If you’d like to commission me to draw your hero (or anything else), please see my artwork page for rates and samples. If your type of project isn’t listed in the standard drawing/fee schedule, inquire anyway and I’m sure we can work something out.
Note: This post was originally published on Jeffrey Allen Davis’s blog
The Redsaw Origin and How I Write Supervillains
Disclaimer: The following article is meant for those who have read some or all of The Axiom-man Saga. If you have not read the series, please stop now and consider checking out the series first (http://bit.ly/1oy9MJU) as this article contains spoilers, namely Redsaw’s secret identity, which is part of the mystery of the first book.
Like Axiom-man, Redsaw has something of a muddled past. I’m talking about his real life origin, not his story one. However, Redsaw didn’t really come together until writing Axiom-man. Until that point, he was more an idea that never materialized in the mental fantasy I had going which eventually birthed The Axiom-man Saga we know today. All I knew about my overall fantasy was there were two cosmic beings at war. One that represented Good (known as the messenger in the saga), and one that represented Evil (known as the master). How these cosmic beings work is they each have champions on multiple planets throughout the universe, one guy stepping forward for them and duking it out on these planets while these two cosmic beings fight it out elsewhere. Usually, the messenger only puts his man in place once the master strikes an unsuspecting world. On Earth, the messenger’s champion is Axiom-man so, you guessed it, the master’s main man is Redsaw. What’s interesting to note is Axiom-man was put in place shortly before Redsaw’s arrival, a pre-emptive move on the messenger’s part and for reasons revealed in the series.
Redsaw is the main supervillain of The Axiom-man Saga.
That should bring you enough up to speed on who’s who in my superhero universe.
When it came to creating Redsaw, other than knowing he had to be the bad guy, he needed to be more than just the bad guy. The first thing I decided was it was imperative he was more powerful than Axiom-man, first and foremost in his superpowers—which are similar but stronger—and secondly as his human alter ego.
In costume, Redsaw can fly twice as fast, is twice as strong, and the energy beams he shoots from his hands do twice the damage.
Out of costume, Oscar Owen is rich, well-known, and utterly confident, whereas Gabriel Garrison (Axiom-man) struggles with money, is a nobody, and has self-esteem issues.
But that’s just the superficial stuff.
Even the name “Redsaw” is superficial in that I needed a cool name for a villain and “red” typically represents evil and “saw” was named after a sawblade, a dangerous weapon if used to kill somebody. The jagged lines on Redsaw’s red and black costume represent his own jaggedness and danger—again, the sawblade thing.
Going deeper, however, I didn’t want a bad guy who was the bad guy simply because he was the bad guy. In other words, I didn’t want a bad guy being bad for bad’s sake. There needed to be a reason, and the best reason for any villain in literature or film is the one that says they’re the bad guy because they don’t have any other choice. They have a strong motive that turned them down a dark path. A classic example is Darth Vader. He joined the dark side to save Padme. The dark side consumed him and we all know the rest of the story.
Oscar Owen was chosen by the master because Oscar drove himself hard to rise from poverty and become a somebody and tried to be a good guy with his powerful position. Once joined with the black cloud that gave him his superpowers, even then, he strove to be a hero like Axiom-man. He just didn’t know joining with the black cloud came at a cost and the black cloud transformed him into someone he wasn’t: the reluctant villain. The villain you and I can relate to. The one that, if you or I were put in their shoes, would do what they do no matter how dark or despicable because, from their point-of-view, they’re doing the right thing even if the cause is evil.
That’s the kind of main villain I was after for Axiom-man: someone like him. Someone who strove to do what they perceived was the right thing. Unfortunately, for Redsaw, his “right thing” is the wrong thing, but thankfully we have Axiom-man there to stop him.
Regarding other supervillains I’ve created—Char, Bleaken, Battle Bruiser, and Lady Fire—they all have something in common and it all goes back to what I did with Redsaw: they’re more powerful than the hero. It might be their powers, it might be their intellect, but either way, my villains always have a leg up on Axiom-man so they’re a challenge to fight. It’s the only way to create true conflict in the novels otherwise, if they were weaker, Axiom-man would stomp them into the ground every time and the story would be over in a few pages. Sure, it’s fun to have a few purely-human bad guys for Axiom-man to quickly dispose of, but when it comes to his superpowered rogues gallery, I needed my bad guys to be stronger than the hero and make him really dig deep whether physically or mentally to put the villains away for good. And even then . . . they might not always stay put, but for what I mean by that, you’ll have to check out the books and see for yourself.
A supervillain—breaking down the word—sure, the “villain” part is easy. It’s the “super” part that’s hard because that goes beyond their powers. They need to be above average in who they are as a person. They need to be motivated by something beyond what gets us normal people through our day. They need to be motivated by something “super.” It could be a tragedy, a misguidance, even a dark heart birthed out of something beyond their control in years past. There’s no such thing as a person who’s born bad. We all make choices. Some yield Good. Others yield Evil. Others take us down roads filled with both. Throw superpowers into the mix and you have the potential to create a superpowered problem that only a superhero can fight.
As for Redsaw, well, like Axiom-man, he’s on a journey, too. One that can only lead to one place. As for where or what that is, you’ll just have to read and find out.
MegaMan NT Warrior, Vol. 2: Log On! (2004) Runtime 88 min. 5 out of 5
Lan and his friends are back, this time getting ready for a huge NetNavi tournament. Of course, all kinds of things happen along the way as they prepare—MagicMan and NumberMan, just to name two—but it’s all good. MegaMan and his fellow cyber warriors are there to save the day! However, WWW has entered their own Navis into the tournament and it’ll be bad news for all if they win.
This volume picks up where the previous volume left off and now that all the character introductions are out of the way (see Vol. 1), you get to just sit back and watch them interact.
The chemistry between Lan, Yai and Dex is great. They all have their own attributes and rhythms that make them unique so they’re not two-dimensional like other cartoon characters out there.
MegaMan has proven to be a great hero—strong and quick-thinking. The villains harken back to the video game, each villain having a special power that MegaMan and the gang need to overcome.
This fan is looking forward to checking out Vol. 3.
Spider-Man (2002) Written by David Koepp Directed by Sam Raimi Runtime 121 min. 4 out of 5
This flick was decades in the making. So many legal setbacks forced Spider-Man to bounce from rights holder to rights holder before finally finding a place with Sony to deliver the goods.
The hype surrounding this movie was astounding. I remember getting my copy of the soundtrack before the movie came out, and not just that, but also a copy of the “Hero” single by Nickelback as well. Seeing Spidey swinging over a golden-bathed New York on its cover got me even more stoked for this film.
And so, opening night, I went with my dad to check the movie out, my heart pounding with excitement, the previews before the movie taking excruciatingly long.
Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), geek extraordinaire, gets bitten by a radioactive “super spider” while on a class fieldtrip as he tries to get a picture for the school paper of next-door-neighbour-slash-love-of-his-life Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). Following a bout of sickness, Peter wakes up the next morning no longer a skinny geek but instead buff and tough, wondering what happened to him. Adding to the weirdness, he’s suddenly able to do things he wasn’t able to do before: no need for glasses; lots of energy; fantastic agility; amazing strength; sticks to walls; shoots sticky white web-things out of his wrists; can sense bad things before they happen. So, like any good teenager with superpowers, he uses them to impress the girl of his dreams, in his case, taking on a spider-like persona in a wrestling match to win some big money to buy a car. While on the way there, he fights with his uncle, Ben, and leaves in a huff, only to later find out the burglar he let get away—who had stolen from the wrestling folks who didn’t pay Peter what he was worth—killed his uncle in an effort to swipe a getaway car.
Also going on, Norman Osborne (Willem Dafoe) is having trouble with his company and so, in a fit to prove to the military his superhuman formula works so he can sell it to them, he tries it on himself . . . but with dire side effects: the creation of an alternate personality which is eventually dubbed “the Green Goblin.” When things go sour for the company, the board of directors votes him out and Norman goes into full villain mode to exact his revenge.
Across the city, Peter has learned that with great power comes great responsibility and so avenges his uncle’s death by using his new spider-like powers for good and becomes the Amazing Spider-Man.
It’s hero versus villain, Spider-Man versus the Green Goblin, in this superheroic slugfest/love story/coming-of-age movie that made the wait for this flick well worth it.
To be honest, however, the crazy overhype of this movie did put a damper on it for me when I first saw it. Straight up: when I left the theatre opening night I left disappointed. Not that I thought it was awful, not by any means, it was just there was this lingering “Is that it?” feeling that hung over me as I made my way back to the car.
If anything, Spider-Man is definitely an origin movie, something to set the stage for more to come, giving a rich backstory and atmosphere not just to Peter Parker’s world, but to each of the supporting characters, even J. Jonah Jameson (who J.K. Simmons played brilliantly, by the way).
The effects were top notch save for a couple moments where you clearly saw that the Peter that was swinging and jumping from rooftop to rooftop was animated. Speaking of the swinging, when Spidey took you up and down through the deep concrete chasms of New York—man, you felt like you were there, swinging along with him. I heard they even developed a “spider-cam” for this movie. Cool. And that heartbreaking scene at the end where Peter turns down MJ? My heart bled for the guy.
Do I stand by Spider-Man? Absolutely. I saw it again in the theatre, going back with the mindset of “seeing it for what it was,” and I adored it afterward. Out of the three movies in this series so far, it’s my second favorite. As for my favorite-favorite, just read my reviews.
This was a superhero movie done right, done well and done just plain cool.