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Tough leadership: Torakatai

torakataiTorakatai means “tough tiger” and as his name suggests, he’s a tough tiger. As if the scars wouldn’t give that away, right? He fought hard for the rank of village leader and has yet to find another to challenge him for the right. Victor of many battles, excellent leader and in top condition.

He was wary of Dream Angel when Virgo introduced her to the village and with good reason. He’d met Nyxus some years before and her promises of keeping the Sunless Mountains untouched proved false. Nyxus came in later destroying homes, entire species, ruining water supplies, and chasing off critical food supplies for many. He knew who to blame for the famine in his village, but was still careful when the strange orange clad winged girl was brought to him.

When he finally learned why she fights Nyxus, he began to consider helping, but his responsibility to the village didn’t give him much chance for thought. When Nyxus returned to the area to once again destroy and Dream Angel took a stand against her to help the village, he ordered his tiger warriors to back her up. Back her up they did, and very effectively as she had some fighting skill, that was clear to Torakatai, but she needed some more advanced training.

After that fight, not only did he accept her offer of friendship, but offer heavy-duty battle training. It was during this time that she found she could do different things with the feathers of her wings. Several of which have come in very handy.

Torakatai is also the one who introduced Ryu to Dream Angel during an especially bad crisis to which the tiger man had no solution. It was hoped that with Ryu’s magic a solution could be found. It was after some difficulty deciphering what the dragon had to say.

What do you think? Is Torakatai an interesting character? He makes his comic book debut in Dream Angel #22, which is available in the shop. Getting the books before it is highly recommended so the story makes sense. Also available in the shop is his plus action figure.

High-flying Harpies

Harpies are nasty creatures especially in mythology. The mythological name translates to “that which snatches” and it holds true for these Harpies. Yet another type of nasty creature from Tartarus mythologically, the Dream Angel Harpies make excellent warriors for Nyxus.

harpie

Luckily for Dream Angel, the Harpies don’t often show up to cause trouble. More often, they’re away doing some other task for their wicked mistress simply because they won’t attack Dream Angel or any of the female heroes. Much like their mythical counterparts, they prefer men. Of course, that depends on the legends you find on them. In some versions, they torture victims they snatch on the way to Tartarus, in other versions, they snatch men to mate with then kill them.

The Harpies Dream Angel has to deal with still snatch men, but instead of big, broad wings, they’re much more streamlined in flight. This makes them fast, dangerous and difficult to follow. Even Akasha with her very fast flight speed can only keep up a short time unless she follows from a full dive from several thousand feet up. Dream Angel has good flight speed, but she can’t keep up at all.

These Harpies were inspired by the ones from the She-Ra movie, The Secret of the Sword. Near the end of the movie, He-Man and She-Ra encounter Hunga, the leader of the Harpies, who’s captured Queen Angella. The idea intrigued me, so I started researching the mythology and found several different designs based on the mythology.

One of note is from the Disney movie Fantasia during the Night on Bald Mountain sequence near the end. Another is from the Xena: Warrior Princess series. Although I didn’t really mix up the designs from these too much – I really stuck closer to the Disney design – I did mix up elements of mythology and even at times, personality when there was one to take note of.

Eventually, I settled on the dark violet coloration and thought they’d be opponents most effective at night when they’re especially difficult to see. On top of that, like a cat, they can see in the dark, but they cannot talk.

What do you think? Are Harpies interesting characters? These creatures make their comic book debut in Dream Angel #22. It’s highly recommended you get the books that came before so the story makes sense! You’ll find collection books available in the shop so it’s easy to catch up fast! Also available in the shop is the Harpie plush action figure.

Hero of the single blade: Blue Nite Soldier

Blue Nite Soldier is still quite a mystery, even to him. He knows a power allows him to transform, but doesn’t know if he has any special powers.

blue nite soldier

He wields a singular sword with great skill and courage. Even Ryu hasn’t been able to determine the source of his transformation power or why he has it.

A friend of Dream Angel’s since childhood, he discovered his own power and soon after saw her fighting alone. He joined the fight and to her surprise, helped her win. Quietly disappearing immediately after, he made a habit of helping her when he could until they both discovered their mutual secrets.

With the discovery of secrets came communications tools that helped him respond faster when she got into a fight. This helped more than once to turn the tables in her favor and chase away the attacking villains.

Being co-captain of the high school fencing/kendo team, he handles a blade well. His affection for Dream Angel both in and out of costume is evident to everyone but Arora and him. This creates often funny situations as their friends will set them up in romantic situations and disappear sometimes. Other times, they’ll suggest a double date and also sometimes disappear or at least be elsewhere, but still in sight.

Blue Nite Soldier’s comic book debut is Dream Angel #1, which can be found in the shop. Also found in the shop is the Blue Nite Soldier outfit for Hanaji Camridon and a magnetic soft sword for him to hold. The sword isn’t recommended for young children because of its size and potential choking hazard. For older children and collectors, it can be a great deal of fun. He loves hugs! Will you give him a hug?

Legendary rainbow bird: Akasha NightWind

The legend of the rainbow bird is actually a global one. At its core, the same story has been found in South America, Asia and North America so far. it would come as no surprise to find it in other areas of the world as well. The story always has a consistent moral: kindness brings rewards.

Meet Akasha NightWind

Akasha NightWind is based on this diverse legend, but she’s got her own unique twists as well. Don’t let her size fool you, she’s fast enough in a dive to make a peregrine falcon look like it’s standing still. She might not look it, but she’s quite a raptor.

First Meetings

Like many of her other friends, Dream Angel found Akasha in a trap set by Nyxus and the Keres. With Teikou no Senshi’s healing power she was able to rescue and heal the small bird who became eternally grateful for the help. In return, Akasha now lives in the tree outside the Arum home. Thus enabling her to watch the neighborhood for trouble and alert Arora immediately.

Fast Flyer

Although she’s not usually found involved in the fighting, she’s been known to briefly join in and cause some confusion among Dream Angel’s enemies to give her the upper hand.

Aptly nicknamed the rainbow blur, more often than not, she’s exactly that: a blur. Not many can even rival her in a full dive. Even out of a dive, she’s very fast. This makes her able to fly fast reconnaissance or deliver messages very quickly.

Comic book appearance

Her comic book debut is Dream Angel #7, which can be found on this site in the shop. In the book, you’ll get to see her in action, but it’s recommended that you consider getting the books that came before it. If you do, the story and her appearance will make more sense to you.

You’ll also find her plush action figure in the shop with widespread wings hoping for a hug! Won’t you give her a hug?

A friendly, cuddly spider: Bitsy

Bitsy FireKeeper is probably the biggest hero of all, despite being among the smallest in size. Spiders tend to scare people, but this one only looks frightening to most. The soft pink and white hairs on her body are sensitive to touch and like a dog or cat, she enjoys being stroked and cuddled.

bitsyShe’s the pet of Keru Firekeeper, younger brother of Virgo FireKeeper. A loyal and very loving friend for Keru.

Upon the discovery of her venom being toxic primarily to insects, including vampire cockroaches, Dream Angel started encouraging Keru, accompanied by Athalia, to join the battles.

Most of the heroes would prefer to keep their distance from the spider, but they all understand she’s not aggressive towards them and likely wouldn’t hurt them.
Reprobates, Harpies, vampire cockroaches, Jerigel and the Keres sisters all hate Bitsy. Though she’s not very dangerous to most, the roaches and Jerigel in particular panic at the sight of her.

A bite from Bitsy isn’t fatal to any creature except insects. To the vampire insects, her bite has another effect, though. This bite causes the vampire to return to human form, shedding the insect form permanently. Unfortunately, they panic at the sight of her, making it very difficult to successfully bite even one. On the plus side, they scatter very quickly making for fast escapes from the castle when she and Keru are found inside.

Bitsy FireKeeper makes her comic book debut in Dream Angel #8, which can be found in the shop. It’s highly recommended that you get the books that came before so the story makes sense! Also found in the shop is her plush action figure. She’s highly fond of hugs and can never get enough! Will you give this beautiful, soft and very cuddly spider a hug?

What’s a leading lady without her best friend? Here she is: Elizabeth!

Clever, quick-witted Ellie, short for Elizabeth, is a fun girl to be around. She might sometimes play a harmless prank, but always in fun so no feelings are hurt. Usually, her little pranks are in fun to get Arora laughing.

elizabeth amphitrite

The two girls are complete opposites, but get along perfectly. Arora tends to like spending a day at the mall mostly window shopping to unwind, Ellie would rather be outside in the fresh air and sunshine, but goes along with her best friend anyway. This isn’t to say they don’t switch off.

Generally, both girls would rather be at an easel than anywhere else. Both have artistic tendencies and find painting a very soothing activity. Both are peaceful girls, but neither wants to see or be bullied. Both will come to the defense of a bullying victim if they should see it happening. Being bullied doesn’t happen often and the bully more often takes to their heels and leaves in disgust.

Ellie also has a leaning toward science. She enjoys exploring old ruins and is sometimes found helping scientists at dig sites. While she enjoys finding interesting artifacts, she enjoys just as much sketching them or taking photos. Sometimes to take a break, she’ll do a painting of the dig site. More than once, the newspaper has bought these paintings when something significant is found.

Ellie’s name holds some meaning of its own. Amphitrite, if you follow the mythology carefully, is the wife of Poseidon, god of the seas. Since water has healing properties, she has healing power as Teikou no Senshi. This makes her both a perfect opponent for Nosos and Nosos’s primary target.

What do you think? Is she an interesting character? Her comic book debut is Dream Angel #1, found in the store. Also found in the shop is her plush action figure who loves hugs.

When is a hero not a hero? When she’s Arora Arum!

Arora Arum is our hero Dream Angel when she’s not Dream Angel. At first, an ordinary school girl attending high school and getting good grades. Of course her life changed when she got the power to become Dream Angel.

Arora Arum

After high school, Arora turned her attention to being a full-time superhero. Unfortunately, this meant setting personal goals and ambitions aside for the most part. It also meant setting aside seeking a job, since a fight could break out and she’d be late. Fortunately, her self defense experience and friendship with local martial arts dojo owners means she could get a job as an instructor without much trouble.

She’s a bright, artistic type of girl, so when she’s not out pounding bad guys, she’s drawing, painting and even training with her retired wrestling champion father.
Having a wrestling champion father and police lieutenant mother, she’s been well trained all her life in self defense. Add in training with the tiger people as Dream Angel and she could handle most situations without transforming reasonably well.

Arora is named after the goddess Aurora, but her name is spelled differently on purpose. Her last name is also Latin for gold, making her literal name Golden Goddess of the Dawn. This ties in to her power as Dream Angel, but it also led to teasing in school.

Although she didn’t pay much attention to most of the teasing and the teasers eventually gave up, one refused to stop teasing and bullying. Gina SweetFace bullies Arora about everything she could think of every time she sees her. Even after graduating high school, if Arora found Gina anywhere, the bullying would resume. Despite never formally graduating high school, Gina bothers Arora more than Nyxus ever could.

Arora’s quiet charm and fun-loving nature earned her many friends even as Dream Angel. Her debut appearance in comic books is as Dream Angel in Dream Angel #1, available in the shop. Also in the shop, you’ll find Arora Arum as a plush action figure. She waits only for you and loves hugs. Will you give her a hug?

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.

The over eager little brother: Keru

Keru FireKeeper is the always-eager-to-please younger brother of Virgo FireKeeper. Though he’s best known for getting into mischief, most times it’s harmless.keru

keruThis young cub brings all his effort to whatever he’s doing. Like any young boy, he also enjoys having unusual pets. Bitsy is his best friend, the problem is she’s a spider.

Between the two, they can get into a broad variety of trouble or get Dream Angel and her friends out of a broad variety of trouble. The mere sight of Bitsy causes quite an uproar among villains. Especially the vampire roaches. Since spiders naturally eat roaches, their instinct is to panic and look for a place to hide.

The Keres are none too fond of the young tiger and his pet as well. The sisters often let out a bloodcurdling screech attached to a scream of “KILL IT!” as they look for a place to get away from the spider.

In terms of mischief, Keru’s a master. Athalia’s the one who keeps him in check when his brother’s not around. A stern look from Torakatai usually sends him running back to Athalia or Virgo. He knows Torakatai is tough for punishments for the sake of keeping order among the tiger villagers.

Keru literally means “kick.” He likes to think it means he kicks butt. He’s still learning battle strategies and fighting techniques, but he’ll still fight off Reprobates. Usually, he stays close to his brother if he’s involved in a fight. Between Virgo and Athalia, he’s a moderately formidable fighter on his own.

Even Torakatai has helped train the young cub. Teaching techniques even his other two trainers don’t know. Virgo’s excellent with a staff, Athalia without a weapon. Torakatai is a master of many techniques and weapons.

What do you think? Is Keru an interesting character? He makes his comic book debut in Dream Angel #8, which can be found in the shop. It’s a good idea to consider getting the books that came before it so the story makes sense. Also available in the shop is his 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.