Wednesday, February 16, 2011

1992 Alien Parasite Tongue Detail (Featuring Glonth) Design by Arthur Adams

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There's a fresh batch of Bloodlines Parasite scans taken from reference material sent out to creators on the annual event, and they're courtesy of "The Online Home of Chuck Dixon," THE DIXONVERSE!. Dixon wrote a few of those annuals, and probably co-created a number of the New Bloods. For years, I labored under under the assumption Dixon was behind Ballistic, but that was actually Doug Moench. I even had a nice second amendment joke lined up, but Dixon was actually responsible for introducing Geist and Razorsharp, which I'll try not to hold against him.

Most of the Art Adams work I've seen has been character model sheets, but this here is an intriguing exception. The basic premise of the Bloodlines parasites was that they were H.R. Giger style predatory aliens who would serve as the villains in a summer annual event. While the design debt is obvious, a twist was added in that the parasites had individual personalities and physical attributes based on the seven Cardinal Sins, and that they could assume a human form a piece.

Both Marvel and DC decided they would also use each of their summer events as a platform to debut a hot new character find of the '90s. Marvel didn't have an overarching motivation for the spontaneous avalanche of dozens of new heroes and villains beyond pulling money out of speculators' pockets by polybagging each annual with a "rookie" trading card. DC made the arbitrary effort a little more palatable by taking a page from Marvel's mutant books by declaring all of their "New Bloods" were the product of one source.

As a callback to Giger's "jackhammer jaws," the Bloodlines parasites had a prehensile oral probe that would attach itself to the back of a victimized human's neck. Like vampires, the parasites lived off a bodily liquid, but they preferred spinal fluid to blood. Also like vampires and Romero zombies, the creatures' bite would sometimes transform the human victim, making them super-powered. It's cool to see Adams set the standard for the disturbing visuals for these parasite attacks, and that he used one of my favorites, Glonth, as his demonstration model. I wonder who the androgynous victim was, though?

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