Saturday, August 6, 2011

More Visual Characters

In a previous article, I talked about how visual design says something about a character, or rather that it should say something. Mystery Men is and always will be one of my top examples, but it is by no means the only one. I asked for contributions for other examples of this concept, but sadly came up short. So I scoured my own collection and came up with a few examples to elaborate on this concept.

Agent 47

The protagonist of the Hitman games is an example of very good, elegant design. Black suit, white shirt, red tie. An appearance of professionalism appropriate to the character. The lack of hair anywhere on his body, even eyebrows, gives him the look of both a fighter and something slightly alien. It's a subtle wrongness. That menace is complimented by the black gloves. This is a man who will kill you because it's his job and he will feel nothing.

Captain Marvel (Shazam)

Long story short, there are two Captain Marvels, one owned by DC and the other by Marvel. Marvel owns the copyright on the name, so DC has to market their Captain Marvel under the Shazam moniker. Look it up if you're really curious. Anyway, striking red, white, and gold color scheme that conveys a sense of regality and authority. Chiseled looks giving the image of a clean-cut good guy. The overly muscled physique also implies the power he wields and not just physically. The cape and double-breasted shirt give an old-fashioned military apperance while the sash suggests a touch of the exotic, anachronistic, even mystical. That mystic angle is enhanced by the embroidery on the cape and the lightning emblem on his chest. Archetypal Golden Age superhero with a mystical background. He is easily identifiable as a good guy and the color scheme and silhouette make him instantly recognizable as soon as you seem him in a comic panel.


From Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, Toshiro Mifune's character is a farmer impersonating a samurai. It soon becomes apparent to everyone. His perpetually hunched gait implies a life of manual labor in the fields. His top knot is sloppy and poorly grown. He's always dirty and itchy, obviously not bothered by getting his hands dirty with farm work. He carries a sword as almost no soldier would and possesses little if any combat experience. He clearly has no idea what he's doing and this quest to save a village from bandits has put him in way over his head.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Throat Infection Remedy

As I write this, I'm unable to sleep due to pain from a nasty throat infection. However, I thought I would take a moment to share with you all a home remedy that is quite nice for dealing with these things: apple cider vinegar. Organic and unfiltered if you can get it.

Apple cider vinegar is very rich in vitamins and minerals and when mixed with honey and hot water makes an effective remedy for acid reflux as it allows the body to absorb calcium faster and balance your internal pH. It also improves the immune system, helps maintain the liver and kidneys, aids in weight loss, and improves digestion. Good to have in your pantry in general. But for throat infections... well it's slightly less pleasant. In that case, gargle a tablespoon of it. Straight. For about 5-10 seconds.

Yes, it's going to taste unbelievably horrible. Your tongue will wither. Your taste buds will organize a protest rally. But the vinegar will kill bacteria and viruses on contact, impeding the infection and aiding the healing process by acting as a natural antibiotic. Obviously you should still stay hydrated and get rest, but a little extra help never hurts. As a performer your voice is one of your most valuable assets. Take care of it.