Behold, the cover art from the upcoming EMPOWERED vol.6, the latest book in my ongoing "sexy superhero comedy" series published by Dark Horse Comics. Line art by me [link]
, fine/exquisite color art by DA's own
, who also contributed a very, very funny page of interior artwork to the book. (As did the great Jo Chen
Currently slated to hit the shelves on September 10, 2010, EMPOWERED vol. 6 can be preordered at your Local Comics Retailer or bookstore, or online at Dark Horse's retail website here: [link]
Here's the solicitation copy for the book:
After a fiery disaster claims the lives of several teammates, costumed crimefighter “Empowered” stumbles upon an ugly little secret of the masks-and-tights business: a growing number of ill-fated superheroes have found out the hard way that, while their bodies are still mortal, their superpowers are not... Now, only our downtrodden but doggedly determined heroine can rescue the (semi-)living superdead from a quite genuine “fate worse than death,” while simultaneously grappling with the challenges of phallospear harassment, car-trunk carpetburn, superhero fantasy leagues, excessive bedroom chatter, and deals with the devil both figurative and literal! All this, plus Empowered’s not-so-secret origin is revealed at last!
FURTHER NOTES, part 1 (read not, if you're prone to commenting "tl;dr"):
Since I had to do this cover long before I'd gotten very far with the actual book, a number of elements appear on this illo that ended up either being deemphasized—or rendered entirely nonexistent—in the final version of the book. Case in point: the narrow-focus "VORPP" beam that Emp is depicted as shooting, here, wound up never appearing in any of the book's interior stories. Oops!
Also, Ninjette and f**king Oyuki-chan (at left) were originally slated to appear in a long, grandiose, extremely violent and bloody ninja fight at the end of the volume, hence the latter's prominent appearance on this cover. I soon realized that I had not even remotely enough pagecount to give this action sequence this space it deserved… So, said ninja-rifffic action sequence got moved to the next EMP book, where it will definitely have room to breathe (and gasp and shriek and kiai and bleed and so on); in fact, this mass fight scene will carry over through most of the volume, or so I'm currently planning. Yeahp, EMPOWERED vol. 7 will be quite Ninjette-centric indeed, looks like...
Anyhoo, in the end, Oyuki-chan [link]
shows up unmasked in vol. 6 for not much longer than she did during her initial appearance in vol. 5, I'm saddened to admit. Needless to say, though, she gets to cuss up a storm—albeit formally—in her own inimitable fashion.
Finally, I really should have chosen a cooler-looking member of the "superdead" to show, over there at the lower right… One of this fellow's more colorful-looking friends—or the volume's main antagonist, for that matter—might have been a better choice. The only problem is, I hadn't yet designed any of the other "necrocapes" at the time I was working on this cover. Oh, well.
FURTHER NOTES, pt. 2:
For the long-term readers out there: The fiery, behorned head ablazing in the background (above The Goddamn Maidman) is indeed the form of Sistah Spooky's Infernal Service Provider, last seen bargaining for her immortal soul in EMPOWERED vol.1, and, presently, playing a small but important role in this volume's events. Interestingly enough, I got the idea for adding this critter to the cover (he wasn't on the original layout) after reading a DA comment from an EMPOWERED reader that happened to mention said demon…
FURTHER NOTES, pt.3:
As earlier mentioned in the comments for the inked version of this cover, volume 6 of EMPOWERED did not exactly go smoothly. I let the book go on the schedule too early—thanks, I'm afraid, to how far in advance book-market solicitation has to be done, as opposed to the much shorter and forgiving timeframe involved in solicitation for the comics market—and blundered into a situation wherein, once again, I had to turn the book around in (far) less time than I would have liked. Didn't help things much that, at first, my production speed was unimpressive (a page per day or less, during the first month or two), before I finally rounded into working shape by the last few months (averaging two or more pages per day, which is more like it; even had a few three-page days, by the end).
Unfortunately, cranking out this volume of EMPOWERED in a diminished time frame wound up (literally) costing me dearly, as I lost out on two quite major freelance jobs—an art gig and an equally prized writing gig—while trying to deliver this sucker on time. (And, as noted elsewhere, I nonetheless turned the book in a full two or three weeks late, despite considerable struggle and strain. Ouch.) It should be noted that, remarkably enough, I was paid a kill fee on the writing job, as they might be using some of the plot elements I'd devised before having to bail on the assignment. That's quite impressive, given that I've never, ever been paid a kill fee before, despite all the many, many failed projects I've worked on. Very generous of them, really.
Anyhoo, such an unfortunate blunder on my part will not be happening again, since I'm not going to let the next volume of EMPOWERED go on the schedule until I'm almost done with the damned thing. Combine this sensible precaution with the fact that I have to now line up some other, better-paying jobs to make up for my income shortfall—terrifyingly enough, doing EMPOWERED is a comparative luxury(!) that has to be subsidized by other work—and it looks like the next volume of EMPOWERED won't be coming out for at least another year or more. For what it's worth, I might look into doing another one-shot in the interim, along the lines of last year's THE WENCH WITH A MILLION SIGHS:
FURTHER NOTES, pt. 4: Just kidding, folks; even I myself have grown tired of reading this far. Besides, I have to get back to work on the wide assortment of pitches and proposals with which I'm about to barrage several different companies… Brace yourselves, editors everywhere.