What? These weren’t the guys you were expecting? 🙂
Apparently back in the mid/late-’60s, someone at Dell Comics thought it would be a good idea to take some of the classic monsters and re-imagine them as superheroes. There had been a sort of resurgence of interest in the old Universal Monsters, due to their exposure to a new generation on TV. You couple that with a burst of interest around that time in superheroes from a pop/camp perspective (thanks to the Batman TV show), and you can see the reasoning.
I’ve never actually come across one of these books to be able check them out for myself. My awareness of them is very limited, gleaned only from their occasional mentions in places like Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego magazine, or on various blogs or comics sites.
Then why am I drawing these characters? I guess there’s a fun sense of wonkiness to the whole thing that kind of appeals to me. Sort of like watching Plan 9 from Outer Space. I thought it would be a kick to just take a crack at these guys and see what it might wind up looking like.
Perhaps some of you reading this might be familiar with the Covered Blog. If not, it’s a site where artists are challenged to take an existing, published comic book cover and reinterpret it. The results can be interesting, and I thought it might be fun to take a shot at doing one.
I chose to rework the cover of Dell Comics’ Dick Tracy Monthly #13, cover-dated January 1949 (If you’re curious to compare, you can view the original side-by-side with mine over on Covered here). But I didn’t do it in one of my usual styles. Instead, I realized that Chester Gould’s style on Dick Tracy was pretty 2D and graphic to begin with, and that it might be fun to push it just a little further into looking something like a Flash animation style.
I worked on a Flash-animated direct-to-video feature, Hydee and the Hy Tops, and enjoyed it very much. The look of Flash is fun, and I would welcome the opportunity to work on another project in that vein. I have a lot of respect for artists like Craig McCracken and Lauren Faust who do that kind of work very well. So it seemed like this would be a good opportunity to stretch some artistic muscles and try something new.
The BG portion of this cover was done using Photoshop, but the rest of it was done in Adobe Illustrator. If you’ve visited my site before, you know I’ve used Illustrator for a number of different projects. But this project required carrying out the final image in a different way from how I’d done before.
As far as why I chose to reinterpret a Dick Tracy cover in the first place, I think it might be because I’ve been following the regular Dick Tracy strip these last several months, so Tracy was in the back of my mind. The strip’s been rejuvenated by Joe Staton and Mike Curtis, and I’ve been having a blast following it. If you get the chance, give it a look!