As you may have noticed, we're having a bit of comic book-themed week on Creative Bloq, in the run-up to tomorrow's release of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. So following the controversy we stirred up earlier in the week with our feature on The 10 greatest comic book artists of all time, here we ask our industry panel to name their favourite comic book character designs.
Read on to find out who they chose - and then let us know your favourites in the comments...
Ben the Illustrator says
"I've enjoyed comics of one kind or another all my life and, to this day, I have to say that Charlie Brown is my favourite character of them all. It's the simplicity: he's drawn with so little detail and yet you know who he is, how he feels and what he's thinking, every time.
"Although seeing Charlie Brown or reading a Peanuts comic is a nostalgic experience, he is somehow quite timeless. Black shorts and a very fresh shirt, he is the ultimate boy, representing all our lives at their most anxious, playful or loving. I think he's just so cool.
"As a sideline I also have to pay respect to so many British comic book artists working right now. Every one of them is creative, productive and generally super-prolific... Jamie Smart, Luke Pearson and the contributors to The Phoenix Comic to name a few!"
Ben O'Brien is a freelance designer and illustrator.
Antony Ward says
"I was pretty late to the comic scene but some of the first I read were the Witchblade and Darkness series.
"The artwork was stunning, the themes dark and I loved how the costumes (if you can call them that) that Sara and Jackie transformed into were organic. They grew around their bodies (less so in Sara's case), rather than them having to hide and perform a quick change. What's more, this new organic clothing could transform and morph into an unlimited number of weapons used to kill, mutilate and even protect.
"The design of these living garments was so intricate that it must have been a pain to draw and colour. But it looked ace!"
Antony Ward is a freelance digital artist, animator, and writer.
Rob Redman says
"Ephrael Stern was a huge hit in the early 2000s, not just with fans of Warhammer 40K but comic fans generally. Artist Kev Walker (one of my favourites and a thoroughly nice chap) was very established, having already drawn many comics, including ABC warriors and worked on movies such as Judge Dredd.
"Ephrael is a Sister of Battle, commonly known as 'nuns with guns' and is hard as nails, as any comic hero should be. From a character design point of view, the strict 40K background defined the overall appearance of the armour and general style but Kev Walker worked his magic and made her individual.
"The tattoo on her cheek is her main distinguishing feature and hints at the ecclesiastical nature of her life. Second up is her trademark bolt pistol which, although it follows the overall design of similar weapons in 40K, has slightly different proportions, making it much more of a typical comic weapon. White hair and blue lipstick are her final touches and it's obvious that she can kick some daemon ass, either in her power armour or a little dress.
"Also worthy of a note if the awesome Inquisitor Silus Hand. The pair making a formidable team and their relationship, along with Kev's art, is what makes the series so enjoyable. Every page is fully rendered, with beautiful artistry and a little mix of hand-drawn and CG for some environments, making it one of the best looking graphic novels out there."
Mike Stone says
"Skim the surface and there's precious little to like about Tetsuo – a super-powered psychic, devoid of morality, with a fondness for drugs, murder and city scale anarchy. Yet despite all the untold destruction reaped by 'No.41' (as he is sometimes known), Tetsuo is one of the most compelling 'villains' you will ever encounter in comic book form.
"It's partially down to how Tetsuo is written: for all his murderous intent, there's an air of tragedy and vulnerability about him. As his powers grow, so too does his inferiority complex. It's an evolution that is reflected in his appearance, beginning as the clear 'runt' of his friendship group, yet undergoing several physical transformations after awakening his powers.
"Some changes are less obvious: his clothes change, and hair becomes wilder, eventually fading to white. Others are more explicit - for example, the addition of his iconic cyber-junk arm and tatty red cape. Of course, once Tetsuo's powers completely spiral out of control, he transforms into his final form - a monstrous mass of mutated flesh and metal, vaguely resembling a giant grotesque foetus!
"It's a shocking, yet somewhat appropriate end of the would-be god and it's all beautifully realised in Otomo's detailed line art. It also captures two of the core themes presented in this epic comic: the rebellion of youth and metamorphosis experienced in adolescence. And for all his flaws, you still feel sympathy for Tetsuo; he is a character whose weaknesses are forever exposed, something that negates his monstrous actions and makes him very human indeed."
Mike Stone is an illustrator and copywriter for global digital agency Huge.
Neil McFarland says
"I always struggled to get into superhero comics. I liked the action sure, I loved the artwork, but I could never keep track of the story lines as you needed to buy about 15 comics a week to unpick their tangled self-referential story webs. I also thought that most of them looked pretty lame. Here we have these awesome dudes (and my finger points mostly at the X-men here I admit) with these awful team costumes on: they looked kind of tragic and pathetic to me. That's why I was so pleased to finally find a character that I loved for his personality and looks. I'm talking of course about Flaming Carrot.
"He has a giant carrot mask which is not only always on fire but conceals a nuclear powered pogo stick (stylish and practical) and he wears flippers at all times (in case he has to swim). I've yet to see another character, except maybe Silver Surfer (and perhaps the Thing and the Hulk) who just has his incredible presence. I mean, imagine meeting this guy: his head is a giant carrot which is always on fire! It's just incredibly bold design: he's not trying to hide, he's not pretending to be an animal of some kind to scare crooks, he's a balls-to-the-wall 'here I am, come get me' kinda guy. And he will certainly kick every ass he has to."
So, that's what our designers think. Who is your favourite comic book character? Let us know in the comments box below...