Seeking to disprove stereotypes that comics are merely simplistic or juvenile entertainment for the uncultured; to enlighten the open-minded and encourage the broadening of one's horizons; to examine comics as a text; to deepen appreciation for comics, comic books, and graphic novels as a formidable form of art in all cultures.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Review: Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross

Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross came to me about five years ago as a birthday present from my brother. It's great at what it shoots for: a showcase of Ross's work for DC over the years. It makes a great coffee table book, as it's very segmented in format. It's not meant to necessarily be read cover to cover (though I have done so) as the primary focus is the over-sized illustrations that "wow" the reader. The art itself is meant to be studied and taken in, with less emphasis on the written text.

I bring this book up, however, for a couple reasons. For one, Ross is one of the most unique comic artists you will find out there. If you're averse to the lack of realism in some drawings, you'll appreciate the photoreality that Ross utilizes in his depictions of fictional characters. In fact, the title "Mythology" is a multiple entendre for Ross's ability to take mythological beings and ground them in a real-world feeling, increasing depth of character and relatability between the reader and the material. In so doing, Ross brings perhaps otherwise-laughable concepts to a new level of respect and provocation of thought.

Also, Mythology shows Ross's journey as an artist -- how he was raised, how he developed his talents, the process he goes through in creating his art, and the psychology behind his work. Anyone who questions the degree to which comics can be considered an art form should study how Ross meticulously conceptualizes, rough sketches, photographs models, paints, sculpts, etc. The amount of creative synergy in his efforts is astounding -- you'll see his work as much more than a pop culture attempt at commercialism.

1 comment:

Rob said...

i think he makes the heroes look too old