SPOILER ALERT: The following contains plot points from Saturday’s Justice League Beyond 2.0 #2. Read at your own risk!
Aaaaand we’re back for yet another Beyond the Scenes! Seems like we just did this, doesn’t it? It’s almost as if we do one every week! Oh, wait…
This week, I’d like to shine the spotlight on the unsung heroes of Justice League Beyond, cover artists Khary Randolph and Emilio Lopez!
Khary and Emilio have been doing the covers for JLB since the beginning of Derek Fridolfs’ “Flashdrive” story arc, which introduced the new Flash to the Beyond Universe, and they also provided the cover for the following arc, which saw the return of Captain Marvel. These covers were digital-only however, so we’re happy to have Khary and Emilio back for the new series where their covers will see print for the first time!
So, guys, were you fans of the DCAU before you started working on the comic?
KHARY: Oh yeah, totally. I've been cribbing from the playbooks of Bruce Timm, Glen Murakami and Shane Glines for years, haha. The 90s Batman cartoon, and by extension, Justice League Unlimited and Batman Beyond have immensely affected my life and my craft, so the opportunity to give back to these characters is a huge honor. I just hope that we can live up to those very high standards.
EMILIO: I’m a huge fan of the DCAU. I would be lying if I said it didn't have an effect on my artwork. I think Bruce Timm and all the folks at Warner Animation did a brilliant job with the DC characters, making them modern and cool for a younger generation. You can't deny the effect that it had on the animation industry, and to an extent, it even influenced the DC comic universe itself.
Personally, I feel the Beyond world was their master stroke. They managed to create a whole new cast of characters and made you care for them as much as you did the old guard. As someone who has worked in animation production for around 10 years, I can tell you that is a difficult feat to achieve. You never know what kind of effect a drastic change like that will have on the fans. Luckily for them, and for us, it worked out pretty well!
ALEX: And how did you approach this new cover for the launch of JLB 2.0?
KHARY: Well, with the knowledge that this was going to be a #1, I wanted to go big and iconic so it would set a standard. I've always been a fan of mixing the old school dramatic flair of Jack Kirby with more new school cartoon/anime sensibilities, and I tried to take that aesthetic and push it to the extreme. I saw it in my head immediately, and thankfully nailed it on the first pass. Plus, our previous covers for JLB had been all cool blues and purples, so I remember saying to E, "Dude, this thing should be vibrant red!"
EMILIO: Khary and I have worked together for a long time and sometimes it seems like we have a bit of a sixth sense for what the other is going to do. We communicate a lot during the course of a cover, which for a lot of projects that I have worked on as a colorist isn't possible. We both have things to offer and are willing to give the other space to breathe.
For color choices on the JLB covers, I stick to a specific palette. Part of what gives the Beyond world its look is the color design of the original series. Lots of purples and blues with hints of more intense colors like reds and cyan. It’s not uncommon for me to throw in the series DVDs or the Return of the Joker movie to get some ideas.
Okay, Beyonders – that’s it for this week! Next week is a special “No Beyond” fifth week of the month so we’ll be back in TWO weeks to discuss the epic prison break in Batman Beyond 2.0 #3!
See you in the Beyond!
Haven’t read Justice League Beyond 2.0 #2 yet? Read it instantly here!
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