Our three-year BLACK PANTHER term was approaching an end in 2002. We aspired to do our last few covers but everyone leading up to the last one had already been imparted to other artists and only the final one, issue 49, remained for us to illustrate so we knew that it was going to have to be really special. I suggested to Sal that we could do a George Perez-inspired ‘multi-face as a back drop’ cover with Black Panther in a central pose. We could try to fit as many faces as we could from the guest stars who appeared during our three years but it would have to be a clear majority. Sal was cool with this idea and he sent off a conceptual sketch to Marvel. But Marvel regrettably turned it down. We were naturally disappointed and Sal came up with another concept sketch which was approved and that one was the one that was rendered and published. Not one to easily give up I offered the initial, unused art as a commission at my website and a client subsequently took us up on it to our joy. Sal was able to fit 93 out of a possible 158 characters on it! After we finished it in January of 2003 we offered the image again to Marvel who, again, passed on it. But Panini Comics took us up on our offer to them so that it would reside on the cover of the second MARVEL MONSTER EDITION: BLACK PANTHER French-language collection of our work (the first popular volume had earlier sold out). Tom Smith was instinctively chosen to color it (who better than George’s preferred color art partner and past Panther cover art colorist?). After sending Tom a pile of references and following up with him on the details Tom masterfully colored the art and sent it off to Panini to print.