Thursday, February 18, 2010


First Wave variant cover here. I'm pretty intrigued by what Brian told me about this series. It seems like an interesting approach to all the various characters they're using, and of course the fact that it features Doc Savage is just perfection.

I was first introduced to the character via the brilliant James Bama covers. To say they made an impression on me would be a HUGE understatement. There are few illustrators who have influenced me as much as Bama. I look at his work and his characters seem alive. I think the fact that he had a way of 'weathering' his figures made them feel more human to me. Typically, when trying to reinforce the fact that a character is iconic and powerful, an artist is pressured into idealizing almost every facet of said characters physicality. For example, wrinkles on clothes and costumes tend to read as 'messy' or 'imperfect' if done badly, therefore they are generally to be avoided if you wanna play by the rulebook. I remember a certain artistic 'superstar' explaining to me that too many details and particulars in skin and costuming made the character come off as goofy instead of cool. I couldn't disagree more. Of course this all comes down to personal taste, but I've always felt that those details somehow help me believe in the character more. Bama had a way of making Doc Savage look like he had really been through the shit, powerful and experienced all at the same time. His torn shirt looked like it had really been ripped apart by something, not just featuring carefully placed 'artistic' damage meant to make drawing the character easier or more formulaic. More importantly, it really looked like Bama's Savage had an internal life as well.. something going on underneath the surface. All those surface details actually contributed to his power and believability as opposed to limiting it.

Looking at the cover now, my pitiful attempt to do the character justice just reminds me how good Jim Bama is. For the coloring on this piece, I tried something different than on almost all other covers by doing the entire piece in Photoshop. Normally, I do most of my work in Painter, only really utilizing photoshop for effects and flatting. I wanted the piece to have a slight grain to it. Since the line is 'pulpy' I didn't want the image coming off as too slick.


  1. Gosh! That's hell of great interpretations of Doc Savage, The Spirit and, of course, The Batman!

  2. Hey Lee, that is the best I think Doc has looked since DC's First Wave fired up! And that's no disrespect to the other artists in the line either.

    He looks bold as and everything that good pulp should be. Nice one!

  3. I love your cover B/W.

    I saw an upcoming hardcover graphic novel on Amazon called "Luthor".
    What this is? Is it just a hardcover of Lex Luthor: Man of Steel? or is it something new?

  4. Luthor?! It makes sense, first Joker, then Luthor.
    These are DC baddest bad bad men.

  5. Hi, Lee. Im from Argentina. I love your art, its magic!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your art with us. I've been very inspired by your work and it's great seeing the black and white pieces as well as the final ones. Love the rendering and the powerful feeling all your pieces carry in them. I'm looking forward to anything you're contributing to!

    Take care,
    Craig Cermak