Jock on the cover of HELLBLAZER PANDEMONIUM
The cover to HELLBLAZER: PANDEMONIUM was a long time in the making - I'm guessing the first sketch was conceived at least a year before the final image was decided upon. In a similar way to the first issue of a series, but possibly even more so, a graphic novel cover has to have specific considerations as it will be on the shelves for a long time. This led to a number of different ideas and treatments before everyone was happy with the design. Myself and editor Pornsak Pichetshote and DC designer Louis Prandi all worked together up to the final stages to ensure everything - from paper stock right up to varnishes and finish - would look as good as we could possibly make them.
Here's some ideas and designs from along the way -
The very first promo piece - altered from a charity painting of Constantine I had worked on previously. This went out with the initial announcement of the project.
Then we needed a placeholder cover for Amazon etc. cue a quick b/w drawing and simple colour and logo placement.
I began work on the final cover wanting to utilize the full wrap around dust jacket. I always think this brings a cohesiveness to a book design and should be done wherever possible! I remember sending designer John J. Hill extra bits of art for THE LOSERS trades so he could make use of the designs.... but I digress.
I wanted a close shot of Constantine, but rendered in an interesting way. I wanted the disjointed style to speak for his depth of character. I also wanted an aesthetic that would sit well in bookstores alongside novels and I thought a strong headshot, with some nods towards the Iraq theatre of war where the story is set, would work well.
After sending these in, DC was keen to include our female lead, Aseera, in the cover and also show a little more context than just the close up face/figure. Here's a couple of designs from that time with various war elements and backgrounds. I like both of these but it was felt that we still needed a 'setting'... to show the Middle East and the Iraq tableau.
Pornsak and I came up with the idea of a subtle nod towards the Iraq flag - made up of a red, white and black horizontal stripes. I tried this with some detail from the flag too. I liked how the green worked against the other colours, so we decided to carry that through to the title treatment. A green title against the red would really pop the logo.
As we were losing the flag detail we included the silhouettes of temples to evoke an eastern backdrop. this, coupled with the green of the logo, became the final cover, seen here in the full wraparound version.
A big thanks to Pornsak for his patience, and Louis Prandi for his great design. I hope you enjoy HELLBLAZER:PANDEMONIUM, out at stores now.
n.b - Part way through the process i worked up this piece, using bullets to form a pentagram as an idea for a chapter break or end piece. Unfortunately, space was limited in the book but Louis came up with the great idea of using it on the book cover itself. Look for it inversed and embossed on the cover!