Bern Sundstedt, 53, the mild-mannered, bespectacled director of alumni and development at Rockford College in Rockford, Ill., had a choice to make about Master Gouken, the character he was about to portray in a voice-over role.

Bern Sundstedt, 53, the mild-mannered, bespectacled director of alumni and development at Rockford College in Rockford, Ill., had a choice to make about Master Gouken, the character he was about to portray in a voice-over role.

He didn’t think he could make Gouken sound like the superhuman character looks, especially considering he’d have to maintain that voice for a 2 1/2-hour recording session for an animated comic-book episode. Gouken is a gargantuan-bicepped character from “Street Fighter” who was taught a killing art by its founder but came to abhor the violence.

So, Sundstedt chose to go with Gouken’s more spiritual side in the making of an episode of the “Street Fighter” motion-comic DVD, which is a partly animated version of the comic book with voiced characters. The comic book and DVDs are based on the “Street Fighter” video games.

Sundstedt created Gouken’s voice to be “more an interior reflection of his thoughts and passive wisdom than ... an outward manifestation of his actions and behavior.”

The “Street Fighter Round One — FIGHT!” episode is part of a series in the “Street Fighter” DVDs. It will be broadcast Monday on the SyFy Channel.

Sundstedt also performed a voice-over in another motion comic DVD series based on Voltron comics. In “Voltron: Defender of the Universe — Revelations,” Sundstedt is the voice of Coran, protector of the princess. That episode will air right after the “Street Fighter” one Monday.

Sundstedt also has laid down tracks for another “Street Fighter” episode, in which Gouken makes a reprise appearance in flashbacks. It was the first time he has had to recreate a character some six months later.

“I listened to a few previously recorded lines and read some copy out loud to set levels and get comfortable,” he said. “It wasn’t too difficult to find the same sound. It really is less about recreating a voice as it is recreating the character.”

On the whole, the nature of his work for these comic-book/DVD projects is a “little melodramatic, a little over the top,” Sundstedt said.

Sundstedt said he doesn’t read comic books now. “When I was a kid, I used to read Archie comic books. I had a crush on Veronica.”

Other voice-over work he’s done was as primary narrator for “Wrath of the Titans #1 and #2.” It is the DVD version of a comic book series featuring Greek mythology and the struggles of Perseus and Hercules and based on the film “Clash of the Titans.” It has yet to be released.

Sundstedt said it wasn’t his throat that bothered him after narrating on “Wrath” in a Rockford studio. It was his feet. “They were killing me,” he said.

Why? To maintain an open voice unimpaired by tension in the chest and throat, he sometimes transfers emotive energy to his feet and legs. This is especially important in such an artificial setting as a studio, where he stands in one place to record.

“Working with only the voice, I find myself rocking forward and back on the balls of my feet, especially in very expressive passages,” Sundstedt said.

He has performed in other roles as well. In 1981, he played a citizen in “Othello” on stage and toured the country. In 1982, he was on the TV soap opera “Ryan’s Hope.” He had less than five lines. And in the 1990s, he did voice-overs for a Rockford furniture store and was the voice of an automated voice-messaging service for employees of McGladrey & Pullen seeking to manage their retirement investments.

Sundstedt said he prides himself in articulating and speaking well, something that is becoming a lost art today, he said. “People don’t pay that much attention to how they speak. Kids have a hard time putting their lips together. People uptalk.”

Georgette Braun writes for the Rockford Register Star. Her only comic-book connection is working at the Register Star with copy editor and DVD columnist Will Pfeifer, who has written issues of  Catwoman, Aquaman, Swamp Thing, Amazons Attack and H.E.R.O.

On the Web

In “Street Fighter,” martial artists, boxers, wrestlers and other fighters perform superhuman acts in a tournament run by a criminal organization. In “Round One — FIGHT!,” Ryu and Ken investigate the murder of their martial arts master.

In “Voltron: Defender of the Universe — Revelations,” five misfit explorers are sent to the Planet Arus to find Voltron, a legendary mechanical warrior split into five robot lions by an ancient curse. They find themselves under attack.

For more information: eagleonemedia.com/animated_comic_dvd.php

To see a clip of “Round One — FIGHT,” go to youtube.com/watch?v=_xDamwlii5E

Motion-comic DVDs

So, how did Bern Sundstedt get to be the voice of Master Gouken in the “Street Fighter” motion-comic DVDs?

Sundstedt, who has worked at Rockford College for 15 years mostly in fundraising-type roles, got to know David Rodriguez while he was a student at the college.

Rodriguez is casting and voice director for all the Eagle One Media motion-comic DVDs, including “Street Fighter,” “Voltron,” “Terminator” and “Micronauts.”

Rodriguez graduated in 1999 as a theater major from Rockford College. He worked at High Voltage Software, a video game developer, with half a dozen staffers from the Rockford area for eight years. He moved from Rockford a year ago to take a full-time job with Activision, another video game developer.