This image of the Month ran a little late due to other commitments and not knowing the fate of this image. Everything has been cleared up, so here we go…

Not too long ago, I discovered that the local Comic Book Convention, the Central Canada Comic Con was having a contest to update their mascot C4 Girl. Now, a lot has been said about artists entering contests and ultimately devaluing art and design, but the Con, while growing, is pretty small compared to some of the big US ones and I doubt they’d have much money to pay an artist for work. And one of the really great bonuses of a contest entry – there’s far less likely to be revisions!

Besides, I had an idea.

With all the hype surrounding the current Batgirl redesign and the stuff Marvel has been doing with their Ms Marvel title, I thought just maybe Winnipeg’s Comic Con was ready for a more sensible portrayal of a female superhero. To be fair, I find it hard to be too critical of female super heroes. I have drawn my fair share of overdeveloped female heroes in the past, and I’m sure they will be more in the future. But I think the world can have at least a FEW heroines that wouldn’t need a specially made sports bra to fight crime.

The costume idea came pretty quickly. Here’s what the initial (very crude) sketch looked like. As you can see, there was some issue about the length of her hair. I finally went with a more crime fighter friendly short cut rather than a long sweeping do.


Once I had my sketch, I took a snap shot of it on my trusty iPad Mini and began drawing out the lines and plotting out the flat colour in Adobe Ideas.
Once the line work was complete, I cleaned up some of the lines and added the logo in Adobe Illustrator. Other than making the head a little smaller, most of the line work remained relatively unchanged. Afterwards, I brought everything back to my iPad and started adding some shading and highlights in the Procreate App.
And lastly it was back to the computer for some last minute cleaning up and conversion to CMYK colour should the entry win and they need it for some high end press work.

And then came the rationale:

Erin Douglas exploded onto the Canadian Superhero scene after finding a pair of alien armbands found in her late uncle’s Wolsely apartment. Armed with flight and an explosive super punch, Erin took to crime fighting under the name of C4. Whether chasing down muggers in Winnipeg’s North End or battling alien invaders in deep space, C4 uses her wits, powers and a healthy dose of luck to bring evil doers to justice!

What other Canadian Heroes are saying…

“You go girl!”
– Nelvana of the North

“Anyone see my aviator googles?”
– Johnny Canuck

“Was a great help with that alien invasion!”
– Captain Canuck

“Nice uniform!”
– Guardian

“Listen bub, first Kitty, then Jubilee, and now Rogue in the movies. The last thing I need is another brat tagging along! Even if she packs a wallop!”
– Wolverine

And now the real story…

I first found out about the contest online on Facebook. While I do not consider myself a comic book artist, my art style is heavily influenced by comic illustration. It seemed like a fun little side project.

My version of C4 is heavily influenced by the costume stylings of the new Batgirl. I wanted something, functional yet still something a comic book heroine would wear. I also wanted to take a stand on the way women are generally portrayed in comics. The colours are in keeping with the ComicCon’s colours and are used in similar ways to both Marvel’s Guardian and Comely Comic’s Captain Canuck, two iconic Canadian superheroes. The WWII aviator googles were a fun add-on that really help bring out the personality of Erin and was partially inspired by the main character in Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. This gives Erin’s C4 character (and by extension, me) some much needed nerd cred.

I figured that was worth at least an honourable mention.

A rationale wasn’t requested, but I thought it would be a good idea as I wasn’t drawing your typical heroine and I wanted to make certain people knew that. I cheated on the name though. I went online to a name generator and kept hitting “Enter” until I got something I liked.

EDIT: Shortly after I wrote this post, the results of the contest were in. My character design wasn’t chosen, but the Convention will be auctioning off prints of all the entries. Leaving me free to do whatever I want with the character. I might do something with her. No idea what as I have proven that I neither have the time and patience for a prolonged comic. We shall see.