the many faces and one eye of alien bill

Alien Bill is my signature character and mascot for my vanity company.

Although at his heart he is a simple sketch, over the years I've fleshed him out a bit, and will sometimes comission an artist to see what they can do with him.

Earliest extent Alien Bill, from a note I apparently later recopied before delivering, circa 1990 or so:


I imagined him as the prototype for a character in a video game:


From a notebook of doodles circa 1992:


In the mid-90s I made an animation of him running, that I think is still a bit nifty:


Years later I reused that design as a business card:


In the sand in 2006:


In virtual paint, also in 2006:


Also in 2008, I tried to be him for halloween:


In 2009 I decided to prove my capacity to make big decisions by getting a tattoo (from the earliest known example)


A pretty typical Alien Bill I made up for some stickers in 2010:


In 2011 I made an interactive animation of him running:


Also in 2011 I made took a superhero comic challenge and Alien Bill was the "alien hero" member of my team, 2 examples of him in comic action:




In 2012, I made a "finishing stamp" (inspired by ze frank's work on them.)


versions by others

In 2008 SpindleyQ put this on my facebook wall (it's a Shepard Fairey reference)


In 2010 I comissioned James Harvey to see what he could with the basic concept. I love his "eyeball striding o'er the land" so much, and have used it for my main site, for business cards, and as a custom iPhone case:


In 2011 Madam Luna announced she was taking commissions, so gave her a shot... I like the Disney/Osamu Tezuka vibe.


In 2013 I crowdsourced an Alien Bill Logo design, as an experiment, and because I wanted something that would look good on an app. This was audentia's winning result:


Later in 2013 I had Harvey James do another Alien Bill as a sweetener for a book collaboration we are doing, again I like wht he did with the guy... less iconic, but "Alien Bill Running" has kind of been done to death anyway...


Inspire by this very page and Giant-themed Anime, Madam Luna was inspired to ask for another commission:


history, influences, and derivatives

I started using Alien Bill has a signature character in high school. Sometimes he would replace me actually signing my initial, other times he would hold a sign with commentary, ala Wile E. Coyote.

Before Alien Bill, in a singnature "commentary via handheld sign role" was the trying-too-hard clown, Zinger:


When I think about the most likely sources of inspiration, the lesser-known (but owned by me) Steve Jackson game The Awful Green Things from Outer Space comes to mind:


Along the same lines, and same level of obscurity, was a kind of keen video game called "Lunar Leeper"-- it wasn't a terribly deep game, but I like how these guys would bop around and then suddenly leap to grab the player's craft:


Of course, it has been pointed out that there may have been a shade of Ralph Waldo Emerson's transparent eye-ball... I remember seeing this parody or homage of it in high school, but it may have been after i started drawing Alien Bill.


Finally, the main guy I will probably always be thought of as ripping off is Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc, though he postdates Alien Bill by at least 5-10 years.
Interesting, all the influences of Alien Bill lacked arms... and while the current Mike Wazowski takes it the other direction by adding a mouth (and horns and claws) "In an early animation test, Mike was considered to have no arms and would have picked things up with his feet." (source)