David Aja’s 5 Ronin Cover Processes

Posted by Grey Thursday, May 5, 2011

In Marvel's 5 Ronin, five popular superheroes were reimagined as rōnin, masterless samurai set in seventeenth century Japan. Now check out the artistic processes in the excellent covers from the series by artist David Aja.

In 5 Ronin, the five-issue limited series written by writer Peter Milligan and a rotating cast of artists, five of Marvel's deadliest heroes were cast into the chanbara world of samurai sword-fighting drama, following the path of being a masterless Ronin in the violent and tumultuous world of feudal Japan. Released in March, the limited series follows the respective misadventures of fellow Ronin, Wolverine, Psylocke, The Punisher, Hulk and Deadpool in an eventual interlinked tale.

Aiding tremendously to the series' unique appeal are the amazing covers rendered by artist David Aja that captured the distinct style of the subjects.

Now you can check out the creation processes of these awesome covers, right from Aja's very own thoughts in his blog.

The Punisher

In first sketches of this cover I was drawing Punisher with a bow and I did not get with right shot. Till I understand The True. Wanna go right with Punisher? Give him a firearm and place him under a light. Black costume is replaced by a white kimono, white being the color of death in Japan. At this point in time Japanese warriors used matchlock rifles called “Tanegashima”, one Punisher has on picture.
This is final cover sketch.


Editor Sebastian Giner asked for this: "Maybe her kimono is slipping off her shoulders, revealing her tattooed back. A sensual and sexy cover, but there's also something very dangerous about her."

All I can say about this cover is that much probably is my favorite one.


Although is second book of the serie, is last cover I did. Challenge here was to draw Hulk without drawing Hulk itself. I went with a 'Bruce Banner-time after smashing' a post-battle scene (...the horror...the horror...). Japanese mask on the background would give the threat of violence and anger. Green would do the rest.
This is final cover sketch where editor Sebastian Giner gave me the clue of ripped clothing.


Wolverine cover is first one I did of the serie, and to be true, I was a little insecure with both technique and composition, was by far one I used more time with.
I based main Wolverine picture on Toshirō Mifune in Yojimbo. Not so happy with result, though, and I did not use references on next covers, where I think characters look much better.


Although is last cover of the serie, is second one I did. Main idea was to show a classic ronin shot showcasing Deadpool's dual characteristics, someone was once a noble samurai driven insane by betrayal and war.

1 Comment
  1. Anonymous Said,

    Man... this mini series bombed...

    Posted on January 16, 2014 at 12:10 AM


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