We had a storyboard breakdown meeting last week, which is where we sit down and go through an entire 200-page storyboard, panel by panel, to figure out exactly what we need to design and color for each episode. It's exactly as fun as it sounds, which is why I had a pencil and a pad of post-its on hand. Here's one of a few sketches I scrawled out during the meeting...
The character in that scribble is Captain Bucky O'Hare. My friend Daniel Gonzalez introduced me to him thru the comics during a junior high history class, more or less around the same time that the animated show was coming out. I wasn't sure what to make of it at first. His name struck me as kind of stupid, but he was a green, humanoid rabbit with a gun, which is the exact opposite of stupid. There was also a humanoid dog with a gun, a humanoid gorilla with a gun, a humanoid duck with a gun, a humanoid alligator with a gun, and some humanoid toads with guns. Basically, it had everything I wanted from any cartoon property ever, plus guns.
Back then, I didn't know much about design and cartooning, but I knew what I liked, and there was something about the designs of these characters that really spoke to me. Big feet, enormous eyes, cartoony expressions - I ate that stuff up (still do). Being 13, I wasn't the right age for the toys, but I bought all of them for my younger brothers at Christmas. I bought myself a few when I reached the proper age (28). I even created a rabbit team of my own, and drew several full-length comics about them. Bucky played a huge part in shaping both my art and my taste in art, probably just as much as the Ninja Turtles (Daniel, incidentally, was the same friend who introduced me to the TMNT, and was an incredible artist who inspired me a lot in my early drawing days. I really wish I could track that guy down). I've been itching to do some Bucky O'Hare art for a while, so I fleshed out that post-it sketch a bit.
Maybe it's just foggy memories, or maybe it's because he never reached the crazy levels of exposure attained by other characters of that era, I don't know, but the cool factor he used to hold for me as a kid remains more or less the same today. I think I'll visit some of the other Bucky characters in the year-long sketch thing I'm doing fairly soon.