Monday, January 02, 2006

2005 2GBC Awards: Chris Edition: Best Interior Art

This award is for Best Interior Art. I feel an almost Riddler-esque need to explain my criteria here. In short, there are no criteria. I don't care if it was a one-shot, miniseries, ongoing, compilation, pamphlet, digest, or something scrawled on the inside of a napkin; if I bought it, you're in the running.

And I'm pretty generous where art is concerned. All I typically ask is that I can follow what's going on, and you don't make the characters look stupid. (Unless the character actually is stupid, and then it's OK.) So, I'm not the most discerning art critic out there, because really --- it doesn't take a whole lot to get a pass in my book.

Also, for the awards I tried to pick not only what I thought was the best interior art, but those artists that brought something different to the table other than your generic superhero stuff. You know what I'm talking about. I tried to look back through what I bought and ask myself, "Would I buy the original art to this?"

Bronze: Bryan Hitch, Ultimates 2

No surprise here. Hitch has consistently done fascinating work on this title, with ultra-detailed backgrounds and an amazing ability to capture emotions in facial expressions. And dude can draw fight scenes. Go back and check out the Ultimates vs. Thor fight and tell me you can't literally almost smell the charred flesh and burning hair.

The other great thing about Hitch's work here is that he never, ever lets the writing do the heavy lifting. I don't think I've seen a single panel that doesn't either add context to the dialogue or narration or communicate something better than a text bubble ever could, and you'd be surprised how uncommon that is on the whole.

Perhaps (like Mark Bagley) we're just starting to take him for granted, since he's been drawing this comic forever; but appreciation is deserved for one of the finest out there. Huzzah!

Silver: Simone Bianchi, Seven Soldiers: Shining Knight

This series was an absolute revelation for me, as I can't recall ever having seen Bianchi's work before. Color me knocked out. His work hits the sweet spot between being photorealistic and absolutely surreal (which is a pretty tough spot to hit), and there's something about it that just seems...I dunno...ethereal or dreamlike at times. But not too much. It's hard to put into words, but I thought it was just outstanding.

It was heavily inked, and that made the contrast between the dark linework and the often bright pastel coloring that much more unsettling, and that fits the Seven Soldiers series like a glove. Whether it was drawing epic battles between Camelot and the Sheeda or an interrogation scene between Shining Knight and the FBI, the ominous creepy tone was perfect. Not to mention the fact that Bianchi can do the gore thing pretty well, too. Great, great work, and as an added bonus he did a kickass job filling in on Green Lantern last week. Well done!

Gold: Lee Bermejo, Lex Luthor: Man of Steel

As disappointing as this series ultimately turned out to be, one thing still keeps me picking up the odd issue and flipping through it: Lee Bermejo's art. It's been described by myself and others as "tactile", and that's still the best way to describe it. Reading this, you feel like you can reach out and actually feel the rough seams in Superman's costume, the wetness of the lettuce in Bruce Wayne's salad, the plastic sheen of Hope's outfit, and the crags in Luthor's face.

I'm serious. It's that good. There's a dark mood over the whole thing, as you would expect from a Lex Luthor comic, and Superman is downright terrifying, drawn as Lex sees him --- an otherworldly superweapon that we should all be afraid of. Add to that a sinister, almost oily sheen that seems to coat Lex and his world, and you've got just fantastic mood-enhancing art. And though Azzarello's story gets muddled and incomprehensible towards the end, Bermejo does a bang-up job from start to finish.

Brilliant, brilliant stuff!

Honorable Mention: Tony Harris (Ex Machina), Ryan Sook (Seven Soldiers: Zatanna), Eduardo Risso (100 Bullets), Doug Braithwaite/Alex Ross (Justice)


Blogger kelvingreen said...

Oddly enough, Bianchi's done some Superman sketches that bring through that ominous, alien look you're talking about with Bermejo.

10:07 AM  
Blogger markus said...

You're still breathing?
Knowing you read this and from what I remember of your stance on Hitch, I'd have bet good money you'd have an aneurysm upon reading of his favourable placements.
Come to think of it, I even feel slightly bad for not warning you.

1:23 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...


What, me?

I'm a big Hitch fan myself, although I do prefer his older, Transformers/Death's Head style to his current look.

8:59 PM  
Blogger markus said...

Oh, good then. I must have gotten things mixed up.
No idea who I confused you with or where I got the notion from.
Apologies all around.

2:34 AM  

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