Sunday, August 9, 2009

Giant Art Review

So recently I’ve been getting a lot of graphic novels through, and or Half Priced books, here in Austin and even the local library. I thought I might share some thoughts on what I’d found.

Captain America: the new deal - Cassaday defines his post Planetary style, and develops an entire way for Captain America to move. Much like what has become customary for other marvel characters such as Spider-man or DC’s Batman. I noticed him moving very symmetrically, which was cool, and all the art is very iconic and has been since it came out a while ago.

Also, picking up where Cassaday left off another modern artists I like, Simone Bianchi, took over Astonishing X-men and I was able to pick up the first couple issues. Its an interesting transition because both use some inkwash and are fairly realistic, but as I’ve mentioned before (and I think it worked with Whedon writing it and having a background in TV and film) he used almost exclusively full-tier panels and gave a film-like experience. Bianchi is completely the opposite using overlapping, circular, sliver, and even triangular panels - even in scenes where characters were only talking. Warren Ellis’ wordy dialog is quite a change from Whedon’s curt, almost one-balloon- panel-per-pannel style.

I recently got to look at The incredible Hulk vol. 1, written by Bruce Jones, whom I’ll see at the Florida Mini-con when I go latter this month. The storytelling, as always with JRJR is amazing but partially because of the writer, who cuts around seeing the Hulk at all and focused on Bruce (Banner, lol) trying to control becoming the Hulk at all. I have to say Tom Palmer’s inks are my favourite I’ve seen on JRJR, for his current style. And when the inker stayed on and the penciller switched to Lee Weeks (Whom I love as well) after a few issues, Tom held it together very well, which was cool to see, and made the transition fairly smooth, even though the pencillers’ styles were very different.

Above, Inker Tom Palmer makes the transition inking from one artists to the other on Hulk.

It's interesting looking back at the famous inkers that have covered Johnny and how his style has changed as well, my personal favourite was Klaus+JRJR on Punisher: War Journal, his style had gotten so geometric, angular, bulky and filled the page and Klaus’ inks looked so intuitive. Al’s inks over him back on Daredevil and X-men, when JRJR’s style was much more realistic and minimalist by comparison were cool too, and each interpreted his side of pencil shading very differently. I think it was the reason that Eternals didn’t really hit it for me the way I wanted was that Danny Miki was inking him and I was so used to Scott Hanna on Spider-man, or Klaus, etc etc. Similar to how Klaus talks in his DC guide to inking about how Dick Giardinno, and a few others, had their own style in combination, when inking over Neal Adams. Kirby had a few inker’s like that as well. There's a prety cool short visual history of JRJR's work here.

Above, Klaus over JRJR in the early 90's Punisher: War Journal.

Above, Al Wiliamson inks over JRJR in the 80's in Daredevil.

Speaking of which, that brings me to Batman: Knightfall vol. 1
Where you get to see Jim Aparo inked over by himself, Tom Mandrake Bob Wiacek, Joe Rubenstein and Dick Giordano (for the finally, obviously). I like Jim, don’t get me wrong but he has such a straight forward style sometimes especially when he’s rushing that it’s hard not to see the corners her cut, especially to ink himself. Though some of his influences seem to come out, he has a much thicker style reminiscent of Milton Cannif’s Steve canyon. And he looks like he just switched between brush and techpens.

Above, Mandrake over Aparo, would have loved to see this in B+W.

Above, Rubenstein over Aparo.

Above, the man himself, Dick Giordano over Aparo. Notice the hatching that gives him away in the lower left panel, same that he used over Neal Adams.

Above, Aparo inks over himself.

Also I noticed this odd theme of loose back and forth brush strokes surrounding headshots, that was started by Breyfogle the issue before Hanna takes over inking a few other artists, but is used multiple times. I didn’t know if it was to take up space, make it interesting (As Al Williamson has been known to do) or to mean something I wasn’t picking up on.

Above, Hanna imitates the squigggles started an issue earlier by Breyfogle.

Above, Breyfogle.

I never really took to Norm Breyfogle’s work until I saw he always inks himself. Which I think is an amazing feat for any artists to pull off convincingly and skillfully, which is part of the reason I respect Cassaday so much. He experiments with some fun stuff, his panel layouts are always cool in action scenes and I like his anatomy. His inking is so bold in places it is powerful but his drawings fall apart in others, he really stretches reality sometimes but with batman that kind of worked anyway.

Notice how Breyfogle uses such bold lines on the under-side of objects, specifically batman's leg muscles as he inks himself. He alsoways sort of warps reality to emphasize and fit the storytelling.

And of course the real reason I got it was the cover’s are by Kelley Jones, still one of my fav’s, who inks himself though it never shows. Bob Pendarvis once called him the poor man’s Bernie Wrightson but I love his stuff, his hands, his lighting, fabric, use of splatters and and the fact that he does stretch reality most of the time with anatomy etc. like Breyfogle. I just always thought he was so unique to be in mainstream, though his style did pin him down to Batman almost exclusively, though I did see him do a venom issue the other day.

Also, I have gotten Thor vol. 1 with Oliver Coipel, whom I’ve mentioned before as one of my favourite modern artists. Haven’t gotten to look at it much yet but I had already seen much of the original art for the issue on a site selling his original pages. He is kind of a mix between the line work of Stuart Immonen and Adam Hughes with a touch of the eastern influence seen in Jim Cheung’s work, (whom I also love and will be seeing at the Florida mini-con latter this month.)

Also here (above) is the picture I was saying Bruce Timm based the cover of Superman vs Doomsday off of a few posts ago. Here’s a link to Timm’s rendition.

And while I'm mentioning cool modern artists I just had to throw in Deodato Jr. (Above) Whom I've talked about before but I had to mention again. Had seen this DPS in the store and passed, later regretted it and found later. Awesome layouts, awesome pencils and awesome storytelling (from thunderbolts). He only pencils and tweaks them in photoshop to ink, that's why his hatch lines never taper. Very odd, but you can learn more and see a ton of his work and some b+w work on his DeviantArt page.

And what about Xaq? Well I'm working on some new pages for the Florida mini-con, my radio drama is on hold until my sound fx guy gets moved-in to his new place, and I've been writing what could started out as a script and I would love to make a novella if I have enough time. I'm going to be posting more soon, when I get some art done here in the next week. I have swarms of projects I'd love to write and get going on I just need some time, and to take that time I need money. You know how it goes.

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