ChAracter design

A Duo in the Making

Who doesn't love a good origin story?

But how many comic creators can claim their characters were summoned in a medieval German castle, on a cliff high above a forest shrouded in mist and littered with bones?

We can.

This is the very first drawing of Golem & Oddd, done for fun in 2014 back when Dr. Odd had three Ds in his last name. The drawing depicted characters JE and I created as counselors for a fantasy themed kids camp. I don't have to point out the irony in a mad paranormal detective and a Jewish monster-hunter LARPing with German kids in a Burg once used in WWII by the bad guys–but it's a pretty damn unique way to come up with a comic book.

G&O was originally conceived as a subterranean neo-noir/paranormal detective comic.  I was devouring Hellboy at the time and Mignola's influence was its own magnificent albatross. As such, Golem's initial design was more 30s-40s action hero, a kind of Jewish Lobster Johnson inspired mainly by Robert Mitchum, Humphrey Bogart and Harrison Ford. But as we developed a very different story Brendan Gleeson, Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini muscled everyone else off the lookbook. We wanted him to be the tank, but we didn't want him to be the cliché brainless brute. That was a challenge.

   

Dr. Odd was much easier to design by comparison and he changed very little in the early stages. His head grew bigger to make room for his expansive brain and his chin vanished entirely beneath his great ginger mustache. John-Erik told me, "think Data from The Goonies if he'd been played by Bob Balaban," and Odd crystalized. Odd's face coalesced into a series of basic graphic shapes and a body of hard angles, while Golem grew out his Brendan Gleeson beard & ears.  He also got Hardy's sloping shoulders and Hulk hands but was still looking a bit too dim & jolly. 

It took a bit of tweaking, some Peaky Blinders and a couple of clay models to get designs we were happy with.

Like most illustrators who cut their teeth drawing superheroes on lined notebook paper, I dreamed of the day I'd effortlessly breathe my Wolverine, Maxx or Hellboy onto paper. Obviously, it's not that easy. The process was a lengthy labor of love (don't even get me started on the female characters!). But it was certainly made easier by the fact that we basically cosplayed the characters before they even had a comic. In the end it wasn't a cape and cowl I needed, but a haunted castle, some foam weapons and a brilliant creative partner.

G&O is the most personal thing I've ever been lucky enough to be a part of, and it's just the beginning!

We love these guys, and we hope you do too.

Happy delving!

-chaim