JEFF: When we first had the idea for this one, I pushed pretty hard for it, because I knew Zander would love to draw this. Because it’s basically a Kaiju, and Zander does Kaijumax.
ZANDER: And it’s very of-the-moment. She is very much in people’s headspace right now, at least judging from social media.
BEN: That was where we got the idea. Everyone had gone nuts for that lady vampire. So we circled the idea with things like, maybe other companies see that and make their characters huge. Like a giant Pyramid Head for a new Silent Hill. We kept coming up with stuff like that, but at some point, we said, “Why are we circling around it? We should just do Resident Evil, and she is just ridiculously huge.”
ZANDER: I do think it’s too bad that so many of the gags are so tiny. But I like the ambulance spilling out only herbs, and Jill Valentine trying to find the right key to the car.
JEFF: The dogs running out of the ruins of the building and still smashing through the windows gets me. It’s their thing! And the Tex-Avery-style wolf down in the corner.
BEN: I pitched the idea that Wesker should just have sunglasses everywhere, but you put a huge pair on his tank, which is also funny.
ZANDER: The tank, the helicopters, the ambulance – I used that same trick as the web-revolver. I found some 3D models and put them in as reference. That saves a lot of time.
BEN: This may have been a holdover from the Silent Hill idea, but I wanted to have Pyramid Head in there next to a sign that said “Must be this tall to get new game.” But this got pretty crowded with Resident Evil stuff, so it didn’t quite fit in.
JOE: I just can’t see the word “sickos” without thinking about that cartoon from The Onion.
CORK: Yes! Ha ha ha! Yes!
BEN: One of the other ideas we had before we settled on this one was Steampunk 1877. That could have been really cool visually, but we just didn’t have enough good gags for it. We talked too about a The Last of Us cover, but there was so much discussion about that series right as Part II came out … it was hard to find an untapped joke there.
JEFF: I really like the “Extra Large” with the IX in there.
ZANDER: Yeah, I think that was Blake [Hester] who came up with that idea. But it was fun to put all sorts of details like that in here. The tracers coming out of their guns, and figuring out how to do all the search lights, with the layers in the distance.
JEFF: Overall, looking back at all these covers over the years, one of the things that is the most fun about the whole process is, after we have our meetings about the concept, we send it over to Zander. And the fun part is when you’d send us your initial sketches, and we’d all just gather around Joe’s desk and look at them; they were always so good, and they made the whole thing come to life and feel real. Joe would do his best to sketch out a rough composition – bless him, he tries. But getting that sense of how it would actually look was always a super-fun part of the process.
ZANDER: Thanks! That always was a super-gratifying part of the process for me too, to send it in and get feedback.
JOE: And I always felt like a broken record, because I was always just saying how great it looked. It’s hard to articulate how impressive it is to see an image come in that was leagues beyond what we were thinking.
ZANDER: I looked forward to it every year. It’s never “Oh no, I have to do that super-fun illustration again!”
JOE: Well, Zander, I’m very grateful we’ve been able to collaborate for so long!
ZANDER: I really appreciate it! And it’s been fun to go through it all!