Sunday, 14 July 2013

IDW Covers: Locke & Key - Alpha #2

Locke & Key: Alpha #2
(IDW, October 2013)
Art by Dave Sim
It was "T" in Texas, my doctor patron, who turned me onto LOCKE & KEY when I was down there for a week over American Thanksgiving last November. He also turned me onto CHEW and MORNING GLORIES. I like a good Stephen King OO! SOME SCARY STUFF, HUH, KIDS? narrative as much as the next guy, but what I end up getting attracted by is the human moments in the build-up of the story. I liked this moment when the kids are down in the condemned underground facility and the scaffolding collapses and it looks as if they're trapped and they're going to drown.  And the boy asks the girl if he can kiss her so he doesn't die without having kissed someone.  I remember reading that part at "T's" and thinking, "If Chris Ryall ever asks me for a pin-up, that's what I'm going to do."  And then, just a few weeks after I got back, he asked me for a variant cover!  Well, by that time, my unconscious mind had evidently been working on it overtime already -- "an above the water/below the water" shot.  My first thought was the BATMAN "Two-Way Death Trap" cover (#166? #177?).  And then I thought: "No, no!  Ditko's SPIDER-MAN 29 cover! 'Never Step On A Scorpion"  Another chance to do the classic SPIDER-MAN logo (I never get tired of doing that).  And it also had a CEREBUS resonance:  the spider and the scorpion.
The Amazing Spider-Man #29
(Marvel Comics, 1965)
Art by Steve Ditko
There were a few levels at work.  Is a teenaged boy going to be content with JUST a kiss?  Especially when no one can see what's going on under the water?  Probably not.  But is a teenaged girl going to let him, you know, cop a feel, even though they're both going to die?  I mean, does it matter?  Well, yes, it does, I think.  To the teenaged girl.  Not wanting to die without kissing someone is very different from not wanting to die without copping a feel.  She's not going to want one of HER last acts to be having her body turned into a piece of meat for someone else's gratification.

And, as I considered it, I thought:  it would be entirely unconscious.  If she was letting him move in for a kiss, her torso would be in HYPER-AWARENESS mode.  It's not as if teenaged girls don't KNOW what's going on in the minds of teenaged boys.  Her hand would come up for the block, JUST IN CASE.  That's why I had the thought balloons coming from their hands.  It doesn't detract from the "above the water" kiss, but it's definitely a "below the water" line drawn in the sand.

I sent Joe Hill the original tracing paper drawing c/o Chris Ryall and a letter explaining all this.  Even the part that the girl (in the context of the story) has had her fear removed.  It's not a FEAR thing.  She's not AFRAID of him copping a feel.  It's natural female modesty. I never heard back from him.  He probably thinks I'm nuts, same as everyone else.

Anyway, it was nice to work in a pure cartoon style after labouring in the photorealism salt mines. The cover practically draws itself.

1 comment:

Damin J. Toell, Esq. said...

Dave, it was Batman 166: