February 23, 2020

Bionic Six - Concept Art by Alex Toth

Artwork provided of Steve Poon.

The title characters of the series are a family of machine-enhanced human beings possessing unique powers after being augmented with bionic technology. Each family member is given specific bionic powers, and thus they form a superhero team called the Bionic Six.

What most people don't know is that creator Robert Dranko (often credited as "Bob") began to develop the series in 1985. he eventually had Mike Vosburg to help with creating character designs and model sheets, but long before that, he initially enlisted the aid of legendary animation designer Alex Toth for some visual development as they were slowly getting the series off the ground. Bonus, here are pages from the original series bible from a 1985 Toon Magazine article.

Dranko was a master storyboard artist and art director himself, with decades of experience, having Alex on board no doubt helped to nail down the visual style for the series. Less than a year later, the show is in full production, with renowned Japanese animation director Osamu Dezaki as chief supervising director, and his distinctive style (as seen in Golgo 13 and Cobra) is evident throughout all its episodes. But Alex Toth was the very first artist to try his hand at some concept designs to get things off the ground early into pre-production, here are some of his sketches, you can even see some of Robert's revision notes on the pages.

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