Here’s another title logo from The Batman Strikes, this time featuring the frightfully frigid Mr. Freeze. It’s always nice when you have characters as thematically strong as Freeze, as they give you a visual element you can apply to all aspects of design. Thankfully the story title was a single word or moderate length, which meant I could create nice big letters to show dripping with ice. Freeze has just broken free of his prison cell, and I placed the logo against the wall to incorporate it into the scene with the ominous, partially-silhouetted figure of Freeze towering over it.
Here you can see the context of the whole page. I should mention that I thought that Mr. Freeze was one of the more successful character designs I got to work with from the animated TV series. Most designs for Mr. Freeze’s cold suit I’d seen previously in animation or comics were topped with some kind of helmet, from a bubble dome to something resembling an astronaut’s helmet. This version had Mr. Freeze’s head covered with a spiky ice formation, and his head was a shadowy shape concealed within, with glowing red eyes visible. It was a great, striking visual and upon seeing it I thought it was surprising it hadn’t been tried earlier!
Here’s the inked page art, with inks by regular Batman Strikes inker Terry Beatty. It’s interesting to compare this to the pencil art, especially where I tried to create some translucence effects in the icy mist swirling around Freeze and the just-destroyed door. One advantage of being paired with an inker on a regular basis is learning what kinds of things the do especially well and then playing to those strengths. On The Batman Strikes! I tried to create stark compositions of light and dark shapes, with only the occastional bits of cross-hatching or other effects to create areas of gray mid-tone. I thought this approach preserved the simple, clean lines of the animation design while creating a shadowy, noir-ish mood that suited the Batman material.
And finally, here’s the page as it appeared with colors and lettering. Note the sound effect that was added in panel 3. That’s normally the kind of thing I liked to draw myself on this series. I’m guessing that the sound effect wasn’t scripted and I hadn’t chosen to add one when I drew the page, but the editor had one added at the lettering stage. I often wasn’t thrilled with the coloring on The Batman Strikes!, but this page looks good to me. The somewhat monochrome color scheme works well for the prison setting, and the color nicely enhances the ice and mist effects in the final panel.
More to come!