Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Eric Powell's The Goon Artist's Edition

Regular Edition Cover

 Variant Cover

 Title Page

 Pages 2-3

Pages 4-5

With Eric Powell's The Goon, I was dealing with a little different style of art. Powell's art is very dense and textured. Since he fully paints the pages, there is a tonal quality that isn't in most comic book art. When designing this, I wanted to attempt to give the design pages the same look as his story pages. With the design, you never want to detract from the real focus of the book, which would be the story pages. I use a limited color palette to add variety, but not overwhelm. I tried to recreate the "wash" feel of his art. The book should have rhythm and feel continuous. The design pages shouldn't cause you to stop and think, "This looks out-of-place." 

Powell's art really is very amazing. He has an ability to go from slapstick to horror, and it all works. The light and shadows are used with the greatest of dramatic effect. The gray tones and layering of his art adds dimension and mass and certainly fits the storytelling. Good stuff!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Frank Miller's Daredevil Artifact Edition

 Title Page

 Pages 2-3

 Pages 4-5

Pages 6-7

It would be hard to design something related to Daredevil without incorporating the color red. So instead of fighting against it, I decided to embrace it. The color choices were actually closer to the CMYK process colors. The blue is close to cyan and the red is sorta close to magenta, but not really. I know that may not make a lot of sense to you, but to me it does. Sorry...  

I wanted to use circular design icons through out. It represents Daredevil's sensory perception, Bullseye's mask, braille, and without sounding too philosophical, the story ends up coming full circle. When using particular elements, there is always a fine balance between "enough" and "too much." Hopefully I didn't cross the line. I think it's entertaining to have a common design thread running through the book. I look at it as being a bonus. 

Even though the title of the book is Daredevil the character of Elektra is almost more prominent. I wanted to make sure that she was represented in an appropriate amount of space too. I also attempted to balance the red and the blue, wanting each to be both primary and secondary.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Don Rosa's Scrooge McDuck Artist's Edition

 Cover Regular Edition

 Cover Variant Edition

 Title Page

 Table of Contents Spread

Chapter Break

This was my first ever project working with a Disney property (not including Marvel). It was really a fulfillment of a childhood dream. I'm sure most people have that special place in their heart for the Disney characters. I don't think you ever get to the point (if you are being honest), where you outgrow Disney. Even though it seems like the art and stories are aimed at children, there is certainly a lot of appeal for adults. This was the direction Don Rosa was going for when he created the back story for Scrooge McDuck. With the stories in this volume we not only discover the history of Scrooge, but it's also conveniently wrapped around the history of the US. Along the way Scrooge also encounters both fictitious and real-life legends. The journey is both fun, and educational!

My approach in designing this book was to embrace the artwork of Rosa and to elevate and isolate it. Because Rosa uses silhouettes quite frequently in his storytelling, I wanted to make use of that in some of the design work. I also tried to pick and choose images that were representational of each of the individual chapters. I picked blue and orange... because I like that color combination. Design doesn't really have to be complicated or overdone, in this case it can be pleasant and fun.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Jack Kirby's Kamandi Artist's Edition

 Title Page

 Credits/Indicia Spread

Chapter Divider

When I was a young lad, Kamandi was my favorite Jack Kirby comic. Actually, there wasn't even a second favorite. I really didn't get a chance to see his earlier work first-hand. When this came out, it gave me an opportunity to buy the first issue, and experience this Kirby world from it's inception. The main attraction to me, was that it certainly was inspired by "Planet of the Apes." Those movies both inspired me and creeped me out. Either way, they were exciting. Seeing this comic for the first time, gave me the same sort of mixed feelings. In the artwork, it felt like the panels had more breathing room than the what I was used to seeing from Kirby. Maybe it had more to do with the writing, and there being less words crammed into the word balloons. Anyway, I really liked what I was a seeing, and I could actually understand the storylines. A young boy is being chased by humanoid animals, and he is struggling to survive! What could be simpler?

When designing this Artist's Edition book, I was inspired by hazardous waste and radiation signs. I added a little grit and aging to everything to make it look like it's been exposed to the elements and it didn't hold up too well. I also kept the palette very basic and limited. I think simpler is better.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

John Romita Spider-Man Artifact Edition

 Regular Edition Cover

 Variant Edition Cover

 Title Page

 Credits/Indicia Spread

About This Edition and Table of Contents

This is the third book of John Romita's Spider-Man, I've had the opportunity to design. With the first two, I chose to design the books, as if they were designed when the stories originally came out. A nod to nostalgia or retro design. I was careful to use design elements and fonts that would accurately reflect that era. I'm not sure anyone noticed, but it was important to me. The third time around, I wanted to freshen things up a bit, I don't like to repeat myself. This ended up being much more contemporary. I stuck with the red and blue color theme (to match Spidey's costume), but I dirtied the colors up a bit. I used large images of Spider-Man and bled them off the page, to give the illusion of movement. I used the background color to create the outline shape of Spider-Man. This was to give the impression that he blends in with his environment. Diagonal lines throughout pages also re-enforce the action or movement of the character. It's not always easy to continue to create design styles that haven't previously been used, but to me, that is the problem solving that gives me the most satisfaction. I hope you appreciate and enjoy the results as much as I do!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Jack Kirby Mister Miracle Artist's Edition

 Mister Miracle cover

 Mister Miracle cover variant

 Title Page

 Credits / Indicia Spread

Chapter Divider

Well, this is book number two from Jack Kirby. It's really quite amazing the imagination of Mr. Kirby. Who would think of creating a character who's greatest asset was his ability to escape from tortuous devices? Not only that, but how do you create a whole universe where he would continually be put in situations to challenge his abilities? But, that's the mind of Jack Kirby, kind of odd and quirky at times, but he made it work. I also love the costume he designed for Scott Free (get it?). Any time someone is wearing a mask and their nose suddenly disappears when it's on... that's brilliant and amazing. His stories and art, are also both brilliant and amazing.

When designing this collection of stories, I thought using the style of posters of Harry Houdini, would be a good influence. As with almost all of the artist's editions, I chose to use a limited palette. I think if there are too many full color pages in the book, it would appear too jarring, and perhaps take away from the impact of the original art pages. Of course, the designed "posters" had to look as if they were battered and torn from being exposed to the elements. It was kind of like creating a "what if" scenario. Like, what if Mister Miracle actually did perform in a circus, what would the advertising for that look like? Again it's such a delight and privilege to design books dedicated to such influential artists and creators.

Now that I think about it, why are there only two artist's edition books on Jack Kirby's art? It sure seems to me like there could possibly be more.... Hmmmm!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cave Girl


 Title Page Spread

 Bob Powell Biography Spread

Table of Contents Spread

I love the look and feel (even the smell) of old comics. The aged paper warms up everything on the page. The colors seem to meld into the paper better, and everything feels comfortable. I can't really explain the soothing nature of looking through vintage paper goods. I'm sure there is some sort of medical research that's been done on the subject, but for me, I'm sure it has helped lower my blood pressure.

I wanted to bring that experience to the book design of Bob Powell's Cave Girl. This is the first book I've had the opportunity to design with the Kitchen Sink imprint for Dark Horse comics. I think in most cases when companies are reproducing old stories, they do a great dis-service by trying to clean them up and then reprint them on shiny snow white paper. It causes the art, to lose all of it's character and reveal flaws that weren't present when originally printed. I wanted to use the brownish paper tones from the original comics and introduce them into this book's design. I wanted the experience of reading this book to be similar to owning the original comic from the early 1950s.

The cover was intended to be an homage to old chapter serials or jungle movie posters. Throughout the book, I used examples of single colored comic images to again give it a look and feeling of vintage printing. The overlapping collages gave an added energy which mimicked the jungle action within the stories. This is a perfect book for enjoying on a cold winter evening, looking at the steamy jungles and the hyperactivity of Cave Girl, is sure to heat up any room.