My old pal Ryan Huddle — a features designer for the Boston Globe — has been a busy guy lately.
Yeah, he and his wife — humor columnist and author Aprill Brandon — have a young son, Riker, who keeps them occupied. I mean, in addition to that. Ryan received some love from the Fox TV network lately for posters he designed for the new Gotham TV show that debuts tonight on their lineup.
Gotham will tell stories set in fictional Gotham City — better known as the home of Bruce Wayne, aka the Batman. The idea is to show the events that lead up to Batman and his compulsion to rid that dirty city of crime.
The show will debut tonight — at 8 p.m., here in the LA area. As they say: Check your local listings. The reviews have been outstanding.
Ryan tells us his poster was for a fan contest that was announced back during the San Diego Comicon. Back in July, the Hollywood Reporter reported:
The network is asking fans to create their own Gotham poster and/or trailer with the grand-prize winners earning a trip to the New York City premiere party of the Batman prequel series…
The poster contest tasks fans to design a one-sheet utilizing specific assets, such as graphics, fonts, images and title cards provided by Fox.
Ryan told me last week:
Please don’t tell anyone yet — because they have not announced it yet — is that I won the Gotham Fan poster contest. Aprill and I are going to New York to attend the premire in Times Square and Fox is going to print the poster and the cast is going to sign it.
So I will have an awesome new poster for Riker’s Room.
Now that the dynamic three are back from the real Gotham City, Ryan tells us how the whole thing came about. Aprill was the one who spotted the contest and urged Ryan to enter. Especially given Ryan’s previous work — he’s done tons of movie-oriented pages for the Victoria (Texas) Advocate and, now, the Boston Globe.
Ryan tells us:
Fox provided the images and title Gotham to use. There were 3 things were we judged on: creativity, originality and use of provided art. You could not use anything Batman in the posters.
Ryan created seven posters in all, including the one I showed you above. He says…
…all of them are pretty straightforward on the art. The one with the handprint is the only one on which I really used any massive Photoshop work on Ben McKenzie (police officer James Gordon) and Jada Pinkett Smith (a new character, crime boss Fish Mooney) in the print.
The first poster I did was the one with the art deco border.
I think this was my favorite one I just like that style.
Then I decided to play it safe and do two that look more TV show poster like. Those are pretty straightforward.
I showed you one of these earlier. Here’s the other.
For the horizontal one, I tried to place and blue and red glow on the sides of the logo.
The day of the deadline (Aug. 20), I was in the cafeteria at work getting coffee and thought of one with characters shattering. So when I got home at 7 p.m., I started to break the one with Ben apart first, but it was taking a really long time to do it. I knew I would never get done by the midnight deadline.
…so I was able to use some of those pieces to make the shattering effect and move some things around and make some more cuts in it. I already had all the people and alley backgrounds cut out from the posters I did earlier.
I was able to color correct, size and layer the images on top of the characters. I used luminosity and some curves to make the main background come through and to tone down the color of the people.
I got done with about 20 minutes to spare and was able to send them off just in time.
Ryan sent all the artwork off on Aug. 20. The winners were supposed to be notified Aug. 27, but, Ryan says…
Fox called me up on Sunday the 7th and told me they enjoyed my poster and that I was the winner. They asked if I would be available to come to New York City.
They flew all three of us out to New York and then they had a car waiting for us. That was cool, because we walked down to baggage claim and a guy was there with my name on a sign. That was cool.
They put us up in the Bryant Park Hotel which is probably the closest I will ever get to rich people.
The Bryant Park Hotel is in midtown Manhattan, just a couple of blocks from Times Square. It’s in the old American Radiator Building, built in 1924 and designed by noted architects John Howells and Raymond Hood, the same guys who designed — media business alert! — Rockefeller Center and Chicago’s Tribune Tower.
So, how was it? Ryan says, simply:
New York was Awesome.
Mostly we hung out just walking around. We went to Central Park and walked around for hours.
I got to hang out with Martin and Carrie Gee. They were kind enough to watch Riker for us during the event.
He was all smiles when we got back.
This is where Aprill picks up the story in an epic blog post last week. She writes that the premiere…
…was going to be fancy. Not fancy-fancy, but fancy enough that Ryan had to borrow a suit and I spent hours scouring my closet, trying on different things and asking him things like “would it be inappropriate to wear a dress to the premiere that has a curse word on it?
Aprill tells us:
As for the episode, I loved it. They showed the whole thing. I’m definitely a fan so far. Ryan thought it was pretty good too.
The pilot episode was written by executive producer Bruno Heller, who’s known for the suspense thriller TV show the Mentalist. It was directed by Danny Cannon, who is famous for his work on Nikita and the various CSI shows.
Doctor Who fans might take note: Sean Pertwee, the son of Doctor No. 3 Jon Pertwee, plays Alfred Pennyworth, young master Bruce Wayne’s butler.
David Hinckley of the New York Daily News writes that Gotham…
…has the look of a stylish winner.
The pilot of the hot-buzz series… plays like a 45-minute movie, with stunning visuals that never feel like a shrunken TV version of the Batman films against which it will inevitably be measured.
The screening was held in the great hall of New York Public Library.
Variety‘s Brian Steinberg reported the next day:
There is no Batman in Fox’s Gotham, just a young version of his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, who, just as in the four-color origin story, sees his mother and father gunned down in a mugging gone terribly wrong. James Gordon, played by Ben McKenzie, vows to bring the perpetrators to justice, but in doing so, the young detective threatens to upend the corruption that is at the heart of the dark city.
Once guests got a taste for the show, all they had to do was follow the umbrellas laid out like bread crumbs from Hansel and Gretel…
…to a massive aerie high up in the Library, where a room was transformed to look like a Gotham City speakeasy.
Batman probably would not have taken a drink here, but many of the attendees exhibited few qualms about doing so.
Naturally, Ryan and Aprill were invited.
Aprill writes in her blog:
As far as I can tell, the main goal of a movie or TV premiere party is to skulk around the room until you weasel your way close enough to one of the stars to ask them to take a photo with you.
Unfortunately, Ryan and I are those people who like to think we’re above having our photos taken with celebrities. That’s what we tell ourselves, at least. Yeah, we’re way too cool for that.
In reality, however, we are totally those people who want our photos taken with celebrities. We’re just too scared to ever actually ask.
That didn’t stop them from taking pictures, though. Aprill helpfully posted a few.
Make sure you visit Aprill’s blog to read about the highlight of the night: An encounter with San Diego native Camren Bicondova, who plays Selina Kyle — Catwoman — in the new show.
A graduate of Collins College in Phoenix, Ryan Huddle spent seven years as a designer and creative services coordinator for the Hutchinson (Kan.) News. He moved to the Brown Publishing Company in Troy, Ohio in 2003 but then, two years later, became creative director of the Victoria Advocate in Victoria, Texas. He moved to the Globe in 2011.
Aprill Brandon is a freelance writer and blogger. A 2004 graduate of Ohio’s Miami University, Aprill spent a year as education reporter for the Troy, Ohio, Daily News before joining the Victoria Advocate in 2006 as an arts and entertainment repairer and as a columnist.
After she and Ryan moved to Boston, Aprill began a column for the Weekly Dig. She also continues to write for the Advocate. An e-book collecting her columns — Why Does the Cheese Always Fall? – was published last summer.
More movie-themed work by Ryan of the Boston Globe:
- July 2011: Harry Potter
- July 2011: Captain America
- November 2011: Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 1
- November 2011: The Muppets
- December 2011: The year in movies
- February 2012: Coriolanus
- April 2012: Avengers
- July 2012: Dark Knight Rises
- August 2012: Ruby Sparks
- August 2012: Paranorman
- November 2012: Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 2
- December 2012: Hobbit
- January 2013: Satan-themed movies
- February 2013: Monty Python’s Graham Chapman
- February 2013: Warm Bodies
- February 2013: Beautiful Creatures
- March 2013: Oz, the Great and Powerful
- April 2013: The Lords of Salem
- May 2013: Star Trek Into Darkness
- October 2013: Movie monsters