YOUNG JUSTICE: INVASION: THE APPELLAXIANS Picture

WB Animation Character Design, YOUNG JUSTICE: INVASION, The Appellaxians. Pencil, Digital Color.

In the Season Two episode entitled, "Alienated," there is a brief scene where JLA public liaison Catherine Cobert is shown performing one of her duties, conducting a tour of the Hall of Justice. Just as Kid Flash has a penchant for collecting mission souvenirs, so has the Justice League. Among the Hall trophies are several curious objects, remnants of the Appellaxians, an alien race whose invasion years ago is credited for the actual installation of the Justice League. The Appellaxians were thwarted, and all that remains of them are four inert husks, intimidating even in their dead state. They are: The GOLD ROC, The WOOD KING, The STONE GOD, and The CRYSTAL CREATURE.

THE DESIGN PROCESS

This assignment was a major headache for me, due to miscommunication, and my own unfamiliarity with the history of these characters. Adding to the difficulty was the instruction to drastically deviate from the established designs, and explore an even weirder direction.

I elected to borrow from Treebeard The Ent, of "The Lord of the Rings," as he appears in Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated feature, and in Peter Jackson's epic film trilogy. But instead of giving him a face, I arrayed the branches of The Wood King's head in a way as to resemble a crown.

I gave The Crystal Creature lots of spikes and hard edges to introduce a bit of menace. Originally, I wanted to use a red color scheme, for ruby, since red reads as a more aggressive hue. But in the end, it was decided to go with an icy blue.

For the others, I experimented with fun shapes, deliberately avoiding anything that looked too human. With The Stone God's design, I drew inspiration from the work of the great Hayao Miyazaki. I made it a point to keep the shapes assymetrical. Once I arranged the rocks in the proper configuration, I added some moss, which helped to enhance the figure's scale, and to suggest a passage of time.

With The Gold Roc, I chose shapes that suggested modern art. Gold is a very malleable element, and so I thought it best to include lots of bending curves, and rounded edges. I discovered that a roc is an enormous mythological bird (Thanks, Greg!), and so the large outer shapes were deigned to resemble wings. To link them all, I created an alien rune which appears carved into the heart of each Appellaxian husk.

Whew! As I said, this was a tough one! Haha! But it was still fun.
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