Petty Dreadful Progress: Introducing Dudley Kourage
With today’s update of The Front: Petty Dreadful, we meet a “new” character. Dick Kourage’s brother, Dudley!
I put “new” in quotes because Dudley is actually one of my oldest characters. It’s only now that I’ve found a story where it made sense to introduce him. And he’s changed quite a bit from when I first came up with the guy way back in 1991. Back then, before I came up with protagonist Thirsty Doyle, it was Dudley who was meant to be my teen hero starring in all of the adventures of The Front!
Here’s a 1991 sketchbook entry featuring the team of teen heroes led by Dudley (that’s Gibson VanBuren in the yellow cap):
That’s Dudley on the receiving end of a choke. Every team needed an angsty guy, and this fella always gave Dudley a hard time for being so positive.
I’ve mentioned on the various podcasts that I appear on how the situation and characters of The Front share their origins in some Heroes Unlimited campaigns I led back in the early 90s. Dick Kourage was a NPC (Non-Player Character) I used during one of the sessions. A smarmy and ruthless mercenary who got in the way of players with his crazy space guns and hoverboard (what). It was later revealed during this campaign that Dick’s father ran the agency (MNSA) that hired the good guys, and there were others in the Kourage family that worked within the organization. So Dick was always the black sheep with a chip on his shoulder in regard to the Kourage legacy. He especially had a problem with his little brother Dudley.
The dynamic was built on Dick being the bullying older brother, with Dudley facing the responsibilities of leadership before he feels that he’s ready. As I worked on the updated graphic novel that became The Front: Rebirth, I found myself sympathizing more and more with Dick, so when it came time to redesign Dudley for the new comic, I had to rethink the original concept quite a bit. In the end I decided to reverse the dynamic. Now Dudley is the tougher older brother who stayed on the side of right, while “bad-guy” Dick is the one we’re meant to side with (at least I do).
Some pages from an unfinished comic featuring Dudley (created way back in 1994):
Yup, that’s Don Kourage and Rosemary on page 2. The designs have changed quite a bit since then.
As for Dudley, the only surviving design element was the jet pack, and the laser gun hidden in his forearm. I guess the helmet remained, sort of. Originally Dudley and Dick were to share similar looks, but ever since I re-designed Dick for the current incarnation of the comic, I knew I’d have to do the same for Dudley. The final design I landed on was somewhere in between Super Dave and Sgt Slaughter.
For you trivia nuts, Dudley did appear in The Front: Rebirth, during Rex’s flashback to the fight with the Megalith!