Monday, September 10, 2012

The Evolution of Captain Satellite, Part 1

I don't have anything particularly compelling to discuss at the moment. Therefore, I thought it might be fun to explore how my primary original character grew to fill his role. Like most stories of this nature, it's not a clean, linear evolution.

As an example of how messy the development of Captain Satellite was, this initial entry isn't even about him. Instead, it's about this guy.

Ferro Man 2007 by ~celamowari on deviantART

That's a 2007 drawing of Ferro Man, who was once my primary "original character." Original is a relative term, obviously. He was very much inspired by this guy.

Ferro Lad is a character from the Legion of Super-Heroes, originally created by Jim Shooter. So ironically, I guess you could credit Jim Shooter with indirectly inspiring Captain Satellite. But I didn't know that as a kid. All I knew was that Ferro Lad was a former Legion member who had died and had been memorialized with a statue. Since he looked so cool, I figured I would appropriate him and incorporate him into my own hero adventures. After all, DC wasn't using him! Ah, sweet naïveté of youth!

I retained some of this in my Ferro Man. As I recall, he was an inventor who had created a suit of armor to hide his tragically-disfigured face. He then took the next logical step and used his armor to fight evil. In some ways, there was a liberal dose of Iron Man in the character. I guess that wasn't too surprising, especially considering I owned this comic.

Now, if you're wondering why Ferro Man has a triangular shield when Ferro Lad didn't, well, there's a reason. You see, the first artist I ever saw draw Ferro Lad was Jimmy Janes, and his version of the character did have the triangular shield. I'm not sure if that was how he preferred to draw the character (who remember, had been dead for a number of years by then) or if he was working from inaccurate references. Nevertheless, the triangular emblem was dutifully recreated on Ferro Man, and by the time I saw the correct costume, I was already committed. I occasionally drew Ferro Man with an emblem more closely replicating his comic book inspiration, but usually I just went with the triangle. It did give him something like his own identity.

Ferro Man instantly became the centerpiece of my superhero universes, and remained in that lofty position for several years. However, as I grew older, his very derivative nature bothered me more and more. He stuck around because I liked him so much and what his character brought to my made-up adventures, but I couldn't ignore the fact that he was very much a direct copy of DC's character. He was ultimately retired from active use sometime in junior high.

Ferro Man has come out of retirement a few times since, but it's mostly in the service of nostalgia. I don't really have any interest in bringing him back on a permanent basis. He's mostly a touchstone in the development of my own characters.

Besides, Ferro Man's lasting legacy is summed up in this picture.
Passing The Torch by ~celamowari on deviantART

TO BE CONTINUED! --eventually.

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