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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.

Lots o' Prints!

Mark Marianelli

I have not posted anything in an obnoxiously long time. Blame Instagram. It's just so easy to post something quickly there and go on about my evening that I forget I've got this entire website just waiting for me to dump sweet, sweet art all over it.

In any case, I've been working on a ton of stuff. After finishing the WWF card deck (and getting Brutus the Barber freaking Beefcake to sign it! WHAT??) I feel like there's a lacking of projects in my life, which I should probably be happy about because who wants obligations? But I, for some reason, cannot function without some kind of project to be working towards. Which is a shame because as much as I would live to spend my evenings watching movies and playing video games, I just cannot go to sleep at night without feeling like I've accomplished SOMETHING. It's a real problem, but at least a handful of people on Instagram get to see some sub-par illustrations. I should be more confident.

But whatever. There's two major prints I finished up over the last couple of weeks, and there will potentially be a bunch more if I can hone in some of the random characters I've been drawing over the last few months. The first is one of my favorite video games from the 90's - Primal Rage!

This game is a favorite of mine not only because it's just an awesome game, but because one of my favorite childhood memories was when my best friend and I's families went on a camping trip to Lake Ossipee, Maine one summer. We would ride our bikes to the local convenience store at the campsite where they had the Primal Rage arcade cabinet and just blow $20 worth of quarters every day indulging in prehistoric carnage.

I've always been a fan of Mortal Kombat, and the only way you can top Mortal Kombat, in my book, is to make Mortal Kombat with Dinosaurs. OMG SO GOOD.

The second illustration was another slice of childhood nostalgia... VISIONARIES: KNIGHTS OF THE MAGICAL LIGHT!

For those of you who weren't lucky enough to grow up in the 80's, it was a time of wonder. Toy companies were cranking out whatever gimmick they could and making awesome cartoons out of it to sell more toys. Visionaries is one of those obscure ones that never reached the popularity of franchises like GI Joe or Transformers. Visionaries came out at a time when holographic images were a big deal. The show revolved around a group of futuristic knights getting magical powers from a wizard and being able to transform into glowing magical animals. The toys represented this by having holograms on the figures' chests. They looked awesome. Visually speaking, it's the kind of franchise that you can't not draw... Yet nobody really does. Sad.

This particular illustration was a pain in the butt to draw because upon drawing all 14 of the knights, I realized I had drawn 65% of them standing on the ground - which when you're trying to fit 14 characters on one 11x17 page, you need a bunch of them to be in the air so you don't have too many characters getting cut-off behind other characters. It took me an embarrassing amount of hours trying to arrange these guys on the page. But whatever, all finished.

In addition to the personal work, I also had a few commissions sprinkled in there. One in particular is a promotional poster I make every year for a New England Wrestling event - ELKMANIA!

I've been doing this for 5 years now and it gets more fun every time. It started out with a simple drawing of an Elk Hulk Hogan, then after Hogan got into some, er, controversies, we went in a different direction to avoid offending anyone and I started just illustrating the event wrestlers themselves. This proved to be a lot more fun because in addition to illustrating the wrestlers, we started modeling the posters on old school Wrestlemania ads... and it's just been great.

There's been other stuff in between, but I think I've overloaded this post enough... And who's really reading it anyway. Well besides you. And you. And that guy behind you with the mask.

Hope to post more frequently, but if you know me, I wouldn't get your hopes up.


WWF Playing Cards

Mark Marianelli

This is a project I've been wanting to do in some form or another for a long time now, though the emphasis was never on playing cards...

Regardless of what era of Professional Wrestling you may or may not be a fan of, there's no denying the uniqueness of the 80's (and very early 90's) time period of what was once called the WWF. The wrestlers were larger than life, colorful and walked around the ring like mythical gods. They had a wide assortment of gimmicks and each character these men (and women) portrayed carried with it a brand. When you really look back on these people, they were basically comic book characters come to life... And this was a time before Superhero movies became the money-making beasts they are today.

I tune into the WWE nowadays and see nothing but black trunks and bad attitudes - which is totally fine if that's what the fans want. However, being the old fogy I am today, I long for a time when pro-wrestling was a family-friendly, campy affair.

And so, this is my love letter to the World Wrestling Federation of 80's and early 90's. I designed a deck of cards featuring all the greats from the era that made Professional Wrestling the phenomenon it is today.

... Honestly, I can't tell any of these current guys apart from one another. When did "trashy white guy in black undies" become the preferred template?