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Author Topic: Distinguishing Good Art from Bad and Everything in Between  (Read 4821 times)
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Michel Weisnor
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« on: November 02, 2007, 05:49:31 PM »

With the current trend of multi-crossovers sweeping through comics, I noticed many books with rushed pencils. Due to time constraints, many artists appear to settle for less than spectacular results. So, what do you consider when examining comic art? How do you separate good from bad artwork or does it matter? Does the inker and colorist make a difference? Are facial expressions and body language more important then background settings? Does the relationship between artist and writer come into play? Does longevity and breath of work equal great artwork?

What comic or strip do you consider the near perfect balance of character to artwork to story?

 
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AMAZO
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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2007, 07:15:59 PM »

It's amazing to me how many books ship late these days (especially All-Star Superman) using art as an excuse. Books just weren't late back in the "classic" days. Even if there was a problem with a story, the editors kept a few stand-alone stories in reserve as fillers so that the book could ship on time. I personally am sick unto death of late books. There was a time when Jack Kirby was basically drawing nine features and providing layouts for more in the classic days of Marvel. Even detailed guys like Adams or Perez kept to their deadlines. I think that if an artist consistently cannot meet a deadline, then maybe it's time to get a new artist; after all, long delays are bad for a book--readers will wander away to other books and may never return. It's just like when a network starts rotating a show through the schedule, it is almost always a kiss of death for that show.
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Michel Weisnor
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« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2007, 08:10:36 PM »

It's amazing to me how many books ship late these days (especially All-Star Superman) using art as an excuse. Books just weren't late back in the "classic" days. Even if there was a problem with a story, the editors kept a few stand-alone stories in reserve as fillers so that the book could ship on time. I personally am sick unto death of late books. There was a time when Jack Kirby was basically drawing nine features and providing layouts for more in the classic days of Marvel. Even detailed guys like Adams or Perez kept to their deadlines. I think that if an artist consistently cannot meet a deadline, then maybe it's time to get a new artist; after all, long delays are bad for a book--readers will wander away to other books and may never return. It's just like when a network starts rotating a show through the schedule, it is almost always a kiss of death for that show.

Artwork is sometimes an excuse. Although, with no factual evidence to support my claim  Tongue, I believe publishers today stagger books to keep print runs high. Supergirl is probably a good example, maybe even All-Star Superman.

Back on topic, did Jack Kirby's work suffer with such a large workload? Recently, I watched a documentary on Frank Frazetta. One topic discusses his ability to finish a painting in one night. Some said this was an example of his genius, while others felt it was detriment to his work. Same could be said about an overloaded schedule. 
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DBN
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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2007, 09:49:10 PM »

Didn't the late, great Curt Swan sometimes use shortcuts to get the issue out?
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Uncle Mxy
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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2007, 10:28:10 PM »

Crappy art in the 1990s turned me away from comics in a way I'd never before experienced.  Whatever makes the likes of Liefeld appealing, I just can't fathom it.  Likewise, if the lettering makes me squint, that's the end of that comic.

I buy mostly TPBs.  Arguably, it's an abuse of the artistic end of the medium.  Doing two-page spreads is hard with TPBs.  With comics where tne major element is the story, and the art (while perhaps very good) isn't making my jaw drop, I'd just as soon buy in digest format if I could. 
<thumbs through The Irredeemable Ant Man Smiley >

I avoid continuing series unless they're -really- good throughout because it bugs the completist in me.  I want some concrete endings, not something where half the plot elements introduced or mentioned are just kind of left there to dry.  I didn't start acquiring Transmetropolitan until it was done, even though I was reading it in the stores throughout. 
<moves on to Y: The Last Man with its sublime blend of writing and art>

I can get most comics online or from my library whenever I want.  What I buy to own is a function of what I think is re-readable.  Comics used to be cheap and with small enough plot arcs and continuity messes such that they were relatively disposable.  (I damaged a whole lot of comics that are probably worth something today (and I'm not even gonna blame my parents Smiley ).  That's just not true in a lot of cases anymore, but I like it when some writers and artists think about such things:
<peruses his TPB of the first 8 issues of Fell by Ellis/Templesmith>

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Permanus
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2007, 11:49:44 PM »

For me, cartooning is at its very best when you look at Terry and the Pirates, Steve Canyon, Pogo, or Calvin & Hobbes, all of which have an extremely organic quality. Rip Kirby when done by Alex Raymond. I like to feel that a guy sat down at a drawing board and dipped a brush or a pen in some ink and did it in a few swoops.

That's probably why Tex Blaisdell was one of my favourite inkers on Curt Swan: the lips are always two separate segments, splash splash, and you know a guy did that with a brush on a wooden drawing board, and he was probably wearing a cowboy hat when he was doing it too, otherwise they wouldna called him Tex.
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« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2007, 02:27:22 PM »

Oh, fiddlesticks. Now that I think of it, it was Bob Oksner who did the lips like that, wasn't it?
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