I had a chance to design some characters for Young Justice #11. Most of the major characters featured in the comic have appeared on the Young Justice animated TV series so there are existing animation model sheets to follow, but occasionally DC Comics characters who have NOT appeared on the TV show appear in a story, and then it’s up to me to design them for the comic. These character drawings are done to give the comic’s editor as well as Greg Weisman and others working on the TV show a chance to approve or request changes to the designs before I start drawing them in pages of the actual story.
This issue featured Ra’s al Ghul trying to launch a weapons satellite into orbit, hijacking a launch overseen by Green Lantern supporting character Carol Ferris. Both those characters had already been designed for the show, but the comic featured Ra’s’ daughter Talia and his personal bodyguard Ubu, and Ferris Aircraft technician Thomas Kalmaku, all of whom were left to me to interpret in the style of the animated Young Justice.
For both Ubu and Talia, my vision of them is formed by their first appearance in Batman #232, as drawn by Neal Adams. That was the jumping off point, but I wanted to create a unique take on both characters that fit within the “Young Justice” style. The show tends to interpret costumes as not just tights, but with seams and indications that they are constructed to incorporate armor, padding and other functional elements. Ubu and Talia are both first seen in the story in the context of a commando raid kind of operation, so I wanted to give them looks that had a paramilitary feel blended with their traditional comic book appearance.
These drawings also indicate my suggested colors, and you’ll note that I used green on both characters. I wanted to make them look like they were connected, while stopping short of putting them in matching uniforms. I also wanted to put some color on them given that we were also going to have Batman and League of Shadows warriors, which makes for a lot of gray. Green seemed like a nice option for breaking up the gray, while still having a paramilitary/night-ops sort of feel. I gave Talia a white belt and holster as those elements had been a part of several of her comic book looks, and I gave Ubu huge fists, as I not only wanted him to look powerful, but the script called for him to make a two-fisted swing at Batman in one panel, hammering the ground like the Hulk, and I thought huge fists would help sell that move.
There’s not as much to say about the design for Tom Kalmaku. He was only going to be seen clearly in one panel, and he was seated in a NASA Mission Control center, so I just put him in a business shirt and gave him an ID badge. The shirt was partly untucked to give him some character, but it’s a detail not visible in the finished comic.
As always, questions and comments are welcome.