Suzanne Forbes, an expat New Yorker in Berlin. Made possible by the generous support of her Patrons. https://www.patreon.com/SuzanneForbes. Former DC Penciller for Star Trek, former courtroom artist, painting portraits and teaching drawing.
This is the first fan-art I’ve made since my New Mutants Rahne-Dani slash art in the 80s.
May the dark gods that live under the earth forgive me. And the actors, for using their likenesses. And the intellectual property owners, for using their IP.
Have you watched Riverdale? Riverdale is amazing. The first episode was called “River’s Edge”, and it’s loaded with deep cuts from the 80s like a cover of “Kids in America”, which probably only I remember from the Aidan Quinn/Daryl Hannah movie “Reckless”. Archie is played by a teen genengineered in the Kiwi branch of the CW’s perfect-young-person lab. He has impressive abs and the usual CW shirt allergy, which I approve of, and he is thoroughly likeable, like the version of Veronica portrayed by Camila Mendes.
Betty is played by a wonderful young actress named Lili Reinhart, who is hilarious on twitter AND shows extraordinary courage in talking publicly about her battle with depression. She is worthy of great admiration and a brave young woman. Jughead is played by a guy named Cole Sprouse, who apparently was a child star on Disney. And is now a photographer and model and a painfully hot woke bae. He looks exactly, uncannily, like Jughead as drawn by the magnificent Fiona Staples. People call Betty and Jughead together (the “ship”) “Bughead.”
Riverdale, and Betty and Jughead’s relationship, is made for people from the 80s like me. It is the most delightful thing ever in the world.
So I was compelled to make some fan art after the finale. I didn’t copy any actual photographs, as of course I am morally opposed to that. And it’s a pretty innocent scene. But I still don’t know if it’s right to use the actors’ faces without their consent, even though I do not intend to profit in any way from it.
When I worked on Star Trek, the actors had consented to the use of their likenesses, they were licensed as brand identities.
It was my job to represent them in a way they’d give approval for (the ones that had likeness approval, that is). I did pretty well, except for *cough* Patrick Stewart that one time. As a portrait artist, I always always want people to feel good about the images I make of people. I want them to see how beautiful they are to me, and how unique they are at that moment in time. Which is part of why I never do portraits from photographs except for charity fundraisers. Spending time with the people is a huge part of making the portrait.
However…cough…I just had to draw this. If I get a takedown notice I’ll take it down. My husband says if you’ve never gotten a takedown you’re doing something wrong.
He was a genius who elevated comic art to new level. HIs pioneering work co-creating Swamp Thing opened an incredible space and laid the groundwork for the Moore-Bissette-Totleben run, which impacted me and my boyfriend Rob profoundly. His legendary creative fellowship with Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Barry Windsor-Smith and Michael Wm. Kaluta at The Studio inspired my generation of comic artists to be artists, not work-for-hire content producers. (There’s a book!) He worked on dozens of famous characters in comics and movies, from Batman and Spiderman to The Punisher, and with Stephen King and Steve Niles. You can’t begin to imagine how how influential his work was.
Every time you looked at his Frankenstein work, you just said, how the hell can anybody be so good?
He set a standard for excellence that was so inspiring. I never met him, though I was at the same con as him a few times during my pro career in comics. A great regret, and a tremendous loss of a great artist who was loved by all.
Update: SO much better! My friend and colleague at ESDIPBerlin, illustrator Rafa Alvarez, collaborated with me to make this picture actually look the way I imagined it in my head, using his amazing skills. I feel like together we did some justice to Bernie’s inspiration. Every new generation of comic artists and illustrators shares the responsibility of carrying this torch.
Bernie Wrightson Memorial Collab Suzanne Forbes x Rafa Alvarez March 20 2017