A version of this article originally appeared at Newsarama.com on August 1, 2018.
Bill Sienkiewicz has shared a Doctor Doom illustration that's scheduled to be used as a variant to August 8's Fantastic Four #1. Sienkiewicz will be selling this variant - in several variations - exclusively on his website store, www.BillSienkiewiczArt.com.
Here's what the artist had to say about his creation:
"I was approached to contribute an illustration to one of several books celebrating the 100th anniversary of Jack Kirby’s birth, his incredible creative gifts to the world of comics, and to the world at large. When Doug Moench and I did our ten issue ‘placeholder' run on the Fantastic Four in the 80s, we were- rather frustratingly, I might add-denied usage of ANY of the classic Kirby villains by the editor, leading us to come up with our admittedly dubious versions of what qualified as suitable FF foes. But that's a creative grievance for another time.
Point is, I'd always wanted to do my version of the Red Ghost and his trio of ape accomplices first. Doctor Doom was neck and neck in the race. For the book, and considering the iconic status and worldwide cultural ubiquity of Doom, I decided to do my own stylized interpretation of him.The problem that nagged at me though was, EVERY character Kirby created was -and remains-iconic. As I was painting Doom, I felt that I had somehow started down a slippery slope of artistic 'Favoritism of the Nefarious’. Of course, this solved NOTHING as far as Kirby’s contributions to the Heroic side of the spectrum. Still, how could I NOT do the Red Ghost instead? How could I NOT do Galactus and his herald, the Silver Surfer? M.O.D.O.K?. The list is endless.
I soon realized that my exquisite rarefied first world problem of playing favorites wouldn't be at all possible without doing a tribute image of the iconic man himself; the King, Jack Kirby. So I did.
As a footnote, I've decided to do the series of personal paintings of Jack's Rogues Gallery for my own enjoyment, meaning a Red Ghost is in in the works. Jack Kirby’s Dr. Doom lit a fire in me; a fire that still burns to this day."
This variant has a 1,500 copy print run, with Sienkiewicz planning to sign 150 of them (and including a Certificate of Authenticity).
Pre-orders for Sienkiewicz's Fantastic Four #1 variant open up on August 8, with an expected shipping date of August 20.