Anatomy of a Joseph Michael Linsner Cover

Mon, February 4th, 2008 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
CBR News Team, Editor

Scheduled to go on sale March 19 is Image Comics' "Dark Ivory" #1, the new project by celebrated Dawn creator Joseph Michael Linsner with Eva Hopkins. Set in the bloody streets of New York, the four-issue miniseries tells the tale of Ivory, a teenage girl who wishes she was a vampire -- until she meets one at a party, and learns the hard way the price of getting too close to one's dreams.

In anticipation of "Dark Ivory" #1, CBR News presents a behind-the-scenes look at the evolution of a Jospeh Michael Linsner cover with commentary by co-creator Eva Hopkins.

For a preview of "Dark Ivory" #1, click here.

By Eva Hopkins

For a comic book miniseries that took eight years to gestate, nothing is more

apt to cause anxiety and intense discussion between co-creators like the

cover to your very first issue. I am lucky to work with the hottest pin-up

artist in comics, in my opinion, but you still have to work things out as the ideas

change. Here's a sneak peak under the covers of Joe Linsner.

This wound up being the first pose that Joe whipped up

that was close to his vision, but we both knew it wasn't quite there yet.

Neither of us wanted to see Ivory's debut having her look so forlorn.

Here you can see that Joe has found a completely different

figure than the first sketch, but the essential composition is the same -

all the important elements from the previous idea are there. Ivory is

obviously more fleshed out and has a hopeful expression.

Okay, now we're really cookin'. The Ivory figure is really

rendered and polished, and that background was lovingly painted by Joe. Note

the prominent dimple, or small cleft in Ivory's chin; that was a new

development. However, the warm yellow-gold color of the background didn't

knock my socks off. It needed more contrast. Joe was still undecided at

this point, too.

Although I liked this better, it didn't "click." It was

almost too colorful.

This was the winner. The moment I saw this painting, I

knew it was the way to go. Ivory's warm skin colors really pop, and she

feels like her world is monochromatic and boring - it works on an aesthetic


storytelling level. Bingo! Nice work, art man!

I've never really been into variant covers one way

or the other, but folks really seemed to want a "Dark Ivory" #1 limited edition - we

got a lot of email requesting it. I'm a pretty cheerful sellout - give

the people what they want! Joe decided to go with a Dark Ivory Nouveau

piece, obviously inspired by the work of Alphonse Mucha. This piece is

unusual in that Joe worked up the background details before the figure.

Usually the figurework is done first.

Joe has clad the skeleton of the sketch with some

lovely flesh. His favorite design scheme - using a limited pallet of

black, white and red -- is used to good effect.

Now discuss this story in CBR's Image Comics forum.

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