Well that was a mouth full. The magazine hasn't officially hit newsstands yet but since the cover has already been posted on a couple different sites, I figured I could probably post my version up too without any major legal action ensuing.
This image is the final image I turned in for the cover. A few minor tweaks were done by the magazine people themselves before it went to print, but this is MY version. In the magazine cover, Azula and Zuko are a lot more transparent and a bit smaller. Somehow Sokka's ponytail ended up right on Azula's cheek, but that's what happens when you've got to make enough room for the extra words to fit. Overall, I'm still happy with how it turned out.
The first of the three concept covers was the one chosen to be fully realized. A couple changes were made. They wanted the UPC symbol on the left, so Momo was moved with it so they could print Text over the bottom right hand corner. They also wanted Uncle Iroh and Appa out. So they got the boot for the sake of not making the thing look too crowded. Sorry Uncle and Appa, but it was for the better.
The second of the three was the version I did to satisfy the main direction I was given as to what they thought might be good to see on the cover of an issue bridging seasons one and two. It featured Aang in the middle with little vignettes of the other main storylines in the background. I sampled some cowboy bebop artwork for the idea of putting the side stories in graphic shapes. Ultimately, this one didn't get chosen.
This last one was just my attempt at smashing every darn character I could think of into a big all out splash cover dealy-o. I'm kinda glad this one wasn't picked. It would have been a bitch to do and I probably would have jacked it up pretty well.
After the cover was chosen, I then assembled a clean lineart version to be approved. I like to play "Spot The Difference" with this one. Aang's face was revised as well as were Azula's lips. They were too big. And the whole gang was put more on the diagonal.
Then it was time for the color mockup. Now more "Spot The Difference." You can tell at this point I had completely redrawn Momo. I wasn't terribly happy with my first version. Aang's smile was changed between this version and the final so he wouldn't look so similar to Sokka's smile. Teeth lines were added to Katara and Toph. And the harsh uplighting on Azula and Zuko was toned down so the shadows wouldn't be so dark. And the grass had not yet been colored. I would go on to later color the grass twice before redrawing it three times until I finally got the version you see at the top. I like it a lot better than this version.