The Barren Earth by Gary Cohn & Ron Randall

February 6, 2020|In General

Throughout its run, DC Comics’ The Warlord – created by Mike Grell – was the anchor of the publisher’s fantasy books. It also meant a number of new fantasy series were carried in its back pages. In No. 63, The Barren Earth debuted and appeared in most issues until No. 88. It continued in a four-issue mini series Conqueror of the Barren Earth.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t been seen since, either in new comics or a collected edition. Which is too bad, because it has a strong female lead – ahead of its time there – and a novel premise.

So here’s a small celebration of it, taking two pieces of its original art and giving it the modern packaging treatment.

And remember, never neck with a Mulge.


THE WHO’S WHO IN THE DC UNIVERSE ENTRY

Barren Earth Whos Who in the DC Universe

As published.

Barren Earth Art by Ron Randall

Original art scan from Heritage Auctions.

Barren Earth Art by Ron Randall

This second piece is an overlay used to print the red outline background in the published version.

Before and After. Here the two pieces are matched up. The overlay would be added manually to the yellow and magenta plates (yellow + magenta = red) in a pre-digital workflow.

Comic book colouring by Scott Dutton

New colour version. In a digital workflow, we put the overlay on a separate layer in Photoshop or another image editing program, but it doesn’t need to be treated as one object. It can be split up any way we want to. In this example, the heads get a dark red outline, the sun gets a yellow edge, and the floating city gets a pale blue. Technically, this could have been accomplished in the older workflow, but would have involved a fair bit of manual labour for each page in the comic. So by standardising on one colour per background, they were doing something special, but it kept production costs defined and manageable.

Comic book design and production by Scott Dutton

Text re-set and page design re-created.

Comic book colouring by Scott Dutton

Art reformatted – floating heads removed, the Sun enlarged and re-positioned – to make it suitable for cover design.

Comic book design and production by Scott Dutton

It certainly would be nice to have a collection of The Barren Earth stories – plus maybe some new tales – and I’d love to do the colouring and design of the omnibus. DC, call me.


A PAGE FROM WARLORD NO. 80

Barren Earth The Warlord 80

As published.

Barren Earth Art by Ron Randall

Original art scan from Heritage Auctions.

Comic book art restoration by Scott Dutton

Minor clean-up on the art.

Comic book art restoration by Scott Dutton

A second version of the lineart for cover design, with art filled in and extended in Randall’s style.

Comic book colouring by Scott Dutton

I did this new colour version first.

Comic book design and production by Scott Dutton

New cover formatting, as if the story had appeared in its own comic.

Comic book colouring by Scott Dutton

This second colour version was fitted into the original panel, and then the other pieces were coloured in around it.


SOMETHING PRETTY DARN COOL FROM RON RANDALL

Trekker by Ron Randall

Ron is having a very successful Kickstarter for his series Trekker right now. With the book fully funded and guaranteed to go to press, he’s on to stretch goals now. Check out the Trekker Kickstarter for a great package of entertaining stories by a man with a passion for comics.