Sneak Peaks

Wait. What’s this? Either someone is getting a cheaply wrapped boot as a birthday present or there’s another Batman related blog post in the works…

There are Episode 1 3D publicity events across the country at famous landmarks this weekend but the schedule is so loose between photo opportunities and press appearances around Edinburgh, there’ll be plenty of downtime. Might try a live Field Report for it…

Back before the CoHCOMICS.COM implosion there were a number of outstanding submissions for the site, so while working through the uploads of the Wednesday Comics to this blog my intention had been to debut them as new material as I got to each series concerned. So it was that for, oh… ages… I had planned a DC One Million homage cover for Battle Bovine #12 as it has the dual benefits of somewhat fitting the story and also making me seem far more clever than I am when I do these things. I created the finished cover all set to go, when I noticed that issue eleven didn’t exist. Turns out, it too was never published back on the CoH Comics site (a fact that I had entirely missed) and so also required a cover image tout de suite. This left me with somewhat of a problem as I’d never even thought of ideas for the cover of this issue. The plot concerns our hero, Bovine being sued my legal representatives of Marble Comics for infringing their copyrighted character “Combat Cow” who has never actually been seen. While better people than I could no doubt come up with a dynamic courtroom based cover image, it didn’t give me much scope for ideas.

Exploring tangents, I initially thought of the type of “sensational character debut” cover as used for the premier of Robin The Boy Wonder in Detective Comics #38 (or Black Canary’s solo feature circa Flash Comics #92) but it doesn’t quite fit the story. Besides, are we going to have Bovine holding the paper hoop he jumps through? Makes no sense…

“Marble Comics” is an obvious play on words so maybe we should take a look at debut appearances from that source..?

Unfortunately the majority of their characters who came from the Golden Age and those covers don’t tend to splash new arrivals in quite the way I need (a notable exception being Incredible Hulk #1 which I already used here). On the other end of the scale there are the 90’s style first issues of Cable and his ilk, but would the parody be obvious enough using the in-game engine as it wouldn’t replicate the over busy line work of the Image style artists.

Late Silver Age covers don’t offer much inspiration either with either the trade dress of the time being too obscure for the cover not to look just like… well, a badly designed cover, I suppose or just fairly bland such as the debut of The Dazzler from Uncanny X-Men #130.

Unfortunate timing too, as the “welcome to the X-Men… Now DIE!” line was homaged in Wolverine and The X-Men #1 recently and might come across as a crib.

My search then took me outside comics at this point. The plot of the issue is effectively a face off between the two cow-based heroes, so what about the movie poster for Face/Off then? It’s okay, but not brilliant (miles better than Kramer Vs. Kramer for source material though) but in the same vein we have promo images for the last two Harry Potter films which is more in line with what I’m thinking.

Unfortunately, admittedly due to my own limitations, it didn’t really work before when I used it.

The movie image research did lead me to The Ides of March though.

Now that’s gone right up my flagpole. I’m saluting that. I can see Bovine on the left holding up the folded cover for an issue of Combat Cow on the right. There’ll need to be some fudging of any CC logo to get it mostly on the half of the page which is visible so people realise who it’s supposed to be but I think it’s doable. We still need some recognisable Marvel trade dress to recreate though and it unfortunately has a left hand bias mostly, although during the 60’s and 70’s there was the period where the name was in a banner headline across the covers as opposed to a corner box, so all we need is an issue from such an era to copy it from, right?

Which ironically leads me right back to almost where I started with Giant Size X-Men #1.

Why, I’m thinking, didn’t this occur to me straight off the bat? You have a cover image which so famous it has been homaged before, which ticked the recognizability box; there’s the original character(s) seeing the arrival of the “new” rival(s); heck it even has the bursting through motif I originally thought of!

As a bonus it also gives me the chance to do the “tearing through a cover” concept I wanted for CCC Compendium #4. So it’s off to City of Heroes for a reaction shot of Bovine (and a neat BB #1 cover reference to boot) and an appropriately dynamic screenie of Combat Cow.I have a brief debate with myself over whether it should say “Giant Size Battle Bovine” as the title, but a) it’s not “giant” and b) “battle size” seems funnier and leaves just a single word, “bovine” to manipulate into the X-Men logo. I’m tempted to go with the original font of the phrase “X-Men” for the second part of the title, but Bovine’s logo is quite good and doesn’t appear on #12 as it is so I stick, rightly or wrongly, with the ITC SNAP font for it. Now I’m thinking it’s ‘wrongly’ but the cat jumped up on the keyboard while the file was loading somehow corrupting it and now I’ve lost all the work I’d done. Luckily I’d exported the near-as-damned-finished-article first!The scroll work at the lower left was going to be a pain in the backside to recreate, so I summon the greatly enhanced power of CorelDraw X5’s Trace facility and create a vector shape of the original as a cheat. Combat Cow being on his own instead of the group of All New, All Different X-Men leaves a fair bit of empty space on the left too, so I fudge this by repositioning the scroll and adding a speech bubble. For anyone wondering the line was the title of the story. Doesn’t actually appear in it though, and never having sat through “A Few Good Men”, I’ve no idea if any of the rest of the dialogue in the issue fits in with it. Judge for yourself, here from 8th February… Uh…

Also, here’s a sneak peek of Star Trek Online’s 2nd Anniversary. Or… something… to crowbar in the post title. Actually I suppose it could be labelled as such as it’ll be finished in a couple of days now so if you didn’t already get your complimentary Odyssey-class ship (or Klingon equivalent) by then you’re out of luck until they inevitably appear the C-Store. I’ve been a bit quite on the STO front even with its move to Free to Play, what with being focussed on Champions Online mostly, but hopefully the launch of the fourth Featured Episode series will lure me back after the interminable content drought of the last year…

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