These are the two guys that started the whole mess.
i was down in san diego. doing press for punisher. tim met me at a hotel and we had a beer. i told tim about this crazy dream i’d had with these 12 legged spiders crawling all over the earth – so many you couldn’t see the ground. we had this idea about an alien invasion – not of big headed aliens with super weapons — but spiders. alien death spiders.
beer two: we cooked up an alien convict, holed up for 700 years in an asteroid prison, DeEP 6
here’s an early incarnation of the alien convict:
(Click on images for more detail)
this alien was the last of his kind. his planet was destroyed by – you guessed it. Alien DeathSpiders.
you’re looking at the incredible art of Dave Kendall. another brit. these Britons. they smoke the art. when the convict hears about a new invasion on another planet, he breaks out of DeEP 6 and steals a ride. he shows up on earth, not to save our planet – but to avenge the death of his own. the Con doesn’t give a flying fart about earth, the clean air and all the cute kittens that live here. the Con doesn’t even breathe air.
beer 3: Tim! This should be a comic book.
Tim hooked me up with Steve Niles. RawStudios was born.
Finding great artists is tough. Especially so when we can’t pay Marvel rates. we got lucky not once, but twice. Lewis Larosa kicked it off – he was fantastic, but had to split after only one issue.
like a bolt of lightning, James Daly the f’n Third showed up and took the reigns, just like that. The seamless transition was all Daly. He killed it.
We had other artists before Larosa. Here’s a talented cat named Chris Bolton’s take on the Convict.
Here’s Bolton’s blowfish. (they help the DeathSpiders lay eggs. it’s complicated. they’re aliens fer chrissakes.)
someone had the brilliant idea to make ish 3 in ‘3D’. woohoo. get it? issue 3? 3D?
turns out, it was a freakin blast.
we found Ray 3D Zone hiding out in the back streets of Hollywood. we took him to lunch at Mr. Chow in Bev Hills. wrong. we went to Tommy’s in Loz Feliz. we said, Ray. we want to make a great 3D comic section. what makes great 3D? Ray said it starts with the art. most books come to Ray after the book is drawn – so it’s 2D art that Ray is converting. But if we plan the panels in a dynamic style (Ray was big on dynamics), then he could kill it.
so that’s what we did.
Ray killed it.
He told me later, he thought it was his best work.
i bet he says that to all the gals.
while Daly was cranking out pages and Tim was inking them as fast as they came in, I realized that while we had a story, script, artist, kick ass coloring by Grant Goleash, and a badass letterer named Jason Hanley — oh, here’s an awesome piece Grant did. I have it framed on my wall.
so Hanley laid out the book, and he hand drew all the “SFX.” sound effects. you know, CRACK! zzzZZZAAPP!! stuff like that. they have digital SFX now, like a library of sounds; you just hit a button and vvvVVVVRROOM.
not good enough for bad planet. Drove Hanley nuts. But it makes a difference.
— anyway, while we had art, color, letters, pages — we needed something to wrap it in – so people could point to it and say, i want one of those.
We needed covers.
Larosa and Bradstreet kicked it off.
at SDCC, Tim introduced me to Bernie Wrightson. I was nervous. I showed him some stuff and timidly asked if he might do us a cover. Bernie said yes.
with Bernie in, I had the confidence to approach some of my other mentors (mentors, in my own mind.) Mark Schultz delivered what is probably my personal favorite cover, ever. And it’s a Bad Planet.
Bradstreet was up to bat. here is his little seen first effort.
pretty f’in cool. but it wasn’t good enough for the Street. Before we went to press, he turned in this.
okay. that is cooler.
Michael Kaluta was Tim’s idea. it was a good one. a great one.
wish I had that original art. damn.
oh, i forgot to mention. After Bernie, I met my all time comic book hero – Dave Stevens. Dave and I became fast friends. Dave was an incredible guy. We used to drive around Hollywood and he knew where all the old stars and starlets lived. The ones everyone had forgotten. Dave knew where they lived, where they hung out. Where the old diners used to be. It was like having your own personal backstreet Hollywood tour guide.
Anyway, Dave said yes to a cover. Craftily, Dave asked to do issue 6. Why? Because Dave was slow. Real slow.
I’m talking slow. I think it took two years to complete the production process for all six issues. That’s how long Dave worked on Bad Planet #6. Not the whole time, obviously. Dave painted pretty girls during the day. They were always coming around. The ladies loved Dave Stevens. He was smart, sensitive, good looking. But that’s not why. The girls loved Dave because he made them look like goddesses.
Dave died just before he finished this cover. He’d done everything but the girls foot, and some background. Dave loved feet. He loved hands too. when i’d go over to Dave’s studio in the Valley, i’d hang out under his desk. that’s where he kept a big shoebox, full of all the Rocketeer original art. one day Dave said, come here, look at this. he had the cover on his drafting table. every day he’d add a line or two. like i said, slow. dave said, look at the hands. do you think the convict has three fingers, or four?
Dave had drawn three. i said four. i said all the aliens have three. dave said that’s because humans have four, and two looks stupid. we argued about those hands for hours. (okay, 20 minutes.) months later, i got the art. Dave had drawn four fingers on the left hand. the right had three. very funny dave.
note that he didn’t ask me how many toes Veronica had. I thought he was saving those toes for last, savoring it. He never did get to draw them. Secret: I sent Dave’s art to Mark Shultz, who put the finishing touches on it, and sent it back.
It was Dave’s last cover.
Miss ya, pal.
Basil Gogos. The master. We drove Basil nuts. Tim and I had the gumption, the balls, to ask Basil to redo his cover for us. Not once. Not twice. Three times. We sent it back three times. We spent hours on the phone together, agonizing over giving Basil Fucking Gogos notes on his cover. (okay, a long time.)
See? he kind of looks like a grumpy turtle sucking on a sourball.
We knew he could do better. He did.