I quickly hashed out the cover idea I had brewing and shipped it off to Kent. The process of getting the work done to both of our satisfaction became quite a journey!
Without going too much into detail about the story itself, one of the features in the Next issue of NCQ is inspired by a documentary on Lou Rawls I happened upon on a late night cable TV cruise. Rawls apparently wrestled with some real horrible personal demons that were in direct opposition to his public image. A real Jekyll and Hyde sorta deal in a lot of ways. (OK… That‘s actually most of the story. Um… Oops. Spoiler alert?)
Kent got to work right away. The first thing he sent me was this interpretation of the Rawls half of the transformation. Waaaay to smiley and happy.
What I liked most about the Dee Dee Ramone pic was how tired and unhappy he looked.
Kent quickly added some bags under the eyes and got rid of the teeth. It went from "not right" to "just right" in my mind!
The monster now in the painting was not at all how I had envisioned him. It was a case of what looks good in a painting not necessarily making good comic art. The creature was done in a different style than the face in the mirror. There was no foreshortening. Also the horns and pointed ears (admittedly a suggestion I made) lost the whole Jekyll/Hyde feel.
Bummer. I had failed as a writer and editor to properly arm Kent with the language of comics. I pretty much set the guy up to fail.
Luckily, I don't freak out easy and Kent is as easy going as he is adaptable.
I set up an appointment to come out to his studio and have a chit chat. Not long afterwards, with a little haggling over how to make the items on the dressing room table look “mad scientisty” and just how a counterweight scale should look, he had a great painting and I had the basis for a great comic cover.