Overload Cover

Prime Minister zombies for the cover of anthology comic Overload issue one.

Released at Kapow Comic Con in London, May 2012 was the first issue of Overload a comic brought to you by Martin Conaghan and The Copydesk. This anthology comic features some top talent and I was originally asked to produce art for a  strip written by Emma Beeby and Gordon Rennie featuring UK politicians and the zombie apocalypse but other commitments unfortunately got in the way. However, I did find time to produce the cover which highlights this story and hopefully should be a bit of an attention grabber!

I was pretty much given free rein in what I'd like to do but one idea that kept being mentioned was to feature the former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. So I decided to work up some quick roughs approaching that idea but also some alternatives. Without ruining (or completely ruining) the story the basic premise is that the zombie apocalypse is in full flow and the political leaders of the UK are in a state of disarray especially with the appearance of some well known zombie politicians.
Cover roughs.
One idea I thought could work well was the use of No.10 Downing Street, a more subtle approach to the story with a zombie police guard standing outside but with obvious signs of the mayhem with blood and gore. Another was to do a pastiche of the recent 'Iron Lady' movie visual with a large portrait shot of zombie Maggie. However it was the 'Maggie Attack' cover that everyone liked and the prospect of drawing ex-political leaders shambling down Westminster was too good to miss.

I get a lot of positive comments from clients about my ability to capture a likeness but 'zombie-ing' up a famous face can bring its own challenges. Take too much away from a face and you can lose that something that sparks recognition. I set myself some rules in that the hair style of the characters should be pretty much left alone and that in most cases eyes, although sunken, should remain largely untouched. For the smaller characters behind Maggie I found that a gentle caricature of certain features helped to combat the rot and decay that I added to their faces.
 
This was a lot of fun to paint up and I especially enjoyed adding in some extra touches. Westminster set ablaze I was particularly pleased with and I'll give extra credit to anyone who can figure out what the almost completely obscured bus visuals are a reference to.
Pencil stage.
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