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Poltergeist: 13-year-old Justin is vindicated

(Above: Ed McGuinness’ Poltergeist art, originally intended for the cover to issue #3)

So like I said, I’m not much of an artist. And before I hooked up with Mike, he was employed as a character designer for a video game company, so he was totally aces on the character designs (you’ll see them all eventually on the blog). But I can say with pride that there is one character who I helped design. And I helped design him when I was 13 years old!

Like most other comic book dorks who dream of growing up to become comic book writers, I created a whole universe of superheroes and villains when I was a teenager. Most of them had names that would not have been out of place on Grant Morrison’s list of pseudo-Image character names from Doom Force (there was a Hellweb and a Death Claw, and I’m not proud). I also drew all these characters in an art style that’s basically exactly like my current art style, which, as you know, sucks.

But there was one character at least who was destined for greater things:


When the time came to add a disgraced former member to the Eps in Hero House, Poltergeist emerged from the depths of my memories. So what you see above is remarkably similar to the character you see in the book: same white skin. Same blue eyes. Same long grey hair. Same long trailing legs effect when he flies. Only, you know, it doesn’t look like crap in the book.


Mike’s first stab at Geist (the cool kids call him Geist) played up the haggard and drunken aspects of the character just a little too much. Geist’s had some hard living when we meet him, but he’s still only about 21 years old.


The next sketch was perfect, though. It captured something about the character that I hadn’t quite articulated at the time. He’s drunk and he’s destructive, but he’s convinced that he’s a real great time to be around, and it totally comes off in Mike’s second sketch:


Geist’s big entrance is basically the first extended action sequence of the book, and it was the first sequence Mike drew (for our pitch packet, waaaay back when). And as you can see from the color panel above, Geist practically leaps off the page when he first appears. He’s simultaneously a tragic character and a fun character, and he’s definitely one of my favorite characters in the book. And not just because I drew him sometime around my Bar Mitzvah.

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