The Art of the Unpublished Cover

About a year ago, someone reading my “Top 20 Covers” blog suggested I do a blog on the unpublished covers I have done.  I thought at the time that was a pretty good idea and then I forgot to do it.  Well, after revisiting my blog archives and re-discovering the suggestion, I decided to go ahead and do it!

The interesting thing is, I don’t really have that many but at the same time it seems like I have too many.  Let’s face it, drawing a cover and then never having it published is something you don’t want to ever have happen, not even once.  But it seems it has happened to me several times.  Let’s take a look at why.

If memory serves, the most recent unpublished cover I drew was for Metamorpho #2.  Why was it drawn and then unpublished?  Those of you who read my Metamorpho series can probably decipher the reason.  There was no Metamorpho series!  Wait, what?  Let me explain.

Originally Metamorpho was going to be a six-issue mini-series.  I drew the cover to issue #1 (which eventually became the cover to the Trade Paperback) and then I drew the cover to issue #2.  At that point DC decided not to run Metamorpho as a stand alone series and instead dropped it into a anthology book entitled, “Legends of Tomorrow” along with three other features.  I ended up drawing the cover to Legends of Tomorrow #1 but the Metamorpho covers did not see print until the trade paperback came out.  As I stated earlier, the cover to Metamorpho #1 ended up as the TPB cover but the cover to the second issue was only used as filler in the TPB.  Here it is in all of its black and white glory.

Metamorpho#2Cvr

The next one I remember (memory fading…mustn’t black…out) is from Amethyst #2.  (There seems to be a pattern developing here with 2nd issues)  The cover design got approved so I penciled and inked it and then someone much higher up the ladder decided that one of the other sketches I turned in was better, so they wanted that version of the cover.  So this cover was “killed”.

SOS2cvr

Now here is something interesting.  I was hired by a small company that had obtained the rights to How To Train Your Dragon to do covers for the first two issues.  I wasn’t given any real direction, so I drew pretty much what I thought might be cool.  I had no idea if the series took place after Hiccup lost his foot or before.  So I drew him with his foot and came up with a pretty nice cover if I do say so myself.  And I do.  Well, then Dreamworks stepped in and said Hiccup had to have the mechanical foot, so I put it in.  Still pretty good cover.

HTTYD#1cvrrevised

Well, then Dreamworks decided Hiccup was too heroic in the pose so they wanted it changed.  Too heroic?  Doesn’t he become heroic at the end of the movie just before he loses his foot?  Whatever.  I changed it to this listless and boring version of the cover.

HTTYDfinalrevised

After this pain in the…..( ) I went ahead and did the next cover.  Dreamworks stepped in again and in an attempt to justify his job, some Dreamworks art director asked that I move the dragon’s right leg an 1/8 of an inch.  Not exaggerating.  So I did it.

HTTYD#3coverrevised

It made no difference in the final piece but apparently everyone was happy (except me).  And the publisher who shortly there after ended his relationship with Dreamworks because they were such a royal pain in the…( ) to work with.  Neither cover ever saw print.

A few years back I did a run of Red Sonja covers which allowed me to experiment with coloring my own covers.  I colored two in photoshop  and two others I painted.  Then came the 5th one.  I turned in the finished piece and it never got used, at least as a cover.  I do believe it ended up as an image in a card set.  I have no idea to this day why Dynamite didn’t use it as a cover.  (I am having trouble locating some of my older scans so I had to steal this from the internet.  Sorry)

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Before I ended up at CrossGen, I drew a Rogue mini-series for Marvel.  I remember it clearly because Rogue never appeared in costume once the entire series!  Anyway, I did a couple of covers for the series but they never got inked or used because it was decided to use Julie Bell to paint the covers instead.  I may have done these to prove I could do the job before they hired Bell or I might have done them afterward to show Marvel what I would have done if they had let me.  I can’t remember which.  Oh, well.  Here is what I came up with.  (I did these before I owned a scanner so I had to grab these off the internet as well)

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Journey back with me now to 1996 when my comic art studio Studiosaurus (name created by Terry Dodson) was at its height of functionality.   The collective decided to do a anthology book that would feature stories by some of the studio artists.  It was to be called “Studiosaurus Thunder” (catchy) and published through Image.  It would feature a CHIX story (those of you who are aware of that book might smile), Ron Randall’s Trekker, a feature by Matt Haley (can’t remember the title) and Primal Zone by me.  We did the cover, all of us contributed to it and then it never got off the ground.

Studiosaurus Thunder

As I turn back the clock even farther to 1994, I remember a cover from my run on SLUDGE that never saw print.  I’m pretty sure this was for issue #9 originally but the Samauri Warrior guy was removed from the story so I redrew it without him.  The final cover art is better than this, so I am glad.  Inks were by Gary Martin on this and the final cover art as well.  The mediocre penciling was by me.

SLUDGEcover

As we continue time traveling we have to move ahead to 1998ish when we at Studiosaurus were going to start our own line of comics through Image called the Odyssey Line.  It would launch with my newly created high concept series called Atomic Toybox, followed by Ron Randall’s Trekker and then by either Terry Dodson’s Bombshells or Matt Haley’s Event Horizon.  Atomic Toybox launched pretty decently and I actually made money.  Then the numbers on issues 2 and 3 came in.  Disaster.  I had to cancel the series and the Odyssey line with it.  I did, however, produce the covers for issues 2 and 3 that did see the light of day in the Previews catalogue and in the TPB of Power Cubed.

ATCvr2

The sad thing about the above cover to #2 is that it was actually a wrap around cover featuring art by Terry Dodson on the back cover.  I have a file someplace of the finished color version of the entire piece but I will be darned if I can find it!  If it does turn up, I will post it here.

Here is the colored cover with logo to issue #3.

AtomicTCvr3

I do have one more unpublished cover but I can’t currently find the scan and the story behind it might be detrimental to my career, so we will have to save that art and story for another time:)  Thanks for taking a trip down unpublished cover lane with me.