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Scott Adsit
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 11:43am | IP Logged | 1  

Not being a fan of the Humpty Dumpty beneath Vader's mask in Jedi, I'd love to see JB's version of what Anakin looks like under that respirator.

I did a search for Byrne Star Wars material, but came up empty screened. Has John ever done this before?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 12:28pm | IP Logged | 2  

I haven't -- tho it's an intriguing thought. Since Vader was, as originally stated by Lucas, thrown into a live volcano by Obi-wan, he should be a real mess under there!

Mind you, this brings us to the "mystery" angle. I don't EVER want to see Doctor Doom's face (tho in my younger days I did take a swing at drawing it). Do we really want to see Vader's face?

I go back to something Archie Goodwin said, when Vader's face was revealed. "All that buildup, and then we get Ray Milland?" The face we saw certainly was not so horrible as to have caused the reaction we saw in that Imperial officer in EMPIRE!

Hmmm. . . . . .

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 12:34pm | IP Logged | 3  

This makes me want to see your takes on both Doom and Vader
unmasked!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 12:38pm | IP Logged | 4  

A quick Google or Bing of "facial burns" will tell you more than you'd ever want to know!

(A brief sojourn into CITY AT WORLD'S END again. One of the aliens in that book, La'lor, is described as having heavy, drooping skin. Years ago I was researching facial burns, and came across a man whose face had essentially melted. And there was La'lor! It was. . . disturbing!)

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 12:49pm | IP Logged | 5  

I shudder at the thought, but I do believe that Doom's face has been
revealed in the comics, yes?

Less is more. The audience's imagination is such that a little implication
goes a long way. An actual reveal would be an Inevitable
Disappointment, like with Vader's unmasking.

EMPIRE got it right--show just enough to freak everyone out, and leave
the rest to imagination. And, as I understand it, various (and more
extreme) concepts were toyed with for JEDI, but they went with the
"kindly old man" look in the final film so as to tie in with the notion of
Vader's "redemption".

Edited by Greg Kirkman on 09 May 2013 at 12:51pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 12:58pm | IP Logged | 6  

I shudder at the thought, but I do believe that Doom's face has been revealed in the comics, yes?

••

I was sure I recalled something, but I could not find it on BING. Perhaps I was not using the correct combination of search words. I remember something with lots of machine parts -- which made sense. Just didn't want to SEE it!

Same with Vader -- the machine parts, I mean. I like the idea that he's mechanical thru and thru. What was it Lucas said in that interview, so long ago? That Vader is "one destroyed human being" inside the suit.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 12:59pm | IP Logged | 7  

…they went with the "kindly old man" look…

••

And may I say, as loudly as possible, :-PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 1:03pm | IP Logged | 8  

Well, it looks like Doom has at least been unmasked in action figure form, via Marvel Legends and MiniMates. And they look stupid.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 1:19pm | IP Logged | 9  

Okay.... Taking Lucas literally at his word, here's a very quick and small (the original is about 2.5 inches tall) Vader. . .

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See, Scott? Be careful what you wish for!

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 1:26pm | IP Logged | 10  

Holy crap!

...but awesome.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 1:43pm | IP Logged | 11  

And it ties in well with what we saw in EMPIRE:

 

Anhoo, I see that there was also a bust of unmasked Doom released a few years back. Sigh.

 

 

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Peter Martin
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 1:59pm | IP Logged | 12  

I'm going to try to expunge that Doom face from my mind -- so hard to unsee something, even when it's crap.

That Vader face is pretty scary, JB (the expressionless eyes and the gumph plugged into the mouth are haunting). If they'd shown something like that just once at nearly-subliminal speed it would have been very effective.

Ultimately you are right that they would have been better off not showing it at all and letting your mind create its own horror.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 2:10pm | IP Logged | 13  

Makes me wonder if The Voice would be entirely synthetic, too.

As it currently stands, Vader has gone from the kindly, Humpty-Dumpty
look to pretty-boy Christensen in burn makeup. And we've had comics,
figures, statues, and artwork featuring this new version of unmasked
Vader, as with the unmasked Doom.. The mind boggles.

I vastly prefer a truly monstrous visage to a pretty-boy in burn makeup!

And, really, since the suit is integrated into his body, the mask IS his
face, for all intents and purposes. Knowing that there's a horribly-
injured monster-face under that cold, terrifying mask is just the icing on
the cake.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 2:38pm | IP Logged | 14  

Oh, and here's early concept art from JEDI. You can see the basic vibe of the final version, and how it was toned way down.



Edited by Greg Kirkman on 09 May 2013 at 2:39pm
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 3:18pm | IP Logged | 15  

My passion being exclusively for the original film alone, I have been trying to peel away the veils of time to think how much did I assume in 1977 that Darth was more machine than man. Hmm... Anyone else who saw the movie back then, and just based on the movie, had a thought at the time about what he looked like in the suit?

Tangentially, unfortunately...
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Scott Adsit
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 3:22pm | IP Logged | 16  

Best 2.5 inch nightmare I've ever seen.

I like how you've incorporated a vague approximation of the mask in his face with the nose and mouth forming a loose triangle and the glassy eyes. The mouth is the most disturbing. A hideous, quivering maw that looks cyber, yet fleshy, dangerous but vulnerable. Perfect.

As for Doom, it's always a mistake to give us a glimpse. And whatever glimpse we get, I always know it's wrong. Though I do like the notion that his ego led him to finish the job which that tiny, little cheek scar started. Thought it was preposterous at first, then I really warmed to it, now it's simply the truth.

Thank you for the Vader, Byrne! Keep preachin', preacher!
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Scott Adsit
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 3:33pm | IP Logged | 17  

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Paul Greer
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 3:43pm | IP Logged | 18  

That is a pretty sweet Vader, JB. Thanks for sharing that gem. Thank you Scott for asking for such a thing. 
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 4:03pm | IP Logged | 19  

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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 4:21pm | IP Logged | 20  

You mean Vader doesn't look like Hayden Christensen under the mask? I'm surprised they didn't keep going after changing Anakin's ghost.

Seeing the picture of Star-Burns, it occurs to me: Did Pete use the same handbook on faking one's death that he did?
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 4:33pm | IP Logged | 21  

Something I find interesting is that, in the three original films proper,
we're told almost nothing about Vader's nature, or how he got that way.

In the original film, he wears the suit all the time, and has that heavy
breathing. His voice sounds like it's just being filtered through the mask.
He appears to be wearing an armored spacesuit. That's all we get.

The Duel came along late in the game, which is where Vader became a
cyborg--during the sound mix. Prior to this, Lucas mused that Vader
wore the suit merely because he'd been badly burned and wanted to
hide his appearance, not because he needed it to live.

In EMPIRE, the suit was made slick and shiny, with more details--and
blinky lights--added to the chestbox, and the voice made to sound
electronically processed. And, we get that glimpse of Vader without his
helmet, which establishes for the first time that he's both human and
badly disfigured.

Also, if one pays attention, there's an external respirator being retracted
from his head as the helmet is lowered in that scene, indicating that he
can't breathe without assistance.

In JEDI, we get Kenobi's "more machine than man" comment, see that
Vader's right hand is artificial, get flashes of his cyborg parts when he"s
zapped with lightning, and are told--and see--that he'll die without the
mask.

And that's it. The novels and interviews from the time filled in the rest
regarding The Duel and Vader's cyborg nature. I wonder how much of it
seemed shocking for audiences as each successive film was released?
Did, say, Kenobi's comment or Vader's mechanical hand seemingly
come out of left field for some viewers, who hadn't seen or read
anything outside the movies themselves?

Lucas has stated that he put that unmasked moment into EMPIRE to
show that Vader was not a robot or an alien. Anyone here doubt that he
was human upon the original film's release? Or guessed that he was a
cyborg of some kind, prior to the famous ROLLING STONE interview
that introduced the idea if the lava duel to the public?



Anyway, I very badly want JOHN BYRNE'S STAR WARS: ORIGINS, a
prequel comic series that shows his take on the backstory and ignores
everything but the original film. That would be way cool.
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Tim Cousar
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 5:07pm | IP Logged | 22  

Wow, in that little 2.5" drawing, I see Darth Vader, Christopher Pike from the framing sequence of "The Menagerie," and Lon Chaney.
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Eric Smearman
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 6:05pm | IP Logged | 23  

I remember seeing the unmasking for the first time and thinking how
pathetic Vader looked under the mask. I think that may have been the
intention; that there was still some humanity left in him, small, sad and
shriveled though it may be. JB's version may make more sense - and
great job, BTW - but I think Lucas & co. were going for pity, not
revulsion. Pitiful and vulnerable as JB's version may appear to us, I
think general audiences would at least need human eyes to feel any
measure of empathy.

Just my two cents...
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 6:39pm | IP Logged | 24  

Well, of course they were going for pity in JEDI.

But, we're talking about the irredeemably evil Vader of the original film,
the guy who deserved to be thrown into a volcano.


And I love the fact that JB's sketch ties in with the mention of Vader's
"red eyes" glaring from behind the mask in the original film's
novelization.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 May 2013 at 6:41pm | IP Logged | 25  

You should have spent those two cents some other way, Eric. You seem to have missed the whole point of my drawing.
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