hands down, my favorite stylized skull of the whole show. But I’m not a fan of the “S”. It looks too much like a backwards “3”, and will look like a backwards sharfes-S when his arm is lowered.

Jon: 8. Yeah, everybody’s covering the strengths really well – the sleek and ragged elements work both thematically and visually, the silhouette is great, the “S” is pretty subtle, I like the mask too. It DOES need something that incontrovertibly says “Shadowman” – so as not to interrupt the flow of the costume, maybe something done with the weapon?

Glen: 8. I like the mummy-wrapped nature of the boots and gloves, and the mask is intriguing. The silhouette’s great, but that swooping S-on the costume effect seems a bit too finished (and, yeah, too figure-skater) to jibe with the roughness of the rest of the design. Ditto the belt-pouches, which strike me as a bit too tidy.

Vito: Gah! I know where that “S” is from! The Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre. That’s not a bad thing (it’s actually a really cool retro design) but I can’t stop seeing it now.

Patch: 8.5. I like this, Thomas. It’s modern and moody. I think you could downplay the swirl on the chest and hip so that they don’t meet behind the belt but this is a nice look with a current feel. Contrasting black and white is a good design decision.

Tom Kelly
Score: 46 out of 60

Vito: 10. I can’t imagine a more fitting design, a more fitting tribute, to the character of Shadowman than this. That…I’m not sure what the design is called, but it looks like a Japanese oni mask. The idea of a skull mask is one that we knew we’d see a lot of in this contest, but this one is just a step further; it has a personality. The paneled black costume against the gray underclothes…very modern. This is absolutely beautiful, scary, and perfectly Shadowman. Great job, Tom!

Chris: 7. Tom’s really brought his A-game here, but I feel like he’s fallen a bit into the 90s design trap with overdoing the chains (especially around the legs). Tone down that and the intricacy of the armor, and you’d be tops.

Jon: 7. NO MAN WILL STEAL SHADOWMAN’S WALLET. The mask is terrific, the body armor is good in concept but I’m a little confused by what it is and isn’t covering, and the briefs are a bit skimpy for such a bulky and intimidating character. I think the chains are a good call for this character, as well as the long hair (love the brushstroke defining the hair) and the bloodsplatters, because … 90s! I do wish that the same amount of thought that went into the mask went into everything else. I feel like this mask is a solution to some of the other entries’ problems …

Joel: 7. That mask is SO beasty, and that hook/scythe is SO murdery that I think this design skips past gritty antihero straight into villain territory. It’s a solid design, but there’s nothing here that lets me identify with the person inside it.

Glen: 7. I agree, I think this pushes “dark hero draped in mysticism and the uncanny” and into the realm of Spawn, which is fine, if that’s your thing. The mask is cool as all get-out, if a bit ethnographically puzzling.

Patch: 8. This is very menacing, Tom. The mask reminds me of the masks sometimes seen on Samurai armor– there’s also an armored look to the costume. That moves the design a bit in the wrong direction. This is exciting and it’d be fun to draw Shadowman duking it out with your version.

Ray Wu
Score: 45.5 out of 60

Vito: 7. Not sure why, but this design says “Nightwing” to me. Could be the shape of the character. It’s very simple and in it’s simplicity, it could work very well. But I’m troubled by that hood/mask shape/combo.

Joel: 7. The mask does create a bit of a Abraham Lincoln’s Vengeful Spirit effect, doesn’t it? The Nightwing comparison seems apt. The silhouette of this design is leaner and more streamlined than many of the entrants, giving this character a more active, even acrobatic look. Many of the Shadowmen presented here look like they’d open a fight with spells, this guy looks like he’d wait until he’d exhausted the backflip and spin-kick options.

Chris: 7.5. Very nice, very very nice. Ray’s taken the biker look and simplified it, making Boniface a more lithe and deadly looking hero. It’s almost too tight — I’d recommend letting the leather jacket be loosened up somewhat, and I would’ve liked to see what Shadowman’s head looks like with the hood pulled back.

Jon: 7. I like this one a great deal except that the facemask isn’t working for me – I never quite grasp how those jawline-hugging collars work in the first place, and I can’t determine whether he’s wearing a mask or glasses. The Shadowman mask would not have gone awry in combination with the rest of this out.

Vito: Wait, does everyone see a facemask here? I thought it was just a shadow cast from the hood.

Joel: There is a second shadow-tone on the face that matches the shadow on the bare skin at his wrists, so my eye reads the full-black around the face to be material.

Glen: 8. I go back and forth on the mask. On the one hand, it doesn’t really disguise him any more than an Amish beard would, but on the other, if he’d gone with the hood alone, it would look unfinished. I echo what others have said that this Shadowman seem more likely to mix it up than others we’ve seen, and that makes sense.

Patch: 9. You’ve managed to make a hood work. Modern and sleek. The jacket recalls Baron Samedi without being too close. I believe Jack could have worn this, Ray. I would remove the line or shirt seam running vertically through the logo, just to pull back from the tuxedo look a little more. Terrific job.

Ryan Lord
Score: 45 out of 60

Vito: 8. This one is probably the best in terms of character representation. It looks like Shadowman, a mystical superhero from New Orleans. The use of the emblem, the houngan-looking outfit, the creepy mask…I really like this one.

Chris: 8. Vito said it all — this really embodies the concept of Shadowman and the dusty, hand-painted looking imagery for the chest emblem really sells this design.

Joel: 8. This is a pretty intense design. With the horn-browed skull-face, the smoking skin, and those abs, this guy could be a villain. The knowledge that he’s a hero, and therefore must have some pretty complex motivations going on under that mask, makes for a pretty intriguing character design. I’d like to know what’s going on with some of the minor elements: he seems to be wearing kinda scrunchie things on his right elbow and wrist, but wrapped cords on the left arm and legs. Why this switch of otherwise very similar accessories? Why are those cords there, anyway? Having them wrapped around joints would be uncomfortable and reduce motion in the limbs. What do they look like in the round? Are they contiguous, like a hair-tie, or are they knotted? I don’t know if it’s part of the voodoo tradition, but knots can have magical significance, and they could add some visual interest to what, at the moment, seems like an under-considered detail. Another quibble: the mask’s eyes line up with what would be the forehead of the face under it. But, quibbles are quibbles. The main thrust of this design is solid stuff.

Jon: 6. I’m pretty wary of designs which are meant to evoke aboriginal sources, and I do think this one goes overboard. The essence of the design is solid, but a loincloth? Bare feet? I think all the strengths of the piece – the smoking skin, the body art, the excellent extrapolation on the bone mask – could have been accomplished just as well with even a moderate amount of modernization of the look … or at least nt-style: italic; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;”>pants.

Glen: 7.5. I hear what Jon’s saying about it being a bit on-the-nose in a way I find vaguely discomfiting. But it does look great, especially the hand-painted character of the chest emblem.

Patch: 7.5. This is a fun design, Ryan. You’ve incorporated the mask and logo into another costume very effectively. But that’s a tribal design. This would look really good for a west African version of Shadowman from the early 19th century– but it doesn’t really represent Jack.

Patrice Martinez
Score: 44 out of 60

Vito: 8. Strong piece, but it might be a little too close to what Patch is using on the actual book. It’s not quite the same, but my eye, either in my old age or just in flashing so quickly, thought it was the same design. I know it’s not, otherwise my score would be lower. I love the negative space aspects and I think this could be a real eye catcher in a dark scene.

Joel: 6. There are some white lines that I’m unsure of how to read, like the two semi-parallel lines below the crotch, or the hooked line above the knee. Are they contour lines, highlights, or part of the black and white design of the suit? I hope they are not the latter, because they create busy notes that take away from the basic graphic effect of this high-contrast suit. I think my favorite part of this design is the what-am-I-looking at relationship between the suit and the hair, and especially the way the suit’s graphics give him a bit of the ol’ Reed Richards style. Speaking of Reed, this design looks like a science hero to my eyes. Maybe a parallel Tom Strong from an ill-defined Dark Matter Planet. Not being familiar with the character, can someone tell me if that is an appropriate look for Shadowman?

Chris: 8.5. Who knew white could be so dark? I love Patrice’s thought process here — as it definitely steps out from the shadow of previous Shadowman designs while staying true to the concept itself. I’m not completely sold on the design of the blade — if it were more like the classic one I’d have given this an extra .5 point.

Jon: 7. Really like the skeleton-like armor idea behind this one, though a little more contrast and some rounding out of the white areas might have helped sell it better. It’s strange to me that it’s really stylized on the torso but not so much on the arms and legs, it would have been fun to see this one go wild.

Glen: 6. Shadowman as Sam Fisher-esque commando? Sure, I guess. The facial treatment doesn’t read shadow/skull, and I’m not sure what to do with the body armor’s insect carapace effect. But it’s very sleek. And cool.

Patch: 8.5. The color contrasts are nice and this costume works very well with the logo. This is a nifty design, Patrice. It only goes astray in that it looks, not modern, but futuristic. Would certainly like to see something like this on a Shadowman-of-the-future story.

Mike Walton
Score: 43.5 out of 60

Vito: 8. Shadowman by way of Assassin’s Creed? Red isn’t a color I’d associate with SM, but I like it. It keeps that mystical aspect there, especially in the sleeves and cape, where they fade. It’s a nice touch.

Joel: 7. My first thought, on seeing this design, was, “Didn’t I useta have a lead figure of this guy?” This looks like a pretty nice design, if a little strappy. How long must it take him to warp and buckle all those little guys? The gradation on the sleeves is nice, as is the contrast between the blousy, loose-flowing bits and the strappy, leathery bits. However, red and black (or dark gray) are such expected colors, it sort of makes this guy a little bit of a generic mystical antihero. I think turquoise, or a more standard Shadowman-blue, would make this design look more eerie.

Chris: 7. The introduction of red into the Shadowman color scheme is interesting, but it diverges from the character’s history. There could be a new story point Mike Walton’s using to bring red in, but this contest is about redesigning the costume — not the character. Recolor it in blue and you’d get an automatic +1 (at least) for me.

Jon: 7. I’m with everyone else on the palette. Only thing I have to add is that this is a pretty heavy design, it doesn’t imply freedom of movement, energy or activity – it could stand to be streamlined a little to give it more pop.

Glen: 7. I don’t have a problem with the color scheme – it’s a muted red that blends into gray/black subtly. I’m just not crazy about straps and belts and puffy sleeves in hero couture.

Patch: 7.5. Mike, your design makes me think of Edgar Allan Poe’s Masque of the Red Death and something similar to this would be interesting for an earlier incarnation of Shadowman’s nemesis Master Darque. But beware of getting too accessorized or busy in a design. Also, even with the cartridge belt, it isn’t quite modern enough.

Chris Saunders
Score: 43 out of 60

Vito: 7.5. Am I the only one creeped out by this one? This is a great design for a horror comic, which Shadowman is and isn’t. I feel like the costume is a bit in the gimmick, and that’s not entirely a bad thing, but I’m a little unsure of what the gimmick is. Walking voodoo doll? I’m appreciative of the call-back, but I don’t think that’s what Shadowman is all about. A different character, and this is a 10. Very imaginative.

Joel: 6. It’s a solid, unsettling design for a voodoo-doll-based hero. The Creeper-style collar that becomes a Clive Barker shroud/mask is especially striking. If this guy were called Stitches or Danger Doll or Pokety Jabby Sympathetic Magic Man, it would rate very highly. But when the character is called Shadowman, it becomes a case of mixed metaphors.

Chris: 6. There’s a lot to like here, but there’s too much that isn’t part of the Shadowman mythos to make it work for me as a great Shadowman redesign. This would be a great secondary character or adversary for Jack Boniface, but not for Boniface himself.

Jon: 7. I don’t have a problem associating this design with the character of Shadowman – or at least A Shadowman – and it says “voodoo” in an exceptionally clever way. I think what might be missing here is partly in the context – are the “fronds” prehensile, offensive, stretchy? Does his costume close up to protect him? Can he survive without air, under water, in fire, when wrapped in his togs? What do those glowing needles do, and why is he swearing at me in Morse Code? The costume looks neat, but it obviously DOES things too, so I’d like to know what it’s up to.

Another thing which strikes me is that the fabric seems to be spiralling up his arms, legs and body, but not over his head, where it only clusters. I’d love to see that match the rest of the design.

Glen: 8. Gimmick it may be, but a great one, and one that quotes houngan/fetish (as in doll, not, you know, feet or whatever) imagery without seeming too on-the-nose. I imagine watching those flaps unfurl to reveal that leering skull would strike terror into anyone — superstitious, cowardly lot or no.

Patch: 8.5. Chris, I think this is wild and would be a lot of fun to draw. It has that ‘voodoo’ feel too. I do wish the chest piece was the classic shadow-in-the-doorway logo. It’s quite a departure from his previous look but not in a way that leads the reader in the wrong direction.

Ailen Oracion
Score: 41 out of 60

Joel: 7. Ailen wins big points right off the bat by designing a cohesive but modular look that can be worn in different ways as situations require. The armor seems decent enough, if slightly off the Nineties-superhero rack, but the tabard dresses it up nicely. The armor and tabard recall the Crusades, the face make-up brings in Voodoo, and the weaponry speaks to Occulty Fighty Times in general. I wish the design of the tabard’s emblem had a bit more graphic snap to it, and I wish this submission were in color.

Vito: 7. Agreed. If this were in color, there are a lot of minute details we’d be able to make judgments on that, instead, we have make assumptions. I also think that, although Ailen says that you can “mix and match” the elements of the costume, it doesn’t work as well in pieces as it does as a whole. I really enjoy the painstaking details in this design; the boots, the gauntlets, the weapons. It’s a strong piece that would/could be even stronger with color.

Chris: 6. I agree with what Vito said; the lack of color here when you’re proposing a new design really limits just how good this can be. On the positive side, the tabard is a great little invention. From the cut of the cloth to the Shadowman design on the front, it’s really the high point of the design. I feel, however, that the armor underneath makes it look a little too clunky for the kind of hero Shadowman is; Zircher’s more flat set of togs with slight armoring seems more ideal for the character. And the buccaneer boots have to go.

Jon: 7.I definitely feel the 90s vibe in this costume, but it’s not a bad one – it’s got more in common with a Quesada or Sears design than, I dunno, name your least-favorite pouch-and-legbelt 90s artists here. I like to think that the armor and tabard is meant to recall the uniforms of medieval French soldiers, although it’s highly stylized – New Orleans has a lot more culture than just voodoo and jazz to draw from, so it’s appealing to think this might be a nod to that. I have to echo everyone so far, the lack of color is a detriment, but at least this way I can see the distinct silhouette of the costume (which is good).

Chris: You’re spot on with that Quesada/Sears reference, Jon. Now that I think about it, it reminds me of Quesada’s excellent Ninjak and Azrael designs from the 90s.

Glen: 6. As Joel noted, I like Knights Templar vibe I get from the tabard, and I’m not equipped to say whether taking the character in an Assassins Creed direction squares with who he is, but I do like the silhouette.

Patch: 8. Ailen, this is an eye-pleasing design and I like how you were creative with the logo but…. it evokes another time period– a European medieval feel that doesn’t have enough association with Shadowman. This is nice work and you should be proud of this entry.

Josh Thompson
Score: 40 out of 60

Joel: 6. Now why is this the scariest of all the designs? I really feel creeped out looking at this guy. He’s going to take my lunch money, isn’t he?

Vito: 8. I think that it’s suitably creepy! I do, however, wish the blue Josh used was a little lighter. As it is, I’m having a hard time figuring out what is going on in his face. Maybe that’s intentional, but that scarf is a little too dark. Points for a scarf though. Tom Baker and I approve.

Chris: 7. If there’s one thing this contest has taught me, it’s how creepy Shadowman can look — and that’s a good thing. Taking cues from the Biker era and the tattooed Xero days, Josh Thompson has given us something that’d make any would-be criminal second-guess a life of crime. Although the hood does have some benefits, I think some of Boniface’s skull mask features do need to show through somehow.

Jon: 7. Surely he’d lose those shoes! I like the overall design but agree with Chris that the mask needs to show up somewhere – maybe the belt buckle in lieu of the skull?

Glen: 5. Not loving the Bazooka-Joe turtleneck (well: turtlechin, technically) effect I get from the scarf, and the Jawa-eyes don’t so much strike terror as make me want nip off to Toshi Station, but the hood works, and the art itself is very well-executed.

Patch: 7. I like seeing nothing but the eyes on the face, Josh– it adds a literal feeling to the name Shadowman. I don’t think the quilt/down texture on the sleeves and hood or the sweater-like scarf are the best choices, too many textures and accessories can get in the way of a design.

Josh Deck
Score: 39.5 out of 60

Joel: 7. Individually, the sigils and whatnots in this design look great, and they should be a good fit for the character, but, somehow, this design comes off as fiddly. I think it’s because there are too many small shapes, and not enough big, bold ones to contrast with them. The art school term for this “contrast of extension.” Perhaps a larger, heavier looking jacket would make a better canvas for all the symbols? In fact, go simpler, bolder, and more graphic with everything except the sigils: mask, jacket, belt, gloves.

Vito: 7.5. But Joel, if you do that, you get dangerously close to having the original costume. I think that Josh takes some of the original concept and literally, puts it on his sleeve for everyone to see. It’s a little busy, but it could be a lot busier. That’s not exactly a note of praise (“It could have been worse!”), but there you go. Really like that mask though. Sets a bit of contrast in all that black.

Chris: 5. A throwback to the Dirty Biker Look era (my favorite), but it seems all the new elements Josh has added to this are extraneous and would be hard on any artist to illustrate month-in and month-out.

Jon: 6. I like this design, but I don’t get a voodoo or New Orleans vibe out of it – the jacket, with all the detailed piping, and the shape and color of the skullmask put me more in the mind of Central Mexico – which ain’t bad, but it seems Shadowman is typically quartered in Louisiana. Outside of that, the overall silhouette is a little bland, he could use something to break up the lines somewhat.

Vito: Jon, I think you’re on to something that is key to this entire contest; the idea of an interesting silhouette. I’m sure that everyone would agree that it’s not the be-all/end-all determining factor in how we’re judging, but for a character named “Shadowman,” you have to think it’s in the back of our minds.

Glen: 5. Yep, the silhouette is what I keep coming back to, as well — the character needs to be recognizable from his outline. Cleaned up and pared back, this could get there, but right now it’s loaded down.

Patch: 9. I believe this could be Jack Boniface, the current Shadowman. The design is modern without being futuristic and the glowing sigils stand out nicely, Josh. I do think the sigils should be simplified, streamlined to create a stronger graphic and you might nix the curl in the eyebrows and the white in the nostrils– but, all in all, really great job here.

Todd Loessy
Score: 39.5 out of 60

Vito: 6.5. I like it, but it reminds me a bit of Nightmare, a Golden Age character (who had a sidekick named Sleepy, if you can believe it). It’s not a terrible concept for Shadowman, but I can’t help but see Nightmare.

Chris: 8. This is a very earnest take on Shadowman as if he were a pulp hero, and I can’t help but love it. I could’ve done without the gauntlets, or encouraged Todd to come up with a more cohesive design for them within the costume.

Joel: 6. If, back in the Bronze Age, a time travelling Roy Thomas had based Squadron Supreme on the 90’s Image characters instead of the 60’s Justice League, this might be what he’d look like. It’s a fun throwback, but it’d be hard to take this design too seriously as an earnest crack at the contemporary market. And, it bothers me that he’s taken such poor care of his cape, when clearly the rest of the suit clearly requires a lot of upkeep, what with the polishing and dry-cleaning. That is to say, the raggedy cape doesn’t feel of a piece with the rest of the costume. Cool half-skull mask, though.

Jon: 6. I think the gauntlets throw off the rest of the design, though if you remove them you see that there’s not a lot of unity in the other elements. Some attention needs to be paid to his limbs, the mask is good for a shadowy super-character in general but I’m not sure it says Shadowman. He could probably also use somewhere to stash that stick when he doesn’t feel like hanging onto it.

Glen: 6. A bit too put-together to work for a horror-tinged hero; I don’t get mystical or uncanny or “strike terror into their hearts” from this, but it’s certainly clean and balanced.

Patch: 7. This reminds me of classic superheroes too. Not such a bad thing, Todd. But the bracers just don’t feel cohesive with other parts of the costume– maybe drawing long forearm bones (the radius and ulna bones– hey, 2 pts for Gryffindor) in the style of the ribs may have worked better.

Andrey Krichevsky
Score: 37.5 out of 60

Joel: 8. This design is all about the chest tattoo, and, well, dang but that’s a nice tattoo. It looks like a standard bit of Occult badassery, and then the clever hiding-in-plain-sight appearance of the shadowed-man jumps out when it lights up. The face make up has a geometric angularity that isn’t present in the tattoo, which makes them feel like pieces from two different designs. I’d suggest a much simpler design to face paint so that it acts as a supplementary compliment to that great chest piece. Lastly, I’d tuck those pants into to high-laced combat boots and give him something to stash the scythe in so that he doesn’t have to hold it all the time.

Vito: 6.5. I agree Joel, but I feel like the tattoo is all there is. It’s a strong tattoo, don’t get me wrong, and it works to explain the character and his powers really well, but I feel a little cheated. In a contest with some very intricate and well thought out designs, this one leaves me wanting more.

Chris: 5. Shades of Mike Leroi here. I think Ashley Wood did it better though.

Jon: 5. The basic tattoo design is spectacular, BUT it looks pretty isolated and alone in the middle of his chest. There was a chance here to connect the tattoos and make it a unified, whole-body design (or connect the tattoo to articles of clothing, weapons, etc). As it is, the other tattoos on his arms just end up looking like unremarkable normal ink. I wouldn’t always advocate using extensive bodyart to make up a costume, but outside of the tats and the mask, there isn’t really a costume here, so it needs one dominant theme to unite everything.

Glen: 6. Striking, but the face paint and the chest tattoo are fighting each other, and the cargo pants are, well. Cargo pants.

Patch: 7.5. This reminds me of the Acclaim-era Shadowman, which was one of the Acclaim-era’s better books. The glowing chest logo and tattoos are cool, Andrew. I like this but feel like a more costumed approach is actually the more unique way to present the character.

Georgel McAwesome
Score: 37.5 out of 60

Joel: 7. This is a beautiful drawing, but the design might be a little generic. The balanced asymmetry and the layering of the different pieces is really nice, and there’s an enjoyable eclecticism to the design of all the elements. Those skulls are pretty cool. But the mask is the only thing that seems specifically tailored to this particular redesign challenge, and, really, that mask could belong to very nearly any Nineties superhero. But I’d sure love to see McAwesome draw a Road Warrior comic.

Vito: 6. Other than the call-back to the original mask, I really don’t see much of a connection with what I know as Shadowman. I agree with Joel; it’s a great illustration, but maybe this is more Shadowman 2099?

Chris: 6. Shadowman 2099 indeed. I feel like Georgel McAwesome did a good job of creating another Shadowman, but didn’t step up to do an accurate and faithful redesign of nt-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline;”>the Shadowman. Great illustration though.

Jon: 6. Whether the mask says Shadowman or not (the lenses distinguish it from the traditional Shadowman mask for me), it feels like it’s of a completely different piece than the rest of the design. Nice illustration to be sure, but it does need to be unified.

Glen: 5. The design has it’s intriguing elements, but I just don’t know what those tubes on the epaulets are doing. Handle bars? Distillation tubes? HVAC ducts?

Patch: 7.5. I like how the mask goes back to the early version of Shadowman, and this is a nice drawing Georgel. You have chops. It does, however, look post-apocalyptic, like a costume scavenged together, and that’s a confusing message for the reader.

Rick Vo
Score: 36 out of 60

Vito: 6. This should be the winner. There is something very special here. But I just don’t think it serves the character. Maybe it’s more of an avatar for the character, less of a costume design. One thing for sure; if this was following me down a dark alley, I’d run!

Joel: 5. I’ve never found skeleton imagery to make a satisfactory mix with beefy figures. But then Skeletor used to take my lunch money in middle school, so I’m operating with a bias. That aside, there are a number of things I don’t really get. What is going on with his head? Does that odd groove in it signify something? What does it look like from the back? Does it end in a flat top? Is that the shape of a helmet, or a monstered-out skull? And what is the function of those deltoid spikes? They seem like they would be almost impossible to use against an opponent, but would cut your own ears, cheeks, and neck every time you tried to raise your hands above chest-level, and would completely prevent lifting them above shoulder level.

Chris: 7. This is so close to being a 9 or a 10 here. A lot of great ideas but they’re weighed down by some poor choices that don’t jive. I like how Rick Vo brought the skeleton imagery more to the fore, but the lengthened skull and shoulder pieces really detract from the piece overall.

Jon: 6. It’s not enough; most of the form is unaddressed and since the head, chest and shoulders get all the attention, it seems awkward and top-heavy. The concept of the design needs to be carried down through the lower body in some fashion…

Glen: 5. I need more here, or, at least, more consistency across the whole of his anatomy. This feels top-heavy in a Mummenschanz-y way. I do like the concept, it just needs to be pushed a bit further.

Patch: 7. There’s a nice feeling of power and fear here, Rick, but it is missing enough to make it captivating through and through. Characters in comics are often cropped so design elements on the legs, arms, or waist can be helpful. The head shape and shoulders may be a bit too alien or ‘monster’ and not enough ‘hero’.

Isaac Bartsch
Score: 32.5 out of 60

Joel: 5. There are a lot of characters out there who draw visual inspiration from Papa Guede, and this entrant needs something to make him stand out from that crowd. Also, in a design as simple as this one, proportions become very important. How do the stripes of his sweater relate to the width of his belt? The band on his hat? The trim/lapels of his jacket? Even the height of the stovepipe should be playing off of the same proportional scheme. When those visual relationships have all been worked out, then the elements appear to fit together with a sort of visual inevitability.

Vito: 5. What I think it’s missing is one unifying element, like a logo/emblem. It could be a pin on the shirt or a belt buckle, but something that draws the eye to it. And I think I’d prefer the design if there were no hat and jacket. I know that he’s going for that Papa look, but that sweater is something else!

Chris: 4. This design has the beginnings of a great idea, but it seems like it needs some more follow-through and revisions to make it really work.

Jon: 5. I wouldn’t show this fella without the jacket, inasmuch as the Krueger-sweater/Top-hat combo robs the figure of any sense of authority or menace. Outside of that, there’s no element here that really unites the piece or stands out – it’s close, one unifying element or distinguishing element would pull it together pretty sweetly.

Glen: 6. Yeah, I’d also like to see an emblem/signifier to bring the character into sharper relief.

Patch: 7.5. This makes me think of a New Orleans street performer and there’s a lot of the voodoo figure Baron Samedi here too, Isaac. That’s nice but this design could become unintentionally comical too. The Shadowman logo would probably add to the jacket.

Matthew Bartlett
Score: 30 out of 60

Joel: 5. The eyeless mask with its fang-like chin is genuinely spooky, and the incorporation of the Shadowman emblem into the belt is effective and cohesive. The cloak in general, however could use some more consideration and definition. Are skin tight sleevesnt-style: italic; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;”>/gloves the way to go with a long, loose, flowing robe? How, exactly, does the drape of that robe work? How does it behave when the figure is in motion? Can Shadowman float ominously?

Vito: 5. I’m having a hard time with this one. I think the chin is extraneous and the colors are a bit bleak. They contrast nicely though. It just doesn’t say “mystical superhero” to me. I do like that belt logo though.

Chris: 5. I like this design and it seems within the Shadowman mythos but not Shadowman himself.

Jon: 5. The absence of facial features and an obscured body make this a difficult figure to gain an emotional foothold with. I have a hard time imagining this as the lead character in a book.

Glen: 5. Yeah, it’s giving me sad-eyed Seventh Seal, not Shadowman.

Patch: 5.5. His expression makes me smile, Matthew– but it’s too medieval and too close to the classic Grim Reaper look.

Valmor Pedretti Jr. (no website)
Score: 29 out of 60

Vito: 5. I’d go a full on 10 if I never saw DC’s Deadman. It’s just too close for comfort.

Chris: 4. Too close to Deadman, too far from the story of Shadowman.

Joel: 6. But as the seed for a new Amalgam Universe?

Jon: 4.To be fair, it also put me in the mind of Iron Fist. Maybe this IS the Amalgam Iron Fist/Deadman. Maybe this is DeadFist.

Vito: Dibs. Wait, can I call dibs on an Amalgam character? I need an official ruling…Rachel?

Glen: 4. Rama Kushna had one too many Hurricanes.

Patch: 6. I like the mask and the drawing itself is a lot of fun, Valmor. The rest of the design shows up in a lot of comics– but this is a neat illustration.

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17 comments to ““Shadowman: In A New Light” Runner-Ups!”
  1. Haha, thanks for including me in the runner-up list guys, “Danger Doll or Pokety Jabby Sympathetic Magic Man” made me chuckle, but I appreciate the kind words, and especially the 8.5 review from Patch – thank yee kindly *tips hat*
    Unfortunately my entry was a little rushed toward the end, as I was unfamiliar with the character and a little hesitant to take it on (as has obviously come across somewhat) but I’m glad I gave it a go :)

    If anyone’s interested in my thoughts on the design, including why he’s “swearing in morse code” (it’s not morse code, but I have no idea what a magic voodoo incantation would look like in speech bubble form) then please check out the related blog post about it on my… er, blog:


  2. All of them are great in their own way…

    But it seems everyone’s pics are submited, besides mine.Eh..next time, Gadget. Next time.

  3. Wow. What can I say? Thank you so much for this :) I’ve finally made it!
    It’s really weird though, that one of the designs I was least proud of and happy with has ended up being featured. Anywho, I’m glad you liked it (particularly happy somebody picked up on the ‘S’… it was also supposed to be an ‘M’ for Man, rather than a backwards 3, if you looked at the whole line side-ways). Thanks for the compliments and critiques. It really means a lot :)

    As for the other designs featured… I’ll be 100% honest: I love all of them.
    I really think each one has focused on a specific element of the character and developed it wonderfully.

  4. There’s a lot of good work here, both in design and drawing. Well done. everyone. In particular, I wanted to say congrats to Thomas Fummo. As someone else who has repeatedly been stymied by what it takes to break through the firewall here, I’m glad to see you finally made it! Honestly, I just checked your blog out the other day and thought that you were really improving your style in small ways that were going to make a big difference. Not at all surprised to see you at the top of the list today.

  5. Oopsie! there are some weird code anomalies and the last entry has reviews for a different redesign. Might want to fix that.

    Otherwise I want to say that these were really great. Combine Josh Deck’s color palette and modern look with Issac Bartsch’s voodoo influenced redesign and looks that silly top hat and you’d have one great drawing.

  6. Wow, its a really great feeling seeing your pic up here with the others, as well as hearing all the great comments by the judges. Thanks for the cirtiques and for just including me :)

  7. Ron Weaver: There’s a lot of good work here, both in design and drawing. Well done. everyone. In particular, I wanted to say congrats to Thomas Fummo. As someone else who has repeatedly been stymied by what it takes to break through the firewall here, I’m glad to see you finally made it! Honestly, I just checked your blog out the other day and thought that you were really improving your style in small ways that were going to make a big difference. Not at all surprised to see you at the top of the list today.

    Thanks Ron :)
    Since I did this redesign I have been experimenting a lot with my drawing style (using patterns and colours) and I really feel that my more recent work is more ‘me’ than the pics I did before. I suppose my happiness is mixed with sadness as, like I mentioned, I was never really happy with this drawing and I don’t feel as if I put that much thought into it, whereas some of the stuff I resubmitted afterwards I worked very hard on (e.g. my Doctor Strange, various Spider-man and Golden Age hero redesigns).
    Either way thanks for the kind words, for checking out my blog and I hope you can break through the firewall too :) I’m still not sure how I managed to!

  8. Wow, I’m very honoured to have made the Runner-ups list with my very first P:R submission. Thank you judges for that & the constructive critiques! This contest was incredibly inspiring to do, and all the entry’s I’m seeing here are equally inspiring… What a broad range of interpretations, excellent work everyone!

    Also, a hearty congrat’s to the top three winners – well deserved, all of you :)

  9. Wow! This contest brought out some diverse, dynamite designs. My favorites are Wu, Thompson, Deck, and Bartsch. All four go for a sleek fighter look (even with the top hat) that reminds me of the Zero era (while bringing multiple twists). All four seem rooted in New Orleans without being too touristy.

    Overall, a great range of choices showing how many different directions Shadowman can go.

  10. Wow! I’m blown away by everyone’s words of encouragement and the constructive critiques of the judges, thanks so much! I’m honored to have my work considered good enough to be a runner up, especially next to all these amazing designs, congrats everyone and many thanks.

  11. Thanks for the feedback! The details and aesthetic (ash/charcoal body paint and cloth wrappings) were actually referenced from photos I found of voodoo priests, but they may have been Haitian Voodoo instead of Louisiana Voodoo practicers, which apparently have major cultural differences. Should have done a bit more research, haha. I agree It’s definitely too tribal for the current Shadowman, though.

    I really love Josh Deck’s design’s mask. The curvilinear elements on the nose and “eyebrows” feel very NOLA to me, they remind me of the iron railings in the French Quarter and the tradition of Mardi Gras masks.

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