Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rocketeer Adventures volume 2

Cover for Rocketeer Adventures volume 2

Credits Spread

Chapter Divider

Design Spread

Dave Stevens Bio Page

Once again, I was honored to be asked to design the collected version of the Rocketeer Adventures volume 2. It's hard to believe this is the sixth collection of Dave Stevens material I've been involved with. This collection of stories, originally started out as a four issue series, devoted to the continuing adventures of the Rocketeer. The stories and art were put together by plenty of "A" list creators. Adding their unique talents and abilities were: Darwyn Cooke, Sandy Plunkett, Walter and Louise Simonson, John Paul Leon, Chris Sprouse, John Byrne, Colin Wilson, along with several others.  It's fun to hang out with such a talented group of creators (even if it's only in designing a book involving all of those individuals).

The covers to the individual issues were designed by Darwyn Cooke. His approach was to "posterize" the covers, taking some tips from both the WPA and WWII victory posters. Based on his design direction, I tried to carry that thematic idea from the back cover and throughout the interior of the book.
Another design influence was the movie serials. This made sense since, each of the stories was like an individual chapter in the Rocketeer history. I designed the chapter dividers like movie lobby cards, I used the same color palette on my designs, as the facing story page. I wanted the 2 pages to be viewed as a spread as opposed to 2 separate pages.

Throughout the book I also did my illustrated version of the Rocketeer. I kept it to 3 colors and wanted it to be simple yet dynamic. I felt this was keeping with the WPA silkscreened look. Sometimes it's hard to take so many different artistic styles, and put them together and make them feel like they go together. As a package, I think this is very cohesive.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Gil Kane's Spider-Man Artist's Edition

Cover for the variant version

Cover for the regular edition

Contents spread

Chapter divider

Bio page

I remember the first time I saw the Spider-Man stories where he grew extra arms...I thought, "brilliant" why hadn't anyone thought of that idea before. Of course, a character named Spider-Man should have eight legs (appendages)! There was something disturbing and creepy about Spider-Man with 4 extra arms, but, it still was cool! I liked how Gil Kane was able to make each arm look like it had a purpose, instead of just dangling off of his body. The imagery haunted me for decades. 

Then I got a chance to re-visit the stories through the artist's edition book. It still creeps me out, but I'm somehow attracted to it. I know that Gil Kane studied the movements and positions of dancers and applied it to his visual language  of Spider-Man. The character does seem to be dancing from panel to panel. It's avery graceful and fluid interpretation. Almost like a built-in soundtrack.

My approach to the design of this book, was to again, be influenced by the time period that the stories originally appeared. It's kind of a balancing act when designing, I want to pay homage, but also give it a contemporary twist. I used red and blue in the design, based on the colors of Spider-Man's costume. But, I tweaked the colors, and made them neutral value to give the appearance of being more sophisticated. I also added a cream color, which mimics the art-board color and adds a melding presence to the other two colors. I hope there is a richness that enhances the whole book through these colors.