Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Secrets of a Super-Hero Sketch Artist: Dual Duels of Duality

I had recently reached my 50th birthday the other week, and I have to admit that initially, the day wasn’t all that special. It probably didn’t help that my celebration of this half-century milestone was more of a halfway measure as I was currently halfway around the world from my wife and family. So while my birthday dinner comprised of what I believe to be the best sashimi the Roppongi district has to offer, it was less enjoyable when partaken at a table-for-one. I also splurged on dessert, a lovely honey-lavender pudding that one of my dear aunties managed to bring to me from Hokkaido. However, the evocative taste triggered thoughts of an exquisite delight that I had shared with my absent wife that I am to this day still debating whether the indulgence was more pleasant or painful.

I do suppose one consolation of my then-current solitude was that it had provided an excellent opportunity for deep self-reflection on the past five decades of my life – a chance to see how far I had come into this world, and how far I have yet to go.

But the only “midlife crisis” I wanted to deal with belonged to my cartooning “altered-ego,” the unabashedly conceited "Professor Xum," who couldn't help but commemorate the half-life occasion in a recent “mock comic book cover” submission to "The Line It Is Drawn" (a feature of the “Comics Should Be Good” blog on ComicBookResources.com [hereinafter referred to as “The Line”]). The week's theme revolved around a breakout cartoon programme called “Adventure Time,” of which I could sum up all of my personal knowledge at the time in this “sketch cover variant.”

The summation of my knowledge of "Adventure Time."

But a little thing like lack of show knowledge wouldn’t stop the narcissistic Professor – especially since he recently discovered that he is about the same age as another “Professor Zoom,” who was a recurring villain in one of his favorite childhood comic books. The idea of having two fifty-year-old “Professors” squaring off on the comic book cover was too much to resist, even if it had nothing to do with “Adventure Time.” Fortunately, a Twitter suggestion happened to request a team-up between a couple of the show’s characters and Zoom’s four-color arch-nemesis. So all the wily Professor needed was a few quick Google searches on “Adventure Time” to figure out the creative shoehorn he needed. The egocentric result can be viewed here.

The Epic Confrontation No One Demanded

Little did the vainglorious Professor know that this would only be the first “doppelganger duel” on the week of his birth. His long-distant wife and a few Stateside friends have conspired with the ever-wonderful ShannonFarnon to provide a special birthday surprise to a longtime SuperFriends fan: a follow-up audio scenario for the one episode that never truly had an ending. And the villain of the audio piece goes to super-extreme measures in an attempt to eliminate me (as if my head wasn’t swelled enough). Fortunately Wonder Woman arrives to save me… and the day… in a very unique manner. Of course I can’t keep this wonderful birthday gift to myself. You can check out this fantastic audio treasure here.

(By the way, it’s possible to hire Shannon Farnon yourself to create a Wonder Woman recording for your loved one’s birthday, or any special occasion. Just visit the “Voice Mails for Sale” tab on her website to find out how.)

Fortunately, my family had finally arrived at Narita Airport yesterday for the summer. As soon as they get used to the time shift, we'll plan a more proper, albeit belated, family celebration to kick off the next 50 years.