I’ve found it pretty refreshing working on my old my Batman: Zero concept. It sort of got some gears turning. Especially back to my teenage days of daydreaming and sketching out my various superhero takes. I’ll admit this one wasn’t an old idea. I’ve been watching a few James Cagney gangster movies and it simply got me thinkin’.
Ghost Rider is such a fun comic character. Having a “legacy”, “mantle”, or “gimmick” that can crown different characters can be enticing. But it can also be trash. Johnny Blaze, Danny Ketch, Robbie Reyes. Whom ever you prefer as Ghost Rider is up to you. But I decided to take him back, not so much to the old west, but to a dangerous (often lawless) era of history.
Chicago 1929. The height of prohibition. A lowly gangster sells his soul to the demon Mephisto so he may live once again, as he lay dying from a botched robbery. Although given a second chance, he inevitably learns his family was brutally gunned down by Al Capone’s gangster goons. A mere consequence for his line of business.
Furious and vengeful, the gangster thwarts Mephisto’s attempt to collect his soul. But the deceitful Mephisto, instead, gets revenge by bonding the gangster with Zarathos: a demon of vengeance.
Now the streets of Chicago run red with the blood of guilty mobsters. Armed with his supernatural hellfire tommy gun, Penance Stare, and fire-tired “Hellmobile”, Ghost Rider wages not only an internal battle with the demon within…but an external one that can only end with Capone’s heart in his ghostly hand!
I formatted the images for Instagram but I figured I’d share them here as well. If the idea of a flaming skeleton gangster firing a hellfire tommy gun while hanging out of a fire-tired 1929 Mercedes Benz doesn’t spark your interest…than I don’t really even know why you’re here.
From a creative standpoint, I’ve never felt quite the same after reading Alan Moore’s Saga of the Swamp Thing. Shifting the origin of a man turned monster into a monster turned man. A reimagining so beautifully written and illustrated I simply felt guilty for not reading it sooner. The pages I’m sharing represent one of my favorite moments: a dreamlike sequence where the Swamp Thing cradles the bones of who he believes he is. Even rejecting his bride in the process. Realizing the thoughts and emotions he has are not his own but simply taken from the corpse he carries. And the sadness and fear of losing the remains, as he believes it’s his only link to humanity. The despair in realizing that your reality isn’t even yours. Still kills me reading it!
This piece didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted it. I sort of “gave up” on it. I drew the skull with Swampy “mossing” over it just fine. Even dug the colors. But when it came to the composition I was pretty lost. Reflection. Water ripples. Didn’t really know what I was doing. And since this was simply a fun piece, I had other bigger things to move onto. So this is where we are.
As usual, prints are for sale at my store if interested. And fun projects are ahead!