Friday, April 29, 2011

Whitney DeKalb of DeKalb Television


We first encountered Whitney DeKalb back in January. Allow me to refresh your memory on what was established then:

Whitney DeKalb is the great-granddaughter of Ladd DeKalb, founder of the trailblazing but perennial also-ran DeKalb Television Network. A member of the DeKalb Network board of directors, Whitney has been seeking a way to better compete with the Major Broadcasting System (MBS) and the United Broadcasting Company (UBC). She thinks she has finally found one by forging a strategic alliance with Mann Creations.

When I wrote that mini-profile, I did not really specifically know that I would be commissioning Kabuki Katze to draw Whitney for me. However, that is exactly what happened, and we're going to take a look at the resulting piece.

Whitney DeKalb was not inspired by any particular character or person, but the "DeKalb Televison Network" was inspired by the nigh-forgotten DuMont Television Network. But make no mistake - DeKalb is NOT intended as a straight analogue for DuMont. For one thing, DeKalb obviously survived its also-ran status.

("MBS" and "UBC" are likewise not straight copies of CBS and NBC, but rather more generalized big TV networks. You could just as easily substitute ABC or Fox, and it still works.)

One aspect of the DuMont legacy I wanted to have mirrored with DeKalb was a similar-looking logo. Kabuki incorporated her take on a DeKalb logo into the TV in the picture, thereby neatly establishing that DeKalb also manufactured TVs like DuMont. This was not something I was specifically worried about, but I will happily take it.

That TV is another point of pride for me. Kabuki initially thought she was going to have to draw a modern flatscreen, but what I wanted to see was a more retro-futuristic style TV. You know, the way the 1950s might have imagined a future TV. The SF-tinged remote added to the flavor of what a Fifties Style Digital Television might look like.

Before we move from the TV, let's look at what's on the screen. I told Kabuki that a test pattern would be best (since I didn't want her putting a lot of work drawing a picture in a picture), and gave her a number of examples. This is the design she chose to use, and it looks wicked sharp in her interpretation. It also has a little extra info included for those who look closely. You see, the Major City DeKalb affiliate station is WMC, Channel 5. This was my choice, and it's my fictional tribute to a real station.

(If you are wondering what the "13" signifies, don't worry - I have an explanation. Maybe I'll even share it eventually.)

Now, let's deal with Whitney herself. I had a series of very specific yet random instructions as far as realizing this lady, and it was left to Kabu to organize all of that into a cohesive whole. She elected to use Christina Hendricks as a starting point, which I went along with readily. My only condition was that Whitney's chest should probably be smaller, since I'm not sure anyone wold believe Christina Hendricks was a real person if she didn't exist in front of us. What I'm saying is, the woman is hot.

I asked for Whitney to be tall. Really tall, like in the 6 foot range. I just thought that sort of thing would be an interesting contrast, especially considering she is in no way a super character. It's not blazingly obvious in the picture, but we knew it and that was what counted.

I also requested that Whitney have black hair, and that it be only about shoulder length. Both Kabu and I really like the long hair, so this again was an effort to add a little variety to the lovely ladies we bring to life. I think it came out really well, and the style evokes the retro feel I am after in the Owariverse.

I suppose there was a reason for the blue eyes, but I don't remember it now. I did ask that they be framed with cat's eye glasses, because I thought that look would fit right into the atmosphere we were creating. Kabuki asked about adding some color, I agreed, and I think we both made a great call on all points in that aspect of the process.

Whitney is a professional, and an electronics genius. It made sense that she should dress accordingly. Kabuki designed it, and added both the neck scarf and the understated jewelry. The lady does know how to accessorize.

Whitney hasn't made a full-blown story appearance as of yet, but it is certainly probable that she will if we keep the Owariverse train running. When she does, I think Kabuki has done a smashing job of bringing her to life. If you concur, why not give some love to her gallery page for this piece?

As a special bonus to my valued OWARI readers, I've also included an alternate version of this picture sans the texture that replicates the paper stock of a vintage magazine ad.


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