Artists

Henry Flint

Henry flint is a British born comic book artist whose most famous works include that of 2000 AD and even Judge Dredd magazine. Suffering from Dyslexia Henry didn’t do to well at school but however during the early 1980’s Exmouth Comprehensive had the biggest pupil population in Europe and he found he ‘could easily hide in the system and get through school without doing any real work at all‘ he also highlights the fact that ‘pupils in the lower sets had behavior problems which deflected attention from me‘ (Flint-2013). Despite being one of the best Technical drawers in his entire year his disability would eventually come between him and his dream of becoming an Architect when his grades weren’t good enough. However this would lead him down the path of illustration and the rest is history… Working on Judge Dredd, he uses his very gritty and textured style. This very much matches the rough and tough style of not only the characters in Judge Dredd but also the themes. When Judge Dredd had first been released (and was a lot shorter) every story ended on  message promoting the law and though this has taken a rather lax stance recently I have no doubt that events like 9/11 attacks and the London riots have done reinforce the concept of a character like Dredd and their role as a fictional figure figure in our society.  Despite being over 20 years since its initial release their was a film reboot in 2012. This shows as a testament that perhaps not known to all, characters like Dredd and their message play a bigger role in our lives than we had previously thought.

As I said before, staying with the times has been critical to the comics survival and I suspect this is why Dredd’s original noble but corny breaches of the 4th wall to inform the reader (its important to note that the main demographic at that time would have been children) what it means to be a lawful citizen of society. Perhaps Dredd also played a role in the childhood’s of many forever changing their perspective on the law. I digress though, more recent adaptations of the character include such crossovers as INCUBUS in which Dredd goes head to head with a xeanomorph (Alien) infestation beneath Mega City One and Dredd vs Predator. This ultimately expands the consumer base and helps new readers break in with previously known characters. This blend Sci-fi characters is no doubt a result of the many factors I discussed previously that promote a society that indulges in this sort of imagery and storytelling.

Image source http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/original/1/18627/2708430-tumblr_m6soekvtoo1rxbn1bo1_500.jpg

Above is an example of Henry Flint’s work and the gritty style I mentioned before is clearly on display. Other elements synonymous with comic book art are on show too, such as cell shading and the lines in the background to give the picture depth and though Henry most likely creates these picture digitally by know, he gives them a really rough, hand drawn aesthetic that I like a lot and think is very characterising of his work. The white lines below the blade that Dredd is yielding are another feature that many would associate with comics and are there to represent motion.

Dave Gibbons

Dave has been regarded as one of the best Britich comic book artists period, and has many notable works such as Batman: The Killing Joke and Camelot 3000. He is said to have been the first British artist to truly break in to the american workforce and has done so working for one of the most famous Comic companies, DC. His prominent work on characters like Batman, who much like Dredd also enforce a lawful message but arguably less seriously when characters like the Joker (who have worked to define the comics) come into play. Bryan has seen the turn of the century but continues to promote his work to this day.

Batman’s character is most notorious for the brilliant storytelling and imaginative and often wacky villains which brings me to question whether an artist can still have an impact on such a famous charterer. But after much deliberation my answer is yes. Though its the writers job to create the stories that have shaped the characters we know and love, the illustrator is responsible for conveying that story through their art and an artist can make or break the story. But Batman has not only existed in comics and has had a few spin-off TV cartoons and plenty of films from cheesy Adam West to playboy Christian Bale. The most recent Christopher Nolan trilogy has been met with high praise from critics and fans alike. Unlike the Dredd films though, this trilogy delves more deeply into Bruce Wayne’s charterer be it through his origin story (batman begins), tough choices that will have to be made (the Dark Night) and both physical and mental struggle in the Dark Knight Rises.  It seems that a lot of literary/ graphic characters are now being translated into other mediums at a very fast rate, whether this is to expand their target audience, tell their stories to more people than ever before or take advantage of the massive money making machine that cinema has become is another matter. In any case Batman has become a figure-head character of our culture.

Image source http://howtolovecomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/batman-the-killing-joke.jpg

Sharing many iconic features of comic style art with Harry Flint such as the cross-hatching and line shading that has seemingly been blended with cell shading. Keeping with very simplistic style of rendering in comics Bryan Bolland has used simple white spots to indicate highlights on the camera lens and the jokers lips. All of these features aren’t here by chance, they are the result of years and years of fine tuning of the greats that came before Bryan and their influence on him.

Dave Gibbons

Dave Gibbons is most likely known for his work on the critically acclaimed Watchmen graphic novel which like Batman  and Dredd tells the story of those ‘fighting the good fight’, at least in their eyes. This pattern can be used to show the trend between comics and their heritage of telling stories of Heroes and villains. The Watchmen explores the actual role of super Heroes in a multi faceted society of Cold war paranoia in which their presence is rejected by many who see them as threat to world peace. This leads all but two of them into exile. As if this wasn’t deep enough the super intelligent Dr Manhattan is left to ponder some of the greatest philosophical questions and I hailed for his understanding of everything, with the exception of people which is one of the reasons I love this story so much.

Having mentioned the pattern between my three choices I suppose it wouldn’t come as a surprise to know that the Watchmen also had a film released re-telling the story of the graphic novel. I was sad to find out that the graphic novel was a one time instalment unlike thee Batman graphic novels which exist as one of many. Perhaps this makes the Watchmen more special. However, recently, much to my interest there where was recent series of spin-off comics released going deeper into the origin stories of all the best characters from the novel. I find it particularly interesting that they chose the original medium of comics to produce a spin off rather than say, a TV series. This is most likely down to the fact that it not very well known, despite the release of its own film and receives a lot less credit than I think it deserves.

Image source https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/b3/f2/33/b3f2330a30cfb5c65f4bb69b7e39f207.jpg

Apart from the obvious line shading/ rendering the art in the Watchmen is very unique and I think represents a time early on in the art worlds adjustment to the digital era. This no doubt influenced his work massively yet I feel he maintains a very textured style whether this is just the paper used when printing or an intentional design decision is yet to be known but I’ll most likely leave it to the Dave and his stunning attention to detail that I think has been lost in a lot of the more more recent comics like Dredd vs Predator in which this detail is sacrificed to create the more ‘hand drawn’ and loose style that I also like.

Websites

http://www.brianbolland.net/news.html

https://henryflint.wordpress.com/

http://www.forbiddenplanet.co.uk/blog/2014/reviews-predator-versus-judge-dredd-versus-aliens/

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