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Armindo Macieira
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Posted: 21 May 2007 at 7:04pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Hi, mr. Byrne.

This is kind of a technical question. Hope you can help me.

Galactus is definitely one of my favorite charactes and, unfortunately on of the most difficult for me to draw... maybe it's just me but all the simmetry and complexity of his armor (specially all those thingies in his helmet) make me want to bang my head in the wall!! And I hate using rulers (to make things even more difficult)...

"Your" Galactus is, in my humble opinion, by far the best I've seen! Is there any trick or procedure that you use that can help me draw this wonderful world eater?

Thanks for reading this.

(a desperate artist...)

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John Byrne
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 4:56am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

One of the first things I did when the FF became "mine" was sit myself down and work out a consistent look for Galactus' armor. Kirby had hardly ever drawn him the same way twice -- even panel to panel in the same story! -- and artists who had followed had tossed in their own interpretations (aided and abetted by colorists who could never quite seem to settle on a consistent pattern of coloration).

Doing this, I discovered the armor was really a lot simpler than it seems at first blush. Paging from issue to issue, I found the elements that did seem to turn up every time, and built a more-or-less consistent "model" that I have used ever since --- "more-or-less" because I draw him from memory now, and small details, like the shape of his "sporan" for instance, will vary from time to time.

Basically, it goes like this:

•The helmet is a tapered cylinder, slightly more narrow at the bottom that at the top. His eyes are slightly more than a third of the way up from the bottom. His "mask" -- the piece directly around his eyes -- is a separate piece from the rest of the face, basically contoured like a wide, flattened W.

•To either side of the "mask" are tubes that angle in above the eye to make "eyebrows", and curve around his chin to meet in the middle. Behind this central meeting point there is a circular opening, with "grillwork" inside it. Above the nose, there is a short, angled length of tubing that connects the "eyebrows".

°Above the "eyebrows" is a wide, flat protrustion that reminds me of one of those eyeshades that accountants and card players wear.

•Above that is an opening that is shaped like a flattened triangle with rounded corners and a "tab" at bottom center.

•Above the "eyeshade" all this is "framed" with a :groove" that angles inward above the triangular opening, and meets at center in a semi-circular form a little like a crecent moon lying on its side.

•Above this, the top edge of the helmet is notched in what is again a roughly W shape, with vertical sides and an angled crossbeam that mimic the triangluar shapes below it.

•Nestled into this notch is what I sometimes call "Kermit the Frog" -- two circular forms with a rounded triangle rising above and between them.

•On the sides of his "face", outside all this detail, there are two circular forms, which tend to change size and shape, alligned with his mouth. •Out of these grow parallel tubes that rise to about the bridge of the nose and then curve in. A rectangular form "breaks" these about halfway up.

•With the "face" done, we look to the sides of the helmet. At roughly eye level two truncated cones poke out, tapering slightly with their ends cut off.

•Out of these grow the "hockey stick" of his antennae. These I have formalized into basically squares turned 45° onto one point. At the top, their inner edges line up with the sides of his helmet.

Now, that about the rest of him?

•There is a large circular form in the middle of his chest (without a big "G" inside it, please!), and two curving "shoulder pads" grow out from this.

•Below, a band circles his chest, and vertical strips depend from this, framing the roughly hexagonal decorations on his "belt".

•From two of these decorations angled strips reach down to support the "sporan" (that's what Scots wear on the front of their kilts)

•The lower lines of his own "kilt" grow out from the "sporan". A separate element crated the "front flap".

•His gloves are fairly simple -- just remember to notch the "cuff" on the outer edge.

•His boots have three fat tubes around his calves, with notched bars front and back holding them in place. Sometimes there is a notched pattern around the top of the sole.

•What can be seen of his torso and upper arms have parallel bands covering them, vertically on the torso, horizontally on the arms. The arms also have "tongues" that stretch down from the "shoulder pads" almost to his elbow, on the outside of the arm.

And I think that covers it!

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John Byrne
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 5:08am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

BTW -- coincidentally, I started a Galactus piece yesterday, and found myself counting off the parts much as above, as I usually do when I draw him.
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Armindo Macieira
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 5:24am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Thanks you very much for the info, mr. Byrne!

Kirby sure did know how to make this "armored" fellas...

One more question... do you use rulers and french curves or is it's all "freehand"?

Thanks again for the help!

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John Byrne
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 6:12am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

…do you use rulers and french curves or is it's all
"freehand"?

***

Both.
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William Roberge
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 6:26am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Just to get the visual....
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Aric Shapiro
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 6:50am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Should Galactus have an expression, or do you see him as expressionless /stoic?  I would think someone of his power level would be pretty indifferent to what happens around him.  JB's Galactus always had a far away kind of look to him that made sense to me

Edited by Aric Shapiro on 22 May 2007 at 6:53am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 7:07am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

To give a somewhat better idea of what's freehand and what's not, here's the piece I started yesterday, with the blacks yet to be spotted on Galactus himself (those would all be freehand), and the freehand parts picked out (more or less -- I did this fast) in RED.

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Aric Shapiro
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 7:08am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

very very cool

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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 7:41am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Comicbook Machinery

The King - Jack Kirby
The Prince - John Byrne
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David Perrin
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 7:44am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Hmmmm.
Not a cloud in sight......
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Armindo Macieira
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 7:51am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Once again thank you very, very much, Mr. Byrne!

This is just one of the reasons why I like coming here! You actually care for your fans! :)

Thanks.

(a not so desperate artist now!)

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John Byrne
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 7:52am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

You actually care for your fans!

***

Nah, I hate the fans. (Ask anybody.)

Guess I just hate you guys less than the rest.
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Michael Everall
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 8:49am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Great answer to a perfectly timed question!

Edited by Michael Everall on 22 May 2007 at 8:49am
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Brandon Carter
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 9:30am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

I like the intermediate version of the Galactus commission, with all the red.  With the "red skies", it's almost like the Marvel Universe is about to have some Crisis-level catastrophe happen to it.
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Pablo Lainez
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 10:17am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Re: JB's answer..

wow!..very detailed. Shouldn' this be in the FAQ section?. Maybe below the question 'How come you are the best one there is when it comes to draw Galactus?'...
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Jason Schulman
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 12:59pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply


 QUOTE:
I like the intermediate version of the Galactus commission, with all the red.  With the "red skies", it's almost like the Marvel Universe is about to have some Crisis-level catastrophe happen to it.


That gives me an idea for a fun story: CRISIS minus the Monitor(s) but with Galactus, who, having discovered the DC Multiverse, decides he wants to eat every parallel Earth!
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David Perrin
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 2:52pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Jason sez:
"That gives me an idea for a fun story: CRISIS minus the
Monitor(s) but with Galactus, who, having discovered the DC
Multiverse, decides he wants to eat every parallel Earth! "

Mmmmm...smorgasbord!
I can see the sign over the giant cosmic sneeze guard:
"Take all you can...Eat all you take!"
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James Hanson
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 3:31pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

JB really does draw the best Galactus-- in fact, I'd put all his cosmic tech
stuff as the equal of Kirby's.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 4:13pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

That gives me an idea for a fun story: CRISIS minus the Monitor(s) but with Galactus, who, having discovered the DC Multiverse, decides he wants to eat every parallel Earth!

****

Almost like THIS?

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David Ferguson
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 4:15pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

I like the increasing number of the "how to" tips that JB is giving lately.

Very generous JB.

(Second favourite thing about the forum after the commissions)

JB, I was wondering what approach you took when writing Galactus?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 4:22pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

I was wondering what approach you took when writing Galactus?

***

The First Coming of Galactus was one of the first story arcs I read when I returned to comics after my late teen hiatus. By then I was really getting back into Kirby's art, expecially with Sinnott's exquisite inks -- but what really blew me away -- or blew my mind, as we would have said then! -- was how Stan presented Galactus. In most particular, one exchange, when someone refers to Galactus as "evil", and the Watcher says "Galactus is not evil. He is beyond good and evil. He does what he does because he must. He is… Galactus!"

Wow!

When it came my turn to write the character -- especially with Shooter's order that I "restore him to his former glory" (Shooter had a knack for telling us to do things we were planning to do anyway) -- that statement by the Watcher was forefront in my mind. It informed everything I did with Galactus.*


* Important distinction here. I approached writing Galactus with the Watcher's words in my mind, because the assumption had to be that the Watcher spoke the truth. I had to deal with the seeming contradictions and conundrums (especially those brought on by later, bad writing of Galactus). Today, I fear, a writer would "solve" this dilemma by simply saying "Well, the Watcher was wrong." Or, more likely, "The Watcher was lying."

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John Byrne
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 4:23pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

I like the increasing number of the "how to" tips that
JB is giving lately.


***

Definitely gonna hafta double the membership fee!
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David Ferguson
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 4:37pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Not to sound like a smart Alec, but shouldn't the first step of every FF writer be to go back and read the Lee/Kirby run as well as some of the other great runs (like yours)?

That's what I would do.

(Same for every other book - read the great runs first)
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Aaron Smith
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Posted: 22 May 2007 at 4:39pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

I was thinking the other day that if Marvel ever gets a new EIC, he should make that a rule, David. 
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