Outworld: Return of the Master Teachers is a science fiction, kung-fu epic spanning 3 generations.
The Master Teachers have been outlawed and hunted to the brink of extinction by one of their own. The Diaspora System is under the iron grip of Oro, The Despot and his Beret Sheri armada led by his acolyte, The Paladin. The Diaspora, once a galaxy devoted to peace and diversity, has become the Utopia, a totalitarian society dedicated to expanding its territories through war, subjugation and destruction.
However, a rag tag band of rebels led by a disgraced Master will provide to the key to the Diaspora’s liberation and will ignite a revolution that will restore the glory of the Master Teachers and bring justice to a beleaguered solar system.
Outworld: Return of the Master Teachers is the first concept I created.
I was 11 years old when Return of the Jedi was released. For some reason, Luke’s evolution to full Jedi Knight and the ultimate redemption of Anakin Skywalker, now known as Darth Vader, resonated and sparked something within my burgeoning imagination.
I envisioned alien races featuring a race of beings who evolved from cats (I was reading Jim Starlin’s Dreadstar also at the time). Imagine my horror when the next year, a certain animated cartoon called Thundercats hit the small screen… RANKIN BASS (shaking fist to the gods in defiant anger)!!!!!!!
A few years earlier, I had seen a science-fiction play inspired by Star Wars and Marvel comic books like Doctor Strange called Warp, produced by Lee Gotfried. Warp later became the flagship title for Chicago-based First Comics.
I’m a second-generation “Trekkie” and a big science fiction fan, but Warp grabbed a hold of me because the hero, Lord Cumulus, was played by an African-American. All of these elements went into the stew that would become Outworld.
It took a chance meeting with Dwayne McDuffie (R.I.P., my brother) to set its release in motion. Outworld’s eventual creation was due, in part, to unrealized opportunities: one, a possible Milestone project and the other a magazine that, unfortunately, never got off the ground.
As I was creating the concept and character design, I decided to experiment and see if I couldn’t blur the lines between analog and digital art creation further.
Whereas I would normally draw as much on the Bristol board as possible, Outworld would become primarily a digital creation.
The characters were drawn and colored individually. Props and backgrounds created using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop with the final page constructed in Adobe Photoshop.
Outworld grew up with me and has become the benchmark of my evolution as an artist and a human being.
In 2013, you’ll see what an 11-year old’s imagination can create.