The one and only Darick Robertson (Transmetropolitan, JLA: A Midsummer's Nightmare) sent us a ton of concept art and sketches from his superhuman shit-kicker series, The Boys. Check out early designs for the team and Darick's commentary about the art!
Darick co-created The Boys with Garth Ennis and characterizes these pieces as the "concept and design art that went into creating the first issues of The Boys." You can really see how particular characters' designs (The Female, Mother's Milk) evolved over time. Plus, an early scene of Frenchie kicking ass makes a Gallic-American like myself happy to have a strong male role model other than Daft Punk and Gerard Depardieu.
You can find Darick's commentary to the right of each illustration. The Boys 43 is published by Dynamite Entertainment and hits comic stores Wednesday, June 16.
"This was one of the choices to lead with for what would be the quieter choice for issue one's cover. It's still a cover I'd like to fully execute and I thought made a nice segue with page one of the first issue."
"My first drawing of Terror. I didn't realize that Garth would want a far goofier looking, cartoony dog, as I would go on to draw and is visible in image 24. So this was me going for realism..."
"An early sketchbook image trying to capture the Frenchman's demure manner."
"An early, early drawing of Butcher. When Garth first described the concept, I imagined the team would have uniforms, ala "Challenger's of the unknown" or S.H.I.E.L.D. , so I designed collars for them with shapes for ID symbols. Later, I would come to understand the importance of their covert look."
"The answer was 'No cigars.' I saw Butcher (who's original name was Savage) as a Fury or Frank Castle like character. Kudos to my co-creator for thinking outside an easy box to fill. Butcher neither drinks nor smokes, and you'll find out why in his origin mini series, which I'm drawing now, for next year's release."
"Early expressions shots of Butcher, trying to get a feel and consistency for the character. Sometimes, I just have to draw character until I 'see' them appear. In images 21 and 25, you can see how the face evolved to it's final established look."
"Early concept sketch of the Female. Later, I would suggest making her Japanese, and Garth agreed wholeheartedly, and wrote an amazing origin story around that caveat. You can see the first sketch of her as an Asian character in image 20. I immediately felt like we were on a better track."
"One of the closer-to-the-mark drawings of Butcher, who was the hardest character to nail down for me. In image 25 you can see the moment of truth wherein I got it, based on a detailed description Garth sent of what he should look like in his expression."
"The Frenchman in his transformation."
"Wee Hughie was also very hard to get just right. This was one of my first attempts to find that innocent balance with a character who could also hold his own. It was in this effort and design period when I saw Simon Pegg for the first time in Spaced, and did the sketch for Hughie that is image #11. You can see what I was looking for long before Simon's face filled in that question mark for me."
"The drawing of Wee Hughie inspired by Simon Pegg."
"Early sketch of Mother's MIlk when we were going for a clean shaven look on him. Only later, almost last minute, did we decide that the beard and short afro was cooler."
"My original vision of the BOYS in action when I saw them as wearing uniforms beneath their coats, and coming in more like a S.W.A.T. team than a covert spy organization. Here, The Frenchman shows a hulking character who's boss."
"The original pencils for the cover to issue #1. When inking myself, I leave things very loose to keep my inspiration ripe for the drawing I like to do in ink."
"The final design with raw color guide of A-Train, my favorite of the 7."
"The first drawing of the Legend, which I did directly onto the page he first appeared on. I saw him vividly from the moment I read Garth's description in the script. One of my favorite character's to draw."
"The final concept drawing of Wee Hughie. It was this image when it first appeared online that Simon Pegg saw and contacted me. He couldn't have been cooler about it."
"The first version of 'Homelander'. We toned down the obvious Nazi references, and saved them for a character introduced later: "Stormfront". Stormfront appeared on a cover that got banned in German, sporting a nasty Swastika on his back."
"Trying to nail down Butcher's sadistic smile for the cover to #1."
"This is one of the first ensemble shots wherein I tried to establish everyone's proportions to one another, and as previously mentioned, the sketch that established that the Female would be Japanese."
"The final concept piece of Butcher."
"The final design and color guide for Starlight."
"The final design for Mother's Milk."
"The goofier look for Terror,... penciled for issue 1."
"Butcher's expressions, which I drew many times to get just right, with Garth's description inserted. I focused on that until I saw it."
"My final concept piece for the Frenchman."
"Early concept sketch for the BOYS #1 cover."
"Working on finalizing looks in my sketchbook, practicing expressions. The Female in this sketch was still vague, and Caucasian."
"...And the Female in her final concept piece. It's hard to tell she has Japanese eyes with the hair in her face."