Daniel Bryan's WWE Gear Art, As Designed by Jill Thompson

Posted by Grey Thursday, December 15, 2011

Noticed WWE's Daniel Bryan's new-found intensity on Smackdown? The wrestler affectionately known to fans as the American Dragon might have found his indie mojo back thanks to renowned comic book creator Jill Thompson.

In an intriguing and unprecedented marriage of two of the most thriving geek culture, namely comics scene and professional wrestling, Jill Thompson, well-known for her work on Scary Godmother series and the amazing Beasts of Burden, summoned her inner professional wrestler to conjure some pretty awesome gear designs for one of the most promising rising stars of today's wrestling scene, Daniel Bryan.

Perhaps better known to the indie wrestling scene as the American Dragon Bryan Danielson, Daniel Bryan's career prospect has recently picked up (after a disturbing long and tumultuous jobbing run), having won the SmackDown Money in the Bank to have the opportunity to cash out his title opportunity anytime, anywhere. Notably, the quality of his wrestling gear has also picked up tremendously. And it is only when the WWE Superstar shared the artist's design art for the jersey/T-shirt at his website that we learn of the awesome collaboration.

A sweet jersey and/or t-shirt. You can also see her cool artists notes and thoughts on the design!

Over at Newsarama, Lan Pitts interviewed Jill Thompson on the unprecedented connection between the wrestling world and the comics scene. Below are some of the excerpt from the article. Do head over to check out the entire interview.

Blog@: Who approached who on designing Bryan’s ring gear?

Jill Thompson: Bryan approached me. I would have never thought to do it if he hadn’t contacted me. I ‘armchair design’ some gear during shows, you know…you see someone who could use some pizazz or some color….everyone ‘s got black trunks because they are a tough guy…which gets a bit boring for me as a viewer… However I’ve never sought out anyone to ask them if I could redesign their gear.

Blog@: Bryan has a history of pretty simplistic attire, Jill what was your artistic approach to his designs?

JT: He asked me to design something cool, but to continue to use his colors of maroon and white. He said “Make me look like a superhero.” and, as far as superhero gear goes, I’m a fan of stuff that looks wearable. I like to make things that look fashionable and functional, based on real world clothing. So, I took my cue from Bryan’s name, “The American Dragon”. I thought to myself, what’s an American Dragon? A mythic powerful beast? Yeah, but taken to another more symbolic level? It’s a Hot Rod. A Muscle Car. Something that has great power and is uniquely American that the rest of the world still looks at and goes, “Aww Yeah! That is awesome!”

And Bryan has a classic American guy look. Like a Paul Newman. He’d look just fine sitting behind the wheel of a ’67 mustang or something. White t-shirt and jeans kinda timeless American style. I wanted to mix all of those elements up with a little bit of Evel Knieval thrown in for good measure. The first gear I designed for him was the boxer style hoodie jacket with the white stripes and flames. Just like the hood of a Mustang. The Dragon logo is an homage to the Mustang grill ornament and the lettering style is based on the Ford Mustang logo. I added hot rod style flames into it because I love how those things look and I thought it added another subtle Dragon-y element to it. I also design with the idea that these jackets (not the trunks or kick pads) could be worn outside the ring. I want Bryan to look at it as something he could wear as civilian clothing.

Yeah, I know it’s got his name on it…but it has to. I’ve also sent him a few tshirt designs based on his gear. I want fans to see his gear and think, “Damn, I want a jacket like that!” That first jacket, in my notes, I was suggesting a soft fabric, like a really light hoodie material, lined with a jersey knit t shirt type fabric with no cuffs on the sleeve. But the gear maker chose another material. Leather or something. Which looked cool as well…it’s odd. You picture something in your head, but you don’t really know if the type of fabric you see in your head exists. Or if the gear maker has access to a a huge variety of fabric. Not everyone lives in the Garment District of NYC. How do designers get textiles made? Thats what I need! Access to a textile factory! And all of the subsequent gear I’ve designed since then, I’ve based on that first concept as well, just tweaked it in different ways. I’m trying to keep his closet full of a wide variety of outfits!

And here are the design art for the recent attire Bryan is sporting on Smackdown.

Source: bryandanielson.net via Robot 6


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