There’s that Hairy Man again…see I told you!  The Purple Hairy Man was my favorite High School comic book creation.  This is a rendition I drew when I was in college, back in the analog days.  You can see that there is a lot of Mike Mignola Hellboy: Wake the Devil influence in there, my favorite at the time. My comic book reading hey day was in the early 90’s.  I was intrigued back then when all of the top talent quit Marvel and DC and started their own, creator owned publishing company, Image.  Great stuff!  I liked a lot of the Image titles, but the one that became the biggest influence was Erik Larsen’s Savage Dragon.  There is a great Comic’s Kayfabe post on the Savage Dragon which draws the same conclusions I did.  Upon initial consideration it was easy to dismiss the Savage Dragon as some dumb Incredible Hulk rip off.  So obvious!  I mean, he’s a muscular green giant…the only difference was the fin, right?  But once you picked up a copy it was such a fun one that the Savage Dragon immediately established his own character and style.  It set in my mind that all of the characters were derivatives of each other and that creating good characters and comic books was like mastering a form, like a martial arts sort of disciple.  What was also awesome was that Larsen had created the character when he was a kid and then nurtured creation for years, fits and starts, until he had his own book.  So cool.   I loved the idea of seeing that sort of thing through and I knew I wanted to create that sort of property…

Another phenomenal influence from those days was the amazing success of my High School classmate Jae Lee, artist man of recent internet conversation, who would graduate and jump almost immediately to working for Marvel Comics, staggering me in awe.  Jae was a senior when I was a freshman so we didn’t know each other, but we did have one encounter.  We both won awards in a state scholastic art contest for our respective age groups.  Our paintings would go on to the state finals and then disappear never to be seen again, if memory serves.  I painted a serviceable aurora borealis, note worthy for my use of dry brushing on a prominent swoosh of paint which served to highlight the cosmic glow.  Jae made this remarkable painting of a famished Ethiopian or West African woman cradling her staving child in agony!  It was a stunning Madonna & Child with air brushed tears.  Looking at it, there was no doubt that Jae wasn’t just going to be a pro artist someday, he was already there.  He made it look easy, this guy!

It was at this point the idea of creating a new favorite character began developing in my head.  Don’t be afraid of the archetypes!  The first work that Jae had published for Marvel was in Marvel Comics Presents…a few pages of a Beast story.  I though…uh…well….why don’t I make a hairy character but instead of him being blue, he was purple…”…  ……and that’s all there was to it!  I liked this character right away.  I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what he was all about.  For a minute he was going to have power armor like Iron Man but I put that idea aside.  My youngest sister always took an interest in what I was drawing and she took notice and started calling him the Purple Hairy Man.  I thought it was a interesting and funny concept for a name for a super hero and the name stuck.

A third big influence came a couple years later.  A friend of mine loaned me a copy of Masamune Shirow’s AppleSeed, a fantastic Cyberpunk/Mecha epic.  Shirow is one of the great creative thinkers in comics and Appleseed appealed to me immediately with its focus on the political machinations of his futuristic world.   And I loved his art work…so much detail and design work…incredible.  At first, Purple Hairy Man had been mostly a superhero comic, punching out Rhinomen and the like, but then more realistic sci-fi elements began to take hold.

Now many years have passed and many more aspects of the story have emerged in my brain.  We’ll see if I ever get around to getting any of them down on paper!

I’ve been chipping away at the last 9 pages of The Enchanted Dagger #6 and things are slow but well.  I’m off to the beach, then I should start posting normally in a couple weeks.