Droids Custom Mynock-Man: The making of Mynock-Man!

by Bill Cable
on 2021-04-01, 06:45:55

Chapter 1:  Who is Mynock-Man?

CreatureCantina.com was launched on April 1st, 2001 (strange... that's like twenty years ago!).  One of the very first features to appear on the site was "The Cantina" comic strip, drawn and written by yours truly.  I would go on to draw the comic for 9 years, wrapping it up April 7th, 2010.  Through its more than 450 episodes, I introduced a handful of original characters.  Among them was Mynock-Man!!

The suggestion to add a cape-wearing crimefighter to "The Cantina" was sent in by my good friend and fellow PSWCS member David Brown.  I don't remember any specifics about it... whether it was an in-person thing or email... but credit where credit is due.  It was a brilliant idea.  And he'd feature regularly in the comic strip for the duration.  I like him so much I have an inkling to cosplay him at Celebration... sometime after I triple-up my sit-ups. 

Chapter 2:  Creating the artwork

When I was brainstorming ideas for something special to do for the site's 20th Anniversary, I landed on doing a Droids-style proof card.  So many times after I've done a custom and it's sold out people ask, "Would you ever consider selling just the cardback?"  I always say no.  My COAs say the customs are limited runs, and I stand by them.  But if I did just a cardback without a figure... well then I could sell as many of those as I wanted!  I toyed with doing an expensive character I could never afford to make as a custom, but then it dawned on me - if I used one of my own characters, I wouldn't have to sweat copyright!  

I began by doing research.  I dug through some old comics to get reference material.

CreatureCantina.com Image

My goal was to produce a Droids-style drawing that was directly sourced from the original comic strip!  So every color of the background is a color pulled from an original strip using the Eyedropper tool.  The bar, the machines in the middle of the bar, the booths... all inspired by the comic.  And - a little Easter Egg here for you - the sand dune and skyline in the window on the right side of the card... that's actually copied and pasted from one of my comics.  I had to blow it up and add some detail to the thing, but it is an original comic strip element!

Production of the physical artwork was via my standard process.  I neglected to take any in-progress photos, but here's the final piece:

CreatureCantina.com Image

I scanned it then colored everything in Photoshop, as per frickin' usual.  And here's something I don't normally share... here's the complete original digital artwork, along with a close-up to show off the level of detail I put into these things (click for full rez):

CreatureCantina.com Image

CreatureCantina.com Image

So that was the front of the card.  The back, however, presented a unique challenge...

Chapter 3:  Creating Mynock-Man in 3D!!!

On the backs of my customs, it's my practice to swap out the photo of Uncle Gundy with a photo of whoever the figure is for the custom.  Usually that's super easy... barely an inconvenience.  I have a pile of the figures just sitting there to put in bubbles.  Grab one.  Snap a photo.  Drop it on a template.  Done.

That was my problem right there... they don't make a Mynock-Man figure.

After approaching a couple customizer to ask if they wanted to collaborate, and getting shot down, I realized the only way this was getting done was if I did it myself.  So here's me, with nearly zero experience (spray painting those R5-D4s doesn't count for much), diving in head first.

For my base, I used Imperial Commander.  Not only is he all in black, he's pretty generic and has riding boots.  Great as a starting point.  I just needed to file down the rough edges.

CreatureCantina.com Image

After making no progress with the hand file, it was time to run down to the garage and fire up the grinding wheel.

CreatureCantina.com Image

That was probably round enough.  I also took the flares off the sides of his thighs and his rank insignia, which was all I'd need to do prior to painting.

CreatureCantina.com Image

The next part was the most difficult.  Mynock-Man has a suction cup on his face.  My first idea was to take the Hasbro Mynock figure from that 3-pack and take a mold of his suction cup and cast it in plastic like I do with the coins.  Two problems with that, though - I didn't have the Hasbro Mynock and I didn't have the silicone that Yehuda uses to take molds of the coins.  I checked eBay for the 3-pack and all the prices were way too high to bother with that plan.  So I decided to sculpt the thing myself.  I found colored sculpting clay at the craft store, which I used to sculpt his suction cup, eyes, chest logo, buckle, forearm flares, and boot flares.

CreatureCantina.com Image

My last steps were to sew a cape around his neck and attach the suction cup.  And Mynock-Man was now an action figure... again. Beedo made one for his photo comics years back from G.I. Joe parts.

CreatureCantina.com Image

CreatureCantina.com Image

CreatureCantina.com Image

Chapter 4:    Mynock-Man's back, baby!

I had my photo of my action figure, so now it was time to finish the back of the card.  Dropped the photo over Gundy, and composed a biography for MM.  I also used my Photoshop skills to convert the word "Droids" into the word "Cantina" at the top-right of the cardback, and swapped out the "Adventures of R2 & 3PO" text.  It's those little details that really make a piece special, dontcha agree?

CreatureCantina.com Image

With that, my design work was complete.  I uploaded the designs to VistaPrint and a week later I had my cards in-hand.  Now I just needed to keep them a secret until I could reveal them today.





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