BUY

The Bloodstone Hunt

Buy Captain America's The Bloodstone Hunt at mycomicshop.com

Captain America’s Jet Freedom’s Flight Story

This post currently has no comments.

Captain America writer, Mark Gruendwald found me in one of my frequent visits to the Marvel Comics office and handed me a pile of Captain America reference. 

Captain America Jet Reference Captain America Jet Reference Captain America Jet Reference

As usual, his few images told me everything I needed to know. Artist Kieron Dwyer had cooked up a design of Captain America’s new jet. He apparently had based the look on the brand new, experimental airframe being worked on by DARPA and JPL, the X-30. This modern forward-swept wing design was a method of finding out the limits of computer-aided flight control. The wings going in the opposite direction to traditional aerodynamic thinking meant that without micro-second fast flight surface control, the plane would crash. Probably immediately.

I am indebted to the amazing work of Aerofax, Inc. publishing. Jay Miller, publisher and author puts together these utterly fascinating, ultra-dense books of information about individual craft. With several of the “Datagraph” specialist titles in hand, I am able to sound like a leading edge manufacturing engineer.

Right away, Mark’s reference told me that Captain America’s Jet was a “kitchen sink” plane. It did too much! It flew, it hovered, there were several crew and seating stations — plus I felt the need to at least mention a small lavatory — and it could perform all by itself! Too much! Well, I had cut my teeth on the Avenger’s Quinjet and knew how to cram engines and ducting into an airframe! DARPA, stand back!

Here, you can see the process I go through to arrive at a comic book technical page.

I start by essentially thinking out loud with a pencil. Proportions are important, the right angle to show off everything. How to communicate the most information without drawing every nut and bolt. I confess I often spend a lot of time figuring out how to draw less.

But this time, I felt Captain America — one of Marvel’s core characters, needed a little more. So I leaned into the piece, making it as “real” and usefull as I could. The final touch was reading about the F-117 Nighthawk’s fly-over of the reviewing stand on the day of its roll-out, which featured an American flag on that broad underside. I tried to do the same thing. The F-117’s all-wing shape allowed for a highly distorted flag, I went with a much more straight-forward representation, even if it meant chopping off, uhh… Rhode Island, maybe.

So I fussed and fiddled to get it all in there and wound up with a big page. Emergency equpiment and fold-out beds, chairs and tables. Communications equipment that Gruenwald wanted. Of all the things I hate to do is the “three-view plan.” To make sure all that stuff lines up and the lines are not too blobby. Ugh.

— Eliot R. Brown

Comments are closed.