It’s time for another installment of my Creating a Cover series. As was often the case, this cover was being designed before I had seen the script for the issue in question, so I had to rely on a suggestion from series writer Greg Weisman for an idea of what would be appropriate subject matter for a cover. Greg suggestion was basically “Everybody versus Brainiac.” I hadn’t seen a script for our Brainiac (aka “The Collector of Worlds”) in action yet so I wasn’t sure what kind of offensive capabilities he was going to display. I figured I’d just have him in a “ready for action” pose and make it obvious that combat was imminent. The “everybody” he was going to be fighting included all the Young Justice Team members, plus members of the Justice League – everybody who had been seen up to this point on Brainiac’s ship or the ship belonging to our other villain Kylstar.
I asked if there was any one character who was the focus of the final showdown with Brainiac and I was told that there wasn’t. Because of that and the fact that this was going to be the final issue of our series, I didn’t want to emphasize one of the heroes over the others for the sake of a more dynamic layout, so the the challenge became how to include more than a dozen heroes fighting a single opponent, without giving any one of them the lion’s share of the focus.
As is often the case when trying to include this many characters on a cover, the way to organize them into a layout is a process of almost mathematical deduction. I knew what I wanted to do, but I felt the need to offer multiple options and present my reasoning.
I presented three sketches to indicate the three basic approaches I saw as our options:
Sketch A places Brainiac at the center background with everyone else rushing him. The disadvantage of this approach was that while it makes for a compelling image, it puts most of the heroes in a position with their backs to the viewer – something I especially wanted to avoid on the cover for our swansong issue.
Sketch B takes more of the lateral view – viewing the gang-rush of heroes more in profile, with Brainiac down in the corner to allow the heroes to be more spread out and coming at him from both ground-level and from the air!
I felt the strongest option was the one presented in Sketch C – with Brainiac in the foreground, cheated “towards the camera” so we get a better look at him, but his attention clearly on all the heroes converging on him from the background. This option has the heroes coming at us front on, and gives us lots of open space to spread them across the cover, still leaving room for the logo at the top.
Happily for me, Sketch C was chosen so I proceeded to pencils and inks. This ended up being the only time I got to draw Lagoon Boy in his “puffed up” combat mode. This is also a great look at our version of Brainiac, who I was so happy to have gotten to design for Young Justice.
And finally, here’s the final version with color by Zac Atkinson complete with all the final logos and other trade dress.
I really enjoyed getting to draw so many of the covers for my run on Young Justice. I enjoy drawing covers overall, and I really enjoyed getting to contribute more fully to the total look and feel of the Young Justice issues I did, as opposed to The Batman Strikes were most of the covers were by other artists.
You can find my previous Creating a Cover installments here.