Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Fanny Lives: The Doom Defying Jungle Girl!

Donna Blank, The Phantom Jungle Girl, first appeared without origin with her unlikely detective partners Cowboy Gorilla and The Brilliant Brain in absurdist one-act skit entitled "The Crypt of Crime" (Pteranoman #1, Kitchen Sink Press, August 1990) . I next used her as a substitute member of the Megatropolis Quartet (along with Rubber Brother) in The Savage Dragon vs. The Savage Megaton Man #1 (Image Comics, March 1993). Lithe and fun to draw, her over-the-top name seemed no more ridiculous than a great many "straight" superhero characters, and she seemed to navigate quite easily between my more melodramatic urban pulp-noir conceptions such as The Meddler and the more overtly humorous cast of Megaton Man. Fanny was therefore a natural to anchor Bizarre Heroes (Fiasco Comics, Inc., 1994-1996) as a Crime Buster and subsequently hang out with the Wandering VW Van in The Megaton Man Weekly Serial (online, 1996-2000), which established her secret identity as Donna Blank, the short-haired social worker who knows little about her orphaned past. Donna/Fanny will play a major role in my current work in progress: all-new Megaton Man material than I am preparing for publication in some form or another in the very near future. Here is a brand-new pose I created from scratch recently, along with some key panels from her past comics!

This pose shows the undeniable influence of years of reading Ross Andru's Amazing Spider-Man in the mid-1970s. Although John Romita's covers were the attraction (he is my favorite Spidey artist and still one of my all-time favorite artists generally), I absorbed more than a little of Andru's often awkward and contorted posing, which as a reader at the time I found rather disturbing and lacking in suitable grace. But there's no denying that he always tried to achieve clear, readable storytelling, even if as he struggled to balance expressive body language with compositional constraints, perhaps beyond his skills as an artist. Given the level of artistry that has since become the industry standard, I've come to respect the fact that he made the attempt, and to the extant he has influence my work (and nearly everything I've ever looked at has registered some influence), I like to think I've managed to smooth off some of the rougher edges!

The original sketchbook scribble in pencil is on the right (dated April 21, 2015), which I subsequently scanned and printed out, enlarged, above left, and tightened up with a fine line pen, then inked on a sheet of Strathmore Vellum (I'm pretty sure from the same pad I used for Dracula's Daughter #1 back in 1992) below, both executed on June 23, 2015.

Fanny takes a turn as a fill-in member of The Megatropolis Quartet with Rubber Brother in the background, in the framing sequence taking place in my world in The Savage Dragon vs. The Savage Megaton Man #1 (Image Comics, 1993).

Donna Blank is introduced as Fanny's orphan alter-ego in an early episode of the online Megaton Man Weekly Serial (c. 1996).

Fanny navigates easily between the darker, more dramatic world of The Meddler and the more humorous world of Megaton Man in this incompletely colored tier from the Weekly Serial (c. 1997).

Fanny, now a member of The Doom Defiers, proposes a beach volleyball match to decide a dispute with The Bronx Bombers in my current work in progress (see more on my Megaton Man blog).

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