Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Painted Comic Books


 
If I see another fully painted comic book, ESPECIALLY by Alex Ross, I think I'm going to puke! These are and will always be FAKE comic books. Real comic books are hand drawn, without looking at a ton of reference photos to do it -that way you don't lose the sense of spontaneity within the artwork. That way the book's actions don't look like a freakin' bystander took a photograph of the events. Instead it let's you be the objective observer, not someone else with a 'camera'-something very, very important in the art of visual storytelling. Using -or should I say, OVERUSING photographic references kills objective observability (is that a word? it is now!). The comic book becomes more like a painting in a museum; there's only so much sequential storytelling you can do with it because the "beauty" of the thing begins to compete with the narrative to a massive extent. I liked Star Wars or some other films with 'amazing' visuals but when and if the visuals dominate over the storyline -over the narrative, then the invisible hand of the artist(s) has revealed itself and the suspension of disbelief -so crucial to sequential storytelling -is compromised. Painted comic books area a novelty, not a means to an end. Am I the only one who sees this? I too was blown away by Ross' earliest work but then, by listening to the sound critism of others I "woke up" and saw it for what it was. It's just a grand show. Delightful albeit, but not a "real" comic book.

Harharhar! In looking for some artwork to elucidate this blog item I found this Alex Ross cover and a quote by a distinguished (meaning "real") comic book artists, Alex Toth, that read:  


"They're trying to be painters and illustrators, but they don't know how to tell a story ... Too many rely on photographs and it's all lifeless – expressing nothing," calling Alex Ross an "idiot savant." (Comic Book Artist #11, 2001)

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