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, it’s everyone’s favourite malchemical magical duo, as Richard Elson gives us the fantastical and funny Feral & Foe on the cover of 2000 AD Prog 2227, which is out from 14 April everywhere the Galaxy’s Greatest is sold, including the 2000 AD web shop!

It looks very much like this…

(‘Those things, those slithering things coming towards us, what are they?’
‘They’re probably not Melvin!’)

Since returning in 2000 AD Prog 2224, the stars of Feral & Foe have had to cope with the magical fallout from the shocking end to series one, where it all looked dire for Necromancer Bode and warrior Wrath, those two bickering former evil minions of the defeated Malign Lord.

As Dan Abnett said in our Feral & Foe interview‘Our heroes have survived thanks to ‘magic reasons’ and can continue their adventures. But that is, kind of, the only way out… so I thought if it had to be magic, then it also had to be complicated. It had to be ’magic with massive consequences’… ‘This ‘season’ goes off on a very unusual tangent and literally mixes everything up, to comedic, horrific and “high adventure” effect…’

Oh yes, Wraith and Bode have definitely been well mixed up by it all, finding themselves in even more ridiculous trouble than usual, meaning we get even more of everything that made the first ‘season’ work so well – loads of fantasy action for sure, but packed with great characters, sparkling comedic dialogue from Abnett as Wraith & Bode find even more reason to bicker and argue this time around and, of course, it’s all tied together with the great Feral & Foe artwork from Richard Elson.

Now, over to Rich to tell us all about putting together this latest cover…

RICHARD ELSON: This was an incident rich episode of Feral & Foe; Tharg decided to feature the spider skulls on the cover and asked me to come up with ideas. As usual, I submitted a page of 4 roughs and, as usual, the one I preferred (no 4) didn’t get picked.

(An arachnophobe’s nightmare thanks to Richard Elson’s rough cover designs)

Tharg, in his infinite wisdom, chose the first rough and, as I started to sketch up the full size image in Photoshop, it occurred to me that the composition was similar to that of the first cover I ever did for 2000AD, back in prog 676 (I think).

(Yep, that’s the one Rich – we’ve included it at the end)

That Prog 676 cover showed Nina, the protagonist of the series Shadows, crouching against a wall with two hands reaching towards her from the reader’s viewpoint.

I didn’t actually find the original cover out, but I vaguely remembered that the colour scheme featured oranges, greens and yellows – so I thought I’d use a similar palette for the Feral & Foe cover.

(Death by laser grid – Wraith and Bode weren’t expecting that one!
Richard Elson’s blue line pencil rough plus perspective grid)

I usually tighten up the blue line rough with a red line full pencil stage, but I thought there was enough information to go directly to inks over the blue-line for this one.

I added a perspective grid layer as a guide for the steps and the bone wall.

(Bulging eyes, bony legs, dripping saliva… that’s you with a hangover that is.
Rich’s partial inks for the cover)

The water, wall and top shadows were added as separate layers in case I needed to mess around with opacity or colour holds before I flattened the inks for colouring.

(Worst Prom photo ever.
Rich’s Finished Inks)

When I actually got around to looking at that prog 676 cover (once I had gotten over the shock of how f***ing awful it was) I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had remembered the colour scheme pretty accurately.

I hope everyone is enjoying series 2 of Feral & Foe as much as I am enjoying working on it. This is such a great job!

(No, add in the noxious fumes and we’re definitely back to you with a hangover.
Rich’s final colours added)

Thanks to Rich Elson for that Covers Uncovered and you can find that Feral & Foe II cover on the shelves from 14 April – or pick it up from the 2000 AD web shop.

For more Feral & Foe, check out our interview with Dan Abnett and Rich for the start of Feral & Foe II, and there’s another great Covers Uncovered from Rich for 2000 AD Prog 2163 for the first season of Feral & Foe.

First of all though, that cover to 2000 AD Prog 676 that Rich didn’t exactly enjoy looking at again – but like all the great art droids, he’s predisposed to hating the old work!

2000 AD Prog 676 – Richard Elson
2000 AD Prog 2163

As for some more of Rich’s great cover work, check out these three beauties – Prog 2192, where old Joe gets up close and personal with the great bear for End Of Days, Prog 2035 with his Traitor General cover, and Prog 1907 with a Kingdom cover evoking all those great war comics of old… albeit with added Them!

2000 AD Prog 2192
2000 AD Prog 2035
2000 AD Prog 1907