Completed: Erma Felna, EDF

I went way, way back into Old School for this one. And this is going to be one of those All About Ethan history lessons, so buckle up.


I went way, way back into Old School for this one. And this is going to be one of those All About Ethan history lessons, so buckle up.

I keep mentioning my ill-fated comic book collection, and no, I am not having that mid-life crisis moment where instead of the red convertible I try to recapture my youth in some way, like try to re-build my lost comic collection. It was a lot of work, and on the relative scale of things it wasn’t that huge compared to more established collections, but here’s what I am driving at: I won’t be able to recapture the thrill of finding an affordable copy of Love and Rockets #4. (That was the closest I could get to #1 without beaucoup bucks.)  And that was pre-internet, and pre-eBay. I’m sure all kinds of crud can be found online these days, but for a price, I’ll wager.

So back in my crazy youth, after we moved away from Willowbrook IL and settled in to Mount Prospect IL (about 30 minutes away but as for the old “hometown” it might as well have been on the moon), I started to visit Moondog’s Comics. I had a frequent buyer account and everything. It was cool to come in at regular intervals and have things like the latest Spider-Man comic all wrapped in mylar with a cardboard backing, ready for pick up. This was Very Important when Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns series was a new comic. (That’s right kids, that used to be a new thing people had to wait for.) Having the First Edition of each issue was everything to my comic-collecting friends.

Me being me, I started to gravitate to other “alternative” titles. I was there when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a new indie comic, in black-and-white and heavily stylized. (When my art teacher taught us how to draw stylized lines I was all, “Ninja Turtles. Got it.”) I collected whatever Jon J Muth was drawing. He was amazing. (My art teacher went from rolling his eyes at my comics collecting to actually buying one of Muth’s graphic novels, astounded at his talent.) I read Mage, and even met the artist.

Shorter me: I wasn’t strictly all “Marvel and DC”. Though I collected Batman and Daredevil in roughly equal measure.

One day another new title turned up at the comic shop, and the title alone sold it to me: Albedo Anthropomorphics. It’s washed away in the flood now, and details are, as they say, sketchy. Erma Felna is an officer in the Extraplanetary Defense Force (EDF). I don’t recall the details play-by-play anymore, but I do remember the art being well done and the themes skewing very “adult” considering the use of so-called “funny animals”.

Thanks to the magic of the internet, I found a b/w drawing by Steve Gallacci, the creator of the character, and the rest of the Albedo universe. So despite my other forays into playing at colorist, I was really nervous doing this one because I really didn’t want to, um, spit in his corn flakes. I really wanted to respect the material.

Here’s how that turned out:


I really poured my heart and soul into this, as much as one can while working a day job simultaneously. I just so happened to have read some online freebie tutorials for improving my colored pencil technique this past weekend, and me being me, I went right to the final. Okay maybe not, but still.

This is how involved these projects get, by the way:


I think I used 6 or 7 colors just on her hair. Not counting the reference color I lay down to keep straight what part gets what treatment.

Anyway, when I was looking for sketches of other comic characters (most recently, Rogue from the X-Men) I was wondering why I didn’t take a look around for Albedo/Erma Felna artwork. Got the rebound!

I hope I did the source material justice.

That’s it for planned comic art for the moment, but there will be more, no worries!

/everybody leaves

Author: Ethan Johnson

Words like silent raindrops.

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