Mage of wisdom: Ryu

ryuRyu is a mage. It’s unwise to call him anything else as it might get you burned – literally. He’s a dragon mage. A very wise one, at that.

He’s among the few that have some understanding of Dream Angel’s power. Wise as he is, even he doesn’t understand the full extent of her power.

He’s also helped Red Nite Soldier and Blue Nite Soldier understand their power, but again he doesn’t fully understand it.

Like any wise mage, he’s always learning and studying. Not just to improve his magic, but to learn as much as he can about Dream Angel and her friends’ powers to help further their understanding.

He refuses to claim the title “master of magic” because he believes he is always learning new things. Although he’s mastered a good many things, his constant research and learning account for his unwillingness to accept being called a master.

His tower in the Sunless Mountains has an enormous library of magical books and spells. No matter how many times he reads a book, he will insist he learns something new each time.

He uses what he considers real magic, unlike wizards and magicians. He’ll say they simply use trickery and sleight of hand instead of magic. Of course, when push comes to shove, he’ll simply breathe fire to get his point across.

Breathing fire is a last resort as far as he’s concerned, as he claims it leaves his throat terribly raw for days. He’d rather cast a spell than breathe fire, which sometimes causes even Jake to tease him about being the only dragon on the planet that hates fire.

What do you think? Is Ryu an interesting character? He makes his comic book debut in Dream Angel #7, which is available in the shop. It’s highly recommended to get the books that came before it so the story makes sense. Also available in the shop is his plush action figure.

Deadly legend: Nyxus’s wyvern form

nyxus wyvernThere is a great deal that is unknown about Nyxus’s wyvern form and Nyxus herself isn’t likely to tell. Some say it happens every 100 years, some say every 5 years. There is even a heated debate about if she’s a true wyvern in this form or not.

Some legends tell that this transformation is a once every 100 years type that only lasts 24 hours. It happens just after a full solar eclipse and for the following 24 hours, she’s large enough to cause a great deal of damage.

There are some key differences between a dragon and a wyvern, as Ryu would point out. A wyvern only has two legs, is usually darker and much uglier in color compared to a dragon, who is brighter colored. The most important difference Ryu would point out though, is that a wyvern can’t breathe fire. That alone is a plus in favor of the heroes since they have a bad encounter with Nyxus after she takes this form.

With all the legends and controversy surrounding this form, debates often get heated. Even the Keres won’t divulge the facts about it as it’s a key advantage to keeping the people under control. The legends all say death surrounds this black creature and that angering it is a sure way to die.

The one redeeming factor is that once the 24 hours have passed, Nyxus is in a weakened state. This is a little-known fact, though as she uses fear to keep people from attacking her while she’s weak. This is one time she puts the whole castle on ultra-high alert and assures nobody will come anywhere near while she recovers.
In spite of the fact that Ryu can defeat her in this form, he still needs Dream Angel’s help. Dream Angel, in turn, needs a boost in power to achieve the strength needed to help defeat her. The problem with that is the new power is difficult to control and leaves her exhausted.

What do you think? Is she an interesting character? She makes her comic book debut in Dream Angel #10, which is available in the shop. It’s a good idea to consider getting the books that came before it and there’s collection books to help with this. Also in the shop is her plush action figure.

Dumb but dangerous: Reprobates

reprobateReprobates are nightmarish creatures, but also quite stupid. In large groups, with an elite to direct them, they’re a lot like bulls: they’ll destroy anything in their path. Often, without regard to ally or enemy. Once they start destroying or even killing, the blood lust lasts a long time and is difficult to stop.

On an individual basis, they’re almost child-like for intelligence. Easy to distract and trick, easy to defeat. The trouble is they aren’t often found alone. More often than not, they’re in groups. They love the advantage of larger numbers.

Safety in numbers might sound like the theory these creatures operate under. What it is is that they’re social creatures. They hate being alone, so they always travel in groups. It’s an instinct, nothing more.

They aren’t smart, that’s certain, but they’re powerful swordsmen. They’re also incredible in flight. Fast, deadly and tough.

Some of these creatures have the ability of mimicry. It’s not a complete copy of what they’re mimicking, but still an effective gift for the few who have it. It’s rare that an elite has this gift, though legends tell of elites that have had it and used it with deadly efficiency.

daragon ironweaselAs individual personalities, a piece of paper has more depth, unless the Reprobate is an elite such as Daragon IronWeasel or Xalibe WildClaw. These creatures rely on instinct and group mindset for direction. Once set in a direction, they’re much like a wrecking ball. Nothing slows them down until they’re completely exhausted.

To our heroes, on an individual basis, they’re dumber than the dumbest dumb blondes. They often tell jokes to the effect, annoying the elites that might be in the area.

What do you think? Would you want to fight a Reprobate? Are Reprobates interesting characters?They make their comic book debut in Dream Angel #1, which can be found in the shop. Also found in the shop are their plush action figures.

Double-wielding jokester: Red Nite Soldier

red nite soldierLover-boy, double-wielding warrior, jokester – Red Nite Soldier is a surprise package villains don’t want to cross. He very efficiently wields his katana and if needed, his short sword.

He and Katrilina make a very formidable pair in battle. He’s even sometimes seen on her back when she’s one of her favorite large felines. Like a knight atop a black charger, spotted charger, brownish-gold charger or even striped charger, they’ve been known to turn the tide of a battle very quickly.

His katana was a gift from Ryu and specially forged to give him extra protection. His short sword is a gift from Kiryoku and blessed with its own powerful virtues. It’s not known if he has any power, but his blades sure have a magic of their own.
Kendo champion and team co-captain in high school, he definitely has the skill to handle his blades. Fast, smart and quite dangerous.

Combined with his steed Daybright, he’s especially formidable. Add in Blue Nite Soldier and Firebright and you get a foursome that can plow through just about anything.

What do you think? Is he an interesting character? He makes his comic book debut in Dream Angel #1, which is available in the shop. Also available in the shop is his outfit for Shin Tsurugi.

Discredited elite: Xalibe WildClaw

xalibeXalibe WildClaw is almost as nasty as his mistress. He’s a Reprobate Elite and a ruthless opponent. He’s the first Elite Dream Angel and her friends go up against. He’s also the one that comes close to killing Dream Angel in one of their early battles.

Had her mother not intervened with fellow officers and started shooting at him, he would have succeeded. He would have seen to it her death was swift, just like all previous rebel leaders he’d defeated.

In Dream Angel’s first three years of fighting, his fall from grace led to harsher and harsher punishment. Until he was finally demoted to dungeon guard duty. His final fight as leader of the Elite, is his comic book debut in Dream Angel #1.
As a final indignity, he loses the fight to Dream Angel’s retired wrestling legend father, Jake Arum. The heroes escape with Jake and Xalibe has to face the punishment which is his demotion.

Upon his demotion, he vows to himself to destroy Dream Angel and her friends, no matter what it takes. This begins causing friction between him and his former second, Daragon.

Daragon IronWeasel is given Xalibe’s duty of destroying the upstart rebel band. This doesn’t sit well with Xalibe, so he starts interfering with Daragon’s plans in an effort to get back in Nyxus’s good graces.

He secretly helps the heroes out of a few tight spots, but along the way learns more about them. This leads him to wonder if he’s even doing the right thing. He sets that aside and focuses on his goal, though.

Since he’s the only Elite on dungeon guard duty. He always returns before Daragon, Daragon can’t prove anything against Xalibe.

What do you think? Is Xalibe an interesting character? He makes his comic book debut in Dream Angel #1, which is available in the shop. Also available in the shop is his plush action figure.

Deadly legend: Nyxus’s wyvern form

nyxus wyvernThere is a great deal that is unknown about Nyxus’s wyvern form and Nyxus herself isn’t likely to tell. Some say it happens every 100 years, some say every 5 years. There is even a heated debate about if she’s a true wyvern in this form or not.

Some legends tell that this transformation is a once every 100 years type that only lasts 24 hours. It happens just after a full solar eclipse and for the following 24 hours, she’s large enough to cause a great deal of damage.

There are some key differences between a dragon and a wyvern, as Ryu would point out. A wyvern only has two legs, is usually darker and much uglier in color compared to a dragon, who is brighter colored. The most important difference Ryu would point out though, is that a wyvern can’t breathe fire. That alone is a plus in favor of the heroes since they have a bad encounter with Nyxus after she takes this form.

With all the legends and controversy surrounding this form, debates often get heated. Even the Keres won’t divulge the facts about it as it’s a key advantage to keeping the people under control. The legends all say death surrounds this black creature and that angering it is a sure way to die.

The one redeeming factor is that once the 24 hours have passed, Nyxus is in a weakened state. This is a little-known fact, though as she uses fear to keep people from attacking her while she’s weak. This is one time she puts the whole castle on ultra-high alert and assures nobody will come anywhere near while she recovers.
In spite of the fact that Ryu can defeat her in this form, he still needs Dream Angel’s help. Dream Angel, in turn, needs a boost in power to achieve the strength needed to help defeat her. The problem with that is the new power is difficult to control and leaves her exhausted.

What do you think? Is she an interesting character? She makes her comic book debut in Dream Angel #10, which is available in the shop. It’s a good idea to consider getting the books that came before it and there’s collection books to help with this. Also in the shop is her plush action figure.

Mage of wisdom: Ryu

ryuRyu is a mage. It’s unwise to call him anything else as it might get you burned – literally. He’s a dragon mage. A very wise one, at that.

He’s among the few that have some understanding of Dream Angel’s power. Wise as he is, even he doesn’t understand the full extent of her power.

He’s also helped Red Nite Soldier and Blue Nite Soldier understand their power, but again he doesn’t fully understand it.

Like any wise mage, he’s always learning and studying. Not just to improve his magic, but to learn as much as he can about Dream Angel and her friends’ powers to help further their understanding.

He refuses to claim the title “master of magic” because he believes he is always learning new things. Although he’s mastered a good many things, his constant research and learning account for his unwillingness to accept being called a master.

His tower in the Sunless Mountains has an enormous library of magical books and spells. No matter how many times he reads a book, he will insist he learns something new each time.

He uses what he considers real magic, unlike wizards and magicians. He’ll say they simply use trickery and sleight of hand instead of magic. Of course, when push comes to shove, he’ll simply breathe fire to get his point across.

Breathing fire is a last resort as far as he’s concerned, as he claims it leaves his throat terribly raw for days. He’d rather cast a spell than breathe fire, which sometimes causes even Jake to tease him about being the only dragon on the planet that hates fire.

What do you think? Is Ryu an interesting character? He makes his comic book debut in Dream Angel #7, which is available in the shop. It’s highly recommended to get the books that came before it so the story makes sense. Also available in the shop is his plush action figure.

One-of-a-kind vampire: Jerigel SwampFang

jerigelJerigel SwampFang’s origin is a complete mystery. Not even Nyxus knows how he came to be. In reality, his origin is as simple as a ten-stripe June beetle.

At the time I came up with Jerigel SwampFang, I was enjoying the Sera Muun Musical Last Drakul Jyokoku. It’s part of a trilogy centered around the vampire Dracula – as Sailor Moon encounters him.

I will formally admit I found both the actor and the character fascinating. I developed an interest in vampires and found that the mythology does not include insects. This I found funny because nature is full of insect vampires, starting with the mosquito and flea.

When I found the June beetle, I thought it was a beetle whose nickname is “Hell insect.” Well, what better for a vampire? They’re considered creatures from Hell and on top of it all, they’re undead. So, I read up on vampires, scrounged up every vampire movie I could find and studied up a bit.

Sure, there’s a good many ways to kill a vampire, but how do you kill an insect vampire? A wooden stake wouldn’t necessarily penetrate the exoskeleton, holy water and a cross is mostly superstition (look it up, if you don’t believe me). Fire only works when the vampire becomes ash and that takes time – how long do you really think an insect vampire would be contained? Probably not long enough, I think.

Superhuman strength comes with being a vampire, so it’s like containing Superman. A sock in a river? Bugs don’t wear socks, so why would he care? Sunlight is another that’s superstition.

Admittedly, I haven’t figured out how to kill the insect vampire, but his power is most intriguing. Aside from speaking in mirror speech – meaning you need a mirror to understand what he says in the comics – his third bite is what finalizes his control over his victim. On top of the control his third bite gives, it also transforms the unfortunate person into a cockroach leaving nothing of their humanity except their height.

What do you think? Is Jerigel an interesting character? He makes his comic book debut in Dream Angle #4. Getting the books that came before it is highly recommended so the story makes sense. Also available in the shop is his plush action figure.

Most dangerous of all: Nyxus

nyxusVillains like Nyxus are usually the ones you love to hate, right?

I doubt anyone likes Lex Luthor or the Joker in the same way they like Batman and Superman, right? The villain always gets a thorough pounding, too, don’t they? Even in the movies lately, they either get pummeled all the way to prison or killed off. An exception might be Megamind. If you think about it, the villain is usually the one that takes one whale of a beating and keeps coming back for more!

Nyxus has the whole Horde Prime/Hordak meets Hitler thing going on. Last I checked, pretty much everyone hates a dictator. She’s not just a dictator, she’s a tyrant. Anything she doesn’t like she destroys. Anyone who dares stand against her, she kills or at least makes it so nobody believes them.

Well, what’s a hero without a villain to fight? Bored, right? Nyxus is Dream Angel’s villain and like Dream Angel herself, she has a bit of an interesting history.

A friend caught me doodling in the college cafeteria and asked me to draw comics for the school paper. I decided I needed to work on Dream Angel once again, but she needed a better villain. Well, my next class that day was a website class. I was already a couple weeks ahead having figured out the needed code and fiddled with a lot of it at home.

Also, the site I was building was for my characters, so it was fitting that I do some research for their background. Arora was to be the Dawn, so I needed her opposite and that turned out to be Night, although I wanted a God/Goddess of Twilight. Nyx is the Goddess of the Night. So, Nyxus was born from that.

So, what do you think of Nyxus? Is she an interesting character? She makes her comic book debut in Dream Angel #1, which can be found in the shop. Also found in the shop is her plush action figure.

What makes 3D so difficult?

What makes 3D so difficult to handle is that it has a very steep learning curve more often than not. I’ve found people that assume because the computer does a lot of the work that 3D isn’t art and it’s lazy to use. Let me assure you: nothing is further from the truth!

True, some programs, like DAZ Studio or even Poser are good for beginners or hobbyists and make setting up a scene reasonably easy to do, but that doesn’t mean the rendered art will be good quality. Like pencil and paper, there’s basic techniques and much more advanced ones. It’s the difference between a stick figure with dots for eyes and a line for a smile and a fully detailed anatomically correct figure that’s nicely lit and realistic.

Anyone can draw a stick figure, but that much higher quality figure with all the details and lighting? That can take years of practice. The very same holds true of 3D art.

First and foremost, it’s very much art. If it isn’t, it shouldn’t be in movies as a special effect since it takes special effects artists to use it for movies. What are they using if it isn’t art? Secondly, it’s constantly changing and improving, so just because some amateur hasn’t yet mastered even the basics isn’t a reason to tell them to use pencil and paper.

Four years ago, I knew next to nothing about 3D art. I posed bald, nude figures in Poser with default lighting and painted hair and clothes in Photoshop. As I learned more, my methods changed. Figures began having clothes and hair, I began experimenting with lights and camera angles.

Being a 3D artist is a lot like being a movie director. You have to be able to work with all the various departments to get the scene just right. Actors, wardrobe, hair, makeup, lights, cameras and other things have to be prepared for the scene to be complete. Finding, creating and effectively rendering the scene elements is more complicated than some might imagine. Even when you think the scene looks the way you want it, it doesn’t mean the final render will have the desired result. That means post work, which can get almost as complicated as setting up the scene in the first place.

The truth is there’s a million ways a scene can go wrong. True, pencil and paper mean you can simply erase the part that’s not the way you want it, but what if it’s already inked? That means hours with white-out or something similar to correct the problem.

Lots of ways to mess up, lots of ways to create incredible art. It’s a matter of time, patience and a lot of practice.