A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

One of the most frustrating things about being a writer is not being able to draw my own ideas... i mean i can draw a little, but not well enough to illustrate an entire comic series.

I don't know how it works for other writers in this sort of situation but i know that i usually have a very clear idea in my mind about how some of my characters look... so when i'm lucky enough to be able to collaborate with an artist it's not so much about working with them to create the look of the character as it is working with them to capture the image i created in my head already.

I try to do as much as i can to help the artist visualise the way a character "should" look... sketches, photomanipulations, collages, really longwinded and pedantic descriptions of every little detail of clothing.

So... here is a sketch i did of the Black Sheep's costume...

I had a number of things i wanted to achieve with this costume.

I wanted it to look iconic and be easily recognisable... i thought it was important that people should be able to take one look at the character and know who he was no matter who was drawing him or which medium he was appearing in. On the other hand i wanted to steer clear of a proper "costume" with tights and a cape and all that sort of thing. I thought it should look like he was wearing an outfit that he had thrown together from old clothing and souvenirs from the war or something.

I also wanted something that would allow him a degree of anonymity. Cloth caps and woollen coats were pretty much the uniform of the working class back in the 1920s... and it was common for motorcyclists and chauffeurs etc to wear breeches and leather boots, so even those would not draw too much attention. Once our hero buttons up his coat and slips the mask in his pocket he can blend into the crowd and pass undisturbed throughout the city.

I was aiming for something similar to the classic pulp character the Shadow. Mike Mignola's Lobster Johnson and Dave Flora's Ghost Zero were also inspirations.

I'm not sure if i succeeded in creating something iconic... but i am sure that there aren't enough comicbook vigilantes out there who wear cloth caps, so at the least he has that going for him y'know?

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