Brother Ajax

I’d just watched “Kick-Ass” for the third time, and was inspired to do Big Daddy, who I think is a more-plausible version of Batman. However, as the under-drawings progressed, I got hung-up on the anatomy, and so this sort of evolved into just another muscled male figure. At the end, after first settling on the background you see, I added the eye-makeup, the dot on his head, and the emblem on his chest, just to sort of make a character of some sort out of him. The name was something I was kicking around from having recently watched the movie “Troy”. (Ajax was one of the Greek leader-warriors attacking the Trojans). I conceived of my character as thinking of himself as a reincarnation of the ancient/mythical Ajax, and that he is insane. This piece was done digitally from start to finish. No pencils involved, just a stylus.

Brother Ajax: final layout

Below are the steps from the final rough under-drawing (there were three under-drawings before that, that I failed to preserve) to the finished piece (save for the logotype and the final layout).

An animated gif of the above progression:

Before I settled on the final logotype, I tried a number of different fonts. Thanks to Kevin Parks for his input on this.

Mark Celis’ Online Illustration Portfolio

I guess it’s now LONG-past time that I set-up a one-stop link for an online “portfolio” of my illustrations. So: below are some of the best (in my opinion) of the past few years, displayed from the latest to the earliest, covering mostly the last five years. I hope you enjoy them.

“Sue Solare” for the 2013 National Paper Doll Convention

Face Detail for the above Illustration. This is a digital painting in Photoshop using a photo of an actress named Lauren Ambrose as reference, seen side-by-side for comparison.

02_Lauren Solare

Hit-Girl” from “Kick Ass” and “Kick Ass 2

“Hellboy” from “Hellboy” and “Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Laura Kinney (X 23)” Marvel Comics’ female version of their character “Wolverine”.


“Storm (Ororo)” from Marvel Comics’ “X-Men”.

A “Space-Babe” Practice for “Sue Solare” above.

Spider-Man after Todd McFarlane.


A Classic Supergirl

“Hank” interpretation of an original character for a Weekly Sketch Group challenge at

“American Woman” a sort of re-imagining of a “Wonder Woman” type character.

“Captain America” inspired by the recent movies.

“Green Lantern” inspired by the recent movie.


“Paradigm” an original character of mine.

A Stylized Portrait of a good friend and neighbor of mine

A “Skrull “ for a Weekly Sketch Group challenge at featuring the Villains of the “Fantastic Four”.

“Whiplash” an original character of mine.

I’m first and foremost a “cat” person, but I like dogs a lot, too.

“Flying Batman” a re-imagining of mine for Batman’s suit, with folding “wings”.

“‘NEW’ Batman” Another rendering of a re-design of mine for Batman’s suit.

“Dr. Manhattan” inspired by the movie “The Watchmen”.

“Corona” an original character of mine.

Another one of MANY “Space Gals” I’ve Illustrated over the past few years

“Elinore” one of the feature characters in Ralph Bakshi‘s classic animated movie “Wizards”

This “Space Girl” was during a period when I was emulating the great Chris Sanders. I leave it to you whether I succeeded.

A “Space Girl” taken from my sketch, then rendered in vector format in Adobe Illustrator

A character I created named “Trailer Trish”. Aliens always seem to be dropping in on the backwoods people.

“Bronze Bot” a photo-collage combined with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop elements to create a mechanoid in the “Steampunk” style.

“Cuddle Bear” Another piece started as a sketch, then rendered in Illustrator. I entered the name “Cuddle Bear” into a translation website to get the Kanji characters. I wanted a “J-Pop” feel to this piece.

“Robo-Ex” This piece was started as a simple Illustrator animation, which I later rendered-out, adding special lighting effects in Photoshop. Inspired by the online sci-fi comic series: “Varla Dayne”.

“‘Buck’ Celis” This self-portrait as myself as a “Buck Rogers” type was for a self-promtional flyer, advertising the design and graphics services of “Captain Quickdraw”.

Addicted to Photoshop

This week’s Weekly Sketch Group at Penciljack (heretofore to be referred to as “WSG”) includes the characters from “Kick-Ass”. And, yes, the WSG’s do tend to be influenced by upcoming comic-book movies. The “Pin-up” subject is “Batgirl”. So: I was kicking around an idea of doing Hit-Girl and Batgirl together, Batgirl saying to her: “I suppose I was your role-model growing up?”, to which Hit-Girl was going to say: “And,  you are?”

So I roughed out the poses, then started some Google Images research on Hit-Girl, as I wasn’t to familiar with her costume. Just for a study/preparation, I later did a sketch of Hit-Girl’s head, trying to capture her (and Chloe Moretz‘) features in general, although at this point, i wasn’t using references.

The head sketch, even though not leaned up, turned out (I think) pretty good, so, as only one other person had posted anything on the WSG this morning thus far, I was excited to post the sketch as a kind of placeholder for the piece I mentioned above, and be maybe the second guy to post on the group to boot.

After scanning it, and cleaning it up a (little, I swear), I was JUST gonna add some flat colors. It’s now 4:45 am Tuesday…………it sorta got away from me……………

The only bit of the original linework that remains is in the hair. Although I’d done the drawing without references, I had downloaded some really good, high-rez images of Chloe (Hit-Girl) close-up, and I religiously referred to three of them for the lighting and shading. I did more “frisketing” this time, to get the hard-edges. And I did use the smear tool quite a bit, with the spatter-shaped brush (whatever it’s named), but other than that, I didn’t use Photoshop “cheats”, except a few times I used the blur tool on spots, mostly to save time, but not as a habit on this piece.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 – 1:09 a.m.

Tonight showed me something: I have a three friends and neighbors who are hurting deeply. I need to be in a place where I can pray for them, and believe that God will hear me.

I’m not in that place, because of my own stuff. It’s their stuff that’s causing them so much pain, too. But I can see it; I’ve been saved. I’ve been blessed with having had the opportunity to have counseling for a number of years. I’m no less flawed than them, no less in need of prayer……but I saw their pain, and it’s my responsibility to respond.

And now………I return to the behavior that I believe incapacitates me from interceding on their behalf.

God help me.

Bruce Wayne Casts Batman’s Shadow

Batman '43 Emblem

From the 1943 Columbia Pictures’ serial: “Batman”.

Chapter 9_title cardIn Chapter 9: “The Sign of the Sphinx” Bruce Wayne disguises himself as Chuck White, a former boxer turned petty criminal-for-hire, in order to infiltrate Dr. Daka’s group of henchmen. While the henchmen question him (trying to determine if he’s legit), Chuck (Bruce) briefly casts a shadow on the wall that amazingly resembles the very profile he’d cast if he were in his Batman garb.

Batman's shadowBatman's Shadow_detailI don’t think this was intentional, but it’s just the sort of thing that had been done in comic books many times: Clark Kent casting Superman’s shadow, Peter Parker casting the shadow of Spiderman.C Bale_BM ShadowBruce casts Bat's shadow

Just another one of those little gems that keep popping up in this series, and which keeps me coming back for more.

And now, just for fun, and keeping in my “tradition” of including a little animation: Batman desperately trying to take off.


You can find a more detailed description of the serial and this episode here (along with many other images):
Legions of Gotham (Serial 1943)

© 1943, renewed 1971 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved. © 2005 Detective Comics, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Additional images: © Nick Smith, ©2011-2013 ~CABARETdelDIAVOLO

Related articles

Batman Loses his Chesterfields

Batman '43 EmblemFrom the 1943 Columbia Pictures’ serial: “Batman”.

Prospector Ken Colton (Charles Middleton)

Prospector Ken Colton (Charles Middleton)

I’ve noticed quite a few things as I’m enjoying this serial. The actor (Charles Middleton)

Charles Middleton as the Commandant of the Foreign Legion in

The Commandant

who plays Ken Colton, a suddenly wealthy prospector who discovers a deposit of several tons of Radium in his mine (the very mineral that Dr. Daka is after for the purposes of fueling a scaled-up version of his Radium-Gun), tickled my recognition as the same actor who portrays the Commandant of the Foreign Legion in the Laurel and Hardy movie “The Flying Deuces“, as well as Ming the Merciless

Ming the Merciless

in the Flash Gordon serials.

I’ve noticed a couple of continuity errors casually as well. In the first chapter, inside Dr. Daka’s lair, there is an insert shot of a screen, blank when we see it, but from later context, it becomes clear that there was supposed to be a fluoroscope or x-ray image of the hand of his henchman outside the door seeking clearance for entry.

In a later chapter, there’s a fight scene with the Batman, and in one shot, his cape has fallen off, but in the next shot it has inexplicably returned on his person.

Poison Peril_title card

But the piece de resistance (and the one that had me rolling on the floor) occurs in “Chapter 6: The Poison Peril”. Towards the end of this chapter, while Batman and Robin are climbing down a fire-escape, an object slips from the folds of Batman’s cape. When I slowed down and magnified the image, it becomes clear that it is a pack of Chesterfields, which proceed to spill out onto the pavement below. Now: had the actor sewn a secret pocket into the cape, to have ready access to his smokes for a quick break between takes, or was this a particularly clumsy product-placement? Watch the animation I created from the frames and decide for yourself. (You can click the image to see the animation, or: click this link): Batman Loses his Chesterfields

Batman's-Chesterfields animation

Batman’s-Chesterfields (click to see animation)

You can find a more detailed description of the serial and this episode here (along with many other images):
Legions of Gotham (Serial 1943)

© 1943, renewed 1971 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved. © 2005 Detective Comics, Inc. All Rights Reserved

1943 Batman Raygun Clip

Batman '43 Emblem

From the 1943 Columbia Pictures’ serial: “Batman”.

In “Chapter 4: Slaves of the Rising Sun”, Batman climbs atop a moving armored car, containing two of Dr. Daka’s henchmen. Using the Radium-Gun captured from the Doctor, he blasts his way in.Batman - Chapter 4: "Slaves of the Rising Sun" (title card)

Besides the title card, I captured several others of the titles sequence, combining them in Photoshop to get a clean version of the emblem, which is surprisingly consistent with Batman emblems throughout the character’s history. I matched the font as close as I could, and if any person out there knows the exact font used in the titles, I’d really like to know what it is.

Evil Dr Daka

The Evil Dr. Daka

I originally captured these three frames from the sequence, because of the dramatic, low-angle lighting on Batman, the position he was standing in, and because of the rareness of him holding ANY gun, let alone a RAY gun). I intend to do an illustration based on them. I put them together here in a gif to make a short animation.

Bat Radium-Gun animation




You can find a more detailed description of the serial and this episode here (along with many other images):
Legions of Gotham: Serial 1943

© 1943, renewed 1971 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved. © 2005 Detective Comics, Inc. All Rights Reserved