How Dan Made This One Cover
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Okay, one thing: This is not a tutorial. Not even a little bit. I am a pro cover artist like the kids in the Mystery Machine are pro detectives, dig? I may yank the mask off the bad guy at the end of the half hour, but that’s just because I’ve got a lot of luck and a talking dog on my side. No, not a tutorial – more of a discovery channel documentary on the curious behaviors of the wild Dan, his habits and methods, for your edification and amusement. No British narrator, though. Yeah, life’s tough all around.

So, once upon a sometime – I think Regan was still daisy-chaining jellybeans in the Oval Office – I agreed to do the cover for the eight-page Vigil/Fowl crossover Kostmeyer was whipping up (it got longer). I agree to all sorts of things. When I finally sacked up and got over my fear of doing covers, I realized I wanted to do something more than just the two of them posing in front of an explosion/in the shadows – the Liefeld and Mignola methods, respectively. I wanted to class it up.

I guess covers are like music videos, in a way. Selling a vague story, yes, but mostly selling a mood. You put an issue of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World next to a Dave McKean Sandman and you know straight away what kind of music each comic is going to play. So maybe they’re more like album covers? Bat out of Hell II next to Fame Monster? Nah, they’re music videos. No one buys albums anymore.

Right. In this story – and I’m trying to be careful about spoilers here, ‘cause this thing is going to be your Vigil content for the next twenty weeks and all – Vigil travels to Parris City, where she comes between the Fowl and his fan-favorite foe, Doctor Erasmus Fell. So Vigil, who up until now has been having space adventures and X-Filesy alien hunts, is thrust headlong into the harlequin superhero vaudeville of cape comics. And when I think of that sort of thing, my mind goes straight to the archbishop of comic book set design: Dick Sprang.


Looming figures that dwarf the hero, who haplessly struggles against the sinister topography of the story’s menace writ large. Of course, I had to Dan all over it. But the same point comes through, I think; Vigil is trapped between two equal and opposing forces, each burning with hate and mirth, and neither of which looks to have her best interests at heart.


My hope was that Vigil’s brilliant blue glow, as well as the slight “V” shape formed by the Fowl’s shoulder and hand, would draw the viewer’s eye immediately to her, the star, and then pull back to process the leering faces overhead. Kost and I went back and forth over the final colors, but the end result came out smelling about like I hoped it would (smoke from an aged wood fire grill, with a hint of sharp mint).


Amazing as I may or may not be (I totally am, don’t even worry about it), this thing here is just the wrapper. The trailer. The lacy underthing. The real goods are still to come. Story and art by Kostmeyer. Dialogue by Dan “the Flan” Schkade. Thirty. Nine. Pages. Long.

Chills! Thrills! Dudes in funny outfits getting in each other’s grills!


Vigil #4 – The World of Black and White. Spread the word.

I’ve never even met Kostmeyer, you know. How cool is the 21st century?

News blurb: 

Liking that new Vigil cover? Then you’ll LOVE me rambling about it for seven paragraphs. Come see how the magic is made with our latest Cranky Octopus extra, HOW DAN MADE THIS ONE COVER.