In the case of the cover I posted yesterday, the ALL HAIL MEGATRON #1 retailer-exclusive variant cover image, it started out simply enough. Mario from the U.K. comics shop Apocalypse Comics contacted me about doing this cover, and he wanted an homage to the classic Brian Bolland BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE image. (He also assured me that US fans could track the cover down through his eBay store and not pay exorbitant prices for it. With the exchange rate, they'll be available for around $6)
So I got a new artist, Casey Coller, to do it. Casey turned it around very quickly, and did a great job on it (and reading all the feedback below and at our message board, people seem to agree with me on that). Off it went to Josh Perez for colors. When I got it back, I sent it off to Casey, who loved it (as did I, and Mario, too).
And then Casey sent me this e-mail last night (reprinted with Casey's permission):
This looks amazing! Josh really did an awesome job on this, and inadvertently did something very special for me. I have to share something a little personal with you...
The day that we were e-mailing in the morning, the day I said I would have "limited access to e-mail," it was because I was going to be spending the day at a hospital with my family. My sister was in the ICU, and we were told the outlook was not good. She passed away later that day. She had battled cancer since 2001, beating it on 3 occasions. Her most recent remission was over 2 years, but the damage that had been done had taken a heavy toll on her. She recently won an essay contest for Glamour magazine. She died the day it hit newsstands. You can read the article here: http://www.glamour.com/news/articles/2008/05/essay_winner
Anyway, I did this cover for her, as much as myself. In the midst of the absolute hardest thing I've ever gone through, this cover helped serve as a distraction for me, taking away some of the grief for just a while. Today was her funeral, the same day I come home to see Josh's colors. The "AMC" that I added on the camera lens, right by the lens flare Josh added, is her initials. I figured nobody would know what it meant except for me and my family, so it would be safe to put there.
Feel free to pass any of this along to Josh if you'd like. I'm sorry to burden you with this news, but I thought it was an appropriate time. This is just another reason I have to thank you for this opportunity.
I encourage everyone to read her amazing, sad, and funny piece at the GLAMOUR link above (you'll understand why I had Tic-Tacs on my mind in this post's title), but in the meantime, enjoy Casey's tribute to his sister (final version with the logo and "Smile" balloon to come soon):
And the original Brian Bolland piece: