Friday, July 10, 2009

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures - Production art... Part 11 - The End

So... let me frame things a bit.

Eric and I had been working on comics for over 15 years. Many of those years were spent working on Disney Adventures. Once Little Gloomy and Kid Gravity had been picked up by the magazine, we had quit our day jobs and dedicated all our energy to comics creation.

Then, at the end of 2007, Disney Adventures folded. We were still very busy working with 1492 Pictures on Little Gloomy for the small screen, and there was some comfort in knowing that this work would keep us afloat... for a little bit.

Flash forward to February of 2008. WonderCon. We have no jobs. No money and no immediate prospects. So we turn to long time aquaitence Bob Shreck. It really was a whim. We had nothing prepared and though we had known Bob for many years, asking for work from someone I think of as a friend is not a thing I like to do. It feels... I dunno. Not something I like.

But we asked. Because we were desperate. So he recommended the Johnny DC line. There was (at the time) a bit of a push to expand. He offered to set up a meeting with Jann Jones for us. It was more than we hoped for and we seized on it immediately.

We had 24 hours. We needed to prepare. So we took a look at what else was coming out from Johnny DC. Turns out the big thing being pushed at the time was the work of fellow former Disney Adventures creator Art Baltazar and his coworker Franco. These are two people we had already been having dinner with annually at ComicCon. When Disney Adventures put out a call for new material, it was Art's Gorilla Gorilla and our Kid Gravity that were picked up. When Disney released collected volumes of previously printed material, Kid Gravity and Gorilla Gorilla were top of the lists.

So the familar work of Art and Franco bolstered our confidence. We realized that the best thing we could do at this stage is what Art and Franco were doing. The same thing they had been doing, only with DC characters.

We had just come off working on Kid Gravity. Kid Gravity had always been slightly inspired by Superboy. Superboy was, to the best of our knowledge, legally unavailable. Besides, we were more inclined to work with a female lead. So... Supergirl. At this point, we're maybe 2 minutes out of our brief discussion with Bob. Lots' of time to prepare, right?

While seated at the SLG booth, Eric started drawing. This is what he came up with first:


Cute, but too Kid Gravity. Besides, when you're pitching to a new editor, it' smart to show versatility. So Eric went back to the drawing board and...



To much belly shirt. To old. I pushed Eric to draw something inbetween the two styles. Bear in mind that Eric had spent years drawing characters with really big heads. He wasn't particularly comfortable with the more realistically proportioned character designs.

But he persisted. And this was the result:



This was more like what we were looking for. But we still wanted to hedge our bets, and Eric had time for one more drawing.


You will please notice that this is not Supergirl. Better safe than sorry. But to be honest, I'm not a fan of Batgirl in any of her forms, with the possible exception of Betty Kane.

The next day we tracked down Jann for our meeting. The rest I have talked about elsewhere on may occasions. Her eyes lit up when she saw the Supergirl samples. Turns out she had been seeking someone to create an all-ages Supergirl book, and the person she had in mind had declined the day before our meeting. She called up Dan Didio (he was elsewhere at the convention) and showed him the art. He picked the third design, the middle school style Supergirl.

So we went home and concocted the pitch for the series and after one rewrite, it was picked up very quickly for a mini-series.

We were lucky on alot of levels. It was an amazing turn of events considering we were at an all time low. Supergirl was our last stab effort. If we hadn't found work that weekend, we were going to have to exit the world of comics.

Not that the industry isn't still a scary place. I was unemployed again from the beginning of December 08 until the beginning of April 09. All while anxiously waiting to see if our series was well received or not. I know in the world of the internet, people review comics readily and casually. If you're a reviewer, remember that on the other end of your review might be someone anxiously nail-biting. You're criticzing their jobs, after all.

Luckily, the series was very well received. So my nails have started to grow back in place. Also: The tremendous buzz around the series has helped Eric and I with other work. I've actually found myself at a point where I'm working on two comic series at once. I'm busy... but I really can't complain. And frankly, I have the readers and reviewers to thank for it. Thanks readers and reviewers!

3 comments:

  1. I actually really like the middle Supergirl with the midriff showing. The Babs is also pretty sweet.
    I for one am glad you didn't leave the business and for what it's worth, my friends are now at an age where they're having kids and I fully intend to buy each family a copy of the cosmic adventures for when the kids are less newborny.

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  2. I like the middle image as well, but I'm a fan of the more iconic costume. And the Babs looks great, I just really never warmed to her as a character. I don't really know why. There's certainly nothing wrong with her (I believe that in writing, there are no bad characters just badly written characters), she just doesn't quite click for me the way other characters do.

    I'm glad I didn't leave the buisness either. The only other skill I have is cooking high class pizzas in a restaraunt. No please. Did it for years.

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  3. Yeah, I reckon the middle one wouldn't have worked for the series you ended up doing. So good final choice!

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