My 13 Favorite Covers, by BART SEARS

A muscular tour…

Artist Bart Sears has another how-to book headed your way — the second volume of his popular Drawing Powerful Heroes!, which he’s funding through Kickstarter. (The project includes another book too: the Blue-Line Drawing Guide!)

When we got wind of Bart’s latest Ominous Press project, we asked him if he wanted to pick the Top 13 covers he’s ever drawn, and he readily agreed. So I not only invite you to explore Bart’s campaign — I invite you to check out this personally guided tour of his decades-long career. — Dan:

By BART SEARS

With the launch of Drawing Powerful Heroes: Volume 2 on Kickstarter, Dan here at 13th Dimension asked me to try to pick my 13 favorite covers. Not a small task as I’ve drawn a lot of covers over the past 30-plus years, but, surprisingly, picking the covers went fairly quickly – maybe because my memory has never been great!

The criteria I used to choose the covers was simple and personal: “Does the cover mean something to me?” That was it.

There are probably several covers I’ve forgotten, or that maybe didn’t have a personal connection to me, and I’m sure everyone reading this will have a different list.

Without further ado, here are MY 13 FAVORITE COVERS:

Justice League Europe #1, DC. Kevin Maguire made this type of cover a staple (at least in my mind) of the late ’80s Justice League comics, and I had to do a take on it for Justice League Europe #1. Beyond the cover itself, I have to love this book, as it launched my career. As I think about it, this wasn’t the first cover I did of this type (mostly head shots, looking at the reader). A couple of years earlier, I penciled the cover of Strontium Dog #8 for Quality Comics. I’ve also drawn this type of cover a few other times over the years. Always successful, in my humble opinion.

The Cackler, Pinnacle. I’d always enjoyed the Deadlands role-playing game when I was younger, and the chance to draw a story within that world was too cool to pass up for this gaming geek. The Cackler graphic novel was a fun story, gritty and dark (always my favorite type), with plenty of twisted, sorcerous, monstrous action. The cover is one of the few images I’ve been able to pencil, ink and color in my career and that was the cherry on top of the Cackler dessert.

John Carter, Warlord of Mars #7, Dynamite. Growing up a fan of everything Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote, I was thrilled to get the chance to draw covers for the Dynamite series. Like with The Cackler, this is one of the very few images I’ve been able to pencil, ink and color. Illustrating Dejah Thoris as a sexy badass, defending a fallen John Carter — how can I not love that?

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #1, Valiant. This issue was a big deal for me. My first big project for Valiant and the cover was originally supposed to be the first ever, full-chromium cover. Unfortunately, whoever was responsible for the full chromium version wasn’t able to get the process ready in time for printing, and we had to scramble and put together the dinosaur background to have something to glue the smaller chromium image over. The dinosaur background was cobbled together from a promo image I had previously done. Truth be told, I think it worked out pretty well, and made for a very memorable cover.

X-O: Manowar #14, Valiant. From the same run at Valiant as Turok, and my first-ever X-O cover, which was inked by the most awesome Bob Layton! When I was starting out, DC offered me the job doing pencils for Justice League Europe. At the same time, Marvel offered me a job doing breakdowns for Iron Man, for Bob Layton to finish. That large, ignorant-but-lovable bit inside of my brain said, “Figure out a way to do both!” as I loved Bob’s Iron Man stuff, and his finishes over my breakdowns would have been sweet. Luckily, the more career-savvy part of my dim mass realized that trying and failing to do both would be early career suicide and so I chose DC and JLE because of the opportunity to do full pencils. So with Valiant, I was excited to finally have Bob ink my pencils, and luckily it featured a metallic, armored dude!

Legends of the Dark Knight #23, DC. Getting to draw the Faith storyline for Legends of the Dark Knight was… well, a long story better told over an ice-cold beer in a dark bar. How’s that for intriguing? The Batman jumping over rooftops, holding a baseball bat — how awesome is that?

Legends of the Dark Knight #200, DC. When I originally drew this story, it was two separate issues and I drew a cover for each. At some point, DC decided to make it the #200 double-size issue and they chose this cover. What a treat to have the opportunity to draw a Joker vs. Batman story — and have a cover featuring a powerful Batman carrying that insane clown. I was and continue to be very thrilled to have had that chance.

Blade #1, Marvel. I loved the first Blade movie. Stylish, dark, and Wesley Snipes gave the character such attitude. I was assigned the art chores on the new Blade book in the late ’90s and I lobbied for a year to get the chance to write the series. All the while, Marvel was looking for a writer, seeing and rejecting proposals. Finally, they gave me a shot, and they loved my proposal – a bit of a dream come true. My favorite Blade image I ever drew was used for a #1 variant cover, but Marvel didn’t publish the full piece — they pulled the Blade figure from it and placed it over a white background. This cover was used in full, though you can’t really make out the Silvereye helicraft hovering above him, seen through the falling rain. Blade — rising from the grave!

Wizard #1/2: Blade, Wizard. Might be my all-time favorite cover. Designed every bit of it — the layout, of course, and all the characters are my creation. The two kids are near and dear to me: the blonde kid is based on my young-at-the-time son, Rutger, and the dark-haired one is his buddy, Paulie. To steal a phrase, “’Nuff said!”

Deadlands: Death Was Silent, Image. Maybe it’s that I’m drawn to certain projects, or characters, or concepts – I’ve picked another Deadlands cover for my 13 faves. This story was a blast to draw, with one of my favorite characters — the gunslinger who can’t speak but has a blackboard hanging around his neck that magically writes his thoughts/words in chalk. The cover is striking and powerful, with a nice use of blacks, a raven and my favorite part — the “BANG!” on his chalkboard.

Eclipso: The Darkness Within #1, DC. Yes, the one with the gem. Yep, you’re right, it’s a gimmick, but it’s one that always made sense to me, and worked. Not even close to my favorite drawing, in my opinion not even a good drawing, but as a cover, I think it works, gimmick and all. I have a soft spot for it as well since it marked my second and final foray into huge summer crossover events.

Brute & Babe: Infinity, Ominous Press. Obviously my heart is deep in this one, being my creation for my own company. 1993 to ’94 were hard years… I was overcoming an artist’s block that ended my first stint at Valiant, and led to my only doing the first two issues of Violator. Having the opportunity and wanting to strike while the iron was hot, I pushed forward anyway with Ominous Press, and I think I did some of my best work on Infinity and Mael’s Rage (another great cover!). The Ominous story has been with me a long time, and this cover really captures the essence of all that Ominous is.

Dread Gods #1-4, Ominous Press/IDW. These four, double-spread covers link to make one image — proof that the large, ignorant-but-lovable bit inside of my brain is alive and well. Conceiving of and wanting to create this image was plainly insane. I don’t how many hours it took to pencil each double-spread. It hurt. But it was a good hurt, if it can be judged by the end result. The Dread Gods were originally the Megamen way back in the first incarnation of Ominous Press and I’ve lived with them a long time. We’ve travelled a long way together. They deserved this.

MORE

INSIDE LOOK — BLACK BOOK: The Art of BART SEARS

Sears’ DRAWING POWERFUL HEROES! Volume 2

Author: Dan Greenfield

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3 Comments

  1. My heart is deep too with Brute & Babe: Infinity, Ominous Press. I have copy of this series which is impossible to find anywhere. It definitely needs to be reprinted, perhaps in a similar format and then continue on where it left off.
    Please?

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  2. Hi Nicholas! You’ll be happy to learn we have reprinted the whole original series, under the title, Legendary 1-4, complete with a new wraparound story that ties the original B&B story together, giving it more context, as well we have added a never before printed story drawn by Andy Smith, also some new short story and art by me, and we finished off the original arc with a brand new story, written and drawn by me, called The Death of Pheros. These are all available here: http://www.ominouspress.com Hope you enjoy them!

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