Posts tagged: Terry Beatty

Title Pages: The Batman Strikes #19

It’s time for another installment of Title Pages, featuring another title page from my run on The Batman Strikes! which was a tie-in comic for The Batman animated TV series. A Title Page is the page which features the story title and credits for the issue, and is often (but not always) a Splash Page, which is a full-page image, rather than a page broken up into multiple panels.

grundy

A classic comic book Grundy

Solomon_Grundy

Grundy as seen in The Batman

386765_1267214061334_full

The De Niro Frankenstein monster


In The Batman Strikes! #19 we got to play with Solomon Grundy, who in the continuity of The Batman was a gaunt, zombie-like figure, who reminded me of the Christopher Lee Frankenstein monster. It also let us move out of Gotham City and into the (oddly) nearby swamplands, which made for a nice change of pace art-wise for the book. I was doing my best to channel the classic EC Horror Comics on this one, and my inker (and classic horror fan) Terry Beatty was more than up to the challenge!

Strikes #19 - pg 01 prev Strikes #19 pg 01 inks prev BS_19_Oroboros_ 002


No real set-up this time, as we get our title logo on panel one of page one. I thought it would be fun to have the letter shapes darken and cast a wavering reflection in the murky swamp water.

Strikes #19 - pg 02 prev Strikes #19 pg 02 inks prev BS_19_Oroboros_ 003


And here’s the rest of that sequence. As you can see, the sound effects were part of the artwork from the pencil stage. I love doing that whenever possible.

I wish the effect of Batman caught in the beam of the flashlight hadn’t been colored with such a sharply-defined cone of light coming from the flashlight. It’s not a realistic effect and it detracts from the effect of the area caught in the beam popping out from a background that’s otherwise in silhouette.

And while it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Title Page, I can’t blog about this issue without including my favorite page from the issue, and one of my favorite from the entire series.

Strikes #19 - pg 10 prev Strikes #19 - INKS pg 10 BS_19_Oroboros_ 011


I’ll have more installments of Title Pages soon, but until then you can check out previous installments! As always, questions and comments are welcome!

Title Pages: The Batman Strikes #17

It’s time for another installment of Title Pages, featuring another title page from my run on The Batman Strikes! which was a tie-in comic for The Batman animated TV series. A Title Page is the page which features the story title and credits for the issue, and is often (but not always) a Splash Page, which is a full-page image, rather than a page broken up into multiple panels.

The Batman Strikes! #17 featured a title page that was the payoff of a 2-page sequence with Gotham City Police Chief Angel Rojas and Detective Ellen Yin reacting to a message being projected into the sky via searchlight beam by The Riddler. What the heck kind of smog does Gotham City produce that they have such dense, concentrated cloud layers that you can project PRINT onto them without it diffusing into illegibility?

 

Strikes #17 - pg 01 prev BS_17_Oroboros_ 002

 
Both of these characters were fun to draw. Chief Rojas was the top cop in the first season of The Batman animated series for which this was was the tie-in comic series. Both Rojas and Ellen Yin were new characters created for The Batman, and brought some needed ethnic diversity to the pantheon of Batman characters. Rojas was unfriendly to the bat-garbed vigilante who had recently appeared in Gotham, especially in contrast to Commissioner Gordon who largely replaced him in the second season. I never heard if there was any reason to invent this character and not use Gordon in the first season other than trying to diversify the cast (a worthy enough goal). I wish they would have done more with him after Gordon came in, but the character kind of faded away. Yin also largely was pushed aside to make way for other supporting characters as Batgirl and Robin were added in later seasons.

On page 2 we see the payoff of this sequence as Batman swoops in front of the searchlight, foreshadowing the Bat-Signal. The story title and credits appear in this panel, and I made the “Q” into a question mark to reference The Riddler as the villain of this story.

 

Strikes #17 - pg 02 prev BS_17_Oroboros_ 003

 
Sadly I don’t have the inks-only versions of these pages in digital form to include in this post, but you can see how the pencils compare to the finished pages. I’d really love for DC to make digital editions of all the issues of this series available, as the lower-quality paper used on this title combined with the deep, saturated colors that were frequently used could make the pages look dark and muddy, and a lot of the contrast I was trying to create in the line art was diminished. I bet most of these pages would look MUCH better in purely digital form as opposed to what you seeĀ  here, which are scans of the printed comic.

I’ll have more installments of Title Pages soon (I promise), but until then you can check out previous installments! As always, questions and comments are welcome!

Title Pages: The Batman Strikes #8

This installment of the Title Pages series features the first Batman Strikes appearance of Firefly.

Batman Strikes #8 - Title Page

Batman Strikes #8 - Title Page

The title page of the issue was a 1-page scene establishing an arsonist-fir-hire who is shown to be Firefly by a reveal of his helmet in the final panel. Rather than find a way of inserting a logo and space for credits into this talky scene, I decided to have the title act as a masthead for the page, featuring the title of the story in flaming letters against a Batman logo based on the 1960s logo of the Batman comic book, but using the likeness of the Batman design from this animated TV series.

Batman Strikes #8 - Title Logo

Batman Strikes #8 - Title Logo

Here’s the final color version with lettering. Note the Film Noir tone I was trying to evoke in the story with the lighting through the blinds. To me, Batman is all about mood and atmosphere, and I think you can be true to that even in an all ages title. More soon…!

Batman Strikes #8 Title Page

Batman Strikes #8 Title Page

Title Pages: The Batman Strikes #7

Batman Strikes #7 Title Logo

Batman Strikes #7 Title Logo

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.

Batman Strikes #7 - Title Page

Batman Strikes #7 - Title Page

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!

Batman Strikes #7 - Title Page inks

Batman Strikes #7 - Title Page inks

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.

Batman Strikes #7 - Title Page

Batman Strikes #7 - Title Page

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!

New art in the Batman Strikes cover gallery

I’ve added a bunch of new art to the Batman Strikes cover art gallery, including unused cover sketches. You can see the selection of concept sketches, then follow the cover through the pencils, ink and color stages! Check it out by clicking the image!

Batman Strikes #41 Cover Color