Thursday, August 8, 2013

2013 Thythen Space City Con Commission by Josh C Lyman

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I had some hesitation about hitting Space City Con this year, as I was burnt out of money and enthusiasm by Comicpalooza, and their shift toward catering to sci-fi geeks meant no one comparable to Art Adams or Whilce Portacio attended. On the other hand, some pieces initiated at Comicpalooza came to fruition and were made available for pick-up, so why not? They're easily among the best I've ever gotten by the way, so that alone made it worthwhile. It's also great to stumble upon exciting new talent along the way.

Josh C Lyman has a westernized quasi-chibi style that recalls Chris Giarrusso (who recalls Bill Watterson, who recalls Charles Schulz, who reca...) He also draws in a more realistic "comic book" style, so I ended up getting one of each at the low, low introductory rate I missed so much at Comicpalooza. Again, con fatigue meant I only attended SCC for one day, and only for a few hours at that, but if I had stayed I could have given Lyman as many commissions as he was willing to take. Fantastic work!

That said, I may have made a terrible mistake in having the Thythen done in chibi style. I like the cognitive dissonance that comes from taking repugnant characters like Dr. Light or Ma'alefa'ak and adapting them to a saccharine style, like Skottie Young's Thanos Baby or the Superhero Squad version of the Punisher. The Thythen already have legitimacy problems, since they're jaundiced well-muscled Humpty Dumpties with antennae. The Thythen were the alien slavers who used the survivors of Mars as living batteries to power their Robo-Chargers. Like much of the Vile Menagerie, they only ever appeared once, in only a handful of heavily shadowed panels, so there's no single reference available that captures them clearly. A realistic take might have been best.

On the other hand, I've joined the rest of the world in blowing off the Thythen, whose plan was unraveled with relative ease by a sleep-deprived whackjob Manhunter and a particularly dickish Superman, neither operating at full power. They also had the misfortune of competing with the debut of Bel Juz, an unenviable position. Frankly, I don't think there's much redemption to be found in the Thythen as sinister villains, so perhaps they're better off as playing the role of buffoonish rogues along the lines of the Mooninites or Marvin the Martian. Hey, maybe they went off and enslaved Zook's people, giving the imp a goofy nemesis?

Actually, now that I look closer, Lyman's use of deep shadows around the eyes are pretty intense, and the orbs within are rather cruel. I based my cruddy coloring job as closely on the comics as possible, and their corpse complexions are unnerving. It's easy to see those thick orange gloves crushing the life out of some poor little cuddly critter in the manner of Elmyra Duff or Hugo the Abominable Snowman. Maybe the Thythen could be like Him or Eustace's Trumpet where you're like "oh, this is no big deaOMFG get that freakin' thing away from me!" That totally works. Never mind that other stuff I said.

For more from Joshua C. Lyman, check out his tumblr and deviantART galleries, or just way until I get back to him again, because I'm gonna.

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