Note: Our RetroFix keeps on rolling. This time out, I partnered with frequent P:R artist Ha Huy Hoang to take on the 1940s Ace character of the Raven! – Chris A.
Who Is The Raven?
Detective sergeant Danny Dartin was frustrated by criminals who had enough money and influence to escape justice, so he put on a costume, becoming the Raven. He then went after those elusive criminals, taking their cash and redistributing it to the poor like Robin Hood. His focus eventually expanded to all criminals who somehow evaded justice. He found an on-again, off-again love interest in Lola Lash, the daughter of NYC’s police chief. At first, Lola was suspicious of his masked alter ego, but she eventually changed her views and started to aid him in secret (since her father wouldn’t have been happy if he knew). He had no powers but was a talented fighter and detective. His enemies include the Lizard. Raven used a pistol and kept a pocket knife concealed inside one of his sleeves. – The Public Domain Super-Heroes Wiki
Chris Arrant: Okay, excellent. Let’s talk for a bit about how we see a modern-day Raven, and what from the original should be carried over to the current day. I think the core elements of the Raven is that he’s a police detective who takes the law into his own hands as a superhero. Here’s an old comic of his: http://fourcolorshadows.
Visually, I think the only elements I’d keep is the mask (roughly) and the flowing Cape (maybe). The idea of him wearing a suit underneath is kind of cheesy, and he couldn’t wear his police outfit because people would recognize him. I like the Raven emblem on the head of the original one — maybe we can update that into a logo that’s vaguely like a police shield? Maybe the mask should be a helmet — like a futuristic version of what a SWAT team person would wear, without being too much like Judge Dredd.
What do you think?
Ha Huy Hoang: I agree with you on removing the suit and keeping the helmet. Though IMO the emblem on the head could go somewhere else instead of his head. Like his shoulder, make it into a shoulder patch like the Beast one I just submitted. With that in mind, I think he could wear a jacket, something sort of like a biker jacket like Ghost Rider, but simpler. The cape could be changed into a one-sided cape like Power Girl or Captain Marvel, but that’s debatable. One more idea is I’ve always liked the silhouette Batman makes every time he jumps up into the moon light, how about we make the cape somehow like that? I would also suggest a pair of leather gloves, it’ll go well with the jacket, and it’ll help him avoid leaving his finger prints everywhere, since he’s a policeman, he’ll think of that. He could wear a dark blue jeans and a normal pair of shoes, or, he could be wearing military like boots. What do you think? I’ll come up with some sketches and get back to you later.
Artist’s Initial Sketches & Notes
Hoang: I’m just trying some different shapes and ideas in these. I think we should stick with the boots and the shoulder patch, those things feel “cops” to me. I’m not so sure about the cape though. Also, I was thinking about a weapon, how about a club? The one that policemen use? I could try another one with the cape from the last reference you gave me, see how it turns out. Oh, and I was thinking about the character Raven from Teen Titans, she has the hood that sometimes looks like a raven’s head, what do you think? It doesn’t have to be the hood like Raven’s, but it could just be the jacket’s hood, making it sort of a hoodie, I think it’ll make him looks kinda like an urban hero. I also was thinking about knee caps, like SWAT’s.
Arrant: Wow, I really like these. Especially the the first and the last ones. I think we need to keep a cape of some sort as a connection to the original costume, and I agree that the logo should go on the shoulder or the breast.
For the headpiece, instead of a hood what if we make the helmet you have in the first image look more “Raven”-like. Have the nosepiece hook down, and have the lens-eyes be tinted red or yellow.
Hoang: You’re right, I think I’m gonna go with the cape in the first image, the shape in last image. For the helmet, I thought about making it more Raven-like, but then I realized it’ll somehow resemble Gatchaman, wouldn’t it? I’ll try one version with my hood idea, see if you like it. I like the baton idea, it’s small and easy to keep it on his belt.
These are 2 more options. I guess the hood isn’t really working, unless you think otherwise. I forgot to put in the baton, I’ll put it in the final, may be around his thigh, or belt, I’m going with thigh, will be more “battle” looking, while belt is pretty cliché.
Arrant: I like that first one best, but what do you think about changing the eyelets back to the circular sphere-looking things like in your 001.jpg file, image on the right. Kind of like the design for Cory Walker’s Invincible, but ours would be semi-transparent with maybe red or yellow coloration. As for the baton placement, yes I like it attached to his thigh the way Daredevil has his stick attached. maybe in the illustration have it there, but then also have a diagram of it beside that shows it in its natural state, then images of it extended and then one of it glowing to simulate it being a “stun” baton.
Hoang: I agree with all you said here. I’ll make the eye bigger.