Posts tagged: Ra’s al Ghul

Young Justice Volume 2: Training Day – IN STORES NOW!

Young Justice Vol 2: Training Day

Young Justice Vol 2: Training Day

Hey, the second collected edition of my Young Justice series hit stores this past week. Following the first volume which collected issues #0 – #6, Volume Two has a cover price of $12.99 and is chock-full of Young Justice goodness by writers Greg Weisman and Kevin Hopps, pencils by Yours Truly, inks by Dan Davis, colors by Zac Atkinson, and one issue drawn by guest artist Luciano Vecchio.

Here’s how DC Comics describes it:

Based on the animated show from Warner Bros. airing on Cartoon Network, Young Justice collects single issue, all ages appropriate stories featuring the popular characters from the hit Cartoon Network show.

In this volume, Superboy, Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, Miss Martian and Artemis defend Gotham City from Batman’s biggest foes Ra’s al Ghul and Clayface while also fending off Professor Ivo’s malevolent MONQIs!

And that doesn’t even mention appearances by Talia al Ghul, Ubu, Sensei, Amazo, Green Arrow, Rako (The Cambodian!) and Captain Atom!

Here’s more about the issues included:

Young Justice #7: “Rabbit Holes”
Young Justice #8: “Wonderland”
Young Justice #9: “Cold Case”
Young Justice #10: “Hot Case”
Young Justice #11: “The Pit…”
Young Justice #12: “The Pendulum”
Young Justice #13: “…And the Penalty”

This volume joins:

Features issues #0-6.
Released on January 11, 2012
Cover Price: $12.99

and coming in 2013:

Features issues #14-19!
Release Date: February 13th, 2013
Cover Price: $12.99

Creating a Cover: Young Justice #11

Time to break down the creation of another cover! This time it’s Young Justice #11, the first part of a storyline featuring Ra’s al Ghul, a villain who has been a favorite of mine for years. He was one of three villains declared off limits during my run on The Batman Strikes (the others being Two-Face and Scarecrow), so despite my 44-issue run on that Batman title, I’d never had a chance to draw Ras’ professionally before, and I really wanted to knock it out of the park.

When we starting talking about cover designs this time, I learned that Ra’s was our villain and that the story featured an encounter between Ra’s and Batman and Robin, but I didn’t know much about the rest of the story, as the script wasn’t final yet. My first instinct was to pay homage to one of the early Neal Adams covers that represent the comics that made me fall in love with the character in the first place. Here are the covers I was suggesting along with my notes to writer Greg Weisman and my editor Jim Chadwick. (Notes in blue.)

Batman #232

Batman #232 – First appearance of Ra’s. I think it would be fun to swap Batman and Robin’s position on the cover. With or without the same text.

Treasury Edition

Treasury Edition collection of the early Ra’s al Ghul stories – Again I think it would be fun to swap Batman and Robin’s roles. If Talia isn’t in the story, we’d have to decide if there’s another character to put in her place in the composition, or whether to eliminate the figure.

Even if we do a new composition, I’d love to do a cover with a big, ghostly Ra’s figure in the background as in either of these two covers.

Batman #244

Batman #244 – I’m guessing the Lawrence of Arabia setting wouldn’t work, but I think the Ra’s and Batman figures could be recast as Ra’s and Robin.

Not knowing the specifics of the plot, I didn’t know if any of these were remotely appropriate – even as a symbolic cover. Greg responded with the following suggestions of his own that tied in more specifically to the script-in-progress:

1. A confrontation at a missile launch site. (Which I think is more or less where the story opens.)

2. Something Lazarus Pit oriented where someone or something is rising out of the pit. (Which I think is more or less where the issue ends).

I asked for more specifics about what Greg had in mind regarding a “missile launch site,” but a Lazarus Pit scene captured my imagination. I suggested the following:

What about Ra’s rising from a Lazarus Pit in the foreground, with a missile launching from the pad (symbolically) behind him, with Batman and Robin looking on in alarm, either as figures or as ghostly images like Ra’s in two of those classic covers? (I can clarify this with a sketch if it sounds like a direction we’d want to pursue.)

I assume whatever Ra’s is wearing in the story we’d want him in his main costume for the cover, unless he’s seen rising from the pit in which case I’d prefer him bare-chested.

Greg and Jim liked the direction of a Lazarus Pit scene, even though it meant a symbolic cover that depicted a scene that did not literally take place in the story.I wanted Ra’s to be the focus of the piece and make him look powerful, with Robin the next most prominent figure as he’s the only character on the cover who’s a regular star of the book. I settled on a low angle shot looking up at and past Ra’s with Robin closest to Ra’s in the foreground with Batman further back (and therefor smaller.) I did this relatively tight sketch for approval. The dark setting served to simplify the background and keep the focus on the characters, as well as allow for dramatic under-lighting. I tried to make the image more dynamic by using strong vertical lines in perspective, which can be seen not only in the background architecture, but in the Lazarus Pit goo dripping off of Ra’s.

As always, I was careful to leave enough room at the top for the Young Justice logo and other DC Comics trade dress.

Young Justice #11 - Cover Rough

Young Justice #11 – Cover Rough

The sketch was approved, so it was relatively straightforward to proceed with pencils and inks. I elaborated on the doorway Batman in running through, trying to pull in some of the architectural detail of the Fortress Al Ghul location where the Lazarus Pit would be located in our story, a location seen in episode 6 of the TV show, “Infiltrator.” Pencils and inks by me are seen below, plus color by Zac Atkinson.

Young Justice #11 - Cover Pencils

Young Justice #11 – Cover Pencils

Young Justice #11 - Cover Inks

Young Justice #11 – Cover Inks

Young Justice #11 - Cover Color

Young Justice #11 – Cover Color

And there you have it! This turned out to be one of my favorite covers for the series so far, and some others must have liked it as I saw it used in a number of articles previewing DC titles coming out that month. And the story inside turned out to be a lot of fun, too! You can check it out in digital form or at your local comic shop.

I’ll be doing a Commentary blog entry on this issue soon, and will be doing another “Creating a Cover” entry for Young Justice #12 sooner still!

Character Designs: Young Justice #11

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.

Talia al Ghul

Talia al Ghul



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.

YJ #11 page 4

YJ #11 page 4

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.

Thomas Kalmaku

Thomas Kalmaku

I had a great time drawing this issue, and I hope you check it out, either in digital form or at your local comic shop!

As always, questions and comments are welcome.

Young Justice #11 5-page preview

The spotlight turns to Robin, who must leave his teammates to fight alongside his crime-fighting mentor, Batman. And the stakes couldn’t be higher for the Dynamic Duo as they face off against the Demon’s Head himself: Ra’s al Ghul!

Check out the preview below and then pick up the comic in digital form or at your local comic shop!

YJ #11 page 1

YJ #11 page 1

YJ #11 page 2

YJ #11 page 2

YJ #11 page 3

YJ #11 page 3

YJ #11 page 4

YJ #11 page 4

YJ #11 page 5

YJ #11 page 5

Greg Weisman and Christopher Jones talk Young Justice

World’s Finest Online has just posted an interview with Greg Weisman (Young Justice show-runner and writer for both the TV show and comic), and I Q&A I did for them, both featuring lots of talk about the Young Justice comic book. Check ’em out!

Writer Greg Weisman Teases Upcoming Stories For Young Justice Comic Series

The World’s Finest Q & A With Christopher Jones, Comic Artist For Young Justice

And remember, Young Justice #11 is OUT NOW!

Young Justice #11 page 2

Young Justice #11