To make this concept sing, we wanted to illustrate the cover in a comic book style. But for the world's loudest music magazine, it couldn't just be any old comic artwork. The cover art had to ooze evil and unpleasantness. Being a big fan of The Dark Tower and Batman/Superman comics, one person rose to the top of my list. The crème de la crème of dark, creepy, amazing, gothic comic art. The incomparable Jae Lee. A few hours of connecting the dots on the internet and I tracked him down and landed him for the cover!
Now Revolver needed to reach out and ask each cover subject what his individual super power would be so that Jae could bring their ideas to life on page. Finally, due to the inevitable complete disregard for deadlines, the super powers started trickling in... King Diamond would wield "Evil Eye Mind Control" so that he could control anyone who dares to look into his maddening eye. Chad Grey of Hellyeah would have super sonic scream power, no doubt to destroy his opponent from the inside out beginning with the ear drums. Mike Hranica of The Devil Wears Prada would be able to travel through time. And last but not least, in his own words, Kerry King of Slayer would be able "to crush any other super power AND spew toxic demon bile on all who oppose me! AND churches are set ablaze in my mere presence!!”  Nice! Obviously, some of these powers would be easier to visualize than others, plus we also needed to decide on the characters’ styling (Costumes? Uniforms? Appear in their daily wear?). I brought this up to Jae early on but he was unfazed..."Depicting superpowers is what I do for a living. No problem.”
For his initial sketch, Jae roughly created a hierarchy and fleshed out where the four characters would be composed on the page, as well as what each would be wearing, and of course, what their powers would look like on display. It’s an interesting sketch because it is more figurative than anything (hard to work out the details), but after looking at it closely, the shapes started to become clear and the direction became more apparent. We were definitely on the right track! 
So Jae went on to make a slightly cleaner, simpler sketch with a few edits next, to be be followed with some samples of tighter pencil work. I roughly placed it in page and looked at it with a logo and was very cool. At this point, people in the office could better visualize what we were going for and started getting excited about this cover as well. I gave our approval to continue onto inking and ultimately final art.
But holy s**t! What was that latest file that came through a week later?!? A brand new, reworked composition that differed greatly the previous, approved version. King Diamond was facing the opposite direction and Chad Grey was in a completely different position. I was shocked. I have commissioned a TON of great illustration in my career and never has anyone changed their artwork this drastically AFTER approval. Oh boy. But this is why I hired Jae Lee. He's a super genius. Something wasn’t quite working for him, so he rethought the whole thing. He didn’t ask, he just took it upon himself to keep plugging away until he got what he wanted. And I have to agree, his new rendition was more dynamic and worked better than the previous direction. I quickly gave my approval again (because our drop dead deadline was fast approaching) and he continued on to inks and ultimately, a handful of color variations to choose from. 
I tried the different versions in page with cover lines and the Revolver logo, and as a group, we decided that while all the color schemes had merit, the red was a little more “Revolver.” The type style immediately puts our comic-themed concept out in front and quickly makes sense of the illustrated cover, as well as play off the fonts used in the feature inside (soon to be posted on my site—stay tuned). I tried a few different logo colors, including metallic silver, but black won out. And as cleverly suggested by Stephen Goggi, a  misty halo behind King Diamond’s head separates his black hat from the logo. Long live rock! Enjoy!
Art Director: Kory Kennedy
Editor: Sammi Chichester
Illustration: Jae Lee with Falk Hänsel
With: Stephen Goggi, Jimmy Hubbard, Camille Murphy and Natalie Skopelja
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