Thursday, November 28, 2013

NOVA! The Evolution of an Unused 1976 Cover! Jack Kirby! Dave Cockrum! Marvel!

Even tho dandy Dave Cockrum created a ton of colossal cover designs, fantastic finished covers, and incredible interior art, not all of his images thrilled editors and powers-that-were at Marvel! Look below to check out this 1976 NOVA cover Dave drew, which was soon deemed to be "unexciting!" Editor Marv Wolfman swiftly steered the cover assignment to Jack "King" Kirby, and the rest is history! Click below to peek behind the scenes and see the step-by-step course this memorable image took, from inception to production!

Above: Dave Cockrum's illustration for the cover of NOVA #7! Take a look at Marv Wolfman's
scribbled notes about the various details of the cover he found lacking...

Above: A frantically-doodled sketch (by Wolfman?) detailing what is needed is sent
to artist Jack Kirby, who had just recently returned to Marvel after a stint at rival DC!
Note is from John Verpoorten, Marvel's production maven at the time!

Above: Jack KIrby's original pencil art for the cover!

Above, left: Inks (by Joe Sinnott) are applied over Kirby's pencils,
creating a terrific and attention-grabbing final cover (right)! Thanks

AND RESEARCH CENTER for above images!


James Robert Smith said...

I love Jack Kirby...but the Kirby version is not qualitatively better than the Cockrum cover. Also, the editor's bitch-whining about Nova not looking like a 17-year-old kid was NOT solved by Kirby's art.

Al Bigley said...


I'm sure Jack didn't care a bit about the then-new Nova, tho!

Al Bigley

Doug Downing said...

Thanks for the behind-the-scenes glimpse!

The finished product seems to owe quite a lot to inker Joe Sinnott: the removal of heavy blacks on Nova's helmet, the addition of legs (previously just a flying torso!), the alteration of the policemen's helmets, the shading of explosion debris… In Kirby's drawing, Nova looks bulkier and the black "squiggles" along his right side are jagged and angular. They've been smoothed out and reinterpreted for the final, inked version.

BTW, I'd guess the cover doodle was by Verpoorten, as he was also an embellisher.