Cover Art by Jim Lee

Punisher Armory 1 Cover Art Story

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The first thing to note is that I asked, in advance, to have someone else do the Armory cover. At the time I did not know that there might be a second one and so was fairly modest in my expectations. But I also knew I was not the sort of artist to do something figurative or splashy enough for “sales” or “commercialism!”

I’m a big fan of that commercialism… And here it is, a nice big scan of the printed cover:

PA 1 Cvr001Don gave me that Puckish smile of his and agreed whole-heartedly. Of course he knew his business and my name never crossed his mind. When I learned that Jim Lee was to do the cover, I was delighted. At around the time this was all happening, sometime in late 1990, Jim was just revving up to getting tapped for the X-Men. Jim was a very talented young man and he was destined for greater and –ahem—great things.

[Okay, now Mr. Lee is a Vice President of Something Big and Important at DC Comics. I think this had something to do with their buying his comic company, Wildstorm. Then they gave him an office on the East Coast as well as another one on the West Coast—which must be tough on where to eat lunch… Of course, I am writing this in May of 2011 and everyone knows all of this—but back then… he was just really talented!]

So when I next got into the office and saw the cover, it was very splashy, comic-y, should sell, sell, sell and yet, that small nagging voice of envy made me say, “That’s not a gun.” I was referring to the gadget the Punisher is waving in his left hand, over his head. When I ran into Jim, I repeated that to him. He gave me that sad smile he reserves for fools-who-question-him and said, “I used reference; I’ll find it for you.” Well, he became a busy fellow and when I next saw him, he had made it to the highly-profitable party that was The X-Men and looked distinctly haggard. But I know when an artist is weak and I struck again—reminding him to dig up that reference. It did take a while, but he did it. That high-contrast photocopy is the pride of my reference collection—as it is a Jim Lee piece for me! (continued)

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