New Book Show­cases Pri­mary Su­per­power

The Borneo Post - Good English - - Front Page - by David Be­tan­court

IN HIS 29 years as an artist in the comic­book in­dus­try, Alex Ross has be­come known for paint­ing many su­per­pow­ered mas­ter­pieces.

An Eis­ner Award-win­ning artist known for a style that seem­ingly brings the su­per­heroes he paints into the real world, Ross has cre­ated iconic art­work for se­ries such as “Marvels” along­side writer Kurt Busiek in 1994 and “King­dom Come,” a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Mark Waid in 1996.

Ross recog­nises that for fans who grew up reading comics in the ‘90s, his al­most-cin­e­matic art­work filled a void. There were no con­nected live-ac­tion su­per­hero movie uni­verses. At best, fans could hope for a Bat­man movie ev­ery few years, be­fore Joel Schu­macher made even that not a guar­an­tee.

Back then, to take in a comic book page painted by Ross was to treat your imag­i­na­tion to what your fa­vorite su­per­heroes might look like if they were stand­ing right next to you. Ross says that vis­ual ex­pe­ri­ence for fans was al­ways his goal.

“I was hoping that I could con­nect my way of in­ter­pret­ing these char­ac­ters, which wasn’t too much of a case of over­think­ing or re­defin­ing them as much as try­ing to clar­ify how you could make them seem vis­ually ap­pli­ca­ble to re­al­ity,” Ross told The Wash­ing­ton Post. “Of all the painters of my era, if none of them were as driven to that goal, I wanted to be the guy who leapfrogged ahead of them to make it my thing, so that ev­ery­body would think of me as sort of the Nor­man Rock­well of comics.”

Ross’s ap­proach to art is as sim­ple as it is metic­u­lous. Pa­per, pen­cils and paint are his con­stant sup­plies. Ross uses live mod­els, ac­tion fig­ures, pho­to­graphs and sculp­tures that he molds him­self as ref­er­ences for his art. He once sculpted an Iron Man piece and dipped it in chrome so that he could sat­is­fac­to­rily ap­ply a re­flec­tive sur­face to his ver­sion of the ar­mored Avenger.

Time has come to de­fine Ross’ art, in terms of the amount he puts into his craft and how lit­tle of it he has to enjoy the end re­sults. Ross ad­mits to work­ing ev­ery day of the week for al­most the first two decades of his ca­reer. He’s only given him­self week­ends off over the last nine years. He stays busy now paint­ing cov­ers for mul­ti­ple Marvel Comics se­ries, in­clud­ing the cur­rent “Captain Amer­ica” se­ries writ­ten by Ta-Ne­hisi Coates and “The Im­mor­tal Hulk” writ­ten by Al Ewing. It’s a sched­ule that doesn’t leave much time to rem­i­nisce.

Ross hopes his fans will have more time than he’s had to take in some of his best works with the re­lease of “Marve­loc­ity,” a cu­rated col­lec­tion of his best Marvel works over his ca­reer (avail­able for pur­chase from Pan­theon Books), in­clud­ing painted pages, cov­ers, child­hood art­work, never-be­fore-seen art and an orig­i­nal 10-page Spi­der-Man story he wrote and painted. The book re­unites Ross with Chip Kidd and Ge­off Spear, who worked with him on a 2003 book, “Mythol­ogy,” a col­lec­tion of his best works for DC Comics.

“We don’t re­ally get in the weeds of what it took for me to make projects or all the nuts and bolts of be­hind the scenes comic lore,” Ross said. – Wash­ing­ton Post.

Alex Ross at his art stu­dio in Chicago.- Photo cour­tesy of Alex Ross-Pan­theon Books

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