Portrait of a Hero

Back in late September I won a Hero Biography contest with one of my City of Heroes characters, Cardelion. Today, I received Cardelion’s portrait from the contest sponsor/artist, Curt Allen (AKA Uziel.21).

I’m really pleased with how Curt has portrayed Maxwell Barstow (AKA Cardelion). Based on how the character was created in City of Heroes, I was expecting to see Cardelion in full gladiator regalia. Curt surprised me by posing Max, helmet in hand, looking as though the weight of the world rests upon his shoulders. “I had to take his helmet off,” Curt wrote in his e-mail to me. “All you wrote about him demanded that I reveal his face: strong, pensive, and giving away the fact that Max gets very little sleep.”

Curt also decided to tone down Cardelion’s physical size. In the game, Cardelion is a hulking brute, seven feet tall and extremely broad-shouldered. To get an idea of what I mean, have a look at this lineup featuring several of my heroes. Curt slimmed him down quite a bit, leaving him formidable (“[he] has Shaq’s shoulder-to-hip ratio”), but not “cartoony.” This actually works better for the Cardelion I write about versus the more exaggerated version that appears in the game (actually the Cardelion I write about is a more subdued version of what’s in the game, but you get the idea).

The scaled down image above doesn’t really do Curt’s work justice, but it is essentially a thumbnail. Click on it for a larger (but still low-resolution) version. The real treat is the high-resolution version, which is 1574 x 2475 pixels. The detail in the armor really comes out in that version, as does the emotion in Max’s face, both of which can be seen in the image below.

As I said before, I’m really pleased with how the portrait turned out. I wasn’t expecting anything with such a strong sense of personality, and I was wondering how Curt would manage to reveal the man behind the gladiator’s helmet; he did it by taking the helmet off and showing me the face I’d never seen.

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