Thursday, July 01, 2010
From the Archives 3
The above sketch goes back to around 1995. This was my concept for an extra-terrestrial that would briefly appear in XOMBI #19 (this story was originally slated as issue #16, as exidenced by my note on the sketch, however this storyline was bumped three issues to accommodate a three issue tie-in to the company wide crossover "The Long Hot Summer"). I wanted something completely alien, and only with only the most rudimentary humanoid appearance in the sense that it had arms and a head and clothing. It took a while to mentally achieve what I was looking for. Inspiration came while I was standing within the door of, I believe Midtown Comics, in Manhattan, where there was a poster of the Roger Dean painting "Tsunami,"(seen below) taped to the wall.
Something about the vertical rock structure on the middle right suggested a head in profile to me, with the stone archway suggesting a flowing cape. That was when the lightbulb went off. When I went home, I took that basic shape and broke it down further to what you see above.
Here's how the alien appeared in the actual issue as drawn by J. J. Birch and colored by Noelle Giddings. It is accompanied by a cat woman based on Joan Chen and a creepy old man, inspired by Vincent Price, with his underage consort. The guy with the ears is a bellhop.
I also wanted the alien's language to be completely alien, and we did this by just using color to represent it. The idea was that it spoke in vibrations through the leaf-like digits of its "hands" which are placed on each side of the person it's talking to, like stereo speakers. Somehow it was also able to covey its language to the listener so that they understood it without translation. The extra-terrestrial only appeared in a couple other panels where it's seen sitting at a dinner table, though we don't see what is on its plate.
This extra-terrestrial was really only a throw away character, but I've always been pretty fond of it.