LAST GENERATION: Coverama II

With the grand finale of my Star Trek: The Last Generation miniseries hitting the stands last week,  I thought I’d give s a bit of cool background on some more great Last Generation covers previewed during my blogging absence–this time from the recent past, and therefore not so tragically behind the curve:

Star Trek The Last Generation #4, by Gordon Purcell.

Star Trek: The Last Generation #4, by Gordon Purcell.

Gordon Purcell has been one of the premiere Star Trek comics artists of his generation. Known for his spot-on and yet remarkably expressive likenesses, it’s virtually impossible to think about Star Trek comics in the ’90s without his signature style coming to mind. (He’s such a vet of the franchise that his first Trek work was actually for DC’s first TOS series, in 1988.) Since then, Gordon’s worked on the second DC Trek series, their TNG series, Malibu’s Deep Space Nine and even Wildstorm’s Voyager efforts. (And that just about covers it, yah?)

Gordon Purcell

Gordon Purcell

So, when a fill-in issue opened up in our IDW schedule, it was a no-brainer for us to hire him on. We liked his work so much on that issue that we phoned him up again to wrap up the first Star Trek: Year Four miniseries, and then draw the entire run of the second Year Four series, from Trek grande dame D.C. Fontana and noted TV scribe Derek Chester. Gordon’s one of the most professional, steady and reliable artists I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with as an editor, so it was great to finally have him draw a series for me that I had written.

It was also well past due that Gordon finally drew a cover for us, so I called up Last Generation editor Andy Schmidt, my successor at IDW, and he thought it was an excellent idea. Since Gordon was already handling the interiors, this cover didn’t require much participation on my part, other than to tell Gordon, “JK’s already doing the space battle, so maybe you’ll want to do the mano-y-mano between Sulu and Worf.” (Yes, I know, a moment of breathtaking art direction.)

Gordon then turned in an image so perfectly suited to the story that it can practically be inserted directly into the comic, between pages 15 and 16, and have it make the climax of his epic fight scene somehow even more dramatic. That’s quite an accomplishment, considering that the cover was probably drawn months before he tackled the interiors of the issue.

Star Trek The Last Generation #5, by JK Woodward.

Star Trek: The Last Generation #5, by Nick Runge.

Nick Runge did some fantastic cover work for me when I edited the new Badger series for IDW, featuring the inestimable Mike Baron’s classic indie character from the 1980s. Here, he pulls off a ripping homage to the movie poster for The Undiscovered Country, this time with the Last Generation characters in place of the original Enterprise crew, since issue #5 involves the Last Gen cast traveling back in time to the climax of Star Trek VI . (There’s even Worf’s menacing gaze in place of Chang’s, complete with riveted eyepatch. Nice!)

Movie poster for Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country.

The original movie poster for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

You will notice one essential difference between the two images–the explosion’s a bit bigger, colored with a more limited palette. That’s actually intentional, to accommodate a very cool placement for the trade dress (series logo, etc.), since the composition of the original image wouldn’t have allowed for its usual location across the top.

But, as inspired as this cover is, I also can’t take any credit for it–it was kept secret, as a complete surprise for me, by my wily Last Gen editor Andy Schmidt. When I first laid eyes on it, that immediately became one of my favorite moments working on the Last Generation project. It was simply a stroke of genius to execute a second homage cover (after JK Woodward’s cool-as-hell rendition of Uncanny X-Men #141 for the first issue), and have them both serve as bookends for the completed series.

startreklast5b

Star Trek: The Last Generation #5, by JK Woodward

My pal JK Woodward served as the main cover artist for the entire Last Generation series, including this incredibly atmospheric image that harkens back to–and, really, surpasses–some of the best covers of the classic 1980s and ’90s DC Comics run.

Strangely–perhaps because JK served as the main cover artist for the series–the Internets credited him, rather than Nick, for the Star Trek VI homage cover when it was first released. Obviously, if you read it on the Internet then it must be true, so people were pleasantly surprised when JK later unveiled this stellar (no pun intended) painted work.

Advertisements

LAST GENERATION: Coverama I

During my blogging absence, some truly outstanding images graced the covers of my Star Trek series, The Last Generation. I thought I’d do a bit of catching up, both to chronicle the issues for posterity (lame) and recognize the extraordinary work for the artists (not so lame).

So, from the About Freakin’ Time folder:

the_last_generation_issue_4_cover

Star Trek: The Last Generation #4, by JK Woodward.

My buddy JK Woodward of Peter David’s Fallen Angel fame has been blazing across these covers for the entire series, but I think this one is my favorite, even moreso than the homage cover he did for issue #1. His grasp of color and composition is exceptional, and his paints–particularly the image of Sulu–perfectly capture the tone and style of the series. When JK and I talked about this cover ahead of time, literally all I said to him was, “how about, you know, just some space battle, maybe with Sulu’s image in the background”–and from that exceptionally creative and detailed description, this is what he delivered. A movie poster cover if ever I saw one.

While you’re at it, also check out JK’s work on issues #2 and #3 — standout work all-around.

stlg-3

Star Trek: The Last Generation #3, by Joe Corroney.

Joe Corroney is one of the most gifted cover artists I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with, easily the best cover artist during IDW’s years publishing Star Trek, and possibly any company’s years holding the license. A good number of “likeness” artists produce work that comes across as too posed and waxy, but Joe’s art is entirely vibrant, thematic and atmospheric. As an editor who hired him for any number of Star Trek covers, I was thrilled to finally have him do work for a book that I wrote.

saigon-executionWhen I first spoke to Joe about this cover, I referenced the seminal Eddie Adams Vietnam War photo of a captured VC sniper being executed in the street, but perhaps not so obvious an homage as to be distracting. Joe produced an astonishingly vivid cover that perfectly captured the moment, both in the photo and in the issue, even though it’s actually a composite of several different scenes from the story.

Coming soon: Coverama II!

LAST GENERATION #3: JK Woodworf

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.

Related posts:

Possibly related posts (automatically generated):