Tag Archives: Fake Comic Cover

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!

With One Magic Word…

Final­ly I get to show off the last of those two items I teased back in Decem­ber. I gave a fur­ther peek at it here. It’s anoth­er cov­er done for FCA, which appears in the back of Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego mag­a­zine. This one was obvi­ous­ly done up to look like one of those issues of Secret Ori­gins that DC Comics pub­lished in the ear­ly ’70s. I loved those as a kid, because back then they were one of the rare venues where you had an oppor­tu­ni­ty to see any of that gold­en age com­ic material.

I’ve talked in pre­vi­ous posts about how much I liked the gold­en age Super­man and Bat­man. But with­out a doubt, my favorite gold­en age char­ac­ter would have to be Cap­tain Mar­vel. When DC brought him back from pub­lish­ing lim­bo in the ear­ly ’70s, I was already primed for it. I’d read about the “Big Red Cheese” in our local library’s copy of All in Col­or for a Dime, as well as in The Ster­anko His­to­ry of Comics. Some­thing about the visu­al and the idea of the char­ac­ter hooked me, even with­out ever hav­ing seen a sin­gle Cap­tain Mar­vel sto­ry yet.

Not to dis­miss the sto­ries, but a huge part of the appeal of those gold­en age Cap­tain Mar­vel comics for me is the art. As the char­ac­ter’s design­er and main artist, C.C. Beck set the tone there. Most gold­en age com­ic book artists doing super­heroes looked to the news­pa­per adven­ture strips for their inspi­ra­tion. They most­ly tend­ed to fall into one of two schools: it was either the illus­tra­tive real­ism of Fos­ter and Ray­mond, or the more impres­sion­is­tic approach of Sick­les and Can­iff. Instead, Beck looked to the “fun­ny” por­tion of the fun­ny pages for his inspi­ra­tion (like Jack Cole did with Plas­tic Man). The result was a strip that had a look and feel like no oth­er. And of course, the writ­ing played a role in mak­ing that pos­si­ble too.

While the high­er-ups at Faw­cett may have want­ed Bill Park­er and C.C. Beck to just give them a knock­off of Super­man, that was not what they got. They got some­thing bet­ter. Many read­ers back then must have thought so too; at the peak of the char­ac­ter’s pop­u­lar­i­ty, they were pub­lish­ing Cap­tain Mar­vel Adven­tures bi-week­ly and sell­ing 1.3 mil­lion copies of each issue!

I know some­times mod­ern fans have trou­ble with Mr. Tawky Tawny and some of the more whim­si­cal aspects of the strip, but for me, the clas­sic Cap­tain Mar­vel mate­r­i­al is inspi­ra­tional stuff. I wish I could tell you of a rel­a­tive­ly cheap and easy way to lay hands on that work if you haven’t seen it, but it seems hard­er to come by these days.

Doc (“Don’t Call Me ‘Doctor!‘”) Strange

Now that it’s fin­ished, I can show you one of the two items I teased back in Decem­ber. It’s a pin-up of the old Nedor Comics hero Doc Strange, as he might have appeared on the cov­er of an issue of Thrilling Comics in 1965, had Nedor still been pub­lish­ing at that point.

If you’re not famil­iar with the com­pa­ny, Nedor pub­lished (under sev­er­al names) dur­ing the gold­en age. They actu­al­ly had a fair­ly siz­able group of heroes, includ­ing Doc Strange. Nedor ceased pub­lish­ing comics at the end of the gold­en age. Since then, many peo­ple have tak­en a shot at doing some­thing with their old char­ac­ters. AC Comics has made use of them over the years, and so did Alan Moore and Peter Hogan more recent­ly in the Tom Strong spin­off minis­eries, Ter­ra Obscura.

Doc was a scientist/adventurer who invent­ed a serum he named Alo­sun, dis­tilled from “sun atoms.” This serum gave him super­hu­man strength, flight and invul­ner­a­bil­i­ty when he used it.

Enough of the his­to­ry les­son. So why did I do this pin-up/­cov­er? Easy; because I was asked. The one and only Will Meugniot is cur­rent­ly doing a new cre­ator-owned series (in the back of AC Comics’ Fem­Force) that picks up the threads of the Nedor books with the descen­dants of some of the char­ac­ters. It’s called “Agents of N.E.D.O.R.,” and is intend­ed as a peri­od piece tak­ing place in 1965. Will invit­ed sev­er­al artists to con­tribute pin-ups of the orig­i­nal Nedor char­ac­ters, and I was very flat­tered to be asked if I’d like to do so too.

As is typ­i­cal for me, instead of mak­ing things sim­ple on myself, I had to make a whole cov­er out of it. Since Will’s sto­ry takes place in 1965, I thought this should be a cov­er for Thrilling Comics (which starred Doc) also from ’65, as if Nedor had kept on pub­lish­ing all that time. I even did some math to work out the issue num­ber. How’s that for obsessive?

Doc Strange most often went on his adven­tures accom­pa­nied by his young side­kick Mike (who wore an iden­ti­cal out­fit, only with the addi­tion of a green cape for some rea­son). I thought it would be more fun though to show Doc with his girl­friend, Vir­ginia Thomp­son, as she would also some­times take part in his adven­tures. Of course, I updat­ed her look here for the times.

This will appear in b/w line art form in Fem­Force #159, since the book has b/w inte­ri­ors. But for my blog here, I want­ed to go full col­or. Because it’s how I saw this in my head from the start. I get asked to do a b/w pin-up and I envi­sion some­thing in col­or; go figure!

Thanks, Will. This was a lot of fun!

Yet More Teasing

Things are real­ly busy here. I fin­ished one of the projects I teased last month, but I still can’t show off the whole thing quite just yet. How­ev­er, rather than let the month pass with­out post­ing any­thing, I thought I’d at least show a por­tion of the final art. It’s anoth­er faux com­ic cov­er (some­thing I’ve done a lot of). This one I’m quite hap­py with (So is the client, which is always a good thing when you can man­age it), and I look for­ward to when the whole thing can be shown!

Once Again, a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Well, I find myself in a strange posi­tion at the moment: buried under a num­ber of var­i­ous side projects. It’s unusu­al for me to get hit all at once like this, so I’m not quite sure what to make of it. They’re all the kinds of inter­est­ing and chal­leng­ing assign­ments that are hard to say “no” to, and should be a lot of fun to see through. Got­ta keep them all mov­ing though. If you can imag­ine me fran­ti­cal­ly jug­gling to the musi­cal accom­pa­ni­ment of the “Sabre Dance,” you’ll get the idea.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, though I’ve got all these projects going, they’re all just works-in-progress at the moment. None of them are done and ready to post. Even if they were, some of the peo­ple I’m doing them for might not be ready for me to put them up quite yet. And with the hol­i­days so close, I don’t think I’m going to have time to do any­thing else spe­cial for my site right now. So in lieu of that, I hope maybe some sneak peeks at a cou­ple of the works in progress will suf­fice for the moment. It’s either that, or let this month go by with­out post­ing anything.

One brand new item I can point out: I am pleased to announce that I am now being rep­re­sent­ed by Ellen Ann Mersereau, who works with a ros­ter of some of the most tal­ent­ed cre­ators in the busi­ness. You can find her con­tact info over to your right in the sidebar.

Wher­ev­er you are, what­ev­er your cur­rent cir­cum­stances, I hope the hol­i­days are good to you; that you have a good Christ­mas, and an excel­lent New Year!

Now It Can Be Told!

Some may recall there was a mys­te­ri­ous “teas­er” post I put up back before Christ­mas. I’d been asked to hold off on putting the full art­work for it on my site…until now. So here it is, final­ly: a copy of Amaz­ing Faw­cett Fan­ta­sy #15.

Nev­er seen one before? That’s because it does­n’t exist. It was done as the cov­er for FCA #159, which will be appear­ing in the upcom­ing land­mark 100th issue of Alter Ego. You can see it in con­text with the FCA logo and every­thing else over in my Gal­leries.

You’re prob­a­bly say­ing, “Wait, you goofed up! That does­n’t look any­thing like Spi­der-man!” Ah, but it seems that before the Spi­der-man we’re all famil­iar with came to be, there were sev­er­al vil­lain “spi­der men” char­ac­ters who cropped up in var­i­ous Faw­cett strips. Includ­ing the fel­low on this cov­er here, who went up against Cap­tain Marvel.

This assign­ment was sev­er­al lev­els of fun: get­ting to do my best C.C. Beck impres­sion, try­ing to fig­ure out just what a Faw­cett com­ic might have looked like had they still been pub­lish­ing into the ear­ly 60’s, and work­ing out how to use Pho­to­shop to make it look like a real, well-read comic.

Many thanks to both P.C. Hamer­linck and Roy Thomas for invit­ing me to be part of this mile­stone issue!

Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays to You All Out There

I’m not sure whether I’ll man­age to get my gal­leries up before the hol­i­days or not, but I thought I’d at least get one more post in before the end of the year. That project I allud­ed to in my pre­vi­ous post last month? This is a teaser/portion of that illus­tra­tion. Down the road at some point when I’ve been giv­en clear­ance, I’ll post the full image. This was a fun one to do, as I got to try out some things in Pho­to­shop I’d nev­er done before.

And in case I don’t wind up post­ing any­thing else before then: hope you all have a good hol­i­day sea­son, wher­ev­er you go, what­ev­er you do.

Happy Thanksgiving: Now Go Out and Hunt Down Your Own Turkey!

I still haven’t had time to get back to fig­ur­ing out how to install the gallery plu­g­in (due to anoth­er project which will prob­a­bly make its way on here even­tu­al­ly), but I want­ed to keep the site active. So by request of my friend Lyle, I’ve post­ed the draw­ing on the left. It’s a fake com­ic cov­er fea­tur­ing a jun­gle girl char­ac­ter named Zhantika.

She’s the blonde at left. Zhan­ti­ka was a char­ac­ter cre­at­ed by Lyle and myself. Around that time, I’d got­ten my hands on the Ger­ber Pho­to-Jour­nal Guide to Com­ic Books. Look­ing through them, we both real­ized sep­a­rate­ly that the “jun­gle girl” com­ic was a real pop­u­lar genre of its own at one point that sort of van­ished. That sparked an idea. Lyle came up with the basic con­cept, and the visu­al was mine.

We actu­al­ly pub­lished a Zhan­ti­ka sto­ry in Big Bang #17, much thanks to Gary Carl­son. I also have to thank inker David Zim­mer­mann, who brought a real­ly nice pol­ish to my pen­cils with his brush­work. The above image is not from that sto­ry though; it was done as a faux gold­en age cov­er for one of “The Big Bang His­to­ry of Comics” issues (#27, if any­one cares to look). It was part of a whole fic­ti­tious his­to­ry of comics that did­n’t real­ly exist, but it was lots of fun to pretend.

Maybe even­tu­al­ly one day I’ll col­or this cov­er, just for fun. And just to make this a lit­tle longer: Zhan­ti­ka is ™ and © Lyle Dodd and Mark Lewis.