A Man Can Dream ...
I was rereading the first issue of Invid War today and it hit me that I just had to mock up a cover for a trade paperback collection of the first arc. Had to do it. Couldn't avoid it. Indeed, couldn't go to bed until it was finished. Crafted it as though possessed by some outside force that just needed to see what this book should look like. So here you have it, what the book I demand DC/Wildstorm and Harmony Gold get on the fast track should more or less look like. And if anyone tells me that we won't see it because those silly Macross Saga trades didn't sell quite so well, I'll throw a brick at 'em and point out that those books largely contain badly drawn adaptations of TV shows you can get on DVD for approximately the same price, wheras this is wholly original material written from the fertile mind of Bill Spangler, at the peak of his ROBOTECH-writing powers, and brilliantly rendered in glorious black & white by Tim Eldred and Fred Perry (who would later go on to do the highly entertaining Robotech Masters adventure "Rolling Thunder," which also deserves its own TPB).
The way I see it, since Invid War pretty much does a nice job of breaking down into four to six-issue arcs, you'd wind up with four volumes -- Volume 1 containing issues 1-4, Volume 2 containing issues 5-8 plus the "Firewalkers" special, Volume 3 containing issues 9-12, and finally Volume 4 containing issues 13-18.
Of the first four covers of the series, I think issue #3's cover best relates the point of the first four-issue arc. Jonathan Wolfe is a man out of step with the world. He sees the threat of the Invid coming, and cannot do a damn thing about it. When the Invid do arrive, he puts up a brave front and tries to rally Earth's resistance forces against their foe, but when the opportunity to be a hero to the people he left behind -- his weary wife and bitter, grown son -- presents itself, he chooses to try and be their hero in lieu of being the people's hero. And when he bungles the job, that hard descent whose end we see in "Eulogy" begins. This image, I think, most of all four covers for the material that would be in this book, makes for a fine snapshot of this character arc.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the artist behind the covers for the better part of the series' run, the hugely talented Robert Chang, whose website can be found here. (I happened upon it while doing research for an update to Robotech Comic Universe that still hasn't materialized.) His gorgeous anime-styled paintings gave the series a more polished look, more refined look that made the already rock-solid material feel even more substantial. When the dress of the book changed -- new logo, new inker, no Robert Chang covers -- along with the content, which had fast-forwarded to the arrival of Scott Bernard, the book felt somewhat diminished, brought down to the level of all those other books on the shelf. Still good, but nowhere near as good. And I think it was the loss of Chang as the cover artist that really did the trick, moreso than all the other changes combined. Out went the paintings and their texture, in came too-smooth computer colored pieces by interior artist Eldred, who's certainly an excellent artist, but his computer colored work at the time just didn't carry the weight of a good painted piece.
For uniformity's sake, and just to see one more ROBOTECH piece by the guy, if I were putting together these trades, I'd commission a new cover by Chang for the last volume, since none of the issues in that final run had a Robert Chang cover. That would be a nice touch.
I think I'll mock up covers for the other three books in the series tomorrow night. That sounds like easy fun.