Tag Archives: comics in the 80s

My earliest superhero drawings!

Buy or Die drawing by Rachel Ketchum aka Suzanne Forbes fall 1985Just a bunch of drawings from around 1985 to 1992, when I was working to become a comic book artist!

Wolverine and Kitty, with Letratype, for a flyer for my friends Chris and Gary’s comic book store in the meatpacking district. Late 1985 or early 1986.

Koriandr by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum Sketchbook 1985 Kory editKoriandr, Dec. 27 1985.

This was the first comic drawing I did that I felt was successful.

Namor and Marrina by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum probably 1987The Sub-Mariner and Marrina!

With an attempt at color. Around 1986 or 1987.

Cloak and Dagger by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum probably 1985Cloak and Dagger, around 1985.

Another pin-up that I felt good about, early on.

Betsy and Ororo by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum probably 1986Ororo and Betsy, pre-problematic transformation.

I loved Betsy’s original costume. Around 1986.

Jean and Rachel by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum probably 1985Jean and Rachel, circa 1985.

The text says, “Every mutie has a mother who loves her”.

Roy Harper aka Speedy by Suzanne Forbes maybe 1992My boy Roy Harper, from 1992.

 Not long before I actually broke into comics. I loved Roy as a character so much. 

Roy Harper aka Speedy by Suzanne Forbes maybe 1992

Imagine, a boy superhero who’d been a junkie on the street, like me!

Comics were wild in the ’70s.Vampirella by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Forbes probably 1998

Vampi, 1998.

After I’d left comics and moved to California, there was a very brief period when I considered going back into the industry, and I think I applied to whoever had the Warren properties at that point. I actually would have loved to draw Vampi, but even then I knew I didn’t really want to draw comics anymore.

Honestly, all I’ve ever wanted to draw is people. 

I finally figured that out in the Oughts, and I’ve been full of purpose and certainty ever since. But even though working in comics wound up being really complicated and mostly messed up for me, I’m always grateful for the joy superhero comics gave me, in the ’80s.

Most of these drawings had never been photographed; until now, no record of them existed – if we had a fire or flood they would just be gone forever.

I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to take time to document my art archives.



More custom gay mutant action figures for Pride: Douglock!

Custom-Doug-Ramsey-Cypher-action-figure-by-Suzanne-Forbes-June-2019From the beginning it was clear that teen mutant Doug Ramsey and Warlock, a techno-organic being who was identified as “he” upon arrival on Earth, were in love.

Art from New Mutants #21 by Bill Sienkiewicz and Glynis Wein, one of the most charming scenes from a charmed run.

You don’t call just anybody your “selfsoulfriend”. Doug Ramsey, aka Cypher, was the local computer nerd – until he met an alien teen robot who lived on lifeglow and they were suddenly thisclose and loving it.

One of the most wonderful things about the X-Men and New Mutants for me as a queer kinky teen in the 80s was how casually gay and freaky everybody was.

Custom Doug Ramsey Cypher action figure in X Men dollhouse by Suzanne Forbes June 2019Sure, it’s totally ok to be in a deep psychically linked relationship with your (assigned as) same-sex team-mate, even if they’re sort of a robot and from outer space! Or a werewolf!

It’s all good, and safe, inside the X-Mansion.

Custom Doug Ramsey Cypher action figure by Suzanne Forbes June 2019The safe harbor that those 80s stories represented for queer teens reverberates forward through time, to the young people who continue to discover them.

I myself was extraordinarily blessed to live with a mother whose radical acceptance of me and my freaky friends created an IRL safe harbor.

I was blessed enough, in the 80s, to have a mom who would take me and my girlfriend to brunch.

But most queer teens didn’t have that in the 80s, and so many still don’t have it today.

Especially for trans kids, Warlock’s total control of his physical form is an exhilarating notion. His gender was clearly only assigned as male because of the limited thinking of the era; to today’s non-binary kids it’s obvious ‘Lock is a they. In the age of tumblr (RIP) and AO3, Doug and Warlock as lovers are an arena of profoundly creative and experimental sexual ideation.

I wanted to honor those young people who love these characters by the way Doug and ‘Lock are represented in my X-Men dollhouse. And also gently acknowledge what a funny, square little geek Doug was in the ’80s. He had a wholesome quality that really flared against the teleological darkness of characters like Illyana. And his hair was SO 80s!

Spidey in civvies action figure custom by Jacobs Toys

I had been saving a variety of boy heads for Doug as long as I’d been saving the heads for Rahne, Dani and Sam – nearly twenty years. Trying to find a really young-looking teen face.

But then just recently I saw a custom by Jacob’s Toys on Instagram that totally inspired me.

He’d used a Tom Holland Spider-Man head and a Lex Luthor body to create a Peter Parker in civilian clothes.

The recipe, as action figure customizers call it, was perfect for my version of Doug. (‘Lock, a Build-A-Figure released last year, was already perfect).

Doug should be in civvies, of course – his uselessness in the field was legend. I don’t know why they ever gave him a uniform!

And Tom Holland’s face has exactly, exactly the boyish handsomeness of Michael J. Fox and Matthew Broderick in the 80s. He sells the wide-eyed mischief and wonder of a teen with super-powers in the most incredible way. (I loved Homecoming! Gonna go see the next one next week!)

Painting New Mutants action figure customs in progress by Suzanne Forbes March 2019So I sculpted Doug’s swoopy flipped hair and popped polo shirt collar out of my preferred brand of epoxy clay, Aves’ Apoxie Sculpt, painted his hair, brows, and shirt, and called it a day!

Well, actually I also filled in the peg-holes on the bottom of his shoes and gave them sneaker texture, also with Apoxie Sculpt, because he’d be sitting crosslegged and I am slightly a perfectionist 🙂 And I also covered hair and shirt with Matte Mod Podge and then sprayed them with Matte Acrylic Sealer, as I learned on this excellent customizing site, to protect the paint.

I hope this sweet pair of lovebirds pleases the folx who love Doug and Warlock, and love their queer, trans, geek-robot love.