The image above was drawn for Shield #2. There was a scene where we have a strange electrical explosion and we can see, extending infinitely, alternate reality versions of one of the characters. All of this happens in a hallway were a battle has just taken place. I knew that I wanted the setting of the hallway to be warping and becoming distorted with the explosion but I wasn’t sure just how I would make that look right. So I decided that I would draw the background completely separate so that I could drop it into the background and manipulate it in photoshop. That way I can have complete control and I could tweak it and untweak it to get it to look just right. I ultimately drew a lot of background that I then completely obscured. The original unwarped, unobscured background, on it’s own, is an illustration that I like.
This next group of illustrations were for the variant cover of issue 2.
In the dungeon like well that Nostradamus is locked in in this issue we decided that it would be cool if Nostradamus could have scratched into his sell walls predictions of the future. And we thought it would be cool if those predictions related to the Marvel universe. So this group of illustrations were concepts for what he might have drawn. One trick to this, besides the fact that I don’t think Nostradamus was a visual artist, is that his predictions were cryptic and open to interpretation. I tried to approach it with some symbolism rather than literal. I found this is tricky. When you want to put a lightning bolt in somebodies had to show power it gets confusing in a world where there are literally people with lightning bolts in there hands.
The things that I was trying to depict in these illustrations are: Mutants, The X-Men, Mutant persecution, The Fantastic Four, Cival War, The return of Captain America, The Scrull invasion, and the birth of the mutant messiah.
In each of the Shield issues Jonathan Hickman has put in 2 extra pages of supplemental material. In issue 1 it was about the Human machine, stuff that will become more and more important in this series. In issue 3 it was the correspondence between Galileo and the pope, and in issue 2 it was an extra scene. Jonathan asked me if I could do a quick sketch of Da Vinci and Leonid walking down these stairs. I said sure, but ultimately I wanted to do something a little more than just a sketch. The way that Jonathan took this piece and made it work in his layout was great. With these extra pages of his he gets to remind us that he’s a kick ass graphic designer as well as a kick ass writer.
Here’s something from issue 3
The Quiet Math. Throughout issue 3 we see Isaac Newton working out some complex math problems. I wanted the math to actually look like it could mean something, so I decided to work out how it would look in my sketchbook. The symbols in the equations are astrological, alchemy, and some are just made up.
I knew the ultimate equation that Newton needed to arrive at so I tried to make it seem like the equations were really leading to that ultimate equation. As I worked on it, it started to actually feel like I was solving some problem, and when I reached the end I felt like I had my answer. I guess the experience wasn’t to different from creating a page.
And here’s the last thing I’ll post: The uncensored Newton Deviant sex scene.
There. Do you feel scandalized, offended, disturbed? Well you should. He’s having sex with a monster. It should be disturbing, gross, a little sexy, and then that much more disturbing. I wanted it to be perfectly clear what was going on. I think Marvel wanted it to be vague. Now sometimes being more or less explicit about a thing can be a choice made for storytelling purposes, but I don’t think that’s what this was about. I don’t blame Marvel for being sensitive about this sort of thing. I just find it depressing that we have to be sensitive to this sort of thing. Sex is a part of life and I think we need to just grow up about it. On top of that sex is all over comics. Many super hero comics are down right pornographic. In my opinion, the shot that I’ve drawn is tame in comparison to the tits, asses, and crouches that are being thrust directly in your face on a regular bases in comics, but because it’s not pretending to be anything ells someone will surely get upset.
I actually made the changes myself. I thought it would be better to do it myself than leave it up to someone ells. I’m not trying to rock the boat or make some kind of stand against censorship. I can make compromises and be a team player. That doesn’t mean that I like it.