Monday, August 23, 2021

2021 “Justice League Extreme #1” Artemis fanfic commission art by Brad Green

Make no mistake, this piece was an extremely complicated ask. I've gotten a ton of commissions over the years, and part of why that usually works out for me is that I don't give a lot of "art direction." I trust the artist, and I'm looking to see their vision manifested through my chosen subject. I only expect them to have fun and give me something that will make me happy, which happens more often than not. This was entirely different. I've done several jams, which requires a lot more specificity, and there's usually several contributors who get stuff wrong or simply muck things up. While more involved, that's still usually down to "keep your part in scale with everyone else and have your subject otherwise interact well with the others." Regardless, there's typically one or more parts that have to get buried by better work, or else stand out like a sore-- something. But this commission was different from that as well. It was one guy, trying to do all that I ask from solo & jam commissions, spread out across seven subjects, plus background & colors. On top of that, because it's for a fan fiction project with a dense, arcane continuity, I'm layering a bunch of weird alterations without any existing reference on top of everything else. Huge ask.

1994's "The Challenge of Artemis" saw Diana replaced in the pages of Justice League America for a few issues during one of its least popular periods, until the Bana-Mighdall was killed off at the end of the story arc. During this period, Diana was running around in a much-maligned jacket and bike shorts ensemble designed by Brian Bolland. Artemis never really had a proper costume, wearing generic Amazon garb in her earliest appearances, the classic Wonder Woman suit for a few months, an unfortunate green number in a little read literal revival mini-series, and mix-and-match variations since. Artemis is mostly defined by an enormous "Blond Ambition Tour" ponytail, arched eyebrows, and melee weapons (favoring a battle ax or bow & arrows.) While Diana's C + C Music Factory look was dated-on-arrival, it's firmly grounded in the period I wanted referenced. So, I forced Artemis into the second hand thrift store threads, using her one-time nom de puella mala of Requiem.

If you look at the initial thumbnail, while being at the technical center of the image, Artemis is easily the most minor element in the drawing. She's a modest portion of whipped sour cream cheese filling in a spiral of beef, all breast and rump. I otherwise liked the layout, but I specifically requested that Artemis be given more prominence and dynamism. The artist complied by moving Artemis up to the front row and giving her a lasso, seeming ready to choke a beh. I was content with the change, though Artemis was still oddly passive, and I suspect the artist thought so, too. Unprompted, Green ditched the lasso (barely touched dangling off her belt for most of Artemis' Wonder Woman tenure, except for when the White Magician killed her with it) and shifted her pose a third time. For reference, most of the postures were set in the thumbnail, with only the Eradicator flipping positions (as a direct result of the changes made to Artemis.) I think Green recognized that Artemis mattered to me more than most, and I also feel that he wanted to keep at her until she finally felt "right." I'm happiest with this final take, offering more of Artemis' confidence and attitude, battle ready, and better reflecting her continuity.

“Justice League Extreme #1” by Brad Green