Monday, June 29, 2009

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures - Production art... Part 5

It's been a long and exhausting few weeks. But I haven't forgotten my promise to post more images. First up is Superman. Man of Steel. Last son of Krypton. You might have heard of him. He's that predecessor to Supergirl that pops up every now and again. Kind of like how Perseus is an ancestor of Hercules? A second string character, but tied close enough to the mythos that we couldn't ignore him completely. Hopefully, the appearances of this old guy wearing a Supergirl costume isn't confusing to younger readers unfamiliar with this nostalgic artifact.

Anyway... I like how Eric was drawing Superman in these images. Smaller eyes. I'm a fan of the squinty-eyed Superman.

Next up is Zor-El. AKA: Supergirl's father.

Eric was experimenting in a slightly different direction here. More cartoonish features. Larger eyes, bigger head. Doesn't work as well for me as it makes him feel to young. In fact, Zor-El in my head was much older. Almost wizened.

Zor-El doesn't actually appear much in the comics. I decided pretty early on that, in regards to parental figures, Alura served the story better. There are certain pre-conceptions in place in regards to parental roles. Stereotypically, the mother daughter relationship is different from the father daughter relationship. Real life is certainly much more complicated than this, but because I had so few pages to tell the story, it seemed best to use whatever preconceptions I could.

So Alura could be more emotional in less pages than Zor-El could. She could be maternal. And when we turn around and reveal that Alura as seen through the communications device was Mxyzptlk (okay, it's more implied than directly stated) that softer, more maternal becomes extra alarming.

There was a lengthy Zor-El scene written though. he has a speech during the rocket launch that I really liked. Maybe I'll post it...

Yup. Here it is:


The town square of ArgoCity. In the center of the large courtyard is a rocket with a Superman emblem on it. There is a stage at one end of the courtyard. Assembled are the masses of Argo, while baton-twirling girls dressed in Superman uniforms stand assembled around the rocket.

On the stage is a massive amount of futuristic-looking space equipment. Kara’s father Zor-El stands at the center, speaking into a floating space microphone. Behind Zor El are dozens of monitors. His image is being broadcast on each and every one with his name underneath.

CAPTION: “Early the next morning…”

ZOR-EL: “Citizens of Argo, fellow Kryptonians. We gather here today, as we do once every year, to bear witness and honor the legacy of our beloved home planet, Krypton.”


Close-up on Zor-El.

ZOR-EL: “Though our home world is no more, and we suffer exile in this pocket dimension of Quasi-Space, the heroic ideals of our noble culture live on.”


Zor-El gestures, and the monitors now show Superman flying across a blue sky with the top of the Daily Planet building in the background.

ZOR-EL: “What was once a day of mourning the loss of Krypton is now a day of celebration! These distant broadcasts of Krypton’s surviving son show us that our people are not forgotten!”


ZOR-EL: “Our cousin Superman thinks he’s alone, the last of his kind. Though the dimensional barrier limits us to receiving these broadcasts only, our scientists have devised a one-time method to send material through the rift.”

ZOR-EL: “And so, we have prepared this rocket…”


Focus on the rocket. The crowds are enthusiastic. In formation, the Supergirls twirl their batons.

ZOR-EL: “…our message to Superman!”

Next time: Belinda Zee!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

From the past...

As I've been digging through Eric's boxes of old artwork looking for Supergirl material, I've also been coming across alot of other artwork that never saw the light of day. This was one of two cover concepts put together for the Kid Gravity trade paperback that Disney Press released in... 2006? 2007? I don't remember. Probably 2007.

This particular montage shot is a favorite of ours. I don't know why. Probably because it's easier than coming up with a solid theme. In fact, we also used the same basic concept on a Little Gloomy book, as seen here:

We are not very creative creative people. Though in truth, I like the symmetry of the two designs when compared. And the universe of Little Gloomy and the universe of Kid Gravity are connected parallel realities. So it makes a certain amount of sense. I guess.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures - Production art... part 4

Again I bring you artwork from the depths of time. Almost a year and a half ago, to be precise.

First up is Streaky the Supercat. I just happened to have inherited a young cat about the time I began working on this. Her name is JoJo and she is made of razors and barbed wire. She's tamed a bit now. With me, anyway. Everyone else she still wants to see bleed. Anyway, she was the inspiration for this version of Streaky, and Eric designed Streaky accordingly.

I mean really. If a cat were to gain super powers, we would all be in serious trouble.

Next up: Brainiac 5. Brainy was never seen in the series. Originally he was planned to have a major role, but the only limitation given to us by DC was to not use Brainiac 5. At the time, he was a major player in the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st century book so I can understand why. The sketches below were done before Eric and I found this out, and truthfully, he wasn't quite done cooking. But unlike most of the other characters, we're not able to compare with a final version. Ah well. This was as far as we got with Brainy. Maybe Eric can be persuaded to draw a more up to date version just for this blog.

It was nice to have him working behind the scenes, even if he's not actually an active particpant in the story. It seemed very Brainiac 5 to me. To send Supragirl back in time with specific instructions to involve herself in events with some basic misinformation. Maybe someday I'll get to tell the story of why he did that, beyond the obvious "stop Mxyzptlk from destroying all reality" thing. Because it's never quite that simple with Braniac 5. His plans run very deep.

That's it for now. Next up? Maybe Superman and Zor El. Probably Monday. Depends on my mood.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Supergirl: Production art... part 3

I promised that sketches of the students would be posted today. And here I am, posting said images.

Okay... so there are less student images than I thought. Thing is, we had three female lead characters from the onset. There were also going to be male characters of more prominence. Here's a look at what they might have been like.

The characters were cut because it turns out that 6 issues at 22 pages long each isn't as much room as I might have liked. The relationships between the three girls would have been horribly muddied by these nonsensical subplots. So they were cut.

But just to go a step further and show you what you were denied...

There was an entire story behind this that involved duplicity and betrayal. The heart was to be made of gold kryptonite (heart of gold) that only had a short term effect. We had already explored the effects of green, red and blue. So gold was the next logical choice.

As mentioned above, this was cut due to lack of space. It was also cut after I witnessed the recent revisions to Reactron. The two concepts aren't identical, but they are very, very close. Now, it's important to note that no one outside of Eric and myself were involved in this creation, so in case anyone thinks I'm making some kind of allegation... no. No one knew of our plans other than us. Reactron's revision (which I very much like) was (for us) an unfortunate coincidence. That's the world of comics for ya.

FYI: The indent on the inside of the chest panel is a power meter.

That's it for today. Next up (unless I change my mind) Streaky. Maybe more than Streaky, maybe less.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Supergirl: Production art... part 2

I promised there would be more art. And more art there is. Unfortunately, I'm still searching for those original Supergirl illustrations. All of Eric's original art is at my house for some reason, which means boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes of paper. 17 years of comics work in boxes (minus that one back cover illustration we left in a copy machine at SDCC about 13 years ago). To make matter worse, each panel of each page of Supergirl was pencilled at full size on a sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 paper. Think about that. Each panel of each page of each issue.

This all adds up to alot of paper.

Anyway, here's the next installment of Supergirl production art. A feature on this blog that I like to call: "Eric probably doesn't want you to see this but then he shouldn't have left it in my safe keeping because I'm not particularly trustworthy."

The teachers!

The gym teacher is named Mister Mongo. I don't remember if we ever mentioned his name in the comic. He's based off of a close friend of ours named Joel, who has gone by the nickname of Mongo since we were about 12. Not pictured is Miss Bigglestone. She's based off another old friend with the last name Bigglestone.

Then there's Mister Mxyptplk. Mxyzptlk/Pyckelmeyer required very little planning. His basic disposition in his Pyckelmeyer form was inspired by the character of Bob Kelso on Scrubs. As seen here:

In my mind, that's pretty much the real world version of Pyckelmeyer.

On Wednesday I will post sketches of the students, including classic Supergirl supporting cast member Ricky Wilson (AKA Dick Malverne).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Supergirl: Production art...

I've been putting off posting this stuff for awhile. The fact is, I am lazy. The other fact is that Eric keeps hiding this art. I intended to lead off with one of the three original illustrations he produced for our initial meeting with DC. I'll have to search a bit deeper to figure out where those images are hidden.

Anyway, instead I'm going to lead off with some Lena Thorul.

This first one might be the actual first attempt on the character. Truth is, Eric and I had a pretty solid idea of what she would look like from the onset. The only issue with the initial designs was the question of hair.

That was resolved fairly quickly. Yeah I know. Exciting. Woo.

So we knew she would eventually end up in armor. I guess the armor was the real issue. If you've read the series, you know the armor exists in 3 states. The first is the backpack, which appears two issues before it is revealed to be armor. The second form is the transformed backpack, and the third is the full upgraded suit.

So those are the three forms, and if you've read the comic, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't read the comic, well... In truth you're a little dead to me.

But only a little.

So here are some sketches Eric threw together early in the development.

Do you like them? If so, good for you. We didn't. So we went in a different direction. Part of it was that these designs were way to busy. Part of it is that they removed to much of Lena's personality. But mainly, it was that we needed to strengthen the association between Lena and Lex. By having Lena in battle armor reminiscent of her brothers giant indestructible robot, we helped create a visual short-cut between the two characters. This is just as effective at establishing the relationship as the secret emails between brother and sister at the end of issue 2. I think it is anyway. Maybe it isn't. Does it really matter now? The book is finished. Not much we can do about it if you disagree. Right?

I'll upload some more soon. Maybe tomorrow. Probably Monday. There's alot of this stuff, so expect several posts of images that Eric would probably prefer you never saw.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Well, it's in the new Previews catalog, so I guess I can finally announce what Eric and I have been working on since we wrapped up Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures...

We'll be doing some issues of Batman: The Brave and the Bold. A comic series based off of the current animated series. A funny thing about this book for Eric and myself: We had actually spent a bit of time before San Diego ComicCon last year formulating a pitch for an all-ages reinterpretation of Batman based off a combination of the 1940's Dick Sprang art style and the 1960's television series. We then arrived at ComicCon to see images everywhere of this cartoon series and immediately scrapped the proposal.

And now we're doing a comic that is fundamentally the same as the series we spent the summer quietly creating. Strange world.

Our intention with this series is to capture the feel of the cartoon rather than literally interpret the style of the animated series onto a comic book page. Comics and animation are two very distinct (even if related) mediums, and neither wholly translates into the other. We're a bit past our first issue now, and I'm very happy with the result of this approach.

Our first issue introduces a character that, at the time of conception and execution, was unseen on the television series. Catman appears as a mysterious new superhero with bold plans to help Batman takes down his most notorious foes. Since we created this particular issue, a very different rendition of Catman has appeared on the TV series. Such as it goes.

Our first issue of this series goes on sale September 30th.