Artist Christopher Jones Breaks Down Designing Brainiac For “Young Justice” Comic

The World’s Finest recently had the opportunity to interview Young Justice comic artist Christopher Jones about his design work for the famed villain Brainiac, currently appearing in the monthly Young Justice series published by DC Comics. The Young Justice comic title expands on the continuity of the acclaimed animated series of which its based, providing a more in-depth look at the characters and their world. The comic series is running a six-part “Invasion” arc, tying into the current season of the Young Justice animated series, and featuring a host of A-list heroes and villains.

Jones is no stranger to the DC Comics-inspired animated works. Not only is he the regular artist on Young Justice, but has provided artwork and even designed characters on past ‘animated’ titles such as Justice League, Justice League Unlimited and The Batman Strikes. The next issue of Young Justice, issue #22 and hitting shelves this Wednesday, brings the classic Superman foe to the forefront. Continue below for more from Jones …

[Young Justice Series Producer and comic writer Greg Weisman] had asked for a Brainiac that wasn’t as robotic-looking as the Gil Kane design from the late 1980s, preferring to get back to the look of a green alien with cybernetic implants. He just wanted an alien that looked more alien than a bald green guy – still humanoid but clearly not human.

My first pass at a design was more lean and lanky in an effort to emphasize the more intellectual nature of the character. I wanted to preserve the circular lights/nodes on the bald green head from the Silver Age version of the character, while referencing the animation designs from the DCAU (Superman, Justice League) and from Legion of Superheroes. I also wanted to reference the color scheme of the Silver Age Brainiac, while going more menacing and cyberpunk and less like an outer spece tennis ensemble. The one other design homage in the original version was the feet, which were a reference to the really uniquely-shaped feet of that 1980s robotic design. I respected Greg wanting to get away from that, but as I was quite fond of it, I wanted to reference it if I could.

This design was submitted and Greg loved the head but wanted the body to be beefier, as we were going to see Brainiac get into fist-fights with some heavy-hitter heroes. While I thought a Brainiac of this design trading blows with Superman at 8 feet tall would be plenty impressive, I was happy to take another stab at the design.

Since Greg was happy with the head, I largely left that alone although I made it slightly more square and aggressive-looking to suit the new body. I bulked up the shoulders, the arms, and the upper torso and generally tried to give Brainiac more “muscular” proportions, while trying to keep his body shapes streamlined and angular. I also redesigned the waist and hips to be more clearly a mechanical endo-skeleton, and not armor worn by a humanoid. I designed transparency into the shoulders for the same reason.

This version was approved is close to what is seen in the final comic. The only significant change is that I went back to the more rounded gauntlet shapes from the first version, and some minor surface detail.

It was a real delight to get to design a Young Justice version of such an iconic DC Comics villain!

Additional details on the Young Justice comic book series are available right here at The World’s Finest. DC Comics has recently announced the monthly Young Justice comic title will come to an end with issue #25, at the conclusion of the “Invasion” arc.

Young Justice #22, featuring Part #3 of the 6-issue “Invasion” storyline, arrives digitally and on shelves Wednesday, November 21st, 2012. Cover price is $2.99. Click here to view more artwork and content by Christopher Jones, including additional Young Justice material and much more.

Stay tuned for further Young Justice updates, including exclusive content and more.

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