Friday, March 31, 2006

Blinded by the light

Today's Comic Art Friday is dedicated to Sharon Stone, whose sequel Basic Instinct 2 opens in wide release today. Whether Ms. Stone does likewise, you'll have to pony up nine bucks to discover. Or wait for the DVD.

I haven't featured the work of Geof Isherwood, my 2005 Comic Art Friday Artist of the Year, lately, so it's high time. Geof has created several amazing additions for my Common Elements gallery (for any newbies present, Common Elements is a series of commissioned works pairing otherwise unrelated superheroes who share some feature in common). This amazing piece matches the Golden Age hero known as the Ray with Marvel's disco queen, Dazzler.

What I love about this drawing is the way it demonstrates Isherwood's mastery of anatomy. Too many artists in the comics field today learned their craft — such as it is — by aping the work of other artists. As a result, their figures look like bizarre caricatures of the human form rather than realistic representations of it. In Isherwood's work, we see the eye of an artist who has drawn from live models, studied the anatomy of the human body, and knows how the parts fit together. Look at the musculature of Isherwood's Ray — if you pulled out a copy of Gray's Anatomy (the reference book, not the television drama), you'd see that every sinew, every tendon, is biomechanically accurate. Geof's Dazzler has realistic proportions, a chest that falls naturally, hips with authentic curvature, and arms and legs formed like those of a real woman in top physical condition. You could count on the fingers of one hand the active comic artists who command that level of detail, and have the skills to put it on paper.

This particular Common Elements piece I conceived specifically with Isherwood in mind. One of my favorite comic artists of all time is Lou Fine, who worked out of Will Eisner's studio in the late 1930s and early 1940s (Fine was one of the artists who filled in on The Spirit Sunday supplements while Eisner was in the Army during World War II). Much of Fine's comic book work was created for Quality Comics, and the Ray was one of the handful of superheroes (the Black Condor and Doll Man were others) with whom he was most closely identified. I see a great deal of Lou Fine's expert draftsmanship and attention to accuracy in Geof Isherwood's art, so I thought it would be a capital idea to have him draw one of Fine's best-remembered characters.

And that's your Comic Art Friday.


2 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Joel offered these pearls of wisdom...

An excellent commentary on comic art as always. Have you approached WIZARD about writing a column?

12:07 AM  
Blogger SwanShadow offered these pearls of wisdom...

You're too kind, Joel. I'm afraid my perspective on comics and comic art skews much older than WIZARD's target demographic. But I appreciate the compliment!

2:50 PM  

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