Friday 10 May 2013

Ben Willsher - Breaking the Law!

This Image is called Fallen Justice

At the risk of sounding repetitive, THIS could well be my cover of the year in 2013! Ben Willsher, who has very quickly established himself as one of the greatest of the new generation of Dredd artists, has once again produced an iconic image of the future lawman. I reckon this would make a brilliant cover for the forthcoming Day of Chaos: Endgame graphic novel.

Over to Ben to tell us more: "This was an exciting assignment as it was my first wraparound cover." 

It certainly is, but not the first time we've seen an oversized image from this particular droid. Earthlets with good memories will recall this scrotnig poster from Prog 2011...

The 2000AD Christmas party 2011 in full swing

Back to the cover, Ben says "The brief was 'Dredd was standing stoic among the rubble and wreckage of the Statue of Judgement - Resolute that Justice will go on, despite the state of Mega-City after DoC'

"I toyed with the idea of Dredd standing right in front of the smashed statue head (which would stretch over the 2 pages), but in the end I didn’t think I would be able to show either enough of Dredd or the Statue to do either of them justice (if you pardon the generic pun); with this in mind I thought it best to make Dredd the main focus on the front page and the Statue head on the back."

"So I came up with this rough…"

MegaCity-One looks rough these days...

"Tharg liked it, but wanted to make sure that Dredd was facing towards the reader. He was completely right, this was not a good angle for Dredd. He looks too wistful and forlorn… He needed to be more determined and imposing, so I raised the gun changed the stance and made him bigger to fill the page. This worked much better, now no mistaking that Dredd is…well… DREDD!!!"

Dredd bucks his ideas up in the final inks.

"This was drawn over 2 A3 pages that were stuck together, and scanned. I cleaned up the black and white lines until I was happy, then the final stage was colouring them and adding all the FX."

Trouble in the Rubble

Ben gives us his theory on what makes a successful wrap-around "The trick to a good ‘wrap-around’ cover is making it work as two strong separate elements; so you have a good, powerful front cover, yet at the same time produce something that will give the same cover extra strength visually when fully opened. Ideally the back cover should be able to be viewed separately too on its own merit, without it looking like you have merely cropped a bigger image. Whether I achieved this or not, is down to the reader; but I’m pretty pleased with the end result." Amen brother! I certainly think Ben achieved his goal here, I think this cover is truly stunning.

Below is how the prog looks in the flesh!

Must... resist... Dredd and large helmet gag...

This is a great excuse to also show some of Ben's other excellent Dredd covers, starting with my favourite cover of last year...

"Any Questions?"

And his iconic 'Rain' cover, brilliant!

Carl Heinz Pilchards-In-Tomato-Sauce Claydeman stages a comeback tour

Next up is Ben's hard hitting cover of Meg 299...

In case of law breakers, break glass

And finally, the absolutely wonderful Kirby Dredd he did for the 2000AD Advent Calendar 2012...

Ah, the heady silver age of Dredd

Once again, a whopper Thank You to Ben for taking the time to do this, he's been a great supporter of this blog from it's earliest days. Please check his site out, it's really, really cool! Also, there's a great interview with Ben as he discusses his Free Comic Book Day Dredd story in ECBT2000AD's Megacast Podcast.

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous cover!
    Hope Bens back in the prog soon.
    Bens work just get better and better.