Oog. How’s that for a bad headline? Fortunately, the cover art that it introduces below is outstanding in exactly the way that the headline is not. My pal JK Woodward worked for me when I edited Peter David’s Fallen Angel series over at IDW, and was one of the most consistently reliable artists in mine or anyone else’s rolodexes. But in addition to his note-perfect style and incredibly solid storytelling skills, he has a work ethic that’s tremendously authentic, in an era when so many comics illustrators are more digital designers rather than classical artists.

When JK paints, as he did for the first five issues of the Fallen Angel series, he actually paints. That’s right–not Photoshop, and certainly not MS Paint. But paint.

JK design sketch for Last Generation #3.

JK's design sketch for Last Generation #3.

So, naturally, I was thrilled for him to work on Star Trek: The Last Generation, in which he’ll be handling one of the covers for each of the five issues. People have already seen his spot-on X-Men tribute as the Retailer Incentive for the first issue, which homages John Byrne’s classic “Days of Future Past”, one of the thematic inspirations for the Last Generation series.

Though you wouldn’t know it to look at him, JK’s actually a huge Star Trek fan (unless, of course, you imagine that if Billy Idol and OMAC had a love child born wearing a Jello Biafra shirt, he’d be a huge Star Trek fan). Next year, he’ll be doing an entire issue of IDW’s Aliens Spotlight II series, a Klingon epic written by celebrated Trek scribe Keith R.A. DeCandido, whose prose novels on the warrior race have earned him honorary forehead ridges with the fans.

A preliminary design sketch for another one of JK Last Generation covers.

A preliminary design sketch for another one of JK's Last Generation covers.

Keith and I have known each other nearly mumble20mumble years, back when we were both nobodies; and now that he’s somebody and I’m still nobody, it was great to get him to come back to do a Trek comic for us. (Keith’s previous comics work, “Perchance To Dream“, remains among the high points of Wildstorm’s Trek catalog.) For the Spotlight issue, Keith delivered a killer script (no pun intended–OK, yes, intended) called “Four Thousand Throats”, which includes a fully painted sequence from JK. It’ll be the first painted Trek interiors from IDW, ever.

JK moved to Long Beach here in Southern California just as I was moving from Long Beach to San Diego to work for IDW. But when I was back up for a visit, I stopped by his flat near my old house to say hi (yes, artists love it when editors come to their homes; didn’t you know that?) and had a chance to check out some of the Klingon Spotlight‘s actual pages; and believe me, there’s a two-page spread in there that’s going to rock your Goqlath.

JK’s work has already caught the attention of the majors, and the X-Men Origins: Beast book that he painted for Marvel just hit the stands last week. I had been spending some time with Peter and JK at a convention a earlier in the year (now there’s an interesting pair at signings: Peter’s gone bald in the middle, and JK has a mohawk, so combined they have one extremely disturbing haircut); and, naturally, JK had some art on display.

A panel of Kang from JK and KRAD Alien Spotlight II Klingons book.

A panel of Kang from JK and KRAD's Alien Spotlight II Klingons book.

One of the editors for the Big Two wandered by, and not realizing that JK had already done the X-Men book, immediately began talking to him about bringing him on board for some work. (Of course, the editor also didn’t realize that JK already drew a monthly book for me, God dammit, and if you’re trying to nick my artist I’d be more than happy to take it outside and kick your–well, ah, okay, ‘scuse me, maybe I’ll just go get a hot dog. Good luck, JK, you traitorous son of a–hmm, all right then, maybe a pretzel too.)

JK’s also been doing work for Boom Studios, run by a couple of guys that I’ve likewise known for almost 20 years, so you should expect to start seeing his stuff all over the place in the not-too-distant future. Click on over to JK’s official website where you can see all of these images as well as more of his outstanding work, Trek and otherwise.

In the meantime, click on the image below to see a full-sized version of his cover for Last Generation #3. Since this is an alternate-reality series published in conjunction with the Pocket Books Myriad Universes novels, we’ve been putting clues to the series in some of the covers–though, I think, for this one you can pretty much spot it with one eye closed.

Also, while you’re at it, check out JK’s work on the X-Men homage for Last Generation #1, including an Evolution Of The Cover, with all sorts of nifty background info.

The Last Generation #3.

STAR TREK: The Last Generation #3, by JK Woodward.

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  1. It’ll be the first painted Trek interiors from IDW, and if I’m not mistaken, the first fully painted interiors for any Trek comic, ever.

    Hey Drew! Just FYI, it won’t be the first ever painted interior, as that honor goes to Igor Kordey for the WildStorm one-shot The Gorn Crisis in 2000.

    And thanks for the plug!

  2. Ach! Right you are. I’ll go fix that now.

    Once again, proof that I have surrounded myself with intelligent advisers.

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