He drew Sgt. Rock. He drew Enemy Ace. He drew Hawkman. He drew Tor. And those are just the highlights. There have been fewer artists more prolific, and you'd be hard pressed to name a DC character he didn't draw at one point or another. He also drew more amazing covers than I can remember, let alone list. On top of all that, he founded one of comics' greatest and most enduring institutions, the Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art.
True comics legends are kind of thin on the ground these days, but along with the likes of Jack Kirby and Will Eisner, Joe Kubert was the real deal. He was a master of his craft, and the fact he continued working virtually right up until his death is both humbling and inspiring. "Remarkable" doesn't even begin to sum his career up.
July wound up being artist's month as far as our Experience Creativity campaign went: Mike Norton, Charlie Adlard, Riley Rossmo, and Erik Larsen – titans all.
Except for Riley, I've known all these guys for years. Erik, since 1991; Charlie since '95. I guess I first met Mike in 2003. They're all great, though. They all have very different styles, and they all have completely different perspectives on comics art. As different as they are, though, I like to think they're united by their uniqueness. That's one of the things that makes comic book artwork so great, after all: No two comics artists are the same. Even if one artist is inspired by another, that inspiration only asserts itself for so long.
Every artist would tell you differently, of course. There's no one more critical of his or her work than the artists responsible. They see all the influences, all the flaws, all the work that is yet to be done. It's the same with any creative person, actually – no matter what your craft, you're always striving to be better, always aiming to be more than the sum of the often disparate parts that originally inspired you to do what you do.
Ultimately, no matter who or what an individual artist's influences, there's something inside each and every one of them that demands to break out. It's their own personal vision that drives them to succeed, not the bits and pieces of things they've absorbed throughout their lives. They are who they are, and their individual style is what ultimately gives them their strength as artists.
So whether they're drawing Revival or It-Girl or The Walking Dead or Proof or Green Wake or Wild Children or Savage Dragon or Supreme... their own personal style shines through.
I don't think it's a secret that I think Matt Fraction is mind-bogglingly talented, but if you haven't had a chance to read this yet, I recommend you stop what you're doing and get a copy right now. Matt and artist David Aja are working some crazy voodoo on this one.
"Impossibly brilliant" doesn't quite do it justice.
One of the most thrilling aspects of working in comics is watching something develop from concept to execution. I get to see things evolve from a pitch – which in some cases is only a few paragraphs, others a full-on, multi-page treatment detailing the story issue-by-issue – to a script to art to a finished comic book, and it's a process that never ceases to amaze me.
Watching it happen with something I'm actually writing is just as cool.
The images above are from our upcoming Nowhere Men series, and that's Nate Bellegarde's original layout for this panel, followed by the black and white line art, and then Jordie Bellaire's colors. The only thing missing is the lettering by Fonografiks (which I'm keeping to myself for now), but I've been blown away by these guys every step of the way. Getting the layouts? Awesome. Getting the pencils and inks? More awesome. Jordie's colors? Insanely awesome.
Watching this stuff develop – whether it's my own comic book or any one of dozens of others – is about as good as it gets, really, and a constant reminder of why I got into this business to begin with. Even at two decades and counting, I still regard the whole creative process as something akin to alchemy. Things start as a collection of sentences, and then through the magic of artwork, whole worlds are brought to life. It's a lot of work, obviously, but it's also incredibly fun.