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INVINCIBLE IRON MAN COVER RUN


THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #20

The main cover for The Invincible Iron Man Issue 20 has just been revealed, marking my last cover for the series as it comes to an end. Working on this project has been super fruitful, definitely a highlight of my career as a cover artist. It is, after all, my first main cover run that I completed since the first issue in 2022 (The only one where the main cover isn't done by me is issue 10, the wedding of Tony and Emma)!


In case you don't know, I'm a big fan of the MCU Iron Man. When the first movie came out in 2008, I was 16 years old and had just started drawing digitally with a drawing tablet. Needless to say, like any other kid, I tried to imitate drawing what I found cool. I was pretty good at copying stuff back then and I thought I nailed it, haha. Check out my first attempt at copying the movie poster below.

Iron Man digital painting from 2008. Photoshop

When I got into art college later, I came across The Art of Marvel books, and only then did I learn about the concept artists behind the movie. I didn't even know there were comic books of Iron Man or that the movie originated from the comics at that time, haha! A few prominent names there - Ryan Meinerding, Adi Granov, and Phil Saunders - three very inspiring concept designers doing some of their best work for a movie that was about to mark the beginning of an epic MCU saga. Little did I know, some time later, I would be working on Iron Man covers officially and meeting the legendary Adi Granov, taking a photo with him posing together as Iron Man! (Thanks for doing this with me once again, Adi! XD)

Iron Man II digital painting from 2010. Photoshop

MAIN COVER DUTY

In April 2022, my Marvel editor, Darren, asked if I was interested in the main cover duty for the Invincible Iron Man relaunch for its 60th anniversary in 2023. At that time, I was working on main covers for Ghost Rider and Marauders, and I knew that adding one more main cover duty to my plate would stress me out.


However, I really wanted to work on Iron Man, so I ended my run on Ghost Rider with issue 8, and Marauders on issue 7...I cant eat them all at the same time you see, haha!

I wanted my take on Iron Man to be full of love and passion, more fun and less pressure. It requires my 100%. (Super thankful to my editors for being awesome and understanding!!)


So when I got the chance to work on a character that I first came across 14 years ago, officially on the main cover, of course, I gave him the iconic MCU-style faceplate that I love! I'm not exactly sure if it was Ryan Meinerding, Adi Granov, or Phil Saunders who gave him this look, or maybe it was a team effort, but it is the most iconic and sexiest faceplate ever. Kudos to the concept team!

Adi Granov (Left), Ryan Meinerding (Middle), Phil Saunders (Right))

THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #1 featuring Mark 70

The model of the armor I got to draw, as seen in the first issue above (Model 70), is designed by the legendary Alex Ross. I want to take a moment to apologize to master Alex, as the original design leans more towards the vintage style, but I made it look techy and gave him glowing eyes. I'm glad no one actually called me out for not staying true to the original design, or maybe someone did but just not to my face...haha!

THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #600 by Alex Ross, where Model 70 first appeared
IRON MAN #1 Timeless variant by Alex Ross, where the suit first debuted.

Have a look above, at the variant covers for 2018's Invincible Iron Man issue 600 and 2020's Iron Man issue 1 by master Alex Ross, where Model 70 first appeared and debuted. The original design is much more classic and vintage, with trademark see-through eyeslits.



HALL OF ARMOR

I'm very fortunate to have worked on three very cool armors throughout the entire run: Model 70, Model Nil, and Model 72. Some interesting info below for all you nerds.

Model 70 (Left), Model Nil (Middle), Model 72 (Right)

Model Nil, by series writer Gerry Duggan and designed by series interior artist master Juan Frigeri, is interesting, as it "doesnt have an official designation, something Tony Stark thought was pointless especially due to the clandestine nature of the activities he was going to engage in while wearing this suit." And Nil is a contraction of the Latin word for "nothing," nihil. This suit is a stealth armor, so it possesses active camouflage which renders the armor virtually invisible....pretty cool!


Model 72 is designed by master artist Pepe Larraz, and apparently it is known to be one of Iron Man's strongest suits, since it's built using mysterium, a hyper-conductive "miracle metal" that is more durable than adamantium and imprevious to magic.


Other Iron Man related armors that I have the opportunity to illustrate includes the following :

IronHeart, Model 8 / Silver Centurion armor as well as the War Machine.


I would absolutely love another opportunity to illustrate the Silver Centurion armor...a more frontal and full shot will be nice! Silver Centurion's color scheme also inspired the Mark 5 armor, from 2010 MCU's Iron Man II. Also my favourite MCU Iron Man suit of all. I bought the Hot Toys reissue, obviously, for research purposes...


BEHIND THE SCENES

If you're still reading, thank you! Here are some never-before-seen layout sketches of Iron Man covers. These are sketches for the entire run; usually, I'll send in 2 layouts for approvals, but sometimes we will explore up to 5 or 6 sketches. Usually, for main covers, we need to take into consideration and leave space for the trade dress, aka book title, logo placement, credits, etc. So, in the layout sketches, I keep that in mind and propose options for overlapping parts, such as the character's head or arm covering parts of the book title, to make things more dynamic and less boring. Check out the entire set of layout sketches for the 19 issues below!


Some snapshots of the inks...my inks are all traditionally done, inked on printed digital sketches. I'm holding on to all the original art from my Iron Man run, so I'm not selling any of them at the moment as I have plans for them in the future....



Last but not least, all covers put together!

That's about it! I hope you guys enjoyed my run with Iron Man, I'm very proud of it, both good and bad, learnt a lot and a lot more to learn. Onwards to my next adventure!!


Peace out!



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