Allred Takes On Wonder Woman for M•A•C

When a snake-haired villainess rolls into town, Wonder Woman faces her greatest challenge yet -- stopping Medusa from using her "Drab Rays" to turn Earth's women into Plain Janes!

"Great Hera! The enemy to beauty must be stopped!" exclaims Diana.

Luckily the warrior princess knows exactly what to do -- with the help of M•A•C Cosmetics! As makeup rains down on the former Plain Janes, Wonder Woman subdues Medusa and looks towards a brighter tomorrow, where "M•A•C makes beauty the ultimate power!"

No, J. Michael Straczynski's new direction for "Wonder Woman" hasn't gone off the rails. You're looking at the promotional story for M•A•C 's new Wonder Woman Spring Color 2011 Collection, a family of makeup inspired by the Amazing Amazon. The popular cosmetics company teamed with DC Comics for the launch of their latest line, now available in stores worldwide. With eye-popping displays, unique accessories and an extremely fun motion comic, M•A•C pulled out all the stops in its promotional campaign by hiring one of the best artists in the comics biz to bring Wonder Woman to life: Mike Allred.

"It was a surprise," Allred replied to CBR News when asked how he became involved with M•A•C. The writer/artist told CBR News that M•A•C Art Director Lee Swillingham knew of Allred's work and recommended him to do the promotional art. "I had only ever drawn Wonder Woman once that I can think of, for a series called "DC Solo" where every issue was 48 pages of a particular artist getting to do whatever they wanted," said Allred. Featuring artists such as Paul Pope and Darwyn Cooke, Allred called the series a favorite of his for its artistic and creative freedom, and also for giving him the unexpected opportunity to draw Wonder Girl. "My original cover for that was Batman doing the Batusi. There were some legal concerns about that, so I re-did the cover with Wonder Girl.

"Other than that, I don't know what put any light bulbs over anybody's head about me doing Wonder Woman. But I'm glad they thought of me, because it was just really great fun to do!"

The veteran comics creator told CBR that M•A•C 's visual guidelines on how to draw Wonder Woman for their campaign actually made the project an "easy yes" for him.

"[M•A•C] wanted the classic Wonder Woman. In almost all cases, I prefer the original, definitive, classic versions of an iconic character, so it made it that much more enjoyable to do something kind of timeless and classic," said Allred. The most appealing part of the project for him, however, was the opportunity to write the tale that tied the promotional images together. "They wanted me to come up with some sort of story that could be told in five images. That was a major challenge," said Allred. Working with Swillingham, the two finally settled on the Medusa storyline. "It was just silly fun to have Wonder Woman come in and save the day and rain the women with cosmetics!" Allred said, laughing.

He was also pleased by how the company used his artwork in their advertising, not expecting anything to be done with them beyond a traditional print campign. "To my surprise they took those images and animated them. That was a real thrill," said Allred.

Though he enjoyed working with M•A•C, Allred admitted that the cosmetic giant was very specific and "nit-picky" when it came to the artwork.

"I think I was asked to make more changes on that one project than my entire comic book career," Allred said, recounting the company's strict notes on everything from details of Diana's face to the size of the background dots. "It was a little insane towards the end!"

Surprisingly enough, the one area M•A•C did not worry about was the coloring and the amount of makeup on the Amazon princess. "Funny enough, that was one of the easier things. With the original artwork and the animation and all the prints and the displays I've seen, they've stuck with the original coloring, which they weren't picky about at all."

Like "Madman," "iZombie" and most of his comic book projects, Allred's wife Laura provided the colors for this project. "Her color sense is priceless, she's got the best eye for color of anybody I've ever known," Allred enthusiastically told CBR. And for Allred's family, the project had its own perks. "I didn't know they were going to do those quality tote bags and t-shirts, which my wife and daughters just love!" he laughed, adding, "It made me a hero, here, to have them excited about something that I had done and to be able to go to their favorite makeup counter. More than getting movie options or Harvey or Eisner Awards, this has gotten the girls in my family really excited!"

Ultimately, Allred had nothing but praise for his experience working with M•A•C. "I really can't complain. They were incredibly generous, the pay was outstanding and they were very enthusiastic," he told CBR. When asked if he would work on another campaign for the cosmetic company, Allred laughed and stated he was not leaving comics any time soon. "What I love to do is storytelling, and what was appealing about this particular project was that it involved some storytelling. I love comic books, and that's where I want to spend as much of my time as possible. That's where my heart is."

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