Sunday, June 28, 2015

Dusty Rhodes: A tribute in ink

Sketchbook Chronicles No. 4: "The American Dream," Dusty Rhodes (real name: Virgil Riley Runnels Jr.) wasn't just a professional wrestler and a character on television; he was a guy you and I, at home, knew personally without ever meeting him. He fought for the regular guy, the blue-collar cat (like my own dad, who has driven a semi-truck to this day since 1979), the anonymous and the downtrodden. Rhodes (of course, via kayfabe) faced elitists like archenemy Ric Flair and his Four Horsemen and he was such a great fit in which to do so. Rhodes wasn't the body beautiful but, at the same time, didn't run around in suits or drove flashy cars (at least in the story) and that appealed to kids like me, who had far more faith in our dads than those who cared not what something cost as long as they had the money to buy it.

On June 11, 2015, Dusty Rhodes passed away. The Dream came to a close and we all woke up without this quirky, soulful legend in our lives. Dusty was a symbol of a long-gone era, when professional wrestling wasn't as contrived and showy as it is now. Maybe part of this has to do with kayfabe no longer existing (due to the advent of the internet) but the least writers and creative teams can do is try a little harder to match the level of drama and wonder those 1970s, 1980s and early-1990s icons - like Dusty Rhodes - freely gave us in studios and pay-per-view events that were so much more worth buying.

I realize I'm a little late to the tribute party but I'm as busy a man as they come (something Dusty would have appreciated) and the first sketch I attempted simply wasn't good enough to share. It had to be just right. So here is my ink sketch of Dusty in my bold, cartoony style (another thing Dusty would have likely appreciated) finished in Micron pen and Faber-Castell brush pen.

Rest in peace, Big Dust. And thank you for all of your hard work.

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