REMAKE/REMODEL creative exercise over at Warren Ellis' Whitechapel forum. This were the instructions:
At first Jeff Hawke, presented as an ex-R.A.F. pilot (just like Jordan) was a rather ordinary, Flash Gordon-like heroic character... In 1956 William Patterson joined his childhood friend Jordan, (and) Patterson made Jeff Hawke the first science fiction (newspaper) comic strip for adults.
Gorgeous, contrasty black-and-white stuff. Like much comics sf of this era, no matter how they try to suggest it's in Teh Future, it all looks like the mid-Fifties in Britain, just with zappier cars.
The three frames format of the daily strip made it hard to create vivid action scenes, so the stories centred more on dialogue than on action and violence (although these do occur).
But mostly it was about really pretty images. Even the insides of spaceships tended to become smoky gothic interiors.
The Jeff Hawke character himself became more and more focused on reasoning, diplomacy and moral virtues instead of brute force and bravery, and he is frequently forced by circumstances to be the ambassador of mankind in front of alien species. There are many circumstances in which Jeff Hawke is more an observer than a participant.
Some of it is actually incredibly smart, witty and complex stuff.
The real main characters in Jeff Hawke were the aliens. The universe of Jeff Hawke was highly populated with strange alien species that came in contact with humans for various reasons – accidental contact, commercial interests, and so on, but hardly ever for invasion. The plots of Jeff Hawke turned around the seemingly endless, baroque diversity of aliens and their worlds, their contacts with humans, and the ability of Hawke and his friends to manage relationships with so many different entities.
Also he was once accosted in a Cornish pub by aliens.
Jeff Hawke: A well-educated, ex-pilot, with an outstanding scientific and archaeological knowledge and a seraphic, ironic attitude. He usually wears a sober suit and a necktie, unless when he's forced to use a spacesuit (which happens quite often).
He does get to fly spaceships, yes.
YOUR JOB: taking what you now know from the above, design the cover for a book of JEFF HAWKE stories, called JEFF HAWKE."
I went for a mignolesque composition, although not entirely successfully...