Art For Art’s Sake #43: Best Noir Artist Of The Last 40 Years? Nah, Not Frank

by Richard Bruton

Yes, it’s that time again… where I place in front of you some of those fabulous pieces of art, comic art, from hither and yon around that there Internet thingy. It’s Art For Art’s Sake time kids…

Greatest cover ever? This one would be up there for me. Invisibles Issue 1, Volume 1, art & design by Rian Hughes

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #5. Cover by Ben Caldwell

Ken Reid – classic Faceache

Jonnnie Sohcahtoa on those lovable misfits with nuclear weaponry… DR & Quinch meeting Rik & Morty…

Gary Erskine – a fabulous CJ Hershey. Oh we miss her already!

Jen Bartel… so lovely…

Moebius… a Blueberry sketch (a sketch! Yep, incredible) found via Phil Elliott

Team Angel or Team Spike? I’m team Panosian after this cover to Angel & Spike #9…

Tribute to Jack Kirby – Galactus by Alvaro Martinez Bueno

Machine Man #2 by Nick Roche

Supergirl and Batgirl by Otto Schmidt

Superman Versus The Klan variant cover – Kyle Baker

Brett Parson covers the Girl With The Tank…

Star Wars #1 – Phil Noto variant cover…

Nah… Jaxxon was always more of a Han Solo type anyway. That’s what was so good about those early Star Wars comics, the whole idea of not knowing what the hell was continuity or not. Talking Rabbit? Sure, why the hell not!

Star Wars #8 – art by Gil Kane

Star Wars #16 – art by Walter Simonson

And to end… Paul Grist. I love Paul Grist. Have done for sooo long. Probably saw him first with St Swithin’s Day, that rather fabulous Grant Morrison comic, you know… this one…

That was the possibly autobiographical tale (on Morrison’s part) of a young, pale, Maggie Thatcher hating lad…

Controversy followed, Members of Parliament raised questions in the House of Commons and The Sun newspaper ran with the front page ‘Death To Maggie Book Sparks Tory Uproar’.

But it was a comic that resonated with the teen me and dammit, that art just looked superb…

Later on, it was Kane where he really seemed to come into everything I love about his work. His compositions were just amazing, his style incredible, storytelling that was both way out there visually yet still controlled enough to deliver thrilling adventures. Just one of the greats.

The covers were superb, sure. But inside, well the insides were amazing. This was back when Frank Miller’s Sin City was getting all the plaudits for being the master of the b&w. But I had many an argument with people back in my comic shop days telling them Grist was so much better.

Seriously… things like this… from the very first issue of Kane…

And later on, issue #13, Point of View… one issue all from the inside of a cop car… staggeringly good…

Obviously, there’s more. Burglar Bill, Jack Staff, Mud Man, 2000AD work, Grendel Tales, writing Batman and now The Union from Marvel, but in Kane there’s a stark b&w beauty that was just so good.

And then there was Nikki. This one I learned of later on, with the great Lew Stringer telling me of it back in 2012, over at his old Blimey blog, a wonderfully repository of all things Brit comics. Grist’s work on Nikki back in the late 80s had all the beauty and style I’d see in his later work. Beautiful lines, a sparsity in his pages, fabulous composition…

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