Project Four: Form & Color (1)

From left to right: Alias, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen

For this project, I’ve selected three “graphic novels” that, while not actually part of one series, all deconstruct the conventions of the superhero genre and, in turn, provide a new perspective on what being a superhero entails. Coincidentally, all three feature main characters who have “hung up their capes” but are inevitably drawn back into the life they left.

Watchmen was written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons, and published by DC Comics from 1986 to 1987. It’s a classic example of the graphic novel and a one-of-a-kind superhero story, following a group of “retired” superhero characters who are brought together after the murder of one of them. Their drama unfolds in a reality where the threat of World War III between the United States and the Soviet Union seems incredibly imminent.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns was written by Frank Miller and illustrated by Miller and Klaus Janson. It was also published by DC Comics in 1986, and centers around Bruce Wayne as he comes out of retirement in old age to take on the mantle of Batman again. It was The Dark Knight Returns 
that helped to update the character’s image, which, prior to its release, was known for being more campy and lighthearted in comparison to Batman’s modern-day incarnations.

Alias was written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Michael Gaydos. It was also published by Marvel Comics under its MAX imprint from 2001 to 2004, and serves as the basis of the recent Netflix series Jessica Jones. Alias follows the character Jessica Jones, an alcoholic, “foul mouthed” private investigator who gave up her past job as a superhero due to traumatic events. Eventually, she comes face to face with her past, working through internal and external conflicts in the process.

Sketches (Part 1)

With the picture above, I sketched out the different ways in which text could be laid out on the covers. Also, I noted down the colors that were representative of each graphic novel and its characters/art. With the picture below, I roughly sketched out multiple sets of covers, while emphasizing iconic objects or character silhouettes from each graphic novel.

Sketches (Set 2)

Below are 5 sets of 3 covers (making 15 sketches in total).