Fan Art: Sluggy Freelance
I’ve been reading the webcomic Sluggy Freelance by Pete Abrams since around April of 2010. I saw my brother reading it off and on when he was home from college and he told me a bit about the story and characters. I finally got curious enough to check it out for myself. For those not familiar with Sluggy, it’s a daily comic that’s been running since August of 1997—do the math, that’s a lot of friggin’ comics to wade through. My recommendation for those who want to check Sluggy out but aren’t sure they want to read the entire archive: click the archive drop-down menu beneath the comic, go to “Comics not yet in books,” and select the chapter titled “bROKEN” as your starting point. This particular storyline is kind of the main lead-in to the current story. One of the nice features of the Sluggy website is that Pete thoughtfully provides hotlinks whenever he references past comics in his current story. Thus if something doesn’t make sense to a new reader (or to a current reader who’s forgotten), they can link directly back to the pertinent comic instead of having to hunt through the archive. (I wrote up a blurb for Sluggy Freelance in a previous post about some of my favorite web comics. It can be found here.)
In the spirit of webcomic artists who like to draw their characters dressed as other characters, I decided to draw the six main characters from Sluggy Freelance as the Light Warriors from Final Fantasy I. Shortly after I joined the message boards at Sluggy, someone put a call out for fan art. And so I posted my original drawing, with the intent of drawing other pictures along the same theme.
I originally drew this for Halloween in 2011. I don’t recall precisely what inspired me to draw them as the Light Warriors, but it seemed fitting for some reason. Left to right: Sam as Thief; Kiki as herself; Zoe as Black Belt; Torg as Fighter; Bun-Bun as himself; Riff as Red Mage; Sasha as White Mage; and Gwynn as Black Mage. Some elements from the drawing I’m happy with, other elements less so. I’m particularly happy with how Torg and Zoe turned out (despite that Zoe looks a lot buffer than she does in the comic). I’m not so happy with Sam and Sasha’s faces–in fact, I’m not sure everyone can immediately tell that’s Sasha.
This technically was the second image I drew for this theme. I originally used it as part of the coloring book I drew for my cousin/godson, Paul. It made most sense to make Gwynn the Black Mage since she gains magic powers after being possessed by the demon K’Z’K. They aren’t something she uses often, as she seems to be somewhat afraid of them. I find Gwynn also fits this this role aesthetically as her coke-bottle glasses can be made to look like the Black Mage’s glowing eyes.
Here is my revisitation of Sasha as the White Mage. Unlike the picture I drew of Gwynn, I made sure to include a couple references from the comic in this one. I threw Kiki in for good measure, with a funnel on her head because it just seems like the kind of thing she’d wear on her head like a party hat. There is just something infinitely huggable about Sasha, in contrast to Zoe’s intimacy issues or Gwynn’s prickliness. (The stuffed animals and the pool floaty are a reference to one of my favorite story arcs, which begins here.)
It just somehow made most sense to cast Riff as the Red Mage, as we have a caster who can also wear armor and fight. A battlemage, if you will. Originally I’d intended to have Riff casting a spell of some kind as he ran, but I just couldn’t make the spell look convincing. Instead I opted to have him running with the Water Orb (one of the key mcguffins from the original Final Fantasy). The armored boots and bracers seemed to fit Riff’s personality, and I added a chain-mail shirt because the Red Mage can wear chain armor and chain mail is a fun texture to draw. (Just ask any Prince Valiant artist.) I’m also quite happy with how the pommel of his sword looks, but less so with the scabbard.
I think one of the things that bugged me about my original Sam drawing was the lack of coat. Sam’s long coat is almost as customary as Riff’s, and I think drawing him without was a mistake. I cast Sam as the thief solely because the they both have pointy ears. For no apparent reason, I opted to give Bun-Bun a helmet. The only requirement was that it had to have an open face. The Roman centurion helm was the first look I tried, and I liked it well enough that I decided to roll with it.
All along I’ve intended to put Torg and Zoe together for theirs. It just took me a long time to decide on a pose for them. I considered pictures of Torg standing behind Zoe and of Zoe standing behind Torg. I considered drawing them standing back to back. I considered a number of action poses, finally deciding on this one of Zoe vaulting over Torg’s head as she leaps into battle. Torg’s action pose comes directly from a Captain America comic I’ve had for years. The battle axe is a Norse design, to reflect Torg’s viking heritage. Zoe’s pose is from a picture I found of the thief gal from Trine. I like Zoe’s outfit much better in this than in the original cast drawing above.
At any rate, there was some talk on the discussion forums about Pete using some of our fan art as filler, but I haven’t heard anything back about it. As far as fan art goes, I also drew and submitted a piece for Amya Chronicles, another of my favorite comics. I heard back from Savvy, the comic’s writer, and she wants to use it for filler art here in the next few months, so I’m kind of stoked about it. I feel it’s only courteous to wait until Savvy posts it before posting it here, though.