Wolverine as Batman’s Human Shield

Here is my attempt at a “realistic” version of Wolverine and Batman. Please, do not misunderstand my purposes. I do think superheroes work best as punk rock. DK2 paved the way for some of my favorite works in spandex, Lenil F. Yu’s New Avengers and John Romita, Jr.’s newest work on Spider-Man. And I, like any illustrator who has been forced to wield an honest to goodness paintbrush (for like oils and watercolors and stuff) in art school, think Alex Ross is a terrible painter. Former-roomie Sean T. Collins and I agree on many things, including the fact that there is nothing “cool” about seeing the wrinkles in spandex. That doesn’t suddenly make your childhood heroes “come to life!” It just loses the Greek heroic nude aspect of the genre.

No, the following piece was a commission from a co-worker of mine for his nephew of the kid’s two favorite heroes. By that point, I had moved beyond ever trying to pitch a superhero book to a major publisher. The genre is just not a great fit for what my work has become. I have literally had Marvel editors fly through the superhero work in my portfolio and comment, “Well, I wish the former stuff had the life of this stuff,” while staring at some completely dour and esoteric stuff they would never publish in a million years. The only way I was going to be able to find some interest in this for me and thus create a piece worth the price tag for my friend was to adapt the piece to my current interests. I thus determined my rule would be to only draw the characters wearing things they could actually purchase in a real human store, and to use that restriction to delve into my own attachment to these characters and attempt to make concrete my understanding of them as people. Any geek worth his mettle has complained at a mag, “Wolverine wouldn’t say that,” but how many of us could pick out what belt he’d wear? (Answer: metal scorpion buckle.) Bottom line: Wolvie is trailer trash; Wayne is not stupid, and would thus wear S.W.A.T. gear and a helmet.

Josiah Leighton Wolverine © Marvel Comics Group Batman © D.C.

art: Josiah Leighton Wolverine © Marvel Comics Group Batman © D.C.

Regardless of what you think of the experiment or the image, you gotta admit, Logan in a Guns ‘N Roses tee and a Dale Earnhardt, Sr. jacket is pretty frickin’ rad.


2 thoughts on “Wolverine as Batman’s Human Shield

  1. Nick says:

    Fantastic. Love the characters, love the staging, love the thought behind it. I would however, ask you what was the intent with obscuring Batman/Wayne’s face with a bullet streak? I could speculate (real life danger element, effectiveness of Bruce’s swat gear, de-emphasizing the mythological character..), but I’d love to hear your answer.

  2. James says:

    Hey Josiah, I love the site, you have a lot of great insights. I have an honest question.

    What makes Alex Ross a terrible painter? I wanted to know, because although I’m not his number one fan, I’ve never found too much to gripe about with his work.

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