SDCC '12: ALEX ROSS To Climb LEGENDARY's TOWER

 

Alex Ross is the latest comics superstar to work on the new Legendary Comics series The Tower Chronicles, with a cover that debuted at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

The Tower Chronicles will be released beginning in September as a series of 72-page books, with the first previewed just this week. While Jim Lee provided the cover for the first book in Volume 1, the cover for the second book will be painted by Ross.

The series is the brainchild of Legendary Pictures founder Thomas Tull, executive producer on films like 300 and The Dark Knight. From Tull's concept, the comic will be created by the dream team of Matt Wagner and Simon Bisley.

As Legendary's Editor-in-Chief Bob Shreck told Newsarama in April, The Tower Chronicles focuses on a tortured soul named John Tower who works for hire as a supernatural bounty hunter.

Schreck was the one who contacted Ross to contribute a cover for the series, and Ross said he liked the idea of collaborating on a project by Wagner and Bisley.

"I used the designs Matt Wagner had done to inform how the character should look on the cover," Ross said, "and some of the story pages they sent along, and a painting by Simon."

Ross, who's won multiple awards for his work on comics over more than 20 years in the business, said he wanted to do a cover for Tower Chronicles that had an unusual perspective, thanks to the inspiration of the work of Neal Adams.

"I was looking at work by one of my great heroes, Neal Adams, and the forced perspective that he did in a lot of his compositions inspired me here," Ross said. "I was looking back at his self-published work for Continuity Studios for a lot of figure examples and trying to find some pose that would jut out and punch the reader in the face.

"That's how I arrived at the composition here, was by studying one of the masters of comic book composition," he said.

The new Ross cover features the artist's signature realistic painting style, but has a unique color scheme because the character is jumping through a stained glass window.

"I had a reference that I was looking at from a stained glass window, but I also knew that because it was breaking, I could extrapolate any shapes I wanted from that," Ross said. "And with the design of a cover like this, it's all about laying out the character's weaponry and posing him and moving around the camera to get the right look as he came through the window."

As fans of Ross' work know, he often uses real people as references for his artwork. So who did he use to represent John Tower?

"Well, hopefully it doesn't come across as my face, but I did pose myself for it, as I often do with a lot of illustrations I do where I don't have a set person in mind," he said. "And I try to gently rough out the character with some specific facial features, and I use various costume props.

"I had a hood on when I was doing the photo, and I just had to stretch and arch my body up to make the pose happen like that, with my fist jamming toward the camera," he said.

"That's usually how it gets done, as a quick photo session down in my basement," he added with a laugh.

The cover reveal is the latest announcement by Legendary that made waves at Comic-Con. The company also announced on Wednesday that it would publish a new graphic novel by Mark Waid, author Max Brooks and artist Shane Davis. Legendary Comics is the publishing division of Dark Knight Rises production company Legendary Entertainment.

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