27 April 2011

Red Skull Covers

Red Skull: Incarnate is a five-issue miniseries, written by Greg Pak with art by Mirko Colak and colors by Matthew Wilson, out in July from Marvel.

Editor Alejandro Arbona asked me to do five covers including design and logo. It was not intended to be a typical super hero comics, so it shouldn't have anything like typical cover art.

The series is about how a young German boy turns into Red Skull, in a story that parallels the rise of Hitler and the Nazis in pre-war Germany, so I thought it would be a good idea to try to get that historical aspect on the covers. I tried to approach the artwork as if they were real posters, newspapers and Nazi propaganda from that time, kind of in a documentary style.

I did extensive research into historical documents for the styles. In order to make that work, I used different typographies each issue, emulating different typefaces in real work; so I needed a uniform tone, technique and color in the finished art to identify all the covers as a whole collection.
These are some of the tons of real posters and stuff I based my work in:

Quotes by Frederick the Great and Friedrich Nietzsche in covers #1 and #3 were actually used in nazi propaganda.
At last was decided not to show swastikas on covers, but we thought readers' brains would fill blanks on issue #2.
Thanks to editor Sebastian Giner for helping us with German on issue #4 cover.
Here are some of the sketches I did during the process:

Official press release up on and CBR.


Raul Allen said...

Eres la caña!

Anonymous said...

Simply awesome!
You rocks, David!
...Any plans to do some interior artwork anytime soon?


Anonymous said...

Please, let us know why marvel insists in not using the swaztika anymore in comics!
The nazi symbol was so common in the golden age of comics, that sounds a little weird that 70 years after that looks like a taboo....

And of course, great work, you know it, but i have to tell you you are one of the more refreshing artists in the superhero genre today!

~Rooster~ said...

Hey David,
Gorgeous! Every one of them!
I have to respectfully disagree with Marvel's decision to eliminate the swastika. "a story that parallels the rise of Hitler and the Nazis in pre-war Germany." But you can't show a swastika?!?
None the less, I love the covers.

David Aja said...

Thanks all!
I have just done a 34 pages one-shot (pencils and inks) and waiting for a 24 pages script.
About swastikas on covers, really, not my bussines, I'm ok with that.

Anonymous said...

Great news, David!
Cannot wait to hear more about it.

Anonymous said...

I don't want to take away from the VERY cool covers, but if Marvel won't allow the swastika, why have a cover with all the flags? The flags actually look like Japan's flag with the colors reversed. Instead of the red circle on the white field, these have the white circle on the red field.
Did Red Skull rise with Hitler or Hirohito?

Anonymous said...

I am guessing that your "34 pages one-shot" is an issue of Warren Ellis' Secret Avengers arc.
Fingers crossed!

David Aja said...

Nope, that is not the 34 pages one wich is already done.

Anonymous said...

Any hints when we are going to hear some news about it?

David Aja said...

I think both issues will be out in September or October, so in a month or two you will have news ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks David.

We are eager to see more of your work..

Anonymous said...

David, any chances to see you visiting Chang Chi world someday.

I wonder how cool would be a Gulacy's style Master of Kung Fu story.

David Aja said...

Rogerio, dude, what a couple of comments you have write during this post, heh. Just saying. Be patience...

Anonymous said...

David, I'm sorry if I'm being impatient.

I'm a huge fan of your work.

Anonymous said...

Finally we have some news!!!!!!!

David Aja said...

Yai! And more to come ;)

Robert Rules said...

i just came across these on the super punch blog. i love these red skull covers. if you ever do prints let me know.

David Aja said...

Thanks Robert!

Sven Nebelung said...

Fantastic work! The period feel is just phenomenal.

The missing swastika on issue #2 does feel like an odd omission. But then again, as a native German speaker I never understood why Marvel opted to call him "Roter Schädel", instead of "Roter Totenkopf". Schädel is a primarily anatomical reference to the skull, whereas Totenkopf is much more symbolic, which seems the more appropriate choice for the Red Skull. Also, the SS had the Totenkopf insignia, not the Schädel insignia. Oh well.

I would have loved to have seen a finished version of your sketch that is based on Reichsparteitag's poster. I think that could be so incredibly powerful and the way the Skull is facing the viewer is so effective.

Thanks for sharing these.

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