Way back in 2009 Frank Cho had a contest surrounding his creator-owned project 50 Girls 50. Richard submitted these six pages…I’ve included all of his original notes with each page.
Panel 1: I wanted a cinematic intro, and to stay as close in look to the current space shuttles, just stubbied up a bit. Wider. My starfield is too small and faded here. Corrected in later pages.
Panels 2 & 3: Normally, I would place the characters off-center to allow for a more dynamic composition, but I wanted to achieve 3 things here, first, show movement between the 2 panels, thought here’s also a slight camera pull out and adjustment down. Secondly, be certain you could see the padding on the chairs, which is where the cocoon will pop out from later, like a reverse airbag. Finally, I wanted the viewer to be able to see out the window, so we could see movement from panels 1-3 into the muddy atmosphere. Moving the figures left or right would have reduced the amt of information from 2 and 3 I wanted to convey.
Panel 5: Opted for a wide shot, disappearing into the dense forest. More mysterious, to me, which is..
Panel 6: why panel 6 is solid. I thought about a windshield crack appearance, but in the end decided for a cleaner look.
Panel 1: Very happy with this
Panel 2: I’m setting up Oksana as something of comic relief, even back to the first page. The cocoon looks kinda intestine-y, but from all of the airbags I referenced, this is kind of what you get.
Panel 3: Teaser for the dark and creepy outside.
Panel 4: I didn’t see where it mentioned the extent to which the shuttle was disabled, so I’ve opted for a more closed-in panel here. I’m also trying to emphasize the difference between the angles/sheerness of the tech (shuttle) and the organics all around it. I’ll revisit this approach later.
Could it really be pulp without a Cthonian beast? Spider/crab/mantis/squid thing. Yay! I tried to capture a lot here, while still keeping the page simple and readable, which was a bit of a challenge. I’m trusting the colorist on bringing out the monster’s gazillion eyes. I’m really liking my laser pistol the more I look at it.
Well, the starfield is much better here (in the non-board blurred version). The chiaroscuro caused by the interplay between the stars/city lights/oceans adds a lot, I feel.
Panel 2: Based upon a combo of various current space agency control rooms. A lot more gritty, and “down to business” — nothing fancy here.
Panel 3: Earth: I feel I was really threading a needle here. So I just photo reffed cities at night to get some ideas, and made art from there. So this is what earth already looks like at night, only more so. I opted against a coruscant look, in that I still wanted oceans, and delineated land masses. Sunset turned out pretty well.
Panel 4: Yes, I’m making a commentary on our educational system in the US. Older, less techie. And there’s so many babes in this story that I wanted an old man here.
Panel 5: Note the sky. This is where the browned out, polluted sky would be better shown.
Panels 1 and 2: Seems to me that the ladies would try to make the place feel like home. I don’t know how long they’ve been out there, but the longer, the more important this sort of thing would be to their sanity, I feel. Drawing towels is fun.
Panel 3: Much like in the shuttle, I’m going for sleek curves and high contrast in the design. I want the ship in a way to reflect the femininity of the women, and it also serves as a good contrast to the angularity of the ship exterior.
Panel 1: The move from the workhole. I wanted the transition to be a jarring one, so I used Kirby energy dots, and transitioned from the orderly, linear inverted wormhole to the chaos of realspace.
Panel 3: Ship over the planet. Pretty chaotic in B&W, but with the earthy, warm browns, greens, and reds, with the volcanic smoke applied underneath the angular ship overhead, I think this will look great seeing the ship in low orbit. You’ve also got the before-mentioned contrast between the techie ship and organic planet belowI’m trusting the colorist to make my idea here really pop, as it seems a bit unorthodox an approach.
Panels 4, 5, 6: Not in script, but I felt that their presence (and differing reactions) add a lot to the page.
Panel 7: Good depth of field here, nice range of reactions.
Some stellar stuff in there. Richard has grown so much as an artist since 2009. It’s great to take a look back and see the areas that he’s improved over the years and the things that even back then he was rock solid on.