I’ve been blogging about the upcoming run of MAD variant covers of DC Comics titles all week as they were released on various websites (see the complete run here). I thought I’d show a little of the process involved in the creation of my variant cover for Batman/Superman #30.
The concept: The guys at MAD had some pretty specific things they wanted with this cover… in fact they wanted me to do a sort of take-off of a previous cover of an issue of Batman:
The basic gag was that, rather than holding a set of chattering joke-dentures, “Alfred/Joker” would be holding his actual teeth (with one missing of course) and thus have a toothless grin. They also wanted to replace the “HA HA” laughter with “YUKs” and have the old “toy flag gun” instead of a real gun.
My initial pencil sketch:
I kept Batman in the background and added Superman as well, and also tossed in the MAD Zeppelin just for fun. I also added the rubber chicken. I wanted to capture the feel of the original cover without directly copying it, so I stuck with the over-wrinkled and heavily shadowed look to the Joker but did my own version of all elements. I had to shorten the barrel of the gun in order to get the flag gag in there, so I changed that to a snub nosed revolver. The guys at MAD thought (rightly) that the zeppelin would fight with the comic’s title logo, so I ditched that in the final:
Covers are a tricky thing. they really get put under a microscope as they are the thing that gets a browser to pick up the book and open it. So, this one needed some tweaks. It was decided that the heavy shadows on Alfred’s face were too strong and distracting, and his mouth needed to be more “toothless” looking. So I had to do some fixing here and there. Here’s the final final inks:
Yes, I did hand ink the “YUKs”… what can I say, I’m a masochist. There were a few color tweaks as well. Here again is the final result:
Great fun to do, even with the last minute fixes. Here’s hoping this is an annual thing for DC!
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