Sunday, January 31, 2010

Artists To Watch Out For In 2010

Like many, I discovered him on the Blue Beetle series. He immediately impressed me with how easily he was able to capture the essence of his predecessor Cully Hamner's linework while gradually working in his own. The result was a seamless transition that kept new readers while gaining new ones, bringing to my mind the transition from Steve Ditko to John Romita in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man. What many didn't know that Albuquerque's previous work had a darker edge with stylish uses of darkness he'd shaved off for superhero comics. Albuquerque bounced around a bit doing cover work for Marvel and Superman/Batman at DC Comics but this spring will see him come to Vertigo as artist of the new series American Vampire written by novelists Scott Snyder and Stephen King.

Known primarily for his inking, Ryan Kelly broke out big doing full art on the Oni series, Local. Kelly rapidly became known for his lush page layouts and for his ability to create the vibrant city and landscapes in which his characters exists. 2010 sees him returning to The New York Four for Vertigo and his own creator-owned project, Funrama.

I won't lie, initially, I didn't care much for the guy's style. He was shoehorned into the darkness of the Batman stable of books and he just didn't fit. It was like reading the adventures of pin-up girls guest-starring the Bat-characters, especially the female ones.

They pouted and stood with their hands on their hips and just seemed altogether out of place. Finally, he was moved onto the Gotham City Sirens title co-featuring Catwoman, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy and then... nothing. It seemed like it would have been perfect for his style but it seemed he was struggling with the pacing of superhero comics. His layouts seemed a bit off, never quite jibing with the story being told and then it happened; Gotham City Sirens #8.

He was given the chance to plot the issue and his storytelling just opened up and began to flow, suggesting what would happen if you unleashed artist Milo Minara upon a crime comic set in a superhero universe. If this is a glimpse of what's to come, I'm more than ready.

No one should be able to add as much detail to a monthly comic and remain sane as this man does. Hell, I don't know him. He probably is insane. You'd have to be to operate at his level. As far as I'm concerned, he can be whatever he needs to be as long as he keeps cranking out this quantity of high-quality work on the monthly Green Lantern Corps. The man's layout work is spectacular, regularly twisting and turning perspective inside-out at a moment's notice while still keeping anatomy and story pacing a priority. What I think goes largely unnoticed is use of bold blacks to set a mood, suggesting a melding of Hellboy creator Mike Mignola with studio mate and Green Lantern cohort, Doug Mahnke's artistic stylings, while forging a style all his own. Month in, month out, Gleason gets the job not only done but done by an artist at the top of his game.


Peter said...

I wonder if Pat Gleason is fast enough to draw both GLC and Aquaman? Hmmm. One can dream.

Devon Sanders said...

If only it could happen.