Channel the entity "Jeff Parker" from beyond the Ether

Monday, March 06, 2006


My old cubemate from Sony Animation, the talented Ben Ferrer, just wrote saying he saw my credit on ULTRAVIOLET this weekend and I looked to see what files I had left from that job. Not much, because it was done a year ago exactly, but I did dig out three stages of the fake comic book cover that I did. The idea was to give the impression that the character has appeared in comics for years, so Ford Gilmore set many of his talent pool from Illuminati Entertainment on the job. Most of the guys like Dan Norton, Jason Pearson, Sanford Greene, Kieron Dwyer and more did modern style covers, but some went retro like Rick Remender who put on his Wally Wood hat and did an EC Comics cover. In that spirit I went towards the 60's, with the intent to ape the Gold Key Comics covers. I often do CRUDE color roughs with my wacom tablet in photoshop and hope people can intuit what I'm suggesting, and that's what I did with my first idea. So the first take was UltraViolet simultaneously fighting a robot and a caveman, with a background split between an exploding volcano and a giant face.

To me, that's the heart of what comics is (at least from the 60's), but I don't think the people at Sony knew what to make of it. So I paired it down a bit to her fighting a nazi-esque soldier type, and made the background just the volcano. That went over much better with the film folks, so I kept on that route.

And then I spent untold hours digitally painting (as it were) the final. I had to use a friend's G5 to do it any keep up any speed, because they wanted at least 600 dpi images, preferrably 1000 dpi. Even designing and combining text on the other covers required much more processing power than my laptop could handle, but that G5 slapped those files around as if they were sissy little jpegs! The director asked for specific text to accompany the pieces, most being the filmmakers' credits. I made up a Screen Gems logo based on the Gold Key one, and placed text in all the usual places they would have, using Futura. At some point I finally found out that she was fighting vampires in the movie, and gave my bad guy fangs at the last minute.

So I still think they weren't quite enamored with my 60's approach, because mine zips by pretty quickly when you see the movie. But I enjoyed doing it, especially coming up with the 60's style logo. Now that the movie is out I hope some of the other guys will post their covers on their websites. Let me know if you see anyone do it, and I'll link to it.


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