Off The Panel: Recognizing The Artwork
With so many books coming out this year alone we have also seen some interesting creative teams forming to tackle them. Not to speak of one in particular, but you notice how these new books allow for many up and coming artists to step up and try their hand at something which could becoming the next hot seller. Too often we don’t give the artist enough credit because we have come to a point where storytelling tends to be the focus, yet they are still just as important given these are comics foremost.
The way that readers look at the structure of the creative team is how some would call “quarterbacking”. It’s as if we look at the names given credit to for that issue and the one on top is the one you give the most attention to. And which of those will you always find on top? The writer. And they would be looked at as the quarterback of the team who is charge of everything, which is not the case. Who you think is most important to recognize is completely subjective when talking about any comic in general. The artist is as much the backbone of the creation of your favorite issues when it is them who are given a script and left to bring it to life between the colorist, inker, penciler or if that artist does it all.
For someone like me, I tend to find myself communicating with the artists majority of the time if I am ever on a social network. Sure you see more writers active, but when you put the effort into seeking the artists out, you find them just as welcoming and willing to talk to you about whichever book it is that they’re working on. David Messina is the artist for The Bounce, and this is someone who is very active. You see him on Twitter, you see him on Facebook if you’re friends with him, and he has his own site going where he posts both all his art for The Bounce, which would blow you away if I may say. And how this starts is by being aware, and show them some love when you direct a message to the writer so that they know someone enjoys what they do.
With all these new artists to add to the many out there now, it is also the best time to realize what works for you in terms of styles. Not everything you will find appealing, and it will never mean the art is bad(unless it is sloppy), it just means that it isn’t for you. Lets use Frazier Irving for example, he is one of the artists for Uncanny X-Men. Not everyone is comfortable with his style for the book, and yet there is nothing wrong with it, it’s just not those people’s taste. As for me, I love what he does when he gets the chance, being able to bring out the emotion that the story demands. Especially when it came to Magik’s story as they went through Limbo. It could be something as “surreal, but also realistic in a strange way” like Fiona Staple. One of the best artists out there and I’d agree that she’s so good that the real sci-fi stuff she draws almost looks real, something that could have only come out of her head and given life. Or it could be someone like Roc Upchurch who can look like he’s having so much fun with what he’s drawing and in tern create something undeniably entertaining.
I should also say that this extends to cover artists as well. Not too long ago you could see an exclusive walkthrough of cover artist Dan Dos Santos’s latest Serenity cover, ‘River’s Dream'(seen above). A cover for Serenity: Leaves on The Wind which releases for its first issue on the 29th. You see the amount of time and effort put into that and you can’t help but admire what the rest do as well, no matter how complex or simple it is. These covers are the first thing you see when you pick up the book and some credit should go out to them when it is the book of your choice.
No one says that giving credit to the artists is a must, but it is certainly something we should all believe they deserve in some capacity. When I send out just a link to one of my reviews and I forget someone in showing recognition, it does make me feel bad. May not to everyone, but when you look at this from their perspective it feels like no one notices you. I’ve seen frustrated artists talking to each other about the attention only being given to the writer and I am inclined to agree with how they feel. You can’t blame them and all it takes is a simple comment of how that book visually appealed to you. There was a time where the art meant everything to our decision making process for what goes into our pull lists. Nothing has changed since then when that is a contributing factor for any reason you have for liking a book which is announced or ongoing right now.
When everything is said and done, it is all about showing recognition to those who put these books together and the artists do need that recognition. All it takes is one moment to consider if that were you working on something that became popular and from your perspective it’s as if you really aren’t there. Being 2014 this is a great time to consider giving back that appreciation to everyone who makes this a great year to be a comic fan. There’s being thankful for the books to come as this year progresses, and then there’s being thankful for those who put the time and effort to make them happen.
Don’t forget to check out fellow contributor, Jeremy James’ interview with Michael Allred.