Trading Card Tuesday: The Serpent
Face front New Futurists because we are back, back, back again! And if it’s the first Tuesday of the month, you know it’s Trading Card Tuesday here in the Omniverse.
First things first, I want to send my most sincere gratitude to all of our readers for giving me the time to take care of my family. And a huge thank you to everyone who reached out to offer support. I’ll give you a more fulsome update on my ongoing elder care experience in the next installment of Moving Forward, but for now please know how much I appreciate y’all for buoying me during this intense time in my personal life!
Our community of readers has grown since last Trading Card Tuesday, so if you’re joining us for the first time, here’s what you can expect: above the paywall you’ll get a digital trading card featuring a character from the Omniverse along with design notes from Luis Valero-Suarez and me! Paid subscribers receive additional illustrations and sundry surprises. For instance, today’s paid subscriber bonus gives you a look at my earliest design of this month’s featured character.
A special shout-out to all of the folks we saw at HeroesCon in June! It was an absolute blast meeting some of our readers in person, rubbing elbows with wicked talented creators, and welcoming brand new readers to the Substack. Also, Luis and I met IRL for the first time! Check us out at The New Futurists booth below cooking up ideas for all sorts of new characters and stories!
Now, on to today’s feature! The most frequently asked question I’ve received from discerning readers of our trading cards is: who is the Serpent? Great question (I’m talking to you Daniel and Chris)! The character has been slithering around the edges of some of our previous posts including the villainous Wargs and The Raptor. So we’re super excited to properly introduce you to the Vengeful Viper of New Cawkagine: the Serpent!
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1939 – THE SERPENT
This is one of my favorites! My goal was to make Arthur Sharpe aka The Serpent look and feel like he could exist in one of those 1940’s noir comic magazines. I looked at classic pulp heroes of the golden age such as The Phantom, Batman, The Sandman and even The Invisible Man for inspiration. I made sure he looked like a mysterious man that could roam the gritty streets and rooftops to take on crime!
Since he’s more of a street-level vigilante without powers, I wanted to make that clear by making his suit more practical than the others. Lots of weapons & gadgets and pouches to store them in. I thought having the cowl look like an open snake mouth with these piercing yellow snake eyes was a neat visual. While I didn’t really have a specific model at first, as I was drawing him, I felt a blond Michael Fassbender type of look worked for him. He’s a brooding character that’s very driven in his hero work, so I imagine him being a bit of a recluse and getting very pale from not getting a lot of sun. His jacket is a double-breasted motorcycle leather jacket that’s been modified to be more of a vest. To give it a classic feel, I gave him good ole trunks and short gloves which are a nod to Batman’s original design.
- Luis Valero-Suarez
I suggested some classic pulp heroes as references for The Serpent— particularly the Phantom as that character’s silhouette always struck me as a forerunner of the Golden Age of superhero costumes. I love how Luis dove into the noir and pulp aesthetics while considering the practicality of Arthur’s design.
I have a theory: human superheroes in the pulp/Batman archetype (think Hawkeye, Blue Beetle, Nite Owl, Black Widow) offer visual insight into how military technology is reflected in our costumed heroes. Luis’s attention to the the utilitarian aspects of the costume foregrounds the tactical gear of the era. The vest is such a standout feature of this design for me— it marries the pulp aesthetic with military gear so perfectly.
You’ll see below the paywall that from my first sketch of The Serpent, I imagined the character fighting with blades. All of the best pulp heroes had distinctive weapons of choice and it just made narrative sense that a guy dressed like a snake would fight with something sharp! By the time Luis and I began working together, I’d honestly forgotten about that detail. So imagine how excited I was to see the card art with Arthur squared up with twin daggers! That’s how parallel thinking gave us the Viper Fangs!
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