Monday MADness!- Superman Special Cover

June 3rd, 2013 | Posted in Monday MADness


I had a rare chance to do some cover art for a MAD publication recently, one of a couple of really cool “side” projects I did for the UGOIs this spring. This is the cover for MAD Presents Superman #1, which has a newsstand date of June 12th but is probably hitting comic book stores right about now. The cover is on the MAD website, so I can share it now.

I did this at the very end of March, and what sucks is at the time there was very little in the way of references of Superman’s new look/outfit. You could see there was a texture to it but not what it was, and that it had gauntlets and some weird piping along the sides, but there was yet to be a clear, high res shot of the suit. I had to use some candid and blurry pictures taken on the sly by someone on the movie set for all the details. I was frustrated to see that right after I finished the art a flood of images hit the internet and magazine racks, including some great shots of Henry Cavill in the suit, followed by real trailers. Oh well, I came close. BTW painting that city skyline took forever.

Here are some of the roughs and production art (Clicky any to Embiggen):


The rough sketch- Originally MAD wanted a Kansas farmland background and I suggested a Metropolis skyline… I am such an idiot. It took me ten times longer to paint that skyline than it did the Superman and Alfred figures.

MAD Super Cover 1

The original final art- MAD wanted me to make some adjustments to this- they didn’t like Superman’s awkward looking left hand (they were right on that, it worked better in the sketch) and they wanted some changes to the background especially to create ‘atmospheric perspective’ by way of fading the contrast and colors and adding a haze to it.

MAD Super Cover-revised

Final art- New hand, some changes to skyline… pretty easy fixes. Fun job, but that cityscape just about killed me.

The magazine is like last year’s Batman special, containing all the Superman movie parodies, the “Smallville” TV parody, Superman gag articles by the likes of George Woodbridge, Sergio Aragon?¬©s, Don Martin, Duck Edwing, and several other goodies. It does NOT contain the often-reprinted “Superduperman” by Kurtzman/Wood.

One other interesting thing about doing MAD cover work these days…because of the iPad app these covers have to be done in layers with full backgrounds, etc. as they animate the covers for the app. It will be interesting to see what they do with this.


  1. dave nelson says:

    Wow. The skyline was such a good choice. Beautiful cover!

  2. J. Baeza says:

    Amazing as usual, my friend. Thank you for sharing!

  3. danmccartist says:

    Animation; wiggle the left leg, have Alfred E. flop around. Ha funny.

  4. Chesley White says:

    Hey! I recognize Stuyvesant Town and the Midtown Skyport! The VA hospital too!!

  5. Scott Johnson says:

    Wow Tom. I think I’ve got a similar Superman in a box somewhere! You gave me one you had done when we were kids. The leading fist is the same, but you’ve definately refined your techinque! Good show! If I can find it, I might send it to you for authentication!

  6. Frank Pryor says:

    Another great example of what makes your blog so incredible. Not only do we get to see your work up close before we normally would, but we get to hear the ‘back-story’. It’s like we were looking over your shoulder while you were creating it. Thanx so much for taking the time to share the details!

  7. Don Richmond says:

    as usual another great masterpiece, where am I going to hang all these? you are simply the greatest. Love ya Dad

  8. Just saw this. Excellent job, great likeness and I can appreciate the background. Looks painstaking.


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