September 17, 2003

Dear Brad,

Well, here are some initial sketches for the Crusaders characters. These are just copies of pencil drawings I did in my sketchbook, but they’re a good indicator of what my art style would look like on the regular feature. I picked the ones that I really think something could be done with, underrated characters who deserve to be seen somewhere on a regular basis. For the ones included, I mostly tried to find a costume they used at some point. I love the old-fashioned costumes as I feel that the original designs should be honored if at all possible, but I did change some details here and there…

…I mean, we could make half of them female and the other half black or Hispanic, but why? I think the problem with the DC impact versions was that they were SO different-why even use the old characters, to begin with?! (Now, I think the more minor characters might all be up for grabs! Fireball, the Wizard, Mr. Justice, Inferno, Firefly, Capt. Flag-make them all women or -nor-white, it’s fine with me. But they all have that white-male kind of vibe to them. On the other hand, Blackjack could easily be black under the new mask I gave him. The Web-I don’t know. I’m thinking that costume MIGHT look good on a woman-I need to tackle that sometime. These are all story points, though. You tell me who’s what.)

So, I’m starting to get a million story ideas (especially for Steel Sterling!), but I’m restraining myself from sharing with you just ideas that affect the art. (I’m a writer too, but I can easily restrict myself to art chores-I respect other people’s writing too much to interfere.)

I’m not even sure what your proposal to Archie consists of-is it for one book or a whole revamped line? I know most of these characters can fit into a Crusaders team book, and the rest can guest-star, but, if you are proposing just one book, I think an ASTRO CITY format would be great! You could tackle all the heroes in their own stories.

Some people tell me my artwork looks too much like Neal Adams, but I’m trying for a mix of him, John Byrne, Jim Lee, and Brent Anderson. I mention this because I think I would really try to handle the art (at least, if not the story) on a CRUSADERS book like ASTRO CITY-more realistic, but still leaving the heroes that mythic quality.

There ya go! A lot of un-asked-for opinions and some sketches. Ah well, lemme know.

Eric Jansen


NOTE: All characters are trademark and copyright Archie Comics. Art copyright Eric Jansen