Before “Before Watchmen”

The image I’m posting this time is not a new one (it’s already over in the Galleries side of my site), but I’ve had some friends make the case that with DC Comics doing all their “Before Watchmen” books right now, it’s a good time to call attention to it anew here on the front page.

There’s a story behind this piece. A friend of mine in the animation field, Lance Falk, has these sketchbooks he passes around. They have art by some amazing artists. Chances are if you can think of some big name artist, Lance very likely has art by him or her in one of his books. Way back when we were working on “The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest” together, Lance asked if I’d be willing to do a sketch for his then-current book. It’s both hugely flattering and daunting, once you see the level of work others have done.

Lance suggested he might like to see the Watchmen done as if Kirby had drawn them. I wound up making a whole cover production out of it, as if it were done in the mid-’60s. Lance was very happy with the end result, and I was hugely relieved that it was well-received.

Fast forward some months later (maybe even a year), and I find out that this sketchbook had been circulating further. It had crossed original Watchmen artist and co-creator Dave Gibbons’ path in London. When I first heard he’d seen the book with my drawing in it, I must admit I was taken aback. But Lance assured me that Mr. Gibbons actually got a big kick out of what I’d done. Once again, I was hugely relieved.

Fast forward to more recent times, and the publication of Mr. Gibbons’ book, Watching the Watchmen, which compiled all kinds of background material on that pivotal work. He apparently liked this Kirby Watchmen cover well enough, he asked me if I’d mind his including it in the book. What do you think I said? 🙂

Thanks much, Lance and Mr. Gibbons!

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2 Responses to Before “Before Watchmen”

  1. Definitely one of the best drawings I ever got in a book.

    • Mark says:

      Thanks! I think you were only the second person to ask me to draw something in their sketchbook since I started working in animation. This was the first though where it was finished in color.
      Like I mentioned above, the prospect of doing a drawing in your book was quite intimidating, looking at the caliber of some of the other artists already in there. It’s really quite an amazing body of work. It almost seems like just calling it a “sketchbook” doesn’t really do it justice.

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