Now what is all this business of strange creatures about? The previews over the last three weeks have been for a new t-shirt that I’m designing for L. A. Mood Comics & Games. L. A. Mood has a very active, not to mention friendly, community of Magic: The Gathering players, which has been growing steadily (in my experience, the growth has been quite explosive in the last few years). Last year, Carol and then-chief Magic guy, Andrew Di Lullo, spoke with me about creating a t-shirt for the community. We all thought it would be a great idea and bounced some concepts around. Unfortunately, I had to put the project on the back-burner because of other commitments.
Well, the dream has almost become reality. I am very excited about this design and the pieces are really starting to fall into place. The shirt will feature five creatures, one to tie in with each of the five colours in M:TG. So far, I’ve previewed the creatures intended to evoke black and white; today it’s blue’s turn.
This little merfolk chap, or “merman” if you will, is actually the first creature I worked on for the shirt. I think he has a bit of the flavour of some of the Simic merfolk creatures from Magic, with a dash of Abe Sapien from Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, and a sprinkling of the protagonist from Trevor Jamieson’s first mini-comic, Tin. He also has a triton, as any merman worth his sea salt should. The most surprising aspect of the design, for me at least, is that I decided I really wanted him to be wearing scaly shorts. Yes, I believe I was heavily influenced by Namor, who, for those of you who don’t know, is the Mighty Marvel answer to Aquaman (I don’t actually know which character came first). All superheroes are better than Aquaman, but the specific reason that Namor trumps Aquaman is that he is pretty much Mr. Spock in a scaly green Speedo. Only Vulcan blood and the practice of Kolinahr can explain how Namor can go about his heroic business, still stoic and focussed, while dressed the way he is.
I will continue to “spoil” pencilled and then inked images from the t-shirt design over the next few days/weeks, culminating in the revelation of the composite design. Please feel free to begin spreading the word! These shirts are going to look truly fantastic, if I do say so myself. Additionally, the Magic community at L. A. Mood is really great, so if you play the game or are interested in learning, I highly recommend that you check it out! (Scroll down until you find the Magic events schedule for the month).
Please note that Magic: The Gathering and all related indicia are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, and the images I am creating are simply meant to evoke archetypal, legendary, and mythological creatures common to Western fantasy and folklore.
P.S. The first person to fully identify the reference made in the title of this post by commenting below will receive a “free prize!”