Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Colors and Covers

I thought we might walk down memory lane a bit with some brighter entries in the early days of Champions art.

First up is the cover of the 82 Champions boxed set:

(My box is temporarily unavailable so I had to borrow Barking Alien's - Promise I'll give it back! I'll try to keep the kids out of the garage too so they stop knocking over my carefully balanced stacks of stuff)

I eventually learned that the guy with the eyebeam was named "Holocaust". I still think he looks pretty cool. Is he in the book? No! I think it's a valid assumption to think that characters pictured on the cover of a book might appear inside said book but apparently that's not the case here. Costume-wise those are some bold choices. Red and purple and yellow are not colors you see combined a whole lot. Maybe he's going for a Magneto look. Regardless, I like it. At the time I didn't know if he was a her, or a villain or what. Maybe he's one of those back and forth types, making the Magneto connection all the stronger.

I don't know the other guy's name. I thought it might be "Icestar" who is mentioned in the credits but I'm not sure. The glowing red fist sort of shoots down that theory. He's not quite as distinctive as the other guy anyway.

Within a year of picking up Champions, I picked up Enemies:

Ah, Flare (love that costume) Wait - well, lookee here. It's that guy again, the badace with the eye blasts. Looks like he's kicked a whole team's ace and he's taking their girl! Awesome! He's clearly not a guy you jack around with! Is he an uber-villain? Is he a hero who beat them all down while they were mind-controlled and then rescued his girlfriend? I don't know! Let's look inside and finally discover the truth about this mighty force! Flip flip flip - he's not in here! We have a badguy book with a possible badguy on the cover and HE'S NOT IN IT! FALSE! TREACHERY!

Anyway (breathe) he's not in the book. It's an awesome cover and none of the characters pictured on it are in this book. I used to hate stuff like this. Thank goodness I got over it.

Next I picked up Enemies II (actually I got them at the same time)

I'll save you the mystery - he's not in here either. But some of the people on the cover are! Let's see there's The Monster (always a favorite of mine), Oculon (wow those colors are not ... good), Foxbat (the comic relief of the Champions universe), Radium (that red look is kind of cool, not the first thing that comes to mind when I hear "Radium"), and finally Grond.

 Then they are opposed by The Champions (old school style) Goliath (don't like brown but I like it otherwise), Marksman (more on him later), Icestar (that's a good look), and Gargoyle looking pretty cool up close.

These same heroes also turn up on the cover of Champions II:

 Look, it's a Danger Room! Still a sort of new or unusual idea back then and a good choice for a cover IMO. It's the whole team minus Gargoyle (that's him walking in the door in human form). Not sure what those yellow things are on the back cover but they appear to be some sort of projectile - presumably that's why Rose is teleporting away from them

 Let's talk about Marksman. The permed/afro look was never a good one on a white guy. Plus I always saw it as more of a 70's thing that was dying out by this time. I mean, nobody does that look anymore.

 OK, except for Mister Fission. He's an homage to both Marksman (I always kind of liked the costume itself) and science teachers. Specifically Mr. Stanton, my 8th grade science teacher who had very similar hair.
That's enough for today. Tomorrow we will continue with a focus on one of my favorite villains from this time.


Theron said...

Ah, the late Mark Williams. Say what you will about the guy's skills back then, you definitely could spot his work. He got better as an artist and went off to do production design in Hollywood.

As I recall, Holocaust didn't appear in the book because he was just this guy Williams thought looked cool who he wanted to put on the covers and no one told him no. By Enemies II, they finally realized it was a good idea to have characters appear on the cover who were actually in the book. Holocaust didn't actually get a name until Denis Loubet included him in the Champions Enemies Cardboard Heroes set from SJ Games.

The heroes on the early covers weren't the Champions, they were the Guardians, the PCs from the Hero house campaign. They didn't start calling their iconic heroes the Champions until 4th ed (the Big Blue Book).

The yellow projectiles were swiped from a fairly common X-Men Danger Room schtick. I'm assuming John Byrne or Dave Cockrum intended them to represent non-lethal training weapons or something, but who knows?

I never liked Marksman's hair, but man, that costume is stylin'.

Theron said...

And yeah, the other guy on the cover of the original box was Icestar, one of the two original Champions PCs.

(Yes, I know way too much about the history of the game. This is what comes from being a monumental fanboy in one's youth.)

Blacksteel said...

Thanks for dropping by Theron - I always like learning more about the backstory on things like this.

I'm sorry to hear Mark Williams is no longer with us. Despite the criticism over the years I liked his style.

You know I knew the name of the group and there's even a G on the cover so I'm not sure what I was thinking there. I did own the Champions limited series for a long time so maybe that crossed up my thinking since it had some of the same characters.

It's very cool to run through all this again. Have todo some more digging now.