The internet is a wondrous place, a continuous carousel of creative content. I love how much awesome stuff is just sat there for my eyeballs to bask in on a daily basis, and it’s fantastic how much easier it is for great artists to get exposure. That said, the internet is a big place, a veritable viral ocean, and as such, sometimes, while there are excellent pieces of art, etc., out there, the artists themselves are not always properly credited. I am making it my mission to try and put some names to their content, one incredible creative at a time. Today I’d like to draw your attention to Paul “Mighty Otaking” Johnson
Johnson is most “known” for his Star Wars: TIE Fighter animated short. If you somehow haven’t seen the video, please go and watch it. Created and directed by Johnson alone, with the exception of the music, it gives a great insight into just how awesome a Star Wars anime could be. The art style is reminiscent of the 1980s (he cites Venus Wars as one inspiration, as well as the likes of Macross and the 1986 Transformers movie). It’s nothing short of gorgeous, and at just over seven minutes in length, brings forth so much excitement, invokes so much of what is awesome about both Star Wars and anime (probably my two biggest passions), that it’s hard to believe that this was all conceived and created by just one man, albeit over 4 years. Since the full short was posted on YouTube in March 2015, it has garnered over 5 million views.
Back in 2011, Johnson had turned his hand to another wildly popular Sci-fi series, British staple Dr. Who. This short sees the Third Doctor taking on some of his most fearsome and well known foes, including the unstoppable Cybermen, and the dreaded Daleks. Again taking 4 years to craft, this 12 minute jaunt had to be taken down, following Johnson’s hiring by the BBC to work on restoring lost 1960s Dr. Who episodes. While he pleaded for them to be left alone, the BBC eventually got their way, although not before the video had been mirrored across the web and as such the short lives on to this day.
In an interview with Good Geekery Podcast in May last year, Johnson confirmed that he is working on another short, which is planned to be “something like Generation Kill with mechs” and will “actually have to have a really tight script” and be more story focused. I, for one, can’t wait to see this, though given his track record I’m guessing we get this one in 2019, if not later.
On his YouTube channel, you can find other short videos he’s done, but as well as animation, Johnson does some wicked still pieces. His DeviantArt gallery is brimming with beautiful works any Otaku (or me, at least) would be happy to put up on their walls. I mean, the above picture is a little scary, but it’s good, right?
Johnson himself hails from Sheffield, UK and currently works for Planet 55, an Australian animation studio. To be honest, I couldn’t find much else on the man, just a normal guy with extraordinary talents. A perfect candidate for Spotlight. While looking into him for this article, despite the fact that his TIE Fighter video has an insane amount of views, I was shocked to find that @Otaking77077 himself only has 679 Twitter followers, well, 680 now. If you have any interest in what he does I’d greatly suggest following him too. He posts pieces on there from time to time and it seems to be the best place to get updates on his upcoming projects.
That’s all for this edition of Spotlight On. Catch you next time