Every week, 2000 AD brings you the galaxy’s greatest artwork and 2000 AD Covers Uncovered takes you behind-the-scenes with the headline artists responsible for our top cover art – join bloggers Richard Bruton and Pete Wells as they uncover the greatest covers from 2000 AD!

This week, time to go BIG, as the diabolical, mechanical marvel that is Mechastopheles takes the cover of 2000 AD Prog 2237 – all courtesy of Dave Kendall.

Wade into the action with the giant demon of the Deep with Prog 2237 – heading into battle, into the shops, and into the 2000 AD web shop on 23 June!

First stomping all under its titanic tootsies, Mechastopheles first burst into the Prog as a Tharg’s 3Riller in Progs 2045-2047, before graduating to an eight-part series in Progs 2092-2099 and is now featuring in Progs 2234-2237 for the four-part The Hunting Party.

Created by writers Gordon and Lawrence Rennie and artist Karl Richardson, this tale of demonic robotic mayhem all came about when Rennie Snr mentioned to Rennie Jnr that he fancied writing a story about a big robot demon in hell – which is, I think we can all agree, a perfect 2000 AD pitch!

The survivors of humanity are on-board Mechastopheles, years after the fall of Earth when the demons rose up and everything went very, very, very bad for all human-kind. But, here in The Hunting Party, we’re finding out that seeking sanctuary in a demonically powered gigantic Mecha might have some uniwue problems – especially now it’s obvious that the demon bound to the Mek, Apollyoneth Morga, has enemies in Hell too.

For this new series, the four-part The Hunting Party, Rennie Snr and Jnr are joined on art by Boo Cook, whose art gives an added dimension to all the diabolic goings-on happening inside and outside the Mecha monstrosity.

But for now, it’s over to the great Dave Kendall, who waved his magic paintbrush at the cover…

DAVE KENDALL: So my cover (and almost every illustration and comic page) starts with scribbles in my sketchbook. You can see that this cover filled around four pages. I did a couple of sketches to familiarise myself with the character and because of the underwater aspect it gave me an excuse to give Pacific Rim a watch. A movie I thoroughly enjoy. My kind of visual junkfood. Great inspiration for giant robots underwater.

You can see the progress in Sketch 1 and Sketch 2 below…

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From there I came up with two concepts.

The first was a close-up portrait of Mechastopholes, with the second a more distant full figure shot that emphasised his imposing size.

Matt liked both but thought the full figure was more imposing.

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The next stage is sketching it out in a more finished state in Clip studio. This would then be transferred to Bristol board as a blue line to be penciled in detail.

You can see those stages below, first the cover sketch and then the final Mechastopholes cover pencils…

The final pencils are then printed as sepia on watercolour paper and then bonded to mdf. This is then coated with acrylic medium and then when dried it’s ready to paint. I don’t have any stages of this process but it’s a careful build-up of darks and midtones with lights at the end.

Of course highlights don’t really occur under water so I avoid that in this illustration, just letting the flames and inner fire shine bright.

A careful scan and it’s sent to Matt for approval.

All of which leads us to this, the final Dave Kendall cover… that is a MASSIVE cover…

Thanks to Dave for sending us those stunning pieces of art. You can find it on the shelves on 23 June adorning the front of 2000 AD Prog 2237 – get it from newsagents, comic shops, and the 2000 AD web shop.

Now, a few of those magnificent Mecha shots blown up for you to see all that incredible detail in Dave’s work…