June 7th, 2011

Two-Face... FOREVER!!!

Ty Templeton's rejected Two-Face cover drafts for "Batman: Gotham Adventures" #2

One of the (unsung?) greatest talents to work on Batman comics in any format, Ty Templeton, has started posting unused cover and concept art from his work on the various Batman: The Animated Series tie-in comics. If you're like me, each of these posts are a little Christmas.

So far he's only done a couple, starting with the early drafts of the cover for the greatest Ventriloquist and Scarface comic ever made (man, I got hyperbole out the wazoo today, don't I?), and it's hard to tell which cover I like best. Ultimately, I think he made the right choice, but dear god, I want to see the rest inked and colored for proper pin-ups! In the comments, I of course put in a request for rejected Two-Face drafts, a request which was seconded (hurr) by the next commenter.

Today, Ty posted original cover drafts for Batman: Gotham Adventures #2, a story which I've actually posted at my regular LJ, but not here yet, which I should properly do at some point seeing as how it's frelling fantastic.

I'd like to think that maybe my comment inspired his next post, but it's just as likely that he was going to do it anyway considering that he writes: For the time I was on the various Batman books, I tried to make sure all the #2 issues (including #12 and #22) were Two-Face stories. Not just because of the obvious connection to the #2, but it allowed me to write a Two-Face story at least once a year. Considering he’s one of the best characters in fiction, I’m no fool, and I wanted at him as much as I could.

As I've always considered all of Ty's Two-Face stories to be among the very best ever written, it's fantastic to outright hear that Ty loves the character. For a villain who doesn't get much love in fandom (Henchgirl's talking me into starting up the first and only Two-Face-centric art collection group on DeviantArt), Harvey's really loved by a discerning handful of fans and creators. That love isn't usually expressed loudly the way Harley and Joker fans express their passion, so it's cool to see it mentioned by a master like Ty in such a matter-of-fact way. Like, "Yeah, he's one of the best in fiction. It's a fact. Moving on."

As for the rejected covers themselves, I think the very best was the fourth one, with Harvey in the background dominating the light and shadow while Batman and Batgirl fight thugs in the foreground, but I also have great fondness for the fifth, with the full-body shot of Two-Face. That one looks like a movie poster, one that could out-Scarface Scarface. What all these covers have in common is how they play with light and shadow, and in that respect, the final used cover works beautifully even if it's the blah redesign of the character for The New Batman Adventures.

Sadly, the BTAS comics are still out of print, most of which have never been collected. But for anyone who wants more Ty Templeton goodness, I wholeheartedly recommend checking out his Vertigo graphic novel, Bigg Time, a scathing and hilarious satire on fame, the film industry, and guardian angels. And check out the rest of his blog too! I don't know why the hell I don't visit it regularly, as I would have missed posts like these above!

As such, I'd like to thank the wonderful Michel Fiffe for the heads-up. As part of the Act-I-Vate comics collective, Fiffe is an incredibly gifted and unique comics creator whom Warren Ellis called a "revelation." It's easy to see why if you've read his webcomic Zegas, or his Bizarro Comics style pet project with Erik Larsen, Savage Dragon Funnies. That kid's goin' places, I tells ya.