Sunday, February 04, 2007

Comics - Batman, The Tick and Comic Artists

As I devote more of my disposable income towards toys, I have almost given up on collecting comics. At one time, I was buying toys and comics (including Hong Kong comics, translated manga - yeah, it's a crazy time), and the toll was too much. So I decide to cut back (note, not give up) on the comics. I still like the art in comics, so I buy very selectively, only if a certain artist is doing certain mainstream characters.

I keep myself informed by visiting sites like Comics Continuum and NEWSarama. They are pretty informative sites.

DC Comics had just released some preview of their comics arriving in Feb 2007, and Batman #663 caught my attention, because it is drawn by John Van Fleet.
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I like JVF's style, and he mixes a lot of black and 1-3 colour tones to bring out the mood, and this complements well with his Batman stuff, which usually is set in a dark mood.

Coming back to Batman #663, it seems that he is using a different style/approach, going for a more realistic or illustrative direction, and less of a comic book feel. It's a nice change, and it is good to see him doing some comic work.

This brings me to another comic book which I saw solicited. It's The Tick's 20th Anniversary Special Edition. Honestly speaking, I do not know much about The Tick, besides being popular in the 90s, having its own animated and live-action TV series and an unsuccessful toy line. Anyway, the only thing I was interested in this issue is the cover artist.
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It is painted by none other than Simon Bisley, the versatile artist from UK. His work is the catalyst that started my foray into the comics arena. His painted and line work is absolutely gorgeous. His style has evolved throughout the years - from his early days drawing for Fleetway's ABC Warriors, Judge Dread, painted Slaine, to DC's Lobo, Batman, dozens of comics covers, and collaborations with his friend Kevin Eastman, including Melting Pot and TMNT (yes, them turtles in half shell). His best works were with writers Keith Giffen and Alan Grant. These guys are hilarious. Check out the DC's Lobo, and you know what I mean.

The sad thing is these artists use the comic medium as a spring board, to propel them into the spotlight, and then move on to more commerical work, like music covers, commerical illustrations, game designs, and so on. Artists like Dave Mckean (Sandman, Batman: Arkham Asylum), Kent Williams (Meltdown, Blood Ties, The Fountain). Maybe the amount of money in comics is not fantastic to sustain a reasonable standard of living. Some also could have move on to achieve their personal goals (eg Dave Mckean making a movie Mirror Mask out of his work with Neil Gaiman). So I guess seeing them them making an appearance on and off is good enough, and hopefully they have not totally abandon this industry.

Original articles on the above can be found here:
The Tick's 20th Anniversary Special Edition
Batman #663

2 comments:

Shaun Wong said...

very informative write up bestpal. Have u managed to dump the unwanted comics on yahoo auctions? Taking up valuable space aren't they?

neoconvoy said...

thanks man. nah, i will read them during my retirement days, and probably use them as fuel when the next ice age cometh.