Saturday, August 17, 2013

Four Daughters of the Apocalypse

This character design project was actually the brainchild of Cecil Trachenberg, who runs the amusing named "Good Bad Flicks", a web series dedicated to celebrating underrated or otherwise forgotten B-Movies. Its a very funny and entertaining show, after you've read and commented on every single one of my posts, you should definitely check it out.

Last summer, Cecil pitched an idea for a comic/animated series about how the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse came to Earth in the '80s believing that the Cold War would be the end of the world, only to discover that they'd jumped the gun. Stuck on Earth, they settled down and produced a quartet of daughters who have inherited their supernatural powers and the responsibility to destroy the planet.

I designed the girls to have contemporary clothes and attributes that would fit into easily identifiable cliches. To the untrained eye they might appear like normal girls, but on closer examination you might notice that their appearances have symbolic significance to their supernatural heritage.

The Leader/ The Army Brat. Choleric Temperament. An extraverted thrill-seeker with a hair trigger temper who is always pulling the others into trouble. She is always chewing gum, but every attempt to blow a bubble blows up in her face, not unlike the many crazy antics that she cooks up. 

It was hard not to think of "Kim Possible" during the design process as fiery red hair and baggy camo pants feel like natural traits for a hot blooded action girl.

The Lancer / The Party Girl. Sanguine Temperament. She's everywhere, and hangs out with everybody. You might say she's "contagious". 

She has a snarky sense of humor and a grunge scene exterior. She'll often wear T-Shirts that have the names of various diseases made up to look like band logos. Said shirts are long and stretch below the hip not unlike a hospital gown. She also wears a woolen cap not too dissimilar from something a chemo patient would wear. Her wrists are adorned with multiple hospital admission bracelets, and on her legs are a pair of gaudy tights with multiple tears in them, meant to resemble open sores without being gory. 

The Shy, Smart One. Melancholic Temperament. I wanted to avoid designing an anorexic girl as I didn't think that'd be very fun. Then I remembered that passage about the famine in the end times were "a loaf of bread could buy a bag of gold" and figured that you'd need to be good with numbers to calculate that kind of currency conversion and hit on the idea of making Famine into a nerdy schoolgirl type.

Her pigtails are meant to resemble measuring scales, but it may take a few more drafts to make that evident.

The Strong One/ The Only Sane One. Phlegmatic Temperament. I pictured her as someone who was very laid back, having a "seen it all before" attitude and would know better than the get involved with the other three's zany schemes, often burying herself in some other solitary activity, only to come and save their bacon every time they got in over their heads.

Death's daughter was the most difficult design as I deliberately wanted to avoid something like Neil Gaiman's "Death", the pale skinned perky Goth type. Instead a tried aiming in the opposite direction, giving her a more plump figure, not unlike a bloated corpse (you might say she's larger than life) and dressing her in ghastly green rather than in the typical black. She doesn't wear any sort of skull jewelry or clothing because it thought could it could be more interesting if she was the most unassuming of the bunch and yet was the most dangerous in terms of power.

The League has other highlights from apocalypse:

* Nerdy Life provides a History of the End of the World


  1. I like those designs and your explanation of how you came up with each characters. I find the mental process of design very interesting.

    1. Cool to know people like to hear about the process. I should have taken a cue from you and looked at Monster High for inspiration.

  2. For the daughter of Famine, I personally would still go with a media-dominated anorexic girl obsessed with fashion and appearance. That's an enormously destructive trap for adolescent girls and women, involving both physical and spiritual starvation.

    I like your take on the daughters of War and Pestilence. Death gives me pause but you're right -- the nihilistic goth chick type would be too obvious.

  3. Vary cool! What program do you use for your drawings? I've been looking for a good program and or system.

    1. Thanks. I just put these together in Photoshop back about a year ago.

  4. Ohhh man... this is DANGEROUSLY close to an idea I had a few years back but never found an illustrator for. The general idea is so different... but eerily similar in other ways.

    1. Fascinating... Well, if you need an illustrator at anytime in the future, you know where to find me.


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