Posts tagged: Clayface

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 #12

Time to break down the creation of another cover! This time it’s Young Justice #12, the second part of a storyline featuring Clayface, for a story that tells the unique Young Justice continuity origin of the character.

Once again we had to developing the cover before a finished script was available. To be clear, this isn’t meant to imply that the scripts were late or anything. Rather it’s a function of how early the cover is needed for solicitation/promotional purposes. DC likes action covers whenever possible, and the confrontation between Clayface and The Team didn’t come until the end of the story. There was some earlier conflict between Clayface and Batman and Robin, but Batman and Robin had featured on the previous issue’s cover, so there was a real desire to show the Young Justice Team. So we fell into one of my pet peeves of comic covers – we essentially tease the issue’s cliffhanger ending on the cover. Oh, well. C’est la vie.

So the cover became less of a conceptual challenge and more of a compositional one. The mission: Design a cover featuring Superboy, Miss Martian, Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad all fighting Clayface in a sewer location. First off, the sewer had to be big to allow for all this action. The second issue was how to occupy all five heroes in combat simultaneously against a single opponent. Thankfully Clayface is not only large, but is a shape-shifter, frequently seen growing extra limbs to perform various tasks. So I placed a large Clayface figure in my sewer tunnel, with a separate arm holding each of four of the team members, with Superboy punching Clayfaces’ body, showing the futility of such an attack by splashing harmlessly into Clayface’s torso. Since Miss Martian is also a shape-shifter who has also produced extra limbs in the TV show, I thought it would be fun to give her an extra arm while she grappled with her own Clayface appendage. I placed her in the foreground so the figure would be a little larger and the extra limb a little easier to see. I wanted to have the solid parts of Clayface emerging from an amorphous mass of clay in the bottom of the sewer, making it feel the heroes were surrounded by Clayface – that we was coming from everywhere!

Young Justice #12 - Cover Sketch

Young Justice #12 – Cover Sketch

The sketch was well-received overall. Greg was concerned that Clayface wasn’t imposing enough, and suggesting making his figure more central. Jim Chadwick and Mark Chiarello at DC liked the asymmetrical design, and it was suggested to make Clayface proportionally larger than the heroes. They also wanted Clayface to appear more “solid” as they were already concerned about the sewer setting making Clayface look like a poo-monster.

So there wasn’t much room to make the Clayface figure bigger, so I made the heroes proportionally smaller. Rather than having the arm grappling with Miss Martian emerging from the bottom of the sewer, I had it at winding around from Clayface’s side, and I ended up flipping her position to make her work better in this tweaked composition. I also turned Clayface’s head so he was less in profile, hoping it would make him a little more menacing-looking.

As I said, this cover largely teases the cliffhanger moment at the end of the issue, and when the scene picks up at the beginning of issue 13, the script called for an arrangement remarkably similar to the cover here, so I kind of got to draw the scene again from a slightly different angle.

Pencils and inks by me are seen below, plus color by Zac Atkinson.


Young Justice #12 - Cover Pencils

Young Justice #12 – Cover Pencils

Young Justice #12 - Cover Inks

Young Justice #12 – Cover Inks

Young Justice #12 - Cover Colors

Young Justice #12 – Cover Colors

And there you have it! So this probably would have been a better cover for issue #13, but we used it on #12. So what did we do for #13? Watch for the next Creating a Cover blog entry to find out! Check this issue of Young Justice out in digital form or at your local comic shop. Watch for a Commentary blog entry on this issue soon!

Young Justice #12 out today!

Young Justice #12 - cover colors

Young Justice #12 cover art

…and I didn’t draw it. Well I drew the cover, but the interior has “fill-in” art by another artist.

When  I started on the book it was about a month behind schedule, and month after month we just weren’t able to pull enough ahead to make up an issue in the schedule. So, we got a fill-in issue and I jumped directly from drawing #11 to Young Justice #13.

The good news for me is that starting with issue #14 I’m inking the interiors in addition to penciling them. I’m just finishing up the inks on #14 now while penciling issue #15. I can’t wait for everyone to see how that looks (although I’ve inked all my covers on this title, so the look shouldn’t be too startling), but that’s a couple of issues off.

In the meantime, Young Justice #12 is written by the regular team of Greg Weisman and Kevin Hopps, and continues the storyline wiht Ra’s al Ghul, Talia al Ghul and Clayface begun last issue. It’s a good read and I recommend checking it out. I’ll be back drawing the interiors next month with part three of our Clayface epic!

As always, you can pick up the comic in digital form or at your local comic shop, and questions and comments are always welcome!

Title Pages: Batman Strikes #14

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.

Issue #14 of The Batman Strikes! was the concluding chapter of the 50-issue series’ only 2-parter, and we opened with a full-page splash continuation of the previous issue’s cliffhanger: Batman and Catwoman under attack by Clayface!

Strikes #14 - Title Page pencils

Strikes #14 – Title Page pencils

Strikes #14 - Title Page inks

Strikes #14 – Title Page inks


This page is a great example of how I really tried on this book to compose pages with areas of high-contrast light and dark. And the full-page splash allowed me to frame a nice shot of good and gloppy Clayface menacing Batman and Catwoman and still gave me room for one of my more elaborate title logo designs, complete with hourglass and ripping letters, with space below for the story credits. That kind of texture work really played to series inker Terry Beatty’s strengths, and I always looked forward to seeing what he’d do on pages like this.

Strikes #14 - Title Page color

Strikes #14 – Title Page color

Sadly, this page is also a great example of why I wish I’d had more input on the coloring of this series, as I often felt like the approach used was working in direct opposition to what I was trying to do with the lien art. For some reason Clayface was given a special color treatment where all the blacks on the figure were lightened from pure black to a dark gray color. I felt this really flattened the character by diminishing the contrast of the light-and-shadow effects I was employing to give the figure weight and mass. A similar lightening effect was used on the cityscape in the background and the buildings were placed against a sky color that was tonally similar, which served to visually obliterate the skyline, and doesn’t bear any resemblance to how skyscapers in a large city look at night. Furthermore, a similar lightening color effect was employed on the clay in the foreground that Batman and Catwoman were immersed in. I feel that the coloring effect so overpowered the line art, that it’s use in the foreground, midground and background really flattened the whole image, and turned what had been a carefully composed image into something of a muddy (pun-intended) mess.

At least the coloring on the logo worked well, and the bottom third of the page really pops. I just wish that this coloring effect wasn’t used on Clayface, as it was through the whole issue!

I’ll have more installments of Title Pages soon, but until then you can check out previous installments!