Posts tagged: Zac Atkinson

Coming to the pages of Young Justice…

Cold as Crystal, with eyes that BURN!

Cold as Crystal, with eyes that BURN!

He is coming…

I can’t show you the whole cover to Young Justice #23 yet, but when you see it in a month’s time, you’ll see one of my favorite covers I’ve drawn for the series so far, and one of my favorite character designs. The character in question appears before then, but here’s an even earlier peek, pencils and inks by me, colors by Zac Atkinson.

As always, you can find Young Justice at your local comics shop or in digital form!

OUT NOW: Young Justice #18

Young Justice #18 Cover

Young Justice #18 Cover

YOUNG JUSTICE #18 is written by Greg Weisman and drawn by Christopher Jones with color by Zac Atkinson.

The Young Justice team faces an army of enhanced warrior apes. But when Miss Martian is knocked unconscious and the group’s psychic link goes with her, will the team still be able to work together to defeat their attackers? Moreover, what’s the origin of Gorilla City in the first place?

Featuring The Brain! Monsieur Mallah! Ultra-Humanite! Grodd! Solivar! Batman! Captain Marvel! And the entire Young Justice Team!

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Page 1

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Pages 4/5 - Title Spread

Pages 4/5 – Title Spread

Be sure to pick the issue up at your local comics shop or in digital form!

Out TODAY: Young Justice #16

Young Justice #16

Young Justice #16

YOUNG JUSTICE #16 is written by Greg Weisman and Christopher Jones with color by Zac Atkinson.

Robin, Kid Flash and Artemis fight crime with their adult counterparts (that’s Batman, The Flash and Green Arrow, respectively) in this first part of a new storyline. As an added bonus there’s an Easter Egg for attendees of CONvergence!

Green Arrow & Artemis

Green Arrow & Artemis

In the Museum

In the Museum

Batman and Robin

Batman and Robin

Be sure to pick the issue up at your local comics shop or in digital form!

C2E2 Report!

C2E2 Logo

I’ve been so busy since getting back from Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo that I’m only now getting this blog post up! Yikes!

The adventure started with my partner-in-crime Hal and I loading up the car (no small task with all the stuff I was bringing to the show!) and setting off on the 8-hour drive from Minneapolis to Chicago. Despite only getting a couple of hours sleep the night before with all I had to do getting ready for the trip, I managed to handle the first six hours of driving and didn’t have to turn the wheel over to Hal until after a refueling stop two hours out from the Windy City. We didn’t get in until late, and found that our hotel had an odd parking arrangement where they had a lot that you could have your car placed in by a valet driver, but this lot closed at midnight and we hadn’t gotten in until nearly 1:00am. This would have been nice to be informed of when I confirmed the room and our expectation of a late arrival. There was a parking space across the street, but it was a metered space that enforcement began at 8:00am, which meant I had to get up sometime after 6:00am when the hotel’s parking opened again, get the rest of the cartload of stuff out of the car, turn it over to the hotel’s valet driver to park, and then cart the stuff up to the room until we headed over to the convention center a few hours later.

With that unpleasantness behind us, we embarked on the adventure of the convention itself!

The whole thing took place within the utterly massive McCormick Place Convention Center in downtown Chicago. I had been to other conventions in Chicago but this was my first time at C2E2 and at this convention center. It’s Huuuuuuuuuge! Artists’ Alley was a very respectable size as well, and this was probably the biggest and most elaborate table set up I’ve ever done. And not bad, if I do say so myself.

I mean, we really pulled out all the stops, as you can see. I got a new banner, we had a digital slideshow, candy bowl, video camera and more. For the first couple days, I had a display of the different stages involved in creating a Young Justice cover draped over the front of my table. It was a fun idea, but not eye-catching enough to draw the kind of table traffic I’d hoped, so on day three I scrapped it in favor of displaying some of my prints.

More so here than at other conventions I’ve attended, space behind the table was at quite a premium. Convention set up is always about making table look interesting and inviting to the audience while underneath and behind is all your “junk” jammed in, but it was challenging here to just get up and get out of there to grab a snack or a bathroom break without disturbing other artists’ displays. I hope there is more of a pathway in future years!


Young Justice

A large chunk of the Young Justice past and present creative team were also at C2E2, and my booth was actually right next to Art Baltazar and Franco, who wrote Young Justice issues #0-6! Mike Norton, who penciled issues #0-4, was sitting behind me, and Zac Atkinson, who has colored the book since issue #0 was only a couple rows away. It was also nice to touch base again with Jim Chadwick, the book’s editor. But more about that later.

Cosplay in general tends to be impressive at these things, but I think one of my favorite memories of the weekend was getting to meet the Inner Mind Theater folks, who are internet-famous for their amazing Young Justice cosplay group. Check it out! 

It was actually kind of comical. I was completely geeking out over them while they geeked out over me, and that lasted several minutes. Of course I had to make sure they all walked away with free signed Young Justice comics, but it surprised me when they asked me to sign parts of their costumes! Make sure to look for the group among the interviews with the creative team in our Young Justice at C2E2 highlight video below!

Oh yes, we made a highlight video.


Catching up with People

One of the best parts of any convention is meeting or catching up with friends and peers from the industry, and that’s usually the part of the convention experience that happens fairly randomly in-between all the mores scheduled things you’re doing!

A priority for me was to track down Zac Atkinson, the colorist on Young Justice who I’d been working with for a year but hadn’t met before! Ah, the wacky world of comics.) I found him at his table and chatted with him for 15-20 minutes before rushing back to my own table.

I got to see Jim Chadwick again, (my editor on Young Justice). I’d met him for the first time this past February when when visiting DC Entertainment offices in Los Angeles. Jim sat with me during my Saturday signing at the DC Booth, then we met up with Zac for a quick lunch at a sandwich shop in the adjoining hotel.

On the way back from lunch with Jim and Zac I ran into Lynne Thomas (editor of Chick’s Dig Time Lords) and her husband Michael, who I’ve been friends with for a number of years and only manage to see once or twice a year – usually at a convention. Later they stopped by my table and I scored a copy of Lynne’s new book Chicks Dig Comics (which Lynne edited along with Sigrid Ellis).

Josh Elder & Russell Lissau who had been writers on The Batman Strikes! both stopped by my Artists Alley table. Not much time to chat, but it was nice to touch base with them both. I had seen Josh for dinner during my February trip to Los Angeles, but I hadn’t seen Russell since my last Chicago convention a few years ago.

Fletcher Chu-Fong is DC Comics’ Director of Events, which means he’s usually one of the key people in charge of DC’s presence at major events like C2E2 and other major conventions. I hadn’t seen Fletcher in a couple of years since I’d last been to a major show, and it was good to see him in what seems like his native habitat – the DC Comics booth!

It’s always great seeing the very funny Kenneth Hite, writer, game designer and raconteur. Joined by Hal, our friends Sarah and Ken (dubbed Ken2 for the evening) and Kenneth’s friends Matt and Cam,  made our traditional pilgrimage with him to Giordano’s – home of the best pizza on Earth. On a previous outing we had laughed ourselves silly trading off creative epiphanies in the character of a cigar-chomping amalgam of Silver Age DC Editor in Chief Carmine Infantino,  Jack Kirby, and Martin Short’s Irving Cohen.  We also were inspired by a large planter that vaguely resembled the crystal ship from Superman: The Movie to develop Flor-El, the Last Plant of Krypton who essentially was Swamp Thing in a cape. His Clark Kent persona wasn’t terribly convincing…

Twin Cities local writer and artist Zander Cannon stopped by my table to say hello. I never found enough time to complete my own tour of Artist’s Alley and to find Zander’s table. Maybe I’ll have better luck at MCBA Springcon this weekend!

I didn’t even know Len Wein was at the show until I saw his signature on a copy of the Program Book I was autographing for a fan. Happily I ran into him on Sunday at the DC Booth as he was literally on his way out of the convention to head to the airport.

Legendary artist George Perez walked past my table on Sunday and I managed to flag him down to introduce myself and say hello. I’ve been a fan of George’s artwork for as long as I can remember, but my admiration for his masterful work with massive crowd scenes has only increased since landing a gig as the artist of a monthly team book, and I told him so! He seemed amused and was very gracious.

I had wanted to say hello to editor Thomas Brennan from Marvel but was never able to find him any of the times I managed to swing through the Marvel booth! I had drawn an Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes story for him and was expecting to do more, and I always like to say hello to people I’m working with whenever I can. Oh, well, maybe next time.


Signings and Sketches and Panels, Oh My!

I got the opportunity to do some fun sketches for fans while sitting in Artists’ Alley. Here are a few:

I spent an hour on Saturday and Sunday signing and sketching at the DC Comics Booth, where it was fun to have a chance to meet fans in a slightly higher-profile setting! When signing at the DC Comics booth, an artist is sort of obliged to do free sketches. Now these aren’t meant to be sketches on par with the ones I’m charging for back at my table in Artists Alley. These are quick head sketches, drawn quickly and in sharpie, usually on DC branded comic book backing boards they provide you with. Throw out every bit of drawing technique you might have about sketching basic shapes and tightening up with detail as you go! Here’s a sharpie… GO! And you’re trying to chat with people and be charming and funny while trying not to put down a single line on their drawing you don’t like and wish you could erase or otherwise change. They don’t tell you that you’ll need these skills when you’re starting out. So practice your speed drawing accuracy, kids!

I was also asked to participate in the DC Comics for Kids panel on Sunday along with Art Baltazar, Franco and Jim Chadwick.  The audience was mostly young kids and their parents, so there wasn’t going to be a discussion about what a kids book is as opposed to an all-ages title, or why DC Comics chooses to produce the all-ages titles they do, and why they package and market them the way they do. Instead it it was trying to answer questions about whether we might be seeing more super-pets in upcoming issues. But that was fine. I’m always happy to see kids reading comics and it’s great seeing the love and enthusiasm for these characters continuing into the next generation. The whole panel was sort of flying by the seat of our pants, but it’s always fun to talk about a project you’re working on. Here’s a video of the Young Justice highlights from the panel:



Finally Sunday evening rolled in. I packed up, moved out, and posed for another photo with the big foam C2E2 sign. I think I felt about how I look here:

Oh! And ran into Paul Guinan and Anina Bennet (Boilerplate) when leaving! I hadn’t seen them in years, and therefore had to pose for a silly photo. It’s just what you do in that situation. Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of said photo, so you will have to utilize your imagination if you want to see how awesome we looked. 

Rain spoiled Hal’s and my last chance to go walking and find an interesting place to eat, and so we stayed in and enjoyed mediocre delivery food and a slow internet connection from our luxurious hotel room. The next morning was rainy and windy. We had trouble getting stuff out to car but eventually got on road. Drove the 8 hours back to Minneapolis. That’s right, I drove the whole way. I’ll be happy to not drive again for a good long while after that.

C2E2 overall was fun and I would call it a success. I am definitely looking forward to returning next year! And I hope to see more of you there!


You can see all of my planned 2012 appearances on my (appropriately enough) Appearances Page.

Do you want to see me at your convention? Let me know! Send me an e-mail.

Character Designs & Creating a Cover: Young Justice #14

We’re going to jump ahead in sequence of our Creating a Cover series, and we’re combining it with the next installment of Character Designs. That’s because most of what there is to tell about this cover is about the desgin work that needed to be done for it, and there are SO MANY new characters appearing in Young Justice #14 that I thought I’d get a few of them out of the way with this entry before detailing the rest of them in a separate entry on YJ #14 in the near future.

Long before I drew the issue itself and even before I’d seen a final script for the story, I needed to design the cover for the issue, needed early for publicity and solicitation purposes. The scenario I was given was to do an underwater downshot of Aqualad, Miss Martian and Superboy surrounded by Hooded Atlantean Purists. Furthermore, Superboy was to be wearing one of Aqualad’s spare costumes, but MINUS the Water-Bearers, BackPack and “A” belt buckle. He was also to be sporting a clear oxygen mask that covers his mouth and nose with some form of filter/re-breather attachment. Miss Martian was to have shape-shifted into a more underwater-friendly form, having ditched her usual cape and morphed herself to copy Lori Lemaris’s mermaid tail from the waist down and having grown Aqualad-like gills on her neck.  She was also meant to be shorter than usual, but that didn’t end up being a big issue with the floating figures on the cover.

The Purists were meant to be cloaked and hooded Atlanteans of Aquaman’s type, i.e. to the naked eye they look completely human.  Like all Atlanteans, there were to have bare feet.  I was also instructed that their eyes were to magically glow from within the shadowed depths of their hoods.

Miss Martian’s mermaid form was almost a non-issue, as it was just putting the top of her body on the bottom of the design for Lori Lemaris, plus adding gills identical in design to Aqualad. Superboy was basically in Aqualad’s costume minus key accessories, plus the addition of an oxygen maks. And I had to design the Purists.

Purists first:

Atlantean Purist A
Atlantean Purist A
Atlantean Purist B
Atlantean Purist B
Atlantean Purist C
Atlantean Purist C

I wanted to give the Purists interesting looking hoods, as I figured we’d be getting a lot of shots of these hoods serving as close-ups of characters in the actual story. I also wanted lots of draping fabric that could swirl in the water and make interesting shapes and suggest movement. The draping sleeves and tabards tended to get even more elongated once I was actually drawing the story. The whole design evolved a little bit once I started drawing pages, but we stayed close enough to the approved model that no one complained! I wasn’t sure about a color scheme, so I put these three options together, half-expecting to have someone suggest an option D. Version B was chosen, but which do YOU prefer?

Superboy Underwater Mask
Superboy Underwater Mask

Next up was Superboy’s air mask. I wanted to keep this simple and unobtrusive. I wanted Superboy’s face and expressions to be unobscured, and I figured we were dealing with advanced Atlantean technology and we didn’t need to be constrained by anything resembling current diving gear and oxygen tanks. This is what I came up with, and it actually became further simplified in the story, losing those square-ish bits at the corners of his jaw.

So now it was time to design a cover!

Young Justice #14 - cover rough 1

Young Justice #14 – cover rough 1

This was a relatively tight drawing for a cover rough, but we seemed to be pretty firmly locked into a concept, so I felt I could do something fairly tight I could then use as a basis for the final pencil art. Given that the characters were floating in water, I wanted the heroes to be “surrounded” in a fairly 3-dimensional way. I tried to make it clear that the Purists were not only coming from all sides but also from above and below.

The feedback was that DC wanted a little more of a feeling of action. Also, they wanted the piece to have a little more focus, so it was suggested to emphasize Aqualad a little more since it was his story.

Young Justice #14 - cover rough 2

Young Justice #14 – cover rough 2

The revised version is pretty similar – I just changed the proportion of some of the characters, bringing Aqualad forward and pushing Superboy and Miss Martian back. I turned Miss Martian’s head to better show off the gills on her neck. Aqualad is now deflecting a magical attack from one of the Purists with one of his hard water blades.

This version was approved, so from there it was the routine progression of pencils and inks, with color by Zac Atkinson.

Young Justice #14 - Cover Pencils

Young Justice #14 – Cover Pencils

Young Justice #14 - Cover Inks

Young Justice #14 – Cover Inks

Young Justice #14 - Cover Color

Young Justice #14 – Cover Color

And there you have it!  Young Justice #14 goes on sale TODAY both in digital form or at your local comic shop!

As always, questions and comments are welcome.