If you've been following the development of Strongman 2, or you're a fan of Strongman 1, you know that the creative team thus far has been limited to two folks - myself on words and Allen Gladfelter on pictures. Allen, as part of his fabulous work on the book, has been handling pencils, inking and a last-step process we've come to call "toning," which involves watercolored greys to add texture and depth to the inked pages, as well as a set of tiny dots that are reminiscent of an old technique called Zip-A-Tone or Screentone. The pages, as you've seen, look gorgeous (just scroll down, or check out the book's Facebook page, which has a number of preview pages from both Strongman 1 and 2.) Between the time Allen and I finished Strongman 1 and started to work on Strongman 2, he was tapped to provide covers for the Boom! Studios book Cars, under their Pixar license. I believe he's done every cover for the book so far, which started as a 4-issue mini and has been given the green light (ha!) to become an ongoing. The guys at Boom! asked Allen to take over interiors - I believe the first of his issues hit the stands last month, actually.
Of course, running interiors for a book, even if it's "just" pencils, is still a lot of work, and trying to carry the workload for both Cars and Strongman 2 was starting to destroy Mr. Gladfelter. So, we came to a new arrangement, whereby he'll continue on pencils and I'll track down another artist to handle inks and toning. A day later, I found the perfect guy - Rob Saywitz, who you may already have read about on the blog in connection with the "Sal & Chrys" story he's been working on for me. (Again, scroll down or click the link for samples.)
As it stands, I'm hopeful that this will only be a minor hiccup in the book's production, and once Allen and Rob get a nice assembly line going, it might even speed things up. It'll have to get faster, anyway, if we want to make the book's release target. And if anyone reading is concerned that the look of the book will change, or change in its second half (or so) at the transition point between Allen solo and the Allen/Rob team, don't be. Pencilers steer the look of a book - Tigre's still going to look like Tigre. Rob's job will be to take Allen's pencils and make them seamlessly integrate with the stuff he's already done for V2, plus, of course, V1. I'm not concerned at all - Rob's a real pro, and I think this will work out very well.
I should have a final cover to show you soon, too - and more from 27! Plus, exciting news about Strongman v3, believe it or not!