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Blog

Street Figher! ... The one nobody plays.

Mark Marianelli

After I finished the last Mortal Kombat illustration, I wanted to do more fighting games. However, I really didn't want to burn myself out on some of the incredibly bland characters that came out after Mortal Kombat 4. So I turned to the Godfather of fighting franchises - STREET FIGHTER! But rather than follow my gut and just do a Street Fighter 2 illustration, I thought it'd be a fun idea to start with the first game... I really wish I had just stuck with Mortal Komba now.

Who can forget such classic characters as Mike... and Joe. Let's just say there's a reason people forget that Street Figher 2 has a 2 at the end of it. The first game featured one of the most boring rosters I've ever seen in a fighting game since Pit Fighter. Needless to say this particular drawing was a bit of a chore, but then how many opportunities to you get to draw Ryu with red hair and dainty slippers? The glass is half full, my friends...

There were some more enjoyable aspects going on behind the scenes - I recently got an iPad Pro and the over-priced Apple Pencil (I caved after wasting $22 on the Adobe Ink only to find the battery was so dead that it didn't even attempt to charge) so 90% of this illustration was done using Procreate. I never thought I could be pulled away from my beloved Cintiq 13HD, but you can't beat the portable nature of having an iPad - plus the amount of money I'm going to save on sketchbooks will practically pay for the Apple Pencil itself. I stilled used the Cintiq for a few items, and at the end of the day, I'd be screwed without it, but foreal - Procreate is DELIGHTFUL.

I'm realizing that last paragraph was probably the most tedious bit of reading any non-digital-artist has ever been forced to endure. For this I apologize.

I imagine Street Fighter II will be next in line, I can't imagine I would put myself through drawing this awful game for nothing... Though I'm a tad bit frightened, Street Fighter 2 is so iconic that I feel I'm incapable of doing it any justice. Literally every character in that game is a video game legend... Eh, I've butchered better games.

Here's hoping I'll have the next one done in a reasonable amount of time... Clock is ticking on baby #3 and once that little bugger is released upon the world that's basically the end of my free time until 2036.

Till then!
~ M.

MORTAL KOMBAT!!!! ... Gold.

Mark Marianelli

When I originally illustrated the first 3 Mortal Kombat games, I hadn't planned on going any further with the franchise, the characters get less inspired, the costumes get more complicated, the backgrounds less memorable... Plus each game adds like 20 characters and I've only got so much room to work with on an 11x17 canvas. But alas, I caved and made one more... Now I fear I'm in it for the long haul. Or not. The thought of drawing ANYBODY from "Deception" makes me want to Hara Kiri myself and I don't even know how to approach the 60+ roster of Armageddon. So basically 20 good characters and another 40 uninspired, boring, tedious, nightmarish characters that will only speed up my already inevitable carpal tunnel.

Or I could just spend more time with my kids... eh.

Anyway, as I was saying, I caved and drew one more for the series - Mortal Kombat Gold. Like with Ultimate MK3, I went with the more complete version of the numbered entries. MK4 may have saved me some time and energy, but Gold is what it should have been in the first place. So without further ado... MK: GOLD.

While I do think the majority of these games were lacking after MKII, Mortal Kombat Gold (and even 4) really wasn't all that bad, and it was like a breath of fresh air after suffering through MK:Trilogy. The 3D was nothing to write home about, but it was fine and the characters were stylized in a way that you can almost forgive the wonky polygons of the late 90s. The game played smoothly enough and the controls felt familiar despite the 3-dimensional plane you were playing on. I also liked how you could pick up skulls and throw them at your opponent.

After 3 versions of MK3 where the fatalities somehow got WORSE with every iteration, MK4/Gold finally delivered. The Spine-rip was back in all it's messed up glory, Reptile ate a person's face off and we were given what I consider the be the second-greatest fatality the franchise has ever scarred our children with - Quan Chi (probably the only new character I didn't mind) ripped your leg off and beat you to death with it. Ed Boon dropped the mic with that one.

But I must reiterate - the new characters (Quan Chi excluded) are crap. Not quite as bad as MK Deception, but pretty darn close. Shinnok was a terrible Shang Tsung knockoff, Jerek was Kano without the cool eyepiece, Kai was just black Liu Kang, Tanya was Kitana without the fans, Fujin was crap, Reiko was crap, and this is the only game that managed to make Reptile look stupid as all get out. Needless to say, drawing this was a bit of a chore. Either I was drawing a new character that was boring or I was drawing one of the existing characters in the franchise for a second, third and even fourth time.

The things I do for you people.

HARA KIRI!
~ M.

Child of the 80's

Mark Marianelli

Maybe I'm becoming old... Well, not MAYBE, sadly I am becoming old. There's a reason the word 'age' sounds so much like 'agitation', because that's exactly what happens as you get older - you get bitter at everything. You don't understand current music, you prefer films from your youth and then that dreaded day happens where for the first time you utter the words "When I was your age" to your kid.

... Also you have a kid. Multiple in my case.

Although I'm fairly convinced things actually WERE better in my day for one very specific reason: Saturday morning cartoons aren't even a thing anymore. Why even wait for the weekends anymore? Granted, my kids are 3, 4 and WOMB, so every day is kind of like Saturday for them... Which I guess means every day sucks for them now because there's no dang Saturday morning cartoons! I could literally write about what a travesty this is for hours and paragraphs, but it's a tiresome complaint that everybody born in the 70's and 80's has whined about in great detail - and hence, this illustration is for you people. The true children of the 80's.

There's a good chunk of 80's franchises in this drawing, but I know I'm only scratching the surface of that beautiful era. Television was imaginative, colorful and daring - and it had to be because every show was geared towards selling toys. If those toys lost originality, nobody would buy them, hence no more television show - and vice versa. Everything had a gimmick - Robots that turned into vehicles, magical holographic projections, military food and mind-controlled dinosaurs, you simply don't get insanity like that any more.

Sure, most of these shows fizzled out after a couple seasons, but that was all you needed. Not to mention once a gimmick ran its course, another one would pop up in its place and re-capture your imagination all over again. This illustration only accounts for 10, maybe 11 franchises and that's only a tenth of how much nostalgic goodness was being pumped out during that time.

And the toys were no joke either. None of these cheap 'surprise' bags you buy for 3 bucks at Target that end up being nothing more than a cheap plastic mold that breaks as soon as you take it out of the wrapper and is probably a duplicate of the LAST one you bought because everything's set up to be a money-grabbing gamble nowadays. No, toys were quality. You played with them, you dropped them from great heights, froze them in your freezer, threw them across the room, fed them to your dog and at worst the paint chipped or they'd lose an arm... Which ended up being awesome because you'd just replace it with a robot arm you made out of pipe cleaners and rubber bands and it was like a whole new toy with a new storyline!

Good lord I hate my kids' toys. I hate their shows too. Oh well though, I'm sure they're find something to be fond of. I wish they didn't know what the internet was - I'd just make them think there's no such thing and only turn Netflix on on Saturday mornings.

... Or maybe I should just like, spend time with them.

YAY 80'S!
~ M.