Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Josh Middleton On Supergirl #48

Another solicitation and another spectacular cover on Supergirl by Joshua Middleton. Supergirl #48 sports a great cover of Supergirl in agony as she feels the brunt of the Banshee's cry.

I really love when Middleton breaks down the process behind the covers on his blog. Here is the link with some blurbs and my usual two cents of commentary ( http://joshuamiddleton.blogspot.com/2009/09/supergirl-48.html ).

As you can see from the above thumbnail, the final image stayed pretty close to my initial concept. In fact, when I was adding some color to the thumbnail in Photoshop to submit for editorial approval, I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to reproduce the "scream ring" effect on the final- I was just screwing around when I came up with it and couldn't remember exactly how I did it, but I liked it.

It sounds like Middleton had this picture in his mind from the beginning so the thumbnail is close to the final product. This is different than other posts we have seen on his blog where there are a couple of thumbnails done each with a slightly different take on the scene. (We saw 4 thumbnails for the 'Hamlet' cover of Supergirl #47.

I wonder how often that happens ... that the artist is 'struck by the muse' and comes up with the final design on first shot.

I agonized over how to draw the actual cover; I knew that it would technically be much easier to draw Silver Banshee and Supergirl on two different pieces of paper so that I could work with them separately in PS, but I would be sacrificing a nicer looking piece of finished art. In the end, practicality won, and I have yet another cover drawn in pieces. It was the right choice, however, because having Supergirl on her own layer floating over Silver Banshee allowed me to add all of the effects without having to make selections or deal with weird edges around Supergirl.

The Banshee piece alone lacks both Supergirl and the concentric rings of the scream and as a result feels unfinished. You definitely feel the effort behind the wail though ... the neck muscles and taut face do evoke the feeling that she is screaming as hard as she can.

The only part of the cover that doesn't completely work are the wide eyes with so much white showing. While the eyes help bring out that feeling of effort again (she is even straining her eyes), they feel just a bit cartoony to me.

Supergirl was first drawn with blue pencil on a sheet of vellum, then I laid another sheet on top of that and drew the final lines in ink with a pen. The most important part was getting the balance right between Supergirl and the black and white background so that the contrast is striking, yet reads well. I had to lighten the background a touch and added a little bit of a soft halo of white around Supergirl to help pop her off the background. After staring at it for a while and nearly getting dizzy, I decided it was done.

The Supergirl portion of the cover is really amazing to me in how dynamic it feels. I can feel Supergirl being battered by the sound. I can see her cowering as she tries to cover her ears. And the pained expression really works.

I also like the whitish halo around Supergirl as it makes her stand out just enough so she feels 'above' the picture.

I sound like a broken record but every Middleton cover has been fantastic. It is one thing to satisfy the readers of the book, which I think he has. But his covers are so striking, I am sure the casual reader scanning the new arrivals at least pauses and hopefully thumbs through the book and buys it. That eye-catching quality is rare ... I know because I scan the new arrivals every week and rarely does something grab me.

I hope Middleton has a long run on the title as cover artist.


Nikki said...

I like the contrast between the fine lines of the supergirl image and the more expressive silver banshee image. Using big strokes really helps the feeling of a tense scream.

Yota said...

Aside from the sketchy, unfinished image of Supergirl, I think I pretty much universally like the thumbnail better; the depiction of the Banshee works that much better in that her head is tilted just that much further back and her eyes look more outraged than outright crazy, and the scream rings work better, or are at least more interesting here to boot.


TalOs said...

I swear to God that he used the JLU animated episode featuring Banshee in THIS exact screen cap in order to do this! Regardless if he did or didn't in the end he knocked out a true winner (yet again) and I'd so die for DC to issue this out in foil format for it'd just TRULY pop right off the cover like nobodies business! Kick ass! BD

Question: why aren't DC issuing out variant covers for Supergirl anymore? :/

Lastly, Anj: any chance of you posting the official sneak peak of this week's issue of Action Comics off of the Source here too? I'm surprised you haven't right now with it being so Supergirl heavy in content. ;)

Nikki said...

an update for supergirl fans Supergirl 47 will be drawn by matt camp rather than Jamal igle as originally solicited

Nikki said...

here's the source

Mauricio said...

It's a great cover as always, something that I noticed on his cover is that he uses the costume almost the way Turner first designed, not using the small changes Igle has introduced.

I posted the question on his blog, no response so far.

Nikki said...

I think it shows that there was never anything wrong with Turner's design mauricio. Kara looks adorable under Middleton's pencil

Mauricio said...

Didn't said there was something wrong, just caught my eye its drawn differently.

In any case, Mr. Middleton wrote back, he does the covers with more anticipation than interior work on the comic and based off reference sent to him.

Anonymous said...

Supergirl 48 looks wonderful.

moving onto the Lana death disscussion. In the previews what she has is some form of cancer but I'm guessing it has something to do with the kryptonian species as well here's a quote:
"..it doesn't match any known type of cancer or communicable disease. It doesn't resond to any type of treatment" Lana pg 4

"... all of them said the same thing. That 'An unknown variable' is attacking my body's immune system..."

So I'm guessing its a cancerous virus of some kind that affects humans.


Anonymous said...

tha last quote is from pg 5, Lana says it, too.

Anonymous said...

no wait.. my bad. It's pgs 5, then 6. sorta got confused with the pdf.

here it is if you guys want to see the preview.