Carolina-based illustrator and wrestling title belt designer Jesse Justice is no stranger to the FPU faithful. Here’s a look at some of the roughs and design evolutions of the artwork he did for us for Rencor: Life in Grudge City.
El Victor was a character that had previously appeared in our MASKED ADVENTURES pulp fiction chapbook series, designed by me and originally illustrated by Rafael Navarro. I sent Jesse some of Raf’s work from that chapbook alongside my own sketches for reference. Needless to say, he improved on my notes greatly…
El Mil Calaveras was an original character, so Jesse had some freedom in locking in his skull motif. The only real direction I gave him was that this Calavera, being the third generation, had evolved the once simple family skull hood into a modern hyper-colored, multi-textured deal, much in the same way Dr. Wagner Jr. has left the traditional all-white doctor mask of his father behind for often over-complex fare now.
Initial runs at Cal were too similar to Los Hermanos Muerte, and for sure the forehead ‘M’ would be too reminiscent of the heroic Mil Mascaras to serve our uber-rudo intent. It only took Jesse a second draft to nail the design:
Jesse’s finals of the duo really possessed character traits — the noble Victor with the “man of goodwill who serves justice” dreamer look, and the sinister Calavera, possessing both a more complex fashion sense but less desire to shave for a clean look — instantly a conflicted personality. Vic has the look of a hero perhaps fatigued with the burden of being so, Cal has the look of predator and prey.
Jesse crushed this stuff!
And while we’re extolling the virtues of Jesse Justice, here’s some bonus content that will especially appeal to longtime FPU readers from back in the magazine days. Jesse did a whole slew of pin-ups of the ‘staff’ of enmascarados. These ran in various newsletters and convention specials, but haven’t appeared online until now. Enjoy…
Ace cub reporter La Reina Araña, mask-maker El Evil (that’s a tape measure) and foreign object tutor Super X.
Demonia del Fuego and Beelzebunny.
This is my favorite piece of JJ art ever — Mr. Unknown and his mini-sidekick Little-Known…
Thanks for all the great work Jesse!