This week saw the launch of Icon & Rocket Season One, the latest installment in Milestone’s return to comics. The issue modernized and updated elements of the characters’ backstories and personalities…and updated the costumes slightly, with input from legendary comics artist Denys Cowan, who worked in collaboration with the creative team to come up with a look for the characters that feels like almost nothing has changed. According to series artist Doug Braithwaite, that was a conscious decision — and one that was made above his pay grade, and it was helped by how timeless the costumes looked when they were introduced.
The 1990s might be notorious for overcomplicated, bulky costumes and comically huge weapons, but those were never represented in the 1993 designs. Cowan, then, just had to make sure that the looks of the characters gelled with what they wanted to do in the new series.
“Initially, there was talk of a kind of redesign,” Braithwaite said during a press event attended by ComicBook. “Denys had come up with a concept for the new costume and they asked for a little bit of input from me, but I think to be honest with you, Denys had a clear idea about what he wanted to see the costume kind of standing out as. So he tweaked it slightly, but it was just a subtle tweak, but I think what he did, it was great. Contrasting it with the way the costume looked back in the early nineties, that was then. The whole style of comic superheroes costumes have changed so much. I mean, nineties was a pretty drastic period in regards to costume design. So even though Icon‘s costume was quite streamlined compared to a lot of books that were coming out at the time, it didn’t have the shoulder pads, it didn’t have knee pads or gun belts or anything like that, it was just very kind of a striking costume. But I think obviously, this is the 21st century now, so you have to kind of bring up to date slightly. And I think the look works, the color scheme for the costume works really well. And I’ve just seen the colors for the second issue where you actually see him in his full costume for the first time. And it looks really striking on the page. I think visually, it works really well. And Brad Anderson who’s coloring the series is doing a fantastic job.”
Pressed for his influences on the book, Braithwaite said that he could only speak to the story itself, not to the overall look of the characters, which were defined by a combination of the ’90s comics and input from Cowan.
“I really didn’t have too much of an input in that respect,” Braithwaite admitted. “I was just kind of following on from what I’ve been doing. And I think the characters look, to kind of subtle changes visually, looking back on the first issue, the look of the characters is very similar to Wesley Snipes, I thought. Yeah. And again, it’s always time. I think nowadays, I mean, I was pulling from a lot of different references to try and get the kind of right, iconic look for the character that I felt comfortable with and hopefully everybody else would. And yeah, hopefully that’s come across well in the story.”
Icon & Rocket: Season One #1 is on sale now.