(Some Of) My Favourite PLANETARY Covers

January 29th, 2013 | Work

The thing about John Cassaday was that you could just throw anything at him, and it’d work.  So I did, and it did.

The overall concept for the PLANETARY covers was that, every issue, the book would simply look like nothing else next to it on the shelves, and that was how it would stand out.  Look for the thing that looked like none of the other things.  I think we mostly managed that.  These are a few of my favourites.

Hong Kong Action Film issue.  The title and credits were actually supposed to appear as film-style subtitles under the image, but that was a step too far even for the fairly laid-back editorial office.  I’m still kind of sad about that.
I would often just throw shorthand and free-association at John, for the cover images.  In this instance, I think I said something like, “doom, sorrow, monochrome, abstract, Joy Division.  Yes.  Joy Division.”  And probably the title of the story, which was “Magic And Loss.”  (Thereby also summoning Lou Reed.) This was just a perfect conjuring.
The Full Steranko.

In comics, when you say “Steranko,” you mean a pure shot of Pop-Art/Op-Art Sixties mad-science spy story.

”Steranko” may in fact be the best name anyone ever had.

Kubrick and 2001: A Space Odyssey.  RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA and Seventies science-fiction paperbacks.  At this point, we were putting letterer/designer Richard Starkings through such horrors every time that he started crediting himself on the covers as revenge, which we were perfectly fine with.
Our “Doctor Strange” issue, connecting that character’s Sixties origins with psychedelia.  Right off a Fillmore poster, in classic period colours.
And this one.  Which I provided no notes for, had no idea for, and had nothing to do with.  The penultimate issue.  And John just generated the perfect image.  I remember just looking at this and saying, “you clever, clever bastard.”

Can you see the logo?  It’s just a bit of type above the Wildstorm mark in the top left.  By this juncture, we’d proven our point – readers found PLANETARY, every time we released an issue, by looking for the thing that did not look like the other comics.  And that’s all down to the brilliance of John Cassaday.

(Some Of) My Favourite TRANSMETROPOLITAN Covers

January 25th, 2013 | Work

We had great cover artists on that book.  I mean, in a perfect world, Darick would have done them all.  But it’s not, and so we had some of the greatest artists in comics taking turns with him.  Not a bad cover in the lot.  I was just thinking about it today.  Some of those covers live with me still, and never got the kind of applause they deserved.  Here are a few of those.

John Cassaday.  We worked together on PLANETARY for years, where he amazed people with his covers.  But, weirdly, I still think this is the greatest cover he’s ever done.  It’s just too exquisitely imagined for words, really.  A beautifully drawn and incredibly simple, incredibly clever piece of work.
Well, it’s Moebius.  Therefore your argument, if you had one, is invalid.

Moebius was the pen name of Jean Giraud, one of the very best comics creators and artists France produced ever.  He was one of those rare people who genuinely deserved the tag “genius,” as far as I’m concerned.

I’m fascinated by how raddled and awful Spider looks under Moebius’ ink, too.

Jaime Hernandez.  Therefore, the comment above mostly applies here too.  How the hell my editors convinced these people to do covers is beyond me.

What interested me here was that artists usually went to the frenetic or the scowly with Spider Jerusalem, but Jaime Hernandez cages up this moment of quiet desperation that I love.

There is something purely Tanino Liberatore about JG Jones’ cover.  I don’t know what Jones is doing these days, but I presume it’s not kinky Euro-style science fiction, and I am sad for that.  Because this picture is just beautifully set up, and I like how it communicates Spider’s relationship with his “filthy assistants” – that they could basically kill him any time they liked because he was a physical wreck with all the implicit fighting ability of an old dishrag.
My favourite of Darick’s own covers.  Pure joy, and yet, at the same time, pure Id.  Spider’s expression says “I am alive and having great fun” and somehow also “I just shat on somebody’s baby.”

GUN MACHINE: iBookstore US Editor’s Choice

January 24th, 2013 | Work

Crop of a screenshot that Pamela Brown at Mulholland sent over, because I’m in the UK and therefore cannot access it.  But, this week, GUN MACHINE is Editor’s Choice on the Apple iBookstore, and if you’re in the US, you should be able to see it with this direct link here – as well as, of course, on the iBooks front page.

The book also made the Barnes & Noble, and ABA independent booksellers’, best-sellers lists last week.  It seems to be doing okay. 


January 21st, 2013 | Work

Late February.

Jason Howard can be found at @theJasonHoward.

GUN MACHINE: Book Trailer 2, by Clayton Cubitt, with music by Meredith Yayanos

January 17th, 2013 | Work

As hosted by Vulture, to whom I am indebted.

(Ignore the blurb at the page, it’s all wrong and there are no devils.)

Director: Clayton Cubitt
Editing, Compositing, Effects: Jeff Dragon
Soundtrack: Meredith Yayanos
Grooming: Katie Wedlund
Wardrobe: Signe Yberg
The Hunter: Joe Heaps Nelson
Additional audio effects: CGEffex via Freesound