Readers may not give it a lot of consideration, but every comic they pick up represents a lot of time and work on the part of the creative and editorial teams. Along the way, a number of ideas are discussed and sometimes discarded, or changed. On top of that, every artist has work they've done that never really appears in public. This page will feature some interesting tidbits you may have wondered about or artwork that was never, or rarely, seen.
A convention sketch, done on a beautiful Batman cape. The owner already had a number of incredible sketches, from Neal Adams to Ethan Van Sciver and everyone in between. While it's difficult to draw on fabric and a thin line is almost impossible, this actually turned out well.
Good Morning America
Everyone knows Batkid, right? DC Entertainment asked inker extraordinaire Norm Rapmund and me to do this piece for him as a gift honoring his appearance on "Good Morning America," — a fitting illustration for a courageous young man with a truly heroic attitude.
San Diego Comic-Con
Here's a piece that hasn't been seen in awhile: The official 1994 San Diego Comic-Con t-shirt, which also was a promotion for Zero Hour. I drew it, Jackson Guice inked it and lots of folks ended up wearing it!
When I wrote and drew ZERO HOUR, one of the main goals was publishing a timeline at the end of the project. Due to space limitations, not all of the art made it to publication. Here's a look at a few images that either didn't make it or were substantially altered. Inks by Jerry Ordway.
This is one of my all time favorites, done for the July, 1994 Advance Comics Distribution Cover. Inker Jerry Ordway did a tremendous job of picking up on and enhancing the overall atmosphere of death in the midst of a driving rain storm. The printed book actually obliterated a lot of the subtlety, which is so obvious in the original, b & w art.
With the amount of writing and penciling work I have, it isn't often I find the time to ink. This is one of those rare cases: a rather moody shot of the Cyborg Superman.
Adventures of Superman 465
This cover goes all the way back to 1990. We were working on a storyline called The Day of the Krypton Man in which Superman, altered by a device called the Eradicator, abandons that identity to become less human and more purely Kryptonian. With that in mind, he dumped his costume for a colder, more remote personality and Kryptonian garb. Ultimately, we decided we wanted a more action oriented cover, and put this one aside.
Not a dream! Not a hoax! Not an imaginary story! Yes, back in December of 1996, Superman, or should we say Clark Kent, and Lois Lane were united in marriage in front of friends, family and the Superman creative teams. Paul Levitz and Jenette Kahn are also evident, as are Jon Bogdanove's son Kal El and my own sons, Seth and Quinn. We celebrated the moment with a three-page spread. Jerry Ordway inked this over my pencils, really driving home the likenesses.
Back in December of 2000, DC asked me to do a litho for the Warner stores. At the time, the stores sold animation cells, prints and lithographs of DC characters. Unfortunately, just after I finished the pencils, they began to cut back on their efforts, with most stores closing less than a year later. Too bad, as this would have been a fun piece to see produced.
Metal Men #1 Cover
In 1993, DC editor Mike Carlin and I did a 4-issue METAL MEN mini-series. This was going to be the cover for the first issue, but after it was drawn, DC decided to add a metallic effect to the cover. In order to take better advantage of the technology, we decided to produce a new cover, highlighting the powers of the Metal men. As a result, this was unseen for almost twenty years — until now!
In 2007, the SMALLVILLE TV show was engaged in a cross-promotion stunt with Toyota. The promotion focused on the Toyota Yaris, which Lois drove in the show. During the commercial breaks, ads featured the Yaris, mixed in with elements from the series. They wanted a piece of art to close the ad and asked DC to generate something. These are the pencils for the piece, showcasing Clark, Chloe, Lois, Green Arrow, Impulse, Cyborg, Aquaman and, in the shadows, Martian Manhunter. Actor likeness rights were not a part of the deal so the best we could do was reflect "general physical types."
A number of years ago, I launched the "Sensational Spider-Man" title for Marvel Comics. I wrote and drew the book while Klaus Janson finished it off with his incredible inks. This is a poster we did, back when posters were all the rage. Great fun!
Who doesn't like free comics?
Check out these four Justice League covers I did for a series that was given away free in late 2011 — that's right! Free! — inside select General Mills cereal boxes. They were inside boxes of Cocoa Puffs, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms and more. What could be better than getting a free comic along with your morning bowl of cereal? Pencils by yours truly, inks by Sandra Hope.
Many artists do work outside of comics. In this case, Coca-Cola commissioned me to illustrate the University of Iowa's mascot, Herky the Hawkeye, for some Diet Coke packaging that would be sold throughout Iowa.
Herky was to look strong and menacing as he charged off the package. I was able to put aside my affinity for the University of Minnesota's Goldy Gopher and give Herky the look he needed to sell lots of Diet Coke.
green arrow #1
As we were pulling material together for the New 52 launch, in this case GREEN ARROW, we sometimes had to generate artwork before everything was fully defined.
In this case, it was a cover for GA #1. However, we hadn't yet decided on a final bow design, we were still playing around a bit with the costume, and even more importantly, were still undecided about whether or not Ollie would be sporting the familiar facial hair. Norm Rapmund stepped in to provide the inks as George Perez had yet to come aboard. Enjoy this look at unused art from what was still a work-in-progress!
the gang moves
A few years ago, DC moved offices and needed a card that announced the move, as well as the new address. I drew, and Jerry Ordway inked, this piece that did the job. It was a fun assignment because it's one of those things that allows an artist to step outside the norm and think a bit differently. The Batmobile was originally drawn 3/4 view. We changed it in order to make the action a bit more left-to-right direct.
DC Holiday Greetings
DC sends out a holiday card every year. This was the 1991 card, with the word "JOY" die-cut on the front, allowing a glimpse of Superman, Wonder Woman, Lobo and Batman. Open it up and you get to see the entire scene.
Evolution of Doom
When we first started talking about Doomsday, he didn't even have a name. We talked about him in terms of "living rage" or "force of nature". These first three sketches were actually done during the meeting where Doomsday and the Death of Superman were planned. We knew he'd be big, violent and forceful. In the first sketch, you can see he has some metallic portions showing, which wasn't the look we wanted! The second sketch shows more rage and gives a hint of what Doomsday would eventually become.
Once the second sketch was done, I knew which direction I wanted to go in. Sketch three shows Doomsday with more bulk and mass than the original attempts. The hair and exterior skeletal features were there. Notice that on Doomsday's leg, the exterior bones are on the side of the leg rather than the front, where they would eventually go. Once I got back to the studio I used that general look to work up the final design for Doomsday, as shown in sketch four. The wide shoulder bones still weren't quite a part of it!
Of course, when Doomsday first appeared in print, he was hidden away in his rubber suit. We wanted a straight jacket sort of appearance, something that would mask the monster a bit and make the ultimate revelation more dramatic! You'll see a note written to then-Superman editor Mike Carlin, where I ask about the rubber suit, as well as Mike's enthusiastic response!
In addition to Doomsday, here are the original character sketches for a few other DC characters.
The first is for Agent Liberty, who first appeared in SUPERMAN #60. I think white is often underused as an actual costume color in comics so enjoyed utilizing it here.
Monarch, tyrant of a future earth, first appeared in ARMAGEDDON 2001 #2. We wanted him to have a heavily armored look so most anyone could actually be hidden inside. Ultimately, that was revealed to be Hank Hall — Hawk.
Extant was created as one of the primary villains in ZERO HOUR. The generally red and black color scheme gives him a properly villainous look.
Adventures of Superman 468
This issue actually featured two stories — one of which was printed directly from the pencils. We wanted it to have a sort of a different feel as it represented Superman recording his life story in his personal journal. Unfortunately, the pencils didn't reproduce very well, in part because they were printed with green, rather than black, ink on newsprint. Here's a far better look.
Pages 2–8 are shown.