Tag Archives: Alex Ross

Here’s Another Great Cover

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This is a great cover!

Yes, I know. I’ll get to the elephant (or should that be elephants?) in the room soon enough. First, I want to heap praise on Adam Hughes, creator of this month’s featured cover. His work is amazing. He and, fellow comic book artist, Alex Ross have brought an incredible sense of realism to comic book art (elephants notwithstanding). The work Hughes and Ross do is top level illustration that can set along side such great illustrators as Norman Rockwell and NC Wyeth.

The design and composition of this cover (Catwoman #45, September 2005) are perfect. Hughes’ color choices make clear it is night, but not just night. A moonlit night. This is shown brilliantly through the use of the sheer window treatments reflecting the blue/silver glow cast by the moon. Batman being in almost total silhouette displays one of his greatest weapons: the dark of night. Criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot, so using darkness enhances their fear, making them more vulnerable. Hughes’ use of color and shadow add so much to the drama of the scene.

But what has Catwoman in such a state of shock?

Her pose suggests that she was doing her typical flirting with Batman, but something has interrupted her. Her right hand on his face indicates the flirtation, but the look on her face and her dropping her mask shows the mood has been unexpectedly broken. Is it, in fact, not Batman?

Perhaps her shock doesn’t involve the Caped Crusader. Look at her eyes (they’re up here, fellas). She’s not looking back at our hero. She’s looking off to her right. What is she seeing?

It’s breathtakingly brilliant.

Now for the, shall we say, ample breasts that are impossible to not notice. Yeah, let’s say that.

I know there are people who object to the objectifying of women. And they’re right, it can be dehumanizing. I don’t mind seeing sexy looking people whether real or just drawn that way. Sometimes, it gets more than a bit much, though. Tone it down a little, eh?

This cover approaches the line, but I don’t think it crosses it.

However, as I stated at the beginning, Hughes’ sense of realism in his illustrations is one of his greatest attributes. The way he depicts clothing fitting these super-beings looks right. I forget which comic book artist said it, but he said when drawing superheroes the artist draws them essentially naked (the superheroes, not the artist). Well, Hughes and Alex Ross don’t take that approach, not fully anyway. The costumes have creases and folds and really look as though they are inhabited by a body. A hot, sexy body.

In the interest of realism, though, how realistic is it for a cat burglar to be as stealthy, elusive, quick, and flexible as Catwoman while carrying around two elephants  on her chest? (Why do I keep calling them elephants?) I would think they’d just get in the way. Well, she is a super, so it appears she can handle them.

Yes, I said handle them. I didn’t mean it that way. Settle down.

Packing Peanuts!

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Another great comic book cover…

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Look at it! Ain’t it beautiful?

I’m breaking away from the usual superhero covers to examine this gem from Dell Comics’ The Cisco Kid #3. This comic is dated April 1951 and is considered to be from the tail end of the Golden Age of comic books. Since it is so old, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information about this book. So, I have no idea what artist is responsible for this excellent cover. (If you can identify the artist, please let me know.) However, the style does remind me of one of today’s best comic illustrators: Alex Ross.

First, I like the self aware humor of this cover. It seems to me the creator is poking fun at the idea that merely shaving his mustache makes the Cisco Kid unrecognizable. Sort of like putting on glasses is enough for Clark Kent to hide the fact that he is Superman. I hope I didn’t spoil that for you.

Next I really like that this is a painted cover and not the inked pencils with color fill that was the most common method of illustrating comic book covers. Dell and Fawcett and other early comic book producers would often use a painted cover. Most were OK, but occasionally a cover like this would come along.

I spotted it while cataloging a new batch of back issues on the Nostalgia Zone‘s online store and I was very impressed.

I especially like the hands. Hands are not the easiest bit of the human anatomy to draw. Although they’re not as difficult as feet. (There’s a phrase used by comic books artist when it comes to drawing feet. It’s called “fear of feet” and, if you look for it, you’ll see it’s fairly common. There’s a possible blog in “fear of feet’, but for another time.) This artist really gets the hands right. It seems very likely a model was used to produce this cover.

I like the expression the Cisco Kid is giving the viewer. The meaning is obvious. He’s thinking he’s awfully clever that his shaving will keep him from being caught. But, as I stated earlier, I think the artist is also poking fun at the silliness of simple disguises that always seem to work in comic books.

It’s a great old cover.

Packing Peanuts!

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