It’s worth remembering that comics is still a form of “commercial art”, where the client’s wishes have to be respected, and are often paramount. This is especially true of the cover art which, from among dozens of other flashy choices, has to pop the book off the shelf and sell it to the reader. 

Shown first are two sketches for a variant cover for Valiant’s Fallen World #4. Valiant editorial wanted a full view of Rai, the main character, highlighting his weapon of choice, the bo staff.

Version 1 shows Rai in the classic leaping thrust pose familiar from the end of the “Be a Man” number in the movie Mulan. 

Version 2 shows Rai in the bo ready position- the end of the staff against the right instep poised to be kicked up into the waiting left hand. Behind are series of action poses arranged in a shoji style layout. 

Though pretty cool, well-researched, and accurate presentations, neither was quite what the client was looking for.

After a little follow-up, it turned out Valiant editorial had a kind of Yu-gi-oh look in mind. So version 3 shows Rai performing a forward thrust with the bo, a little foreshortened for effect, with some graphic elements borrowed from the earlier attempts. 

Version 3 was approved, and here is the final black line art. 

And the printed cover.