From the Freelance Files

August 28th, 2008 | Posted in General

Here’s another of those oddball advertising jobs that come along, you do them and get paid for them, but they never get produced or used in the way intended.

This project was done a few years ago for an ad agency. They wanted a “superhero” team designed in a style somewhat reminiscent of the Bruce Timm animated look for some ad campaign pitch to Canon, the photocopy/consumer electronics company. I got the job via referral from a fellow illustrator.

I needed to design 5 heroes, two of which were a hero/sidekick combo. I honestly don’t remember the exact details but the leader of the group was “Golden Eagle” and I think he was supposed to represent some new kind of technology or feature set being introduced. The others were “Canon Man”, “Digital Diva” and “Captain Connectivity (and sidekick)”. I did a few simple roughs with some goofy ideas noted:

Uhhh… legs too short on this one…

They approved “Canon Man” and “Captain Connectivity” right away, but we needed to work on the other two. Apparently someone in the office had a problem with a “double D” plastered across the large breasts of the lady superhero… who knew?? Also, and more bizarrely, they wanted me to give “Golden Eagle” the actual HEAD of an eagle. The client is always right!…

Funny, they decided the eagle’s head was too weird (REALLY?!?). Also even one “D” was too much on Digital Diva’s chest:

Those got the nod, and I did the whole group in a pose together in color for the “pitch”:

Click for a closer look…

I assume since I never heard from the client again after getting my paycheck for this coneptual work that the idea was not accepted and the ad campaign not developed. This could have been one of several different ideas that get pitched to the ad client, you know, like Darren Stevens used to have to do on Bewitched all the time with Larry Tate rolling his eyes in the background… I think I may have just dated myself.

Anyway it was fun while it lasted. You have to love getting paid to draw goofy superheroes.


  1. SteveH says:

    Very cool superhero’s Tom and as always, excellent color/finished work!

  2. vedala says:

    Superb! Tom, you art is brilliant.

  3. JWB1 says:

    This reminded me of a few years back when I was contracted to do a newsletter illustration involving a Justice League parody. Unfortunately I was given the character designs and told to do it in the comic book style (more Carmine Infantino than Bruce Timm). Still was a lot of fun.

    The TV refrence doesn’t date you. When my brother decided to pitch some commerical ideas he asked me to draw up some storyboards. After I showed him the strathmore 5 X 7 TV storyboard pad he said, ” Gee, I expected those big poster boards that Darren had at McMahon/Tate”. I have a feeling that the AMC TV show “Mad Men” is much closer to the 60’s ad world. Nice stuff, Tom


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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