Behind the Badge

Fake Comic Cover Red Hot Comics #14, with Big Bang Comics' the Badge and His RookiesLong­time vis­i­tors to my site might know that back in the ’90s, I was a con­trib­u­tor to Gary Carl­son and Chris Eck­er’s Big Bang Comics. The first issue had­n’t quite come out through Cal­iber yet when I came onboard, I  think, but some mate­r­i­al was already done.

When I met him, Gary was look­ing for some­one to draw a Simon & Kir­by type Gold­en Age char­ac­ter he had in mind called the Badge, and he’d been point­ed my way. I got to have a pret­ty good hand in devel­op­ing the char­ac­ter, his look and that of side­kicks Troop­er and Bob­bie, even mak­ing some sug­ges­tions about the char­ac­ters’ back sto­ries. So I have to admit to feel­ing a bit of pro­pri­etary inter­est in the Badge.

We even­tu­al­ly did a cou­ple issues of Big Bang sub­ti­tled “The Big Bang His­to­ry of Comics,” in imi­ta­tion of the Ster­anko His­to­ry of Comics vol­umes (not real­ly par­o­dy except in the most lov­ing and respect­ful way, because we all had a lot of affec­tion for those books, as they were a gate­way into a life­long inter­est in comics his­to­ry for many of us).

The His­to­ry issues end­ed up being Big Bang Comics #24 and #27. If you’ve seen the Ster­anko books, imi­tat­ing those meant we need­ed a whole bunch of fake cov­ers! So I and a num­ber of oth­er artists set about to gen­er­ate them. I recent­ly made a list, and was shocked to see just how many I did, while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly hold­ing down my day job in animation!

Any­way, to what you’re see­ing here: this was one of the ear­li­est fake cov­ers I gen­er­at­ed for Big Bang. If my mem­o­ry’s right, I think it might even have appeared as far back as the Cal­iber minis­eries. I recall it appear­ing in col­or, but small, like part of a back cov­er ad. Recent­ly, I thought it would be fun to go back and revis­it a num­ber of those old fake cov­ers I did, and give them the full col­or treat­ment they always called out for. Most have nev­er been seen in col­or at all!

The char­ac­ters along the left side were ones I just made up on the spot, but most of them end­ed up appear­ing in Big Bang sto­ries at one point or anoth­er. I sort of thought of Big Bang as “comics his­to­ry through a fun­house mir­ror,” and to that end when I was draw­ing up this cov­er, I just made up char­ac­ters that felt like they were play­ing with some of those famil­iar old Gold­en Age arche­types, but hope­ful­ly also feel­ing like you had­n’t entire­ly seen them before.

Pen­cils, let­ter­ing (and now col­or­ing) are mine; inks were by Jeff Mey­er (I believe), who inked sev­er­al of my fake cov­ers for the His­to­ry issues, and did a nice job of giv­ing them the cor­rect fin­ished look and feel. You can check out anoth­er of our fake cov­er col­lab­o­ra­tions here.

I still have oth­er cov­ers in the pipeline that I might post too, but I had­n’t put any­thing up here in awhile, and thought this might be fun. Hope you enjoy!

And thanks always, Gary, for let­ting me have a lot of fun on the Big Bang play­ground! Those inter­est­ed can check out more recent Big Bang issues over on Indy Plan­et.

3 thoughts on “Behind the Badge

  1. Joe musich

    Joy­ous. Sim­ply uplift­ing. I cer­tain­ly wish that this style of art would enjoy a resur­gence. Bright col­ors, lots of curves and the hid­den wink­ing eye of the char­ac­ters. Did you also come up with the par­tic­u­lar title? And the faux sig­na­ture. Remark­able stuff. What fun it must be to do this “work!” And what more can be said about the char­ac­ter Robo-Hood? Your tools of the trade are being put to excel­lent use. Thanks Mark.

    1. Mark Post author

      Thanks; glad you approve!
      I delib­er­ate­ly tried to stick to the sort of col­or palette seen on those old com­ic cov­ers. Even apart from that, I feel like 99% of col­or­ing comics should just be about pick­ing the right flat col­ors (but of course, the art still has to be geared to work that way, like most tra­di­tion­al com­ic art was). Yeah, I think I came up with “Red Hot.” It just sound­ed like a title they would’ve come up with back then (it’s a bit sur­pris­ing no one actu­al­ly did that!). Gary already had a few oth­er fake titles, like “Hi Octane,” so this fit in well along­side those.
      With the “comics his­to­ry through a fun­house mir­ror” aspect to Big Bang, I thought we need­ed our own fic­ti­tious Joe Simon and Jack Kir­by, hence the “Sim­mons and Kingler” sig­na­ture. Gary and Chris had already come up with “Tom King” in lieu of Bob Kane, so it seemed natural.

  2. Pingback: Behind the Badge Again |

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