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A peek under the hood of M&M

June 4, 2006

The Origin of a Cover: Golden Age

For the cover to the Golden Age sourcebook, we really wanted something that evoked the Golden Age of comics, and what could do that better than a group of patriotic American heroes fighting Nazis?

So we started off with members of Freedom City�s Liberty League (detailed in the "Golden Age of Freedom" chapter of the book) and placed them at an iconic backdrop: that of the Statue of Liberty herself, threatened by Nazi saboteurs!

Cover Concept

Cover Concept

The cover concept by artist Scott James is off to a good start: we�ve got the most star-spangled Liberty Leaguers squaring off against the bad guys in defense of Lady Liberty (not the costumed one, although she�s there to help protect her namesake). Still, although the heroes are looking good (particularly the fleshed-out designs for Freedom Eagle and the Patriot), the illustration needs two things: more Nazis and an Axis super-villain to really give it that Golden Age feel.

Work in Progress

Work in Progress

Now that�s more like it! We�ve got an extra Nazi soldier atop the statue but, more important, we�ve added the sinister mastermind Totenköpf (Death�s Head), Patriot�s arch-foe, to the foreground. Nothing says "Golden Age" like skull-faced Ratzis! Things are really shaping up, but could use just a few tweaks here and there.

Final Art

Final Art

The final cover art adds another Nazi to menace Patriot (trying to shoot a guy in the back, how low can you get?). We also given Totenköpf a menacing detonator: clearly he�s planning to blow up the statue from his hovering platform, even with some of his men still on it! What a rat! Go get �im, Patriot!

Ahem... anyway, we can also see the final effects in Lady Liberty�s glowing aura, Johnny Rocket�s blur of movement, and the highlights on Freedom Eagle�s wings (which are their proper gold now, rather than brown), gauntlets, and insignia. Looks like we�ve got ourselves a cover illustration. All that remains is for Art Director Hal Mangold to work his graphic design magic on it.

Completed Cover

Completed Cover

And there you have it! The addition of the title logo and trade dress helps to tie it all together and tells you right away that this is the complete Mutants & Masterminds book on Golden Age style games.

In some upcoming Design Journals we�ll take a closer look at some of the heroes of the Liberty League and the Übersoldaten of the Nazis in the Golden Age of Freedom City. Until then, keep �em flyin�, heroes!