Behind the Scenes

In Ruins – Behind the Scenes 5

My awesome Dad went through my gaming boxes in NZ and managed to track down the version of Isaac I made for the Deadlands RPG. Merci beaucoup, Papa! 😀

Deadlands - Isaac

Deadlands – Isaac

This pic would have been made somewhere in the late ’90s or early 2000s. I was trying to mimic the colouring technique that Tetsuya Nomura used for the character designs in the “Final Fantasy VII” video game.

This version of Isaac is pretty close to the “In Ruins” version of Downtown. I’m glad I stuck with the Wild West theme. I think it suits his character.

In Ruins – Behind the Scenes 4

Isaac “Downtown” Brown

Originally known as Isaac, he was a character designed for the Weird West RPG “Deadlands”. However, I only played that game once and he never got the chance to actually get used. I always liked his design though, so when I was thinking about including him in one of my series, I came up with his surname and his urban nickname.

Downtown’s looks were based on a combination of a couple of guys – Gary Dourdan’s character Christie from “Alien Resurrection” and Lajon Witherspoon from the band Sevendust. He’s also a bit of a mix of some of my friends, so I knew that Downtown would be great to include as Jake’s amigo.

Downtown’s clothes have remained in a Western-style for “In Ruins”. I thought it’d be interesting if he took the clothes from a predominantly White hero culture (at least in a Hollywood movie sense, in reality there were actually quite a lot of Black cowboys) and made them his own. Downtown is the owner of the Pontiac he and Jake travel in (it’s his version of Silver, the Lone Ranger’s horse).

I thought that instead of a lone survivor trudging across the wasteland, it would be cool to make the “In Ruins” comic more like a buddy film. It allows the guys room to express thoughts and argue, but when the chips are down, they pull together. I think it’s worked out well in the comic and creates something different from the “Mad Max” films it’s obviously based on.

Unfortunately, I don’t have Isaac’s original character sheet with me in Europe (it’s somewhere in my gaming stuff in New Zealand). But, I do have another pic of Downtown from 2003 (Jake was still known as Mike in those days).

In Ruins - Downtown

In Ruins – Downtown

There you go! A little backstory on the design of Downtown.

In Ruins – Behind the Scenes 3

Here’s the original Aftermath RPG character sheet of Mike Sterling (now known as Jake McKenzie from “In Ruins”). The top and bottom right drawings would have been done sometime around 1986 (when I was a young teenager).

Aftermath - Jake McKenzie 2

Aftermath – Jake McKenzie 2

Back then, I gave Mike the backstory that he had looted a museum, which was why he ended up with such an eclectic collection of weapons. I mean, look at him, nunchaku, a crossbow and bolts, WWII Colt.45 (it says so on the holster!), boot knife and a Sten gun. Topped off with a suit of chainmail under all those clothes, a G.I. Joe American Army helmet and a hockey mask to try to minimise the amount of damage he could take in that brutal RPG.

The hockey mask is a nod towards Casey Jones from the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” comics and Jason Voorhees from the “Friday the 13th” films.

Mike ended up with a robotic arm in-game and I modelled it on Hamerstein’s arm from “Ro-Busters” and “ABC Warriors”, which appeared in the Starlord and 2000 AD comics.

In the bottom left of the page, Simon Bisley’s work on the “ABC Warriors” in 1987 was obviously an influence on my art. I added yet another weapon to Mike’s arsenal which is his now signature chainsaw.

So, there you have it. Jake’s mechanical arm for “In Ruins” had been planned for a loooonnng time. 😉

In Ruins – Page 5 – Behind the Scenes 2

It’s “In Ruins” Friday! We’re halfway! It seems Jake isn’t alone in the wasteland… Check out Page 5 now!

In Ruins - Page 5

In Ruins – Page 5

In Ruins – Behind the Scenes
Downtown’s white ’69 GTO Pontiac is based on the car my cousin Yens’ had back in the ’80s. Such an awesome machine! I even designed a Devil Girl that Yens painted on the boot of the car. I always wanted to include this car in a comic, so here it finally is! Despite it’s worse-for-wear condition, this is the car that will get you through the apocalypse! (I really should get sponsored by Pontiac for saying stuff like this. 😉 )

Check back next Friday for more “In Ruins”!

In Ruins – Behind the Scenes 1

Hi guys! I thought I’d create a behind-the-scenes post to give you some insights on the ideas and reasons behind the “In Ruins” comic.

This post will focus on one of the main characters of “In Ruins” – Jake McKenzie. Jake was based on an “Aftermath” RPG character of mine, back in the late ’80s. I have a picture of him from back then (he was originally called Mike Sterling), that I will include in a later post because of costume spoilers. Rest assured, he also lost an arm and had it replaced with a robotic one in one of the adventures we had. So Jake was always going to have a mechanical arm, it’s not a recent thing. When I was working on the comic and the trailer for “Mad Max: Fury Road” came out, I was all “Dammit!” But Furiosa is her own character and so is Jake (plus her arm is much more basic than his, made of tools and parts).

So, for now, you’ll have to be content with this sketch of him from 2003:

In Ruins - Jake McKenzie

In Ruins – Jake McKenzie

As you can see, his robotic arm was originally on his left side, but when I came to do “In Ruins” I preferred it being on his right. Once it’s revealed, it’s the first thing you notice about him. I’ve simplified his arm down from the 1980s version (influenced by Simon Bisley’s run on the “ABC Warriors”) because I wanted you to be able to look through his arm as well.

Jake’s backstory was created especially for “In Ruins” and more of his history will be revealed later.

Jake was always one of my favourite characters, so I’m glad that I finally got to create a post-apocalyptic comic for him and bring him to life a little bit more.

So, there’s a little taste of some behind-the-scenes facts. Hope you enjoyed them! Let me know in the comments section if you’d like to see more of these kinds of posts.

I’ll see you again on Friday for more “In Ruins”!