Monday, April 5, 2010

Rough Justice: the DC Comic Sketches of Alex Ross

Isn't this guy a painter?

In Alex Ross's Clark Kent follow up to his Superman 2005's Mythology, Ross displays that he may be known to the world as a painter extraordinaire, but he is also a marvelous mild mannered penciler. Behind every eye popping painting is a drawn out image which may be a few colors shy of the rainbow (by a few I mean no color at all) but still incorporates that classic Ross look and appeal.

Rough Justice captures the art before it hits the stands. Rough Justice is the work of Alex Ross that lead to his photo-realistic covers and some pieces which never made it to final production. The Ross compilation, which spans 250 pages, is strictly art from the DC universe. This man draws Superman with a noble appearance which is so recognizable that comic fans can't help but feel a sense of "awe" every time they see the caped hero they have seen a thousand times before. Through the many covers and concept ideas which Ross captures Superman you finally get behind the lead of the five time Eisner Award winning cover artist.

My favorite part about this book shelf legitimizing hard cover is the "every angle" approach Ross takes when understanding his character. So many pages are filled with head-shots and body-shots of DC characters from every which angle. The pages of the many faces, from many angles, of Superman is so cool to wander through. He captures Superman's face when in eye laser mode, when in inquisitive mode, when in anger mode, and when in every-other mode too. The work Alex Ross puts into understanding the motions and emotions of the face pulls me so far in to the imagery I find myself making the faces I am perusing through just to further understand what Ross was going for.

Another cool feature about the monstrous sketch book, Rough Justice, is the note work which is left in place on the scanned copies of Ross's sketches. He has questions about the tone of the story or what the character may be thing or if Ross himself should alter the image a bit on his next rendition of a panel. Not only are we in Ross's pencil we are in his head, as well. I've been to the brain of Alex Ross people!...and it is good.

Though Rough Justice is the comic of the day today, it will remain a book that I will pick up and marvel at many days out of the year. I will show friends when they stop by and I will sleep with it at night. In the summer I will take off it's jacket and set it near the fan. When it gets drunk after a late night of hitting up the bars I will hold it's hair while it pukes out its drunken-paged art. I will do all these things for this book and more because this is the only fair treatment of a book from a living illustrating, painting and all around artistic legend.

Now if you would excuse me...Rough Justice is calling me to bed.

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