Thursday 8 November 2012

Comic Archive - One Eyed Jack and the Death of Valiant!

This weekend sees the release of an excellent magazine featuring a host of articles and interviews with 2000AD legends such as John Wagner, Kev O'Neill and John Cooper. 'Comic Archive - One Eyed Jack and the Death of Valiant' is published by Hibernia Comics, who've given us wonderful reprints of classics The Thirteenth Floor and Doomlord.

 "But this building ain't got a thirteenth floor!"

It's a fascinating read, with articles on Wagner's ruthless cop One Eyed Jack (who laid the foundations of Dredd,) the final year of Valiant, the role of an Art Assistant (with some gorgeous images of classic 2000AD logos) as well as revealing interviews with John Cooper and John Wagner.

The fantastic article above discusses the role of the art editor and even includes an interview with Kevin O'Neill!

The meaty articles are complimented by dozens of classic images from the comic, including work from idols such as Ian Gibson, Carlos Ezquerra, Joe Colquhoun and Frank Bellamy. The art has been lovingly cleaned up the books' designer, Richard Pearce.  

The magazine is bursting with lovingly restored pages...

Over to Richard to tell us about his cover design "I'd previously designed the cover for Hibernia's reprint of the classic "Scream" series, "The Thirteenth Floor". Partly through necessity - there was very little, if any, suitable colour art to use - and partly through design, I ended up with a very clean black & white design that (hopefully!) was strong and bold, without being too plain."

"When David contacted me about producing the cover for his new project, he was keen to stick with something similar but he had a very specific idea of what he wanted the cover elements to be. He was keen to use the "One-Eyed Jack" and "Valiant" logos in the title of the book, and he had a particular image of Jack in mind that was to be accompanied by a snippet of text."

"My first draft of the cover was run off quickly the same night David sent me the scans he wanted to use for the cover. It was very rough, with no real clean-up on any of the logos or the pic of Jack, but it got things moving. At this stage, especially when someone has something fairly particular in mind, I find it best to fire a rough out so that there is something concrete to focus on. From here, we can start to eliminate anything that's entirely wrong, and I start to get a clearer idea of what the other person is looking for." 

Richard's rough and ready cover.

"In this case, David was not keen on the top bar, and he wanted the title to run "stacked" above the picture of Jack with the quote to follow beneath. He also wondered about replacing the "Death" in the title with the logo from the Valiant strip, "Death Wish", but I felt it would be a step too far, and would leave the title and cover feeling more like a collection of clipped logos, rather than something a bit more cohesive."

"With David's notes in mind I went back and started to modify that first rough. Partway through this process, it struck me that the typeface David had asked for the quote to be set in looked as though it might belong on a telegram, or an old police typewriter. I had a look for reference images and worked up a "frame" for the image that would make the picture and text look as though they had been printed on a spool of paper then torn from the machine. I also decided that the picture of Jack would look better if we cropped it down to just his figure, with some panels from a full strip behind him for a bit of texture."

Ripped from the typewriter

"I sent the fresh draft off to David and while I was waiting for his response I started playing around with the file. A full colour cover was out of the question, but I was worried that the stark black & white cover was going to be too plain. As an experiment, I took the Valiant scans David had sent to me and set them flowing diagonally across the front cover, dropping the whites back to a dark grey. It's an effect that's been used elsewhere that I quite like, and I thought it worked reasonably well here, so I sent off this alternate cover to David for his consideration."

Richard's unused idea

"This second go at the cover was in line with what he was looking for, and although he turned down the alternate cover I'd presented he was happy with the other draft. From there, it was a case of some final clean-up and sourcing a higher-resolution scan of Jack to replace the lo-res one I'd been using, then a couple of minor layout tweaks to finish the piece off, ready for print."

Thanks to Richard for those fantastic images and his fascinating insight. The magazine has now been sent to the printers and should be available very soon. Keep an eye on and the 2000AD message board to get your copy. It is essential reading for any 2000AD fan and I can't recommend it highly enough!

1 comment:

  1. any chance of getting jake lynch's insights on the latest dogbreath 26 cover?

    Its so stunning!!!