Friday, September 21, 2012

2012 Gypsy Comicpalooza Commission by Lane Montoya

Click To Enlarge

Lane Montoya set herself apart from the many manga influenced artists at Houston's Comicpalooza convention by offering a gothic sensibility and by favoring a more "hard" sci-fi look over the fanciful approach I was seeing elsewhere. Qualities of her style and subjects recalled films from directors like Ridley Scott and Chris Cunningham, so I really wanted to see her do a character from within that realm. Despite the edgier approach, Montoya's work also had an undeniable femininity, so I figured the best subject would be a heroine.

Probably my favorite story arc from the Ostrander/Mandrake Martian Manhunter series was "Rings of Saturn." Princess Cha'rissa was a comrade and lover to J'Onn J'Onzz as they struggled against a Saturnian plot to assassinate Prince Jemm, Cha'rissa's betrothed. I felt Montoya improved on Tom Mandrake's loose, sketchy design for the character. I was extremely impressed with the piece, especially when you consider that it's an 8½" x 11" full figure in color for just $35. She even puts them in a self-sealing polypropylene magazine bag (not those cloudy polyethylene numbers) with a backer board bearing a sticker/business advertisement. It's pretty neat.

Click To Enlarge

Princess Cha'rissa by Lane Montoya

I had a few other subjects that hadn't worked out with other artists, but I felt bad about trading one half naked alien girl like Cha'rissa with another like Cay'an. Instead, I figured the Princess' intended from the "Rings of Saturn" arc, Jemm, would compliment nicely. On the down side, with the slight instruction of "again," Montoya provided another straightforward full figure. I haven't been a big fan of the ripped Jemm of recent years, preferring him as an exaggeration of a gangly teen, which Montoya captured here. The board couldn't quite fit it all though, and from a distance the cut-off near the ankles makes him look squat. Aside from that optical illusion, I think it's swell. I like Jemm's delicate features and slim build. The red flesh tones really pop, and my favorite element is the swirling, shimmering cape. It has the effect of appearing translucent with prismatic purples that look quite cool.

Click To Enlarge

Jemm, Son of Saturn by Lane Montoya

For Montoya's final commission, I handed her a batch of reference pages I'd had printed up, and let her choose her own subject. If I recall correctly, she gravitated toward Gypsy immediately, based on the Sal Velluto art used for her button on this blog's sidebar. I told Montoya that she could draw Gypsy however she liked, in any costume she chose, or even a mingling of several looks. As you can see, while Montoya kept some of the ethnic flair Velluto brought to the character, there's a lot more of Chuck Patton's original design. Thank Google for that. Cleaned up and streamlined, I think Montoya offers the Gypsy we might have seen had she stayed in the game after Vibe and Steel fell victim to Professor Ivo. It works as a costume, but unlike her comics debut, I can believe a girl would actually wear this. I also like the Latin flavor, and should she return in the New 52, I'd prefer a "Cynthia Reynaldo" to Cindy Reynolds. Pretty and exotic, I was very happy with how Montoya capture the youngest Leaguer.

For more, be sure to check out Montoya's deviantART page

No comments: