The guild started as an idea for the 2017 JAX (The Jackson Laboratory) calendar that my colleagues and I collaborated on. We developed a story full of characters rooted in biomedical research with a playful comic book aesthetic depicting each month with an illustrated comic book cover from the first series of The Guild of Incredible Scientists. In this post, I want to share my illustrations I made before and after they were beautifully designed into their final 24 inch spreads. I'm omitting the half of the spread with the days for each month, except for the text from the "Did you know?" that gives background to the story (because we only made covers). Enjoy.
Innovation, perseverance, wisdom: all characteristics the Guild of Incredible Scientists looks for in a leader. Rosalind Franklin had all three, which is why the writers chose her as the Guild’s leader starting in Issue #9.
“DIO” stands for diet-induced obesity and, although not explained in the covers, Dr. Dio’s back-story is relevant to this abbreviation. He made his fortune peddling diet drugs with ghastly side effects through appearances on talk shows and late night infomercials. This wealth funded his ambition to create monsters based on the world’s most deadly diseases.
Dr. Dio’s many creations formed the basis of the Guild’s enemies for many years. Several monsters, in fact, had their own spin-off series. These series were never as popular as those of the heroes’, however, leading to their discontinuation.
Carcinos is the writers’ attempt to depict cancer in the most graphic of ways: a multi-headed beast. As soon as one head is destroyed, another appears. Perhaps the most difficult to destroy of all Dr. Dio’s creations, Carcinos was Immuno the Barbarian’s archnemesis.
Mirroring reality, Dr. Dio often uses mosquitos to spread his diseases. In the “Interplanetary Pestilence” storyline, Dr. Dio releases giant mosquito swarms that prove formidable opponents for the Guild.
The Amazing Programmable Man was almost cut from the series for being “too edgy” for the time. The writers had faith that the readership understood the line between sci-fi hero and real-world ethical boundaries.
Rosalind Franklin made many difficult decisions in her time as Guild leader. For every advance made under her direction, it was as though another red “X” was drawn on her back. Doing difficult, interesting things wears down even the most persistent and fearless among us. For a time in the series, the writers seemed to be paving the way for her exit.
The identity of the mysterious figure was never confirmed, much to the disappointment of fans. Readers have used the similarities between Dr. Dio and other scientist villains to support the theory that this is his son returning to finish what his father started. Others have argued that it must be Dr. Dio himself, or one of his creations. For now, it remains a mystery. Perhaps it is time for the writers to finally ink the sequel and put these rumors to bed?
I appreciate you spending time here and your attention is invaluable, so again, thank you. Hopefully I will be writing more posts and sharing Creativity through curiosity with you.
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