DAMAGE #16 The Final Cover

Damage, my current project for DC Comics, has been quite an interesting ride.  I originally came aboard to do the Damage vs. Superman and the Justice League story arc which would have seen the end of the series with issue #12.  I had barely started working on the book when I was told the series had been extended to 18 issues so we (me, editor Jamie Rich and writer Robert Venditti) needed to flesh out more stories to continue the series.  Then we were told that the series would go 24 issues, so even more content and vision was needed.  As I started working on the issue right after the Superman story, I got word the book would be canceled after 16 issues.  That’s comics my friends.

It has been loads of fun, though.  Something I didn’t really expect.  We are working “Marvel Style” on this book which means artist and writer come up with a story idea, the writer writes a plot with some specific scenes and a lot of general action and the artist (that’s me) gets a ton of freedom to interpret and draw the story.

So the time has come and gone where I was asked to draw the last cover to the series. (insert sad face emoji here).  But the time is now for me to share the process with you!

It is a little more difficult to come up with a series ender than just a regular cover.  I came up with several ideas, including one inspired a bit by John Romita’s classic cover to Amazing Spider-Man #50.

Damage#16CvrSketchesA&B

Damage#16CvrSketchesC&D

Although I think “D” is the stronger layout and more impactful design, “A” was chosen.

So I started working on the pencil which proved to be more challenging than it probably should have been.  I wanted the image of Damage over-poweringly big but soon realized to have him as big as I wanted his arms would bleed off the cover.  So I drew an image that I liked the look of and then enlarged on the computer (after scanning, of course) so it fit correctly within the cover art board dimensions. Here are the stages I went through to get it right.

The issue was the width of his shoulders and the angle that his arms came down at.  I wanted the shoulders to stretch across the page but then his arms would naturally angle off the page.  I realized this in the original blue line below. You can see how is arms are unnaturally squished in to try and get them within the live art border.   So I then drew a smaller version that had is pose more natural and then enlarged that one to fit as big as I could without losing the arms.

Damage#16cvrroughbigDamage#16cvrroughsmall

I then added in the kneeling/slumping Ethan and inked it.  I don’t have a finished pencil because the layout was so cut and dry there was no reason to send one in to DC.

As per usual, I inked this mostly with a brush.  (No.2 Raphael Kolinsky Red Sable)  Some of the details are with a pen and the background burst lines were drawn with a pen and ruler.

Damage#16CvrFinal

Also, as per usual, I didn’t color this cover.  I may get back to this in the future but I am such a slow colorist that it is hard for me to keep up on a regular monthly book.  Brian at HiFi Color is doing such a good job that I am comfortable having him do these.

Damage_16_CVR_CMYK

And that is the swan song for Damage.  This is a pretty cool character that has grown on me, so I hope we get to see him again sometime down the line.  Well, until the next time I do something interesting….see ya!