Friday, April 30, 2010

Batman and Catwoman

OK, this one is admittedly very goofy but I just couldn't resist when I saw how well the images worked together. I always liked that Batman and Catwoman married on Earth-Two and had a crime fighting daughter, the Huntress. Unfortunately very little was written about that time in their careers before Crisis on Infinite Earths came along and wiped them out of continuity. Maybe now that the multiverse is back, we'll get a chance to see the Bat couple back in action in their prime.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Batman and Hawk & Dove

Yes, I know Hawk and Dove actually appeared in B&B - but that was before the original Dove was killed in Crisis on Infinite Earths and later replaced with Dawn Granger so technically this is a new team. I loved that B&B issue, written by Alan Brennert - it was my first introduction the Hawk & Dove and made me want to seek out more of their appearances. They were victims of the violent age of comics and were eventually corrupted and killed, to my dismay. Fortunately they have both been recently revived and hopefully will be redeemed as well. I am optimistic as they will be appearing as a part of the new Birds of Prey team as written by Gail Simone. She is one of the most dependable writers around these days in my opinion and I look forward to her take on these heroes.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Batman and Aqualad

I am always happy when I can make a cover that utilizes 100% Jim Aparo images, like this one. Poor Aqualad - he has fallen prey to the curse of the Teen Titans, having had tragedy repeatedly visited upon him. First his long time girlfriend, Tula, was killed in Crisis on Infinite Earths, then years later his wife Dolphin and their baby were killed in the sequel, Infinite Crisis (off panel, adding insult to injury). Now in the latest crossover, Blackest Night, he has been murdered by the Black Lantern Aquaman and was not among the heroes revived at the end of the story. The guy just can't get a break.

Batman and Animal Man

Animal Man # 1-26 by Grant Morrison and Charles Truog is one of those perfect comic book runs. I encourage anybody who has not read these issues to go and check them out. Morrison took a forgotten d-list character and told and incredibly complex tale, deconstructing comic book tropes and providing the reader with laughs, excitement and tons of thought provoking ideas.

Unfortunately Morrison did such a good job writing Animal Man that no writer has seemed to really know what to do with him since. The recently finished Last Days of Animal Man was pretty good though, so that is an encouraging step in the right direction. I don't think it sold very well, hopefully more people will check it out in TPB form.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Batman and Guardians of the Galaxy

This one was a request, and it turned out to be a fun one. I have not followed the Guardians much aside from some guest appearances here and there, but I have heard good things about their solo series.

The bad guy on the cover here is Professor Hugo Strange, one of Batman's earliest villains. I'm not sure what Christopher Nolan's plans for the next Batman film are, but I think Strange could be a good choice for an adversary. I can see Ben Kingsley in the role. Hugo Strange used to deal in genetic manipulation and Monster Men, so they could even introduce characters like Man-Bat and Killer Croc through his involvement... although they may be a little too fantastical for the tone Nolan has set.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Batman and Doc Samson

This one I made just today and since we have already passed the appropriate spot in the alphabet, up it goes. Doc Samson was another of Marvel's C-listers that I always liked as a kid. I thought his job as a psychologist was a nice juxtaposition with his gamma produced strength and that he had a cool costume. There have been redesigns of his outfit over the years, but nothing tops his original look.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Batman and Green Lantern (John Stewart)

I usually don't use very modern images in these covers, as I am usually trying to evoke a silver/bronze age feel. This one is an exception. I saw these two great pieces by Jim Lee and Ethan Van Sciver and thought the could work together, so I gave it a shot. I still couldn't resist one old school trait by adding in a couple of word balloons. Comic covers do not have nearly enough word balloons these days!

John Stewart is a great character and I am glad that his role in the JLA/JLU animated series has given him a much higher profile. Geoff Johns and others have done some great work with him in the past few years.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Batman and Concrete

This one is a little more light hearted, as Concrete is hardly a traditional superhero. I encourage anyone who hasn't to go and check out some of the collected editions by Paul Chadwick, they are a revelation. They are filled with thought provoking stories, fully three dimensional characters and jaw-droppingly beautiful art. I think I read Concrete: The Complete Series and Concrete: The Complete Short Stories all in one weekend, I could not put them down. There have also been a bunch of mini-series featuring the character, but I haven't seen anything new in a few years. Hopefully that will change soon.

I had been wanting to do a Concrete cover for a while, but Chadwick's art was too different from Jim Aparo and I wasn't having much luck. I saw a Legends of the Dark Knight cover by Seth Fisher, and thought it would be a good fit. Not a perfect cover, but I think it worked out OK.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Batman and Godzilla

When I got this request I though that there was no way I would be able to fulfill it. But then I checked around and I found an issue of the 70's Marvel Godzilla series that would work by mixing it with a B&B cover that originally co-starred Swamp Thing. I was glad to do the hunting because is reminded me what a wonderfully offbeat series it was.

I have read that Godzilla is about to be Americanized and updated once again. I hope the filmmakers learned from the last attempt. They strayed too far from the original design and the monster spent too much of the movie hiding, giving up screen time to less interesting smaller versions of himself. The film Cloverfield showed that you can have an effective giant monster movie with a reasonable budget, so I have hope that we could still see Godzilla done right.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Batman and Ghost Rider

There was a lot of cleanup with this one so it took a while. There are certain characters that I think Jim Aparo could have really excelled on if given the chance, and Ghost Rider is one of them. I have alway's loved Aparo's versions of DC's more monstrous characters like Swamp Thing, the Demon and Two-Face, and I bet he could have offered up a nice dark moody version of Johnny Blaze.

The Ghost Rider flick was crippled by a weak script, laughable villains and a hammy performance by Nicholas Cage, but I have to admit I get a kick out of the scenes featuring the title character in action. That's a testament to how great the design of the character is. It's hard to make a flaming skull with a leather jacket and motorcycle not look cool!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Batman and Galactus

Galactus is yet another great creation by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. I loved the fact that he was not described as good or evil, but a force of nature. My young mind thought that the concept of this world-devourer was just about the coolest thing ever. When I heard thet the second FF film was going to tell the Silver Surfer/Galactus saga, I was more than pumped... and then all we got was a cloud in place of the majestic villain. I really don't know what the filmmakers were thinking with that one.

This is a very lopsided team up, but it's the very oddity of the pairing that made me want to give it a shot. I know I would surely like to read a tale inspired from this cover.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Batman and Elektra

Everybody wonders who would win in a fight between Batman and Captain America, but here is a battle that I would really like to see. Both a great fighters, Batman has better gadgets, but Elektra is willing to be more lethal.

It's too bad that the vast majority of people only know Elektra from the mis-cast performances of Jennifer Garner in her two film outings. Hopefully folks who had a little interest from Daredevil and her self titled film checked out the comics and got a chance to see the correct portrayal.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Batman and Doctor Strange

I was glad to be able to use a Paul Smith version of Dr. Strange here, as he is my favorite artist to work on the character. This was one of the easier covers to come up with - as soon as I saw the Batman cover, I knew exactly which character to use with it, it was just a matter of finding the right picture.

Dr. Strange has been somewhat quiet as of late, even giving up the Sorcerer Supreme title to Brother Voodoo. Hopefully a creative team will find a new approach on him soon and he will rise in prominence again. I did love the Marcos Martin illustrated mini series of a few years back.

Batman and Doctor Mid-Nite & The Atom

Earth 2. If you have never read a single comic book, just hearing that term opens up a world of possibilities. A second Earth, where things turned out familiarly, yet quite differently at the same time... It was very appealing to me as a young reader. So there is no surprise that I was a huge fan of the Justice Society and all of its members.

Doctor Mid-Nite had no Earth-One counterpart and The Atom was the same in name only to the one he had, so they had even more of an air of mystery about them. The JLA/JSA team ups to me were the big events of my time. This cover was no request, just something I would have wanted to see on the stands when I was a kid.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Batman and Doctor Doom

This one took a very long time, but it was worth it. It was hard replacing Doom's former victims with Batman's buddies but fortunately a little cloud placement covered many a flaw.

If I had only a few of my covers that could be made into actual stories, this is one I would pick. I would love to see this match-up! Doctor Doom is my favorite Marvel villain, hands down! His diplomatic status, his relationship to Reed Richards, his look and especially his attitude serve to make him one of the most interesting characters ever in comics, a creation as great as the FF itself.

Of course, this is why I was so annoyed with the portrayal of Doom in the FF movies. All that great stuff to work from, and they turn him into a Donald Trump type. The actor didn't even bother to put on an accent! Hopefully there will be a more faithful version in the upcoming reboot.

Batman and Dial "H" For Hero

Another old-school cover as the result of a request. Coincidentally, Batman was solicited to team up with Robby Reed in the current B&B series just as I started this one. I wish I had used better quality pics to work from for this cover, as the colors are kind of oversaturated.

Dial "H" For Hero is a series that I think would work really well as an animated kid's series. Of course if they put one out now, folks might see it as a rip off of Ben 10, even though it predates that concept by decades.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Batman and Devil Dinosaur

This request had me stumped because I just couldn't fit the Jack Kirby artwork with a Batman cover to my satisfaction. Then I decided to see if I could find a Kirby Batman on the web. This turned out to be a lot harder than I though it would be. Kirby illustrated the two Super Powers minis series for DC in the 80's, but Batman was not featured prominently on the covers and I could not find many scans of the interiors. Finally I found a decent copy of the promotional ad to the series and was able to pull the Batman image off of there.

I never read the short lived Devil Dinosaur series, but from the covers it looks like a fun Kamandi style romp. Regardless of how much sense the stories might make, you gotta love the inventive visuals Kirby gave them.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Batman and Deathlok

Here's another character that I wish Marvel would do more with. I think my first exposure to Deathlok was in Marvel Two-In-One. I always dug his look and concept. When he was first introduced he was pretty original and since then we have seen many variations on the man/machine hybrid in film and comics. But good ol' Luther Manning was a pioneer and should not be relegated to a 4 issue miniseries once in a blue moon. I think I read that Marvel is ready to give the character another shot, hopefully this time he will find an audience.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Batman and Death

This is a case where swapping out characters makes a huge difference. The original cover had Cat-Man taunting Batman in a standard villain's death trap scenario. By using the embodiment of Death instead, the story possibilities open right up. I mean, she wouldn't be there unless this was the real deal, right?

It's Amazing how Death, Sandman, and the rest of The Endless have fallen off of the map lately. Neil Gaiman created such a rich universe and while I understand DC's decision not to let other writers muck about in his creations, it would be nice to see some new stories involving them. The collected editions of their comics apparently sell well so at least new readers are being exposed to some of the most thought provoking writing in comics to date.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Batman and Deadpool

OK, I am not a huge fan of Deadpool. I have read a few funny comics featuring him, but these days Marvel seems determined to oversaturate the market with him for some reason. Anyway, I never thought I would do a team up with him until I stumbled onto a cover with his mask pinned with a knife and I knew it looked very similar to a cover John Byrne for the "Many Deaths of the Batman" storyline several years beck. It's a very simple concept, but I think it worked out quite nicely.

Batman and Atari Force

Here's a new one I just did as a request. I don't remember much about Atari Force back in the day, I think I only had one issue - but I have heard many good things about the series so maybe it is something I need to check out if a collection is ever released.

One major thing the series had going for it was the absolutely phenomenal artwork by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez. It's too bad that licensing red tape is probably preventing this series from being reprinted.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Batman and Daredevil

I thought this would be a simple matter of swapping in Daredevil for Green Lantern, the original co-star in the issue of B&B that I used as a template here. I then realized that because of his DD chest symbol I couldn't flip his image, so I would up flipping the entire B&B issue and adding him in, and then I had to re-flip all of the logos and dialogue. It would up being a lot of work for such a simple looking cover. It's a good thing that Batman has a symmetrical costume or this is a problem I would probably run into a lot more often!

Even though the Ben Affleck Daredevil movie met with only a lukewarm response, I still feel that ths is a character very well suited for live action. I think a TV series would be great, half lawyer dramas and half action show. Daredevil's powers are relatively easy to represent and his rogues gallery are mostly street level characters, so this would be easy to produce. I've heard rumblings of a reboot for the film franchise, so we will see what the future holds.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Batman and Cyborg

This is a team up we might have seen had B&B run for a couple of more years as The New Teen Titans was just starting up as the series ended.  The George Perez art works well with Aparo here I think.  Cyborg has done well in other media with animated appearances on Super Friends and Teen Titans, and  a live action depiction on Smallville.  Given that, I think that he should have a higher profile in the comics than he does, caught in an endless loop of being destroyed and reassembled.  Yes, he just gained membership in the JLA but that seems like a temporary thing until the Geoff Johns/Jim Lee takeover on the horizon (no, there hasn't been an official announcement, but enough hints have been dropped).

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Batman and Conan

I was never a big sword and sorcery fan as a kid so I did not come to appreciate Conan comics until much later in life. Now I look back on those old issues and can't believe all of the gorgeous artwork by John Buscema and others within. This is a match up that just writes itself, whether Batman was thrust back to Conan's time, or Conan found himself in present day Gotham.

Sometimes I have to add in a caption or word balloon on these covers in order for the scene to make sense, but this was a situation where the guest star fit right in. Batman's actual teammate in this issue was The Spectre and it was a relatively simple matter to swap him out.

I read that Conan is headed back to the big screen. It will be interesting to see a new film interpretation so many years after the Arnold Schwarzenegger versions.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Batman and Cloak and Dagger

This is one of my more recent efforts, I made it just a few days ago. I would have definitely like to see this follow up to the "A Death in the Family" storyline back in the day.

I always thought that Cloak and Dagger were a great addition to Marvel's heroes. ThEY were and still are pretty unique characters and it is too bad they do not get used more often. They traditionally have had a tough time holding their own series, but I still think they can make for some interesting tales in a mini-series or as guest characters with street level heroes like Spider-Man or Daredevil. They have never looked better than when Rick Leonardi drew them back in the 80's.

Batman and Challengers of the Unknown

This cover is special for me because it features my two all time favorite artists - Jim Aparo, of course, and the legendary Joe Kubert.

Through Tarzan, Tor, Hawkman, the Haunted Tank, The Unknown Soldier, Sgt. Rock, and more, Kubert has been dazzling fans with his moody, expressive art for over six decades. I was fortunate enough to meet him briefly last year at the Baltimore Comic Conventions, and the rumors are true - even at almost 80 years old, he still has a grip of iron, no doubt from wielding a pencil for so long!

I never got the chance to meet Jim Aparo before he passed away, so it was a real pleasure for me to finally meet my other favorite artist. He was very nice and gracious to me despite my gushing of praise.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Batman and Captain Marvel Jr.

I was always fascinated by this character when I was a kid and would read the Golden Age reprints of the Shazam family. While Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel had solo adventures illustrated in the traditional comic style of the time, Jr. was depicted in a detailed realistic style. Amazing artists like Mac Raboy gave him a modern look that was decades ahead of most other comics on the stands. The covers especially had an almost painterly feel.

Captain Marvel Jr. and the rest of the Fawcett characters seem to be on hold at DC for the time being, and that's fine considering some of the storylines involving them in the past few years. Fortunately Geoff Johns left them in a position to have a clean slate when they return. As much as I do like seeing them team up with mainstream DCU characters, I think maybe it's time they get there own separate Earth again now that the multiverse is back.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Batman and Captain Kirk

It's true, Shatner makes everything better, and this blog is no exception. This request was a real challenge, I knew Star Trek had plenty of comics printed but was stumped as how to combine him with Batman. The design is a little wonky on this, but I think the story potential makes up for it.

I would have loved to have seen Adam West and William Shatner swap roles for a couple of episodes back in their prime. West would make a great Starfleet Captain and The Shat certainly has the swagger to be a 60's superhero!

If you haven't watched this Shatner music video yet, treat yourself. It's mesmerising:

Batman and Captain Carrot

Another request. Wasn't sure how the dead serious Aparo art would work with Scott Shaw's cartoony style, but I think it adds the absurdity of the scene. My criteria for a cover is whether it would make me want to read the story inside and although simple, this one would pass the test with me.

Captain Carrot was the head of the Amazing Zoo Crew in a series during the 80's that skirted the line between funny animals and superheroics. DC included the Zoo Crew world as part of it's multiverse and they even had crossovers with Superman, Changeling, etc. The stories were always pretty much played for laughs though, so I thought it would be fun to show a slightly menacing Captain Carrot here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Batman and Captain Britain

This is another one of my favorite covers. It took a lot of work to eliminate Spider-Man from the Marvel Team-Up cover that served as the template here and then to rebuild girders and background areas. Also, the in the Batman image I used, a character had his hand wrapped around Batman's wrist, so that had to be removed as well. It was worth the effort though.

I love this original costume Captain Britain used to wear, I always thought the lion looked cool.

Batman and Captain America

So, Chris Evans is playing Captain America. Well, I am pretty happy with this choice. He has acting chops and certainly looks the part, especially in recent pics where it is clear he is bulking up for the role. He's young enough to convincingly play the role for a while to.

The Director, Joe Johnston, made The Rocketeer - one of my favorite superhero movies. I always thought that Captain America would be a hard sell for a movie but with Marvel producing and Johnston behind the lens, I am cautiously optimistic.

I just hope they keep the little wings on his cowl. I know they are goofy, but he looks naked without them!

Batman and Brother Voodoo

This one is one of my favorites. At first, I never thought I would come up with a cover Idea for such an obscure character. Then I saw the image with the snakes I realized I had a B&B cover featuring Batman and The Red Tornado battling robots that I could use with it. With a little tweaking, I was able to transform one of the robotic tentacles on Batman into a snake and he fit right into the jungle scene!

This one was a request. I never read much of Brother Voodoo aside from his guest appearance in Marvel Two-In-One. I know Marvel has given the character a push recently with him taking over for Doctor Strange as the Sorcerer Supreme, But I don't know how long that will last.

Batman and Blue Beetle

Ah, poor Ted Kord. A pretty interesting character that didn't seem to have an large enough fan base until he was killed off. I read somewhere recently that now that Barry Allen has returned then Ted Kord will have to be the new Patron Saint of DC, as his death now holds the most resonance. Unfortunately that probably means no revival anytime soon.

His replacement Jaime Reyes is a likable character with a neat look who I have warmed up to due to his animated appearances on the Batman: The Brave and the Bold (gotta love that title!) DC wisely connected him close enough to Blue Beetle to adopt the name, while making him different enough in appearance and abilities that there would be room for both characters if Ted Kord should return. Ted could take the name Scarab or something, I think it could work. Come on, DC!

Batman and Black Panther

The contrast in brightness between the two images was tough to work with on this one so I have never been 100% pleased with how it came out. Maybe I'll do another Black Panther cover one of these days.

The image here is from T'Challa's first appearance in Fantastic Four. I always liked how Marvel had heroes and villains who commanded entire Nations. Dr. Doom, Namor, Black Bolt and The Black Panther seemed to rise above their peers for that reason. Over at DC I guess Aquaman ruled Atlantis, but I seem to remember him being exiled a lot.

Batman and Black Orchid

This was one of the earliest ones that I made and I think it shows in it's roughness. Still, I am happy I was able to make a cover with the character at all given the limited amount of images of her to work from.

The Black Orchid is still pretty much a blank slate as DC has barely used the character in the past few decades and most of that has not been in DC proper, but rather the Vertigo Imprint. As with Swamp Thing, I think the character would have a much better chance to flourish if reintegrated with the mainstream DC universe. DC needs more female characters that are not just feminine versions of male characters. The Black Orchid, like Halo of the Outsiders, is just sitting there unused and it's a shame.

Batman and Big Barda

This one was a request and I got lucky to find a picture of Barda that worked with this Batman cover. Well, OK there's no real reason for her to be at a hockey rink, but it does look like she is flinging pucks at Batman.

Most of Kirby's New Gods material didn't appeal to me as a kid, but the exception was Mr. Miracle. His escape artist identity was as cool as his more superheroic side. I was first exposed to him through his three B&B appearances and Barda appeared alongside, but never got solo billing. I have liked her portrayal on the Animated JLU series and I hope she and Scott Free are brought back to the forefront of the DCU soon.

Batman and Batman Beyond

A good idea in concept, I think this one suffers a bit from the disparate art styles between the two Batmen. Now that Batman Beyond is being introduced into the mainstream DCU, there is more non-cartoony imagery of the character out there than when I created this cover,I may take another crack at this pairing.

I remember being disappointed when I learned the creators behind the great cartoon Batman: The Animated Series were going to switch gears and move to Batman Beyond, featuring an elderly Bruce Wayne mentoring a teenage Batman. I figured the network was just aiming for the kiddie market and trying to sell more toys and while that may have been partially true, I should have had more faith in Bruce Timm & Company. They continued the excellent work they had begun on Batman and Superman and made the show a welcome addition to the Batman canon. I especially love the director's cut of the DTV, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.

Batman and Ant-Man

OK, since this blog is so new, I have decided to add more than a cover per day at the beginning, just to give folks a little more to look at when they visit...

The figures are blurrier than I would liked on this one but it still works out OK due to the easy swap between Ant-Man and the Atom. Actually I cheated a bit here because I used a Scott Lang Ant-Man picture and not Hank Pym.

Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne have suffered more than the rest of the founding members of the Avengers. Neither really ever rebounded from the ill advised idea to have Hank smack Janet a couple of decades ago. I'd love to see Hank back in the Ant-man or Giant-Man gear and Jan back among the living, working together in new adventures. There was a chance to clean the slate with Secret Invasion, but no such luck. Still, this is comics, so I live in hope.

Batman and Ambush Bug

I thought this cover would be too simple in design but I think it really ended up working well. Besides, who wouldn't want to see this team-up?

Ambush Bug was a unique concept - wisecracking, breaking the fourth wall and commenting on his own publishers years before Deadpool or even She-Hulk made waves doing the same. I'd like to see DC do a little more with the character.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Batman and Alpha Flight

Here's an issue where I couldn't find an appropriate Aparo Batman for so I opted to use a piece by Shawn McManus from Legends of the Dark Knight.

Alpha Flight is another one of those properties where Marvel just couldn't leave well enough alone. If they revived the series with the original cast from Byrne's run, I bet it would find a following, but every revival seems to have too many radical changes in roster and tone and does not last long. Alpha Flight is like the Doom Patrol of Marvel in that way.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Batman and Air Wave

Welcome to the Blog!

My favorite comic book series of all time was "The Brave and the Bold", which featured Batman teaming up with a different guest star each month and was illustrated by the great Jim Aparo.

I was disappointed with its cancellation at issue #200 because there were still so many team ups that I wanted to see. Bored one day, I decided to create covers of issues that I wished would have happened but never did.

I began with team ups from the DC Universe that the company never got to and posted them in a forum that I frequent. They were well received so I began to do some more and even take requests. Pretty soon I was branching out to more obscure DC characters, Marvel characters and beyond. At this point I have made well over 100 covers and a friend suggested that I begin this blog and feature a cover a day.

OK, that sounds like a good Idea, so here I go. I will post the covers alphabetically at first and then any new ones that have been created in the interim. Enjoy!

A few notes:

- Each cover was created by manipulating existing artwork using Microsoft Paint.

- My goal was to only include characters that never actually appeared in The Brave and the Bold and use artwork by Jim Aparo whenever possible.

And here we go!

First up is Air Wave:

This one was tough because I had a lot of complicated background to create after eliminating Dr. Phosphorous from the original cover. The Air Wave Image I got from an issue of DC Comics Presents. I always had a soft spot for the character but he hasn't seen much action in the past 2 1/2 decades. Yeah, he was just featured as a zombie in Blackest Night, but who wasn't?

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