Gamer Girl & Vixen – Designing the Characters
Superhero costumes are a big deal, and rarely have they been so artistically beautiful. From Spider-Gwen to the new Batgirl, comic book artists these days are producing some truly stellar new costumes. I hope I’ll be that creative some day.
So what the heck was I supposed to do in designing my own superhero for my upcoming indie comic, Gamer Girl & Vixen? I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have much of an artistic eye. The most I can do is doodle, and even that is pretty haphazard at best. Still, a lack of insight is not a reason to give up. You can’t be afraid to just go ahead and create, so that’s what I did!
Fortunately for me, I’ve had a lot of help thanks to some very talented artists. As part of the ongoing blog series into the making of my new comic, join me after the jump for a behind-the-scenes look at how Kristi and I came up with the characters and the costumes of Gamer Girl and Vixen! So for anybody who isn’t up to speed yet, Gamer Girl & Vixen is the comic I’m making with my friend Kristi McDowell. You can read more about the project here (and follow us on social media!). It’s a collaborative effort between Kristi and I after years of writing together for fun. She created Vixen, and I’m the mastermind behind Gamer Girl. With each of us tackling a main character, it helps bring unique perspectives and unpredictability to every scene they’re in. Plus it’s just more fun for us!
The characters are based off some fan fiction stories we used to write together, then redesigned into more appealing comic book versions. I’m a pretty big video game fan, so when I was tinkering around with ideas for Gamer Girl, that seemed like a pretty cool theme. Most video game based comic book characters are embarrassing stereotypes, usually ‘mom’s basement’ kind of men. I wanted to make a legitimately cool video game hero, because video games are legitimately cool. When the phrase ‘Gamer Girl’ popped into my head, that pretty much solidified everything.
And lucky for me, a quick Google search revealed that nobody else was publishing a superhero by that name!
Vixen is based off some of the sexier super-ladies out there in comic book land. Kristi said she wanted to go for a classic look, like Veronica from Archie Comics, in order to imply wealth and status, while also being a fashionable young adult. Bianca’s style is fashionably conservative. Kristi told me her inspirations were films like Mean Girls, Bring It On and Easy A, films that really solidified the kind of girl Bianca Crowley tries to be.
Costume-wise, we really had complete freedom. Our superhero universe is kind of classic, with colorful costumes and heroes. We aren’t trying for anything super-realistic, like the Ultimate Universe, or anything uniform either. We just wanted to look good and fit the characters.
For Gamer Girl, I knew her ‘powers’ immediately. I like superheroes who build some kind of technology that sets them apart, and Gamer Girl has a pair of gauntlets that produce hard light hologram weaponry – kind of like a weaponized Danger Room, from the X-Men. I’ve been toying around with this hologram idea in my head for awhile, and I knew it would be perfect for Gamer Girl. This way, all of her weapons can look like classic video game weapons, with Scorpion’s spear or Cloud’s Buster Sword being some of her favorites (and mine too!).
So here, for the first time, are my initial costume ideas for Gamer Girl. Some of you will probably recognize the wonderful tool that is Hero Machine in her creation.
The initial idea in my head had her wearing a silver bodysuit for some reason. I don’t know why I wanted silver, but that’s how she looked in my head. I wanted big gauntlets, as if she had arms like Mega-Man, and I wanted goggles. The logo on her chest is a D-pad, and I originally wanted her to have video game controller logos on her hips.
They were going to be her ‘Cutie Marks’.
Both of us wanted full body costumes for our girls. One of the major ideas behind Gamer Girl & Vixen is to get away from superhero women dressed in bikini costumes. So don’t expect any early 00s exposed mid-riffs from us!
With basic ideas in mind, we brought on concept artist Aaron Bolduc to help bring our ideas into comic book perspective. You can check out some of his work at that link. Kristi knew him through a coworker, and Aaron drew out some pretty great initial designs for our girls.
You may notice that, between my initial ideas and Aaron’s sketches, Gamer Girl changed colors. I was never happy with the silver, even though it was at the forefront of my mind. Instead, I asked Aaron to go with blue and pink. I have always loved that combination of colors for some reason. A nice, cool, cerulean blue with pink highlights is a great combination, and I definitely think it works for Gamer Girl.
Once we had the designs down pat, next came actually drawing up the comic. For that, we hired UK superstar Gemma Moody to give the book her special, adorable touch! She took Aaron’s designs and made them her own.
We couldn’t be happier! Gemma nailed the exact look we wanted for our comic. The girls are adorable, but real; cute, but tough when they need to be. Give me a few days and I’ll share some of the completed comic book pages she’s done for us already.
This has been our tour of how to design a comic book character! Do Gamer Girl and Vixen hold up to the awesome costumes of today? I sure hope so! It’s been a fun ride so far, and there are few things more exciting than seeing an artist bring your own creation to life!
As always, please feel free to follow along with this blog to see more behind-the-scenes articles over the next few weeks as we make this comic. You can also follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and tumble us on Tumblr!
And anybody willing to help spread the word of our comic, please share this article and others on your own social media! The more people who start reading along, the bigger this thing is going to get! And we want to be huge!