Saturday, October 12, 2013

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Phil Coulson's death in The Avengers was a beautifully-done, shocking moment, and cemented it as one of my favorite movies. It might seem a little cruel then that I drew a knife, since Phil was stabbed, but this is how I commemorate. This is how I contribute.
Others draw hilarious cartoons or amazing portraits, but I haven't drawn people since high school. My art classes skimmed topics, so we would learn just enough about a technique then be on something else in a flash. I once tried drawing my dad, who moved many times before I was done. Mandy Patinkin as The Hunchback was going well, but we started a new project the next week. The only portraits I ever finished were Jay Leno in large format and Marc Chagall for the cover of a report. I swear I made more art in my French class than in my actual art class, and mostly gave up on it after high school. Right around then, I stumbled into realizing I love knives and I've been doing it ever since.

The minute the credits rolled on The Avengers, I knew I wanted to design a knife, but I had no ideas until a few days ago, after putting it off for over a year. Coulson's resurrection for the marvelous Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had something to do with that. The first thing I wanted it to convey was that it was no nonsense, meaning more useful, less fantasy than I usually do. Well, it started that way, but then I thought of the fish scale pattern on the blade, so there is a bit of nonsense. Why fish scales? There was a great scene at the end of the second episode where Fury said no to any possibility of installing fish tanks on The Bus, which prompted Coulson to cancel the tank he had ordered. I found it hilarious and cute, as did others, so I had to reference it. Coulson always makes me smile. It's trademark Whedon and company: characters that are complete people with personality and insight sprinkled everywhere. 

But damn those scales were a bitch. I went through quite a few colors before going back to my first instinct. I thought a cool blue for Coulson's generally calm and in control demeanor would fit. There's an easy warmth and charm and certainly a fire in him, too ("Don't ever tell me there's no way!"), and he wants to save the world and died for his efforts already, so I'd like red for the next one. I used it for the background instead. Also, the layering of the scales was frustrating. They just did not want to cooperate. It sometimes took a minute just to get a single scale to overlap correctly. My app for some reason has precise number controls for everything except this function, which is just an arrowless slider.

Besides the pattern, the  black/grey color scheme was chosen to match the suits: the suits Coulson wears even on a  beach in Malta. The handle takes design cues from the Destroyer armor prototype BFG that Coulson shot Loki with in his last act...or so we thought. The EKG line is because Coulson lives, of course. And why "Coulson Lives"? I have to say it again? YES! Because Coulson lives, and to remember the Twitter hashtag that helped save this character. And the jagged area of the blade is for the way Clark Gregg and Joss Whedon left many fans' hearts when Coulson died. As for the name, I thought of Rise, Arise, Alive, Awake, Resurrection, Rebirth, et cetera, but nothing fit quite like Reassemble. They're not Avengers, but Coulson now has his own team of non-super powered people who will be just as important to the world as regular heroes always have been. And we don't yet know how Coulson survived. He may be a clone, or an LMD, or a cyborg, or something even more interesting/complicated/poignant, to all of which the name  applies.

At one point I was wondering about whether to have a choil or not, and I was generally stuck on how I wanted the edge to look. So I was going through Blade Magazine, January 2014 (yes, in October they send the January issue, while every other magazine would call that the November issue. I don't get it either.) I came across the "Agent." That caught my eye, of course, since I was making a knife to celebrate my favorite agent. It doesn't remind me of Coulson at all, except maybe for the black handle, but for those wanting to buy a real knife, I can send you in the right direction... Wait, no I can't. Jonathan McNees' site is down. Great. Well, while searching for that I came across this red menace beauty, the Bawidamann Skraeling. Unfortunately, it's been sold and the maker doesn't take custom orders for it. You can see other McNees knives here, though, and some are available.

S.H.I.E.L.D. logo property of Marvel.

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