Monday, March 24, 2008

Fighter Design 02

Previous post: Missile Mouse - Fighter Design 01

Early on in my Missile Mouse story for Flight Explorer, MM's ship gets badly damaged and he has to bring it down. Normally he would have been able to land the thing without any extra damage to the ship. However, the ship's hydraulics were blown out and he couldn't switch to atmospheric mode. The resulting drag on the ship made nearly impossible to make a smooth landing.

atmospheric mode

In space mode the craft is open to allow ventilation and cooling for various high performance components.

space mode

Links: Missile Mouse - Fighter Design 01
Flight Explorer

Friday, March 21, 2008

Missile Mouse Pin Up

I was invited to give a demonstration at Kids' Comic Con down in the Bronx next weekend. Unfortunately, I have a scheduling conflict and I can't make it. However, I offered to do a Missile Mouse pin up for them to give to one of the kids. They accepted and this is what I drew:

If you're in town and you have a kid, Kids' Comic Con is the perfect place to expose them to comics in a friendly age appropriate environment. With comics professionals in attendance, workshops, exhibits, panels and more I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday with your kid.

Link: Kids' Comic Con

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Cephalodians

The Cephalodians are an aggressive and competitive race in the Missile Mouse universe. 90% of their planet is covered with shallow warm oceans. This resulted in a large amount of biodiversity, and consequently extreme survival instincts developed in it's inhabitants. Being the most evolved life form on the planet the Cephalodians have a high degree of intelligence. They were one of the earliest races in the galaxy to explore space. Towards the end of my Missile Mouse story in Flight Explorer we meet one such Cephalodian: Gorgo.

Gorgo has an ax to grind with the Galactic Security Agency and would love to knock off one it's agents. Specifically Missile Mouse, who, more than once, has foiled his diabolical plans.

Below is a Cephalodian Commando Droid. Gorgo got his hands on the latest model, the C-12. At nearly twice the size and 4 times the blast power the C-12 is the most powerful CCD Missile Mouse has ever encountered. However, bigger, does not mean better, and Missile Mouse realizes that he is able to exploit one of the CCD's engineering flaws. A small exhaust valve in the back of its head leads directly to the central fuel cells. A perfect shot could easily bring this otherwise formidable warrior down.

In designing the Cephalodians I found that I wanted a unifying shape that made them and their technology easy to identify. I find that when designing anything, using bold, recognizable shapes can go a long way. Block those in and then add the details on top, aways making sure the little stuff doesn't over power the core shape of the design. Can you guess what shape I chose to help identify the Cephalodians?

Below are a couple of pages from my sketchbook with my initial thoughts about where these designs should go. At first I thought it would be cool if the robot that attacks MM transformed from a box. A nice idea, but didn't seem alien enough. (I might still use that idea later though.)

Here's the sketches for Gorgo. Since I design the CCD first and gave it one big eye, I thought it would be cool to apply that to the design of the species that designed the CCD.

Link: Flight Explorer

Monday, March 17, 2008

Fighter Design

Any boy who grew up in the 80s knows his fighter jets. With movies like Top Gun, D.A.R.Y.L., Iron Eagle in theaters, and RoboTech on television how could you not fall in love with jets? Because the boy from my youth is still alive and well somewhere in my head I never abandoned my love for cool fighter jets. When it came time to design Missile Mouse's space ship for the story I did for Flight Explorer I relished the opportunity. I wanted the space ship to have one foot in reality and another foot in space fiction. A big influence on the design for the ship was the ultra-sweet F-22 Raptor. Not only is it the most formidable air craft ever made but it's flat out beautiful. A favorite quote of mine comes from Ben Rich the successor to Skunk Works founder Kelly Johnson. He said, "All of us had been trained by Kelly Johnson and believed fanatically in his insistence that an airplane that looked beautiful would fly the same way." How true. Just compare the way the elegant and sleek SR-71 flew to the way the angular and harsh F-117. Likewise, the F-22 looks fast and surgical, and is supersonic and extremely precise.


Though I didn't work straight from any reference photos of the F-22, it was still in my the back of my head as I began sketching out ideas. Here you can see how the forms and shapes evolved:


This is the final design. You can see some elements of the F-22 made an impression on it. In the end though it had to feel futuristic and spaceship like, and not just a jet fighter variant. I'm pleased with the design. It was almost a pity to have MM crash it into a planet with in the first 3 pages of my story.



Sweet 80's goodness: Top Gun D.A.R.Y.L. Iron Eagle RoboTech

The comic: Flight Explorer

Jets: F-22 Raptor SR-71 F-117 Skunk Works

The geniuses: Ben Rich Kelly Johnson