Tuesday, January 18, 2011

His Name Was Zuckuss

For our first challenge, it seemed fitting to go back to that great childhood inspiration, Star Wars. Most of my early playing years were spent with the Kenner Action Figure line and I thought I pick out one of my personal favorites, Zuckuss.

By Zuckuss, I mean the droid fellow from the Kenner line. These days they have renamed him 4-LOM following the standard droid naming schemes. I originally knew him as Zuckuss and he will be so forever in my mind. If we are going to follow every little update/change in the Star Wars universe, we'd have to go along with the force being caused by some microscopic parasite.

Zuckuss may seem to be a strange choice considering he's in the lower half on the coolness scale for bounty hunters. (Official order: Boba Fett, IG-88, Bossk, Zuckuss, 4-LOM, everybody else, Dengar) The reason being goes back to my 7th birthday. I was having kind of a bummer of a day. Birthday's weren't really a big deal in my family. We never had those big pig parties with tons of neighborhood kids and a clown. The average event consisted of the birthday child getting to pick what they wanted for dinner and what kind of cake they would like for dessert. I had numerous siblings who were all much older and living elsewhere, so those gathered consisted of my folks, one sister and me.

So the day of I was sitting in the living room drawing and feeling kind of blue, when my eldest brother pops in for a visit. This brother also happened to be my godfather and much to my excitement he happened to bring me presents. He casually handed me a shopping bag (K-mart if memory serves) and inside was Zuckuss and a Mini-Rig. An action figure and a vehicle?!?! Well this totally turned the day around.

Back in the day we didn't have a lot of information on the characters. The Expanded Universe for better or worse didn't exist yet. All I knew about him was that he was a bounty hunger, had a body like C3PO and came with a big gun. The biggest gun to date in the toy line. If droids were cool an evil droid with a big gun was the coolest. He was immediately put in charge of my stormtroopers and set about causing mayhem for Luke and Han.

Of course I didn't just play Star Wars with my figures and his design let well for cross play. I would do pretend fantasy stuff where Zuckuss would be the Black Knight or superhero adventures where he was a stand in for Brainiac or other evil robots. All this cemented his place as one my favorite toys. During my older collector years I've picked a few more versions of the character, but the original Kenner figure will always be my favorite.

So there we have it. The first challenge posted, soon to be followed hopefully some art. I know this will be a difficult character for me at least because I am better with organic type characters, but as I mentioned the point is to become a better artist.

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