Although the latest edition of ‘Comic Book Creator’ is mainly devoted to artist Kelley Jones, it starts with Singapore artist Sonny Liew, who describes his rise to fame a slow climb rather than a quick jump. Although I haven’t come across his work before, Liew’s work is stylised with traces of sources from all over but showing a delicate touch.
A look at Bob Kane and how much he really contributed to Batman follows. In my comicbook fandom days, I wrote an article about Lee Falk’s ‘The Phantom’, who was created in 1936 and how I commented that, three years later, the Batman looked like an urban version of him which is noted here as well. Will Murray’s article shows beyond Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson’s contributions how Kane added things he liked from other sources. It brings a good argument that all significant contributors to character creations should be acknowledged. The page comicstrip showing how Kane might have visualised Batman sans influences is hilarious.
I’m definitely less than familiar with Raina Telgemeier’s ‘Smile’ books but learnt an important lesson that if you want to target small children comicbooks, keep your colours basic. There’s also brief look at Marc Tyler Nobleman’s books about Bill Finger and Simon & Schuster. A little larger look at Drew Friedman’s second book, ‘More Heroes Of The Comics’, where he’s drawn and water-coloured comicbook creators portraits from 1935-1955 that you might want to buy from Fantagraphics.
Then we come to the main subject of this edition, comicbook artist Kelley Jones, spanning nearly 50 pages. I do tend to think his work is an acquired taste. As he comments, when he drew Batman and Deadman, he realised he was never going to be as good as Neal Adams so did his own take. With Batman, I was less concerned with the length of ears and cape but more with him over-packing the Dark Knight with muscles. His Deadman must have come as I dropped out of comics but it tends to look more like a caricature than a skeleton. In the interview, he commented he couldn’t compete with Neal Adams and drew mostly out of anger on Deadman. Jones work is very noirish and from the samples of the art before and after in pencils and inks tends to shows this. Jones describes himself as an inker who can pencil rather than the other way around which fits with this.
His influences are very much of my generation with some interesting choices along the way. The one useful piece of advice he was given and employs is always to have at least one good panel of art on each page as the rest would be forgiven. He opts for the last panel.
Whatever your likes or dislikes in his art, Jones gives a good interview and Peter Quinones does a good appraisal. I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this issue but was surprised how quickly I read it which doesn’t happen unless I do.
(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 8.95 (US). ISSN: 2330-2437. Direct from them, you can get it for $ 7.61 (US))
check out websites: www.TwoMorrows.com and http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=98_132&products_id=1249