14 March 2010

Something About Superheroes: Five Compelling Portraits of THE BATMAN FAMILY - Part II

The Batman by DJ Cox [via]
Something about superheroes - and in particular, the Batman - is extraordinarily compelling to artists. It doesn't matter the age of the artist, or whether they're professionals or amateurs; similarly, they do so without regard to their chosen medium or preferred subject matter. They don't need to be fans or read comic books - indeed, many of them aren't, and don't.  Nevertheless, when they create, sometimes these artist create superheroes. 

Maybe it's the fact that superheroes were born of an illustrated medium, making them prime candidates for continuing artistic exploration. Just as the comic book's drawn pages tell a story,  the creations of the artist do as well -- one frame in place of many, static instead of sequential, but a story is framed and told nonetheless.  Yet unlike most comic book stories , where the single panels on a page collectively flow together to illustrate motion - action,  the creations of the artist focus instead on the story that can be found within the single moment - a frozen action, where a comic's words and sound effects are replaced by color, mood, and line. 
It's here, we think, that we're beginning to get closer to what that 'Something' about superheroes may be.  By capturing the superhero in the single moment, the artist's creation does not so much emphasize what their subject is doing, but rather what he is being.  Effectively, the super aspect of the character disappears, leaving only the hero to portray. Despite their costumes - and also because of them - there's something about superheroes  that suggests that they are us, and we are them. Many superheroes have the power of gods, but unlike history's abundant imagery of similar begins - for example, Jesus Christ or the Olympian Gods -- we find ourselves relating to their likenesses,  and their humanity.
Sunday night food for thought, dabblers. Keep your eyes peeled, because abbracadabbling will be exploring Something About Superheroes a whole lot more as the comicsblog continues...
Last month's Five Fantastic Portraits of the Batman Family blog received tons of great responses, and when our dabblers talk, we listen and respond in kind.  Covering The Caped Crusader  returns with our second set of Batman family portraits, and they're some of the most compelling we've ever seen.  We're especially loving the sweet black-and white re-imagining of Batgirl by comics artist Pia Guerra. Guerra's one of the few women illustrators in the business, and although some might have said the odds were against her, she won two Eisner Awards while working with superstar writer Brian K. Vaughan on Vertigo's Y: The Last Man - one of the very best comic series of the last decade, hands down
Without further ado...
If You Meet Batman by Lubomir Arsov [via]

Pia Guerra's Batgirl [via]

Joker by Fernando Lucas [via]

Batgirl (rough) by 89g [via]

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