Friday, September 11, 2015

Bob Powell's Jet Powers collection

 Cover

 Title page

 Title page Spread

 Contents Spread

 Essay Spread

Essay Spread


The Jet Powers book was great fun to work on. I got to play with design imagery from the '50s atomic age. I wanted it to feel space-agey but also energetic. There are a lot of angles and directional rules that will lead your eye throughout the page spreads. I think there is a lot of open space on the pages along with a sense of claustrophobic tension. I thought about Twilight Zone episodes, where the characters always had a nervous uneasiness, in anticipation of something about to happen. Even though they were in a large open room, they could feel the walls closing in on them. If it's possible to capture that feeling with shapes and lines and color, that was what I was going for.

Herb Trimpe's The Incredible Hulk Artist's Edition

 Cover

 Title Page

 Credits Spread

Contents Spread


I'm not sure if it's for nostalgic reasons or if I just like patterns, but I've always loved the look of the screen printed color. Unfortunately, whenever companies decide to reprint comic art, they re-do the coloring, and it always looks wrong. It either has too many photoshop effects, and overpowers the line art, or the color is too garish and looks like it's sitting on top of the line art. Either way, they are trying to meld 2 different things that don't go together. It's like wearing brown shoes with a black tux. It clashes, and it's unsettling. With this collection of Incredible Hulk stories, I attempted to give my own vision of classic comic book coloring. I deliberately made the coloring off-register and over lapping. I wanted the color to "soak" into the art boards, and make sure that the line art floated to the top. I guess it's kind of a "pop art" homage. It feels appropriate for the time period in which these stories were originally published.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Wally Wood's EC Stories Artisan Edition

 Cover

 Title Page

 Credits Spread

Table of Contents Spread


I got the opportunity to redesign the Wally Wood's Artist's Edition. Well, kind of. IDW came out with a smaller more affordable version of the book. This gave me a chance to go back and look at how I designed the oversized version and decide what worked and what had to be redesigned. The obvious thing is that I'm working with a smaller format. It's best in that case, to simplify. Because I looked at it as a companion piece to the Artist's Edition, I used similar images, but just cropped them and gave them a different feeling on the page. I'm pretty sure IDW has more plan for Artisan Editions, so this will cause me to reevaluate a lot of the work I've done... and perhaps make improvements??!!

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.