Chronicling the creative process for Pop Zeus, the forthcoming Guided By Voices/Bob Pollard tribute comic- including sketches, concepts, finished art and whatever else is in my brain at the moment.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Super Dimension Fortress Bob

This past weekend was fairly productive and all too fast- totally spoiled by the 4 day weekend with my dad so that a regular sized one seems paltry. But I had a great time working out the plot points and ideas for the 3rd Illustrated Song for Pop Zeus. As mentioned in an earlier post, it will be a send-off of all the Japanese anime and live action superhero stuff I loved as a kid. I went into some detail in that post, so I won't reveal more just yet. But, here are some of the major influences for this section of the comic and for me as an artist in general...

Star Blazers (aka Space Battleship Yamato)- Wasn't such a fan of this seminal series in it's original run (or at least its rerun when I was a little kid). I think it was too adult for me at the time, but it still seeped into my subconscious and prepared me for Robotech and Voltron later on.

Robotech (aka The Super Dimension Fortress Macross)- Totally obsessed with this series as a junior high-schooler. It blew my pubescent mind when one of the main characters died- I didn't know you could do that in a cartoon! Great melodrama, great series.

Voltron (aka Hundred Beast King Five Lion)- Not in the same league as Star Blazers or Robotech artistically or storywise. But it was the first of many five member superhero teams with transforming robot that join into one that I was aware of. Used to ride around on my bike with a pack of friends pretending I was Lance, the blue one. This series should finally be out on DVD some time this year, which rocks. And Voltron's appearance in Get Your War On was very unexpected and classic!

Might Morphin Power Rangers- An obvious descendent of Ultraman, Kikaida and the like, Power Rangers was my first exposure to live action Japanese superheroes and it kicked my ass. Even though this live action TV series kinda sucks in retrospect (the fighting was god-awful), at the time it was the only martial arts sci-fi series on TV so it was hard to peel your eyes off of it (and the Pink Ranger, admittedly).

Godzilla (aka Gojira)- The original black and white film version of this classic monster series is the one to see. The uncut Japanese version of the film made the rounds a couple years ago and wow, was it great. A spooky and haunting parable about the bombing of Japan during WWII, the original bears little resemblance to the man-in-rubber-suit cheese fest that followed (not to mention the awful American version).

Kikaida- One of a million live action series influenced by Ultraman, Kikaida really didn't hit it's stride until it was aired in Hawaii. The series became a huge cult phenomenon that continues to this day, shown weekly here in San Francisco on Saturday nights. Typically melodramatic but still riveting, Kikaida's extensive arcing storyline put it a cut above the rest.

Ultraman- Granddaddy of them all, Ultraman was relatively unknown (except in plastic) to me until recently. Went to Ultramania here in SF last year. I got hooked by a classic so-bad-it's-good episode of the TV series, which completely overshadowed the glossy high-budget new film version. It's a shame this landmark 60's series is still not out on DVD.


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