I just recently received perhaps the most unique and interesting comic assignment of my career. A Marvin Martian/Martian Manhunter Team-up book! What the?!
Fortunately I am a HUGE Chuck Jones and Warner Bros. Cartoon fan, so I practically leapt at the opportunity to work on such a project. The number one challenge was to redesign Marvin Martian so he fit a little better into the DCU but not lose his classic feel. We had to be able to look at him and know that it was Marvin Martian and yet he had to be less Looney Tune and a little more Bat-Mite.
I did a couple of drawings starting with the classic take on the character to give us all a starting point to compare the progressions too. The first redesign took the character a little too far.
This next design hit the mark. Clearly Marvin Martian but with just enough modernization to make him work in the DCU.
Now since I am right in the middle of drawing this book, I can only breakdown the cover art beyond this point, which is what I generally do in these blogs anyway. So let’s take a look at the several cover sketches I did for this soon to be monumental book.
Here’s how I viewed these. I thought for sure that “A” would be picked, although “C” is clearly the best design but my favorite was and is “E” because it is an homage to one of Frazetta’s Buck Rogers Famous Funnies covers. (if you don’t know what I am talking about it, google it)
So sure enough, “B” was chosen and after I finished penciling it, someone named Dan Didio discovered its eerie similarities to the cover of Death of Hawkman #5 which I had recently completed. I had indeed inadvertently pulled a “John Byrne” and ripped off myself. So we decided to go with “C” which was probably the right call all along.
So I penciled the cover and actually remembered to scan it.
I was actually able to work in a nice Frazetta planet in the background. Like I always say, “If you can’t rip-off yourself, rip-off someone else.”
I then inked the pencil almost entirely with a brush. The ray-gun and the design stuff on the helmet and armbands was done with a pen.
You can see that I added the floating asteroid field during the inking stage. I just really felt like I needed something else in there besides space. I created the stars the old fashioned way…by dipping a toothbrush into white-out and splattering it on the black.
Coloring was a challenge. In Marvin’s first cartoon appearance he wore a green top. But in his most famous appearance, Duck Dodgers, he wore a red top. Probably because they put Daffy in Green and they both couldn’t wear the same color! So Marvin has been in red ever since. So I went with red. I didn’t go with the white gloves because I thought it might be too Looney Tune-ish. But the powers that be saw it differently…
So I changed the gloves to white.
Then it was requested that I make his helmet and armor more shiney. So I did that also.
So this was and is the final version of the cover art. (Notice the groovy color hold on the orange moon behind Marvin). This has quickly become one of my all-time favorite covers. That fact that Marvin Martian is on it might have a little something to do with it.
This book will be out in June and is a must read for Looney Tune nuts like me!
Thanks for looking!