Digitized live-action graphics defined Mortal Kombat in its seminal incarnation, but many of the series' most iconic characters began life as design sketches by franchise co-creator John Tobias!
This weekend Tobias will discuss klassic digitized characters at San Diego Comic-Con [full story], but the talented artist also recently shared a mix of MK drawings from more recent eras! These include character sketches of Reptile and Liu Kang, as well as uncolored pencils from the official Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe comic book!
The prodigal son made his much publicized return to Mortal Kombat in 2008, drawing the heroes and villains of colliding worlds for the Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe Kollector's Edition. The comic book ended a nine year hiatus from his co-creation, which Tobias and Boon discussed in a promotional featurette.
The images shared via Twitter (@therealsaibot) show uncolored interior pencils of Superman slugging Sub-Zero in the Fortress of Solitude, and Shang Tsung standing amongst the Tarkatan hordes of Outworld. On the finished page, Tsung and his minions are facing off with Wonder Woman and an army of Amazon Warriors.
A character sketch of Liu Kang drawn "a few years ago" was also shared to Instagram (@therealsaibotoo), showing the Shaolin warrior monk in his belted MKvsDC design. Speaking to his creation's origins, Tobias adds, "we should all take a hero’s journey".
The comic, with writing credit to John Vogel, elaborated on the story of Dark Kahn: a living fusion of Shao Kahn and Darkseid, whose worlds began to overlap. Though brief in pages, it also featured cameos by Goro, Johnny Cage, Aquaman, and Robin, explaining their absence from the game through cosmic disappearance.
A sketch of Reptile as he appeared in Mortal Kombat 4 rounds out the black and white offerings [below]. Though divisive among fans, the design is memorable for advancing Reptile beyond the green palette sawp of his prior, digitized appearances. It emphasized his true reptilian nature, with exposed scaly skin, and mouth of fangs.
The drawings are a wonderful peak inside John Tobias' portfolio, which occasionally expands to include new Mortal Kombat pieces. It's the perfect prelude to this weekend's Digitized! Comic-Con panel!
Enjoyed this trip down memory lane? Tell us all about it! Register to discuss MK4 in the 3D Kombat Klassics forum, or MKvsDC in the DC Universe Injustice forum! You can also submit your own artwork to the MK Online Fan Submission archive!