Research Task: Extreme Style

For this research task, I was asked to research seven comic artists who are super-stylised and have a unique way of drawing. As I had to choose two of the seven comics artists below I spent a smaller amount of time researching all of them using Wikipedia and then spent more time focussing on the two I chose. I have used Wikipedia for my secondary research.

Jim Steranko

James F. Steranko born November 5, 1938, is an American graphic artist, comic book writer/artist, comics historian, magician, publisher, and film production illustrator. His most famous comic book work was “Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” in Marvel Comics’. His style conssists of surrealism, pop art, and graphic design.

Steranko’s work is what I see when you mention comic books. The style is that of a traditional comic book. The use of textures, shading and colour are bold and bright, so much is happening in each panel that it makes it hard for you to take your eyes away.

Aline Kominsky-Crumb

Aline Kominsky-Crumb born August 1, 1948, died November 29, 2022, was an American underground comics artist. Kominsky-Crumb’s work, which is almost exclusively autobiographical, is known for its unvarnished, confessional nature.

Kominsky-Crumb’s work is mostly created without colour. The style is very ‘old-fashioned’ and quite similar to the style of Milt Gross’ work from the 1930’s, it looks like she mainly uses ink. Her work is quite vulgar and indecent, maybe she is trying to please a certain audience…

Alex Niño

Alex Niño, born May 1, 1940, is a Filipino comics artist best known for his work for the American publisher’s DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and Warren Publishing, and in Heavy Metal magazine.

Niño’s work really reminds me more of something that could be a large painting than a comic strip. The use of colour is amazing, his palettes are really refined and well developed, even saying that though his work is still amazing just using black ink. There is a lot of texure and shading again like the other artists. His work really shows a sense of movement.

Dave McKean

David McKean, born 29 December 1963 is an English illustrator, photographer, comic book artist, graphic designer, filmmaker, and musician. His work consists of drawing, painting, photography, collage, found objects, digital art, and sculpture. McKean’s projects include illustrating books by authors such as Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Heston Blumenthal, Ray Bradbury and Stephen King, and directed three feature films.

McKean’s work has a very unique style, is is very memorable and eye-catching. When it comes to guessing what medium he uses for his work, I think the answer is… varied! There is so much going on with it, from watercolour, to acrylic, to ink, to charcoal to digital maybe? No wonder he has illustrated so many books for a variety of different people, I think this change of style comes naturally to him depending on what is is trying to produce.

Mary Fleener

Mary Fleener, born September 14, 1951, is an American alternative comics artist, writer, and musician from Los Angeles. Fleener’s drawing style, which she calls cubismo, derives from the cubist aesthetic and other artistic traditions.

Fleener’s work is inspired a lot my cubism. Some of her pieces remind me of stained glass windows in a church and some remind me of board games. Her colour use is very bright and vibrant. Her texures remind me of 1950’s pop art, with the use of linework and shading. There is either a lot of text or none at all.

Frank Miller

Frank Miller, born January 27, 1957, is an American comic book writer, penciller and inker, novelist, screenwriter, film director, and producer known for his comic book stories and graphic novels such as his run on Daredevil and subsequent Daredevil: Born Again, The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One, Sin City, and 300.

Miller’s work is very similiar in style to Steranko but still has his own touch to it. I like both of their works but find them similar at the same time. Miller has created and produced some of my favorite comic inspired fims like Sin City and The Dark Knight Returns. When watching those films you can really see where it was inspired by comics and the scenes could easily be turned back into comics panel by panel. His use of colour is facinating, for instance in Sin City he uses yellow for the blood of Ethan Roark or ‘The Yellow Bastard’, seeing this colour as blood intregues me a lot, it’s very unique.

Basil Wolverton

Basil Wolverton, born July 9, 1909 – December 31, 1978, was an American cartoonist and illustrator known for his intricately detailed grotesques of bizarre or misshapen people. His many publishers included Marvel Comics and Mad magazine.

Wolverton’s work is unique in style. You can see he really likes including rolls of skin and other grotesque elements to his work. His work reminds me of an artist from the 1980’s called Art Spiegelman. My Mum told me about him, he produced illsutrations for a parody of ‘Cabage Patch Dolls’ called ‘Garbage Pail Kids’, obviously the art style is different but the grotesqueness of it feels similar.

Now I need to choose two of the artists from above and consider how their style and how it relates to the form and content of their stories…

Frank Miller

Frank’s art style relates to the content of his stories because the art style is very graphic and detailed. He is able to express emotion and clearly show what is happening in each scene. His use of black space and where he applies colour is very well thought about. The was he creates movement in his characters is very fluent. There is a lack of text but enough to show what the characters are saying and give context to the story.

Basil Wolverton

Basil’s art style relates to the content of his stories because his art style is very detailed but abstract, his text is very connected with his illustrations. There is a lot of dramatic overly-expressive emotion within his work it is also quite grotescque. The shading and stippling tecniques that he uses really adds to his unique style, some of his work is so detailed it almost looks as if it’s printed.


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