Monday, September 12, 2011

Catman vs King Scarecrow

I've got folders of images from all sorts of projects that never made it past the initial first few pages. In some cases all I have is a cover. Here's one of my favorites from a project that was mostly based on a whim of mine to see Pierre draw more of his cool Jim Aparo looking Catman.


And while the story behind this cover will probably never see daylight, I still yearn to tell a few Catman stories using Pierre's Bob Morane style; some which might feature a few of the other Holyoke characters as well.



Which brings up a question I ponder from time to time:

Why do some of us want to create stories with public domain characters? 


Is it because we think using these characters will bring our stories some validity that an otherwise wholly newly created character might not? Or is it a desire to weave ourselves into the legacy of the character somehow? Or is it that we believe these characters are purer in some sense having escaped the ravages of shifting continuity over the decades?

For some of us, it could be a mixture of these reasons, or none of them at all, but whatever it is, siren call of Public Domain heroes definitely beckons...

With that, I'll leave you with today's Free Comic...

[ Catman 26 ]



Enjoy!

- Jim

7 comments:

Trey said...

I like both those looks for Catman.

While people probably have their own thoughts about why they're drawn to public domain characters, I tend to think at least part of it is that geniune comic characters have a legitimacy to people than a character that they just made up does not. IP issues bar folks from using the characters that probably seem most legitimate, so public domain characters are an approximation.

Flying Tiger Comics said...

Your Cat-Man / Catman looks brilliant.

I use public domain to weave it into new stories and new perspectives, and I also do feel a kinship with the forgotten or abandoned characters and their creators.

A more pointed and political reason I use them is that I despise the creeping copywrong fascism where usually large companies somehow inveigle or outright steal from public domain and somehow then try and exclude everyone else from using what is, after all, for everyone's use and enjoyment.

DC and Marvel stuff is past its useby date finally, and I think the public domain characters are cleaner, brighter and in some cases better than the tortuously mutated IP of the "big two".

End of rant!

Matt said...

I like playing with public domain characters because of the "shared world" concept - something like what League of Extraordinary Gentlemen did with adventure literature.

Pierre Villeneuve said...

Thanks guys.

My first thought was to make the Golden Age Catman... not unlike the Bruce Timm Batman.

And to make the "modern" age Catman in the Style of the legendary Jim Aparo. I can't help but think that Jim Aparo's work is criminally undervalued. So I wanted to keep it alive if possible.

The main reason I first wanted to use the Public Domain characters was because although we already had some Golden Age FBU characters.... I did not felt we had enough to properly populate the Golden Age FBU.

So either I would design a truckload of other characters.... or we use some already existing ones that were part of the public domain.

But once I discovered some characters like Catman.... I knew we HAD to use him. We HAD to.

But we did not manage to do so.... yet.

But as soon as I get the opportunity... you will see the Catman once more. ;)

Popbox Entertainment said...

First, Brave and the Bold #111 (Batman and the Joker, Death has the Last Laugh) was one of my favorites! So great job on that! I would like to see that story sometime though.

As for using public Domain characters, like it was stated, there are a number of reasons people are drawn to use them. I do it because: A) Some heroes I have known about for years (such as the Zebra) and always imagined being able to write stories with them in it. B) With such characters such as the Scarlet Arrow, their time was cut short, even though the character was intertesting (He only appeared twice) and C) I like the sheer impossibility of some. I have been told that heroes such as Zippo just wouldn't fit into today's world. Personally, the more people tell me this, the more attractive the character is to me.

MattComix said...

I actually didn't know that Cat-Man was a public domain hero. I always thought he was a d-list Batman villain. Seems like DC didn't really alter his look that much either.

Pierre Villeneuve said...

Matt; Yeah... when I first saw the DC Catman... I just thought that DC had made some sort of reverse Batman character... not unlike they did with the reverse Flash.

But thanks to jim.... no I know better. ;)

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