Update: I was not selected as one of the six artists to begin work with Millar's characters. There were thousands of submissions and a lot of them were really amazing. Since the contest is over for this year, I'm uploading the finished artwork and additional in-progress images to the slideshow.
The man behind Kick-Ass, Starlight and American Jesus—Mark Millar—holds a new talent competition every year, searching out undiscovered comickers who can contribute to the growing Millar World of superhero'd adventure. This year, I decided to make a submission for the artist category after fellow comicker (as well as dancer, filmmaker, DJ, entrepreneur, antihero understudy and a good friend of mine) Ed Hickman told me he planned to make a submission in the writer's category.
The contest rules are simple: writers pick one of Millar's superhero franchises and write a 4–5 page original script using the characters from that story line; artists only have to submit 3 pages of sequential art—with or without Millar stock. Since I don't just have quality sequential comicbook art lying around (instead I have piles of reporter notepads with indistinguishable chicken scratch scrawled all over them), I was going to have to draw something new in just a couple weeks. Since Ed and I both agree it would be rad to work together on a comic, we decided to synchronize our submissions. I would draw 3 of the 5 pages Ed had written.
Ed chose Starlight, writing a prequel script about protagonist Duke McQueen's initial adventures on the alien planet as a young man. In Millar's story, McQueen is summoned back to the planet decades after his initial adventures there as the people of that world are once again in need of his heroics. The original adventure is only eluded to in flashbacks and memories, or in references from various characters. Ed decided it would be fun to flesh out that first adventure and give it a full treatment. Which meant I got to try out my own version of a young Duke McQueen. Below are some behind-the-scenes images as I worked as fast as I could to make sure I met the deadline (which had to be extended anyway because the sheer volume of submissions crashed the Millar World website for days at a time).