During his more than seven years as the ongoing artist on Superman: The Man of Steel in the '90s, Jon Bogdanove likely didn't create a more memorable cover than the one attached to Superman: The Man of Steel #37.
That issue -- a tie-in to the time- and reality-hopping Zero Hour event in 1994 -- featured Superman surrounded by an army of Batmen, each drawn in the style of a different famous Bat-creator.
In-story, problems with the timestream were starting to close in on Superman, and during the course of one issue, he encountered several different "versions" of Batman from throughout what would now be called DC's multiverse, although in the early '90s, there was no such thing (the multiverse was destroyed in the Crisis on Infinite Earths in the '80s and didn't return until 2005).
On his recently-launched Facebook fan page, Bogdanove -- whose work also includes projects like Power Pack, Batman '66, and the upcoming Kirby & Me tribute book -- shared a "labeled" version of the cover, giving away whose style each of the figures was meant to represent (mostly pretty obvious, as Bog did a famously good job on this cover).
"The story behind this WAAY too ambitious issue is this: Louise Simonson was asked to write a chapter of the big Zero Hour event, in which Batman from different parallel universes and timelines were converging on Metropolis, and popping in and out of existence. In an inspired fit of artistic hubris, I suggested that we depict each Batman in the style of various artists who were most influential on the evolution of the character!" Bogdanove wrote in part. "Rather than combing 55 years of Bat-history in hopes of finding exact poses I could just swipe and paste, I decided to teach myself how to draw like each of these immortal greats by studying each one in depth until I thoroughly internalized their thinking and became possessed by their spirits! What could possibly go wrong?? Of course, I seriously blew my deadline-- which I hate and cringe about to this day-- but the end result was this crazy opus that led to 15 years of anonymous, but richly educational 'style chameleon' work from DC Licensing and Warners."
You can check out the full post, with the labeled cover and a little more insight into the cover, below.
"It is really hard to imitate someone else's style-- especially if you have a strong style of your own that you need to repress!" Bogdanove added in the comments. "I imagine it's a little bit like 'Method' acting. You just have to try really hard to walk in the other guy's shoes, and to see things as he saw them. It's exhausting-- but also fun. Mostly, it is incredibly educational! Like in art school, copying the masters."
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