Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Week 3 - Darick Robertson

Darick Robertson is a comic book artist who is and will forever be known as "the Transmetropolitan art guy". For the uninformed, Transmetropolitan is a now-concluded graphic novel written by Warren Ellis, penciled by Robertson, and heavily inspired by Hunter S. Thompson. It is also the BEST DAMN COMIC BOOK EVER. Oh yes. In a way, I envy those of you who haven't read it yet - you are yet to read it for the first time.

A creator-owned title Transmet was a very close collaboration between Ellis and Robertson and is one of the best examples of how comic book art SHOULD be done. It is rarely flashy. It is not showing off. It never jumps up-and-down yelling "look how pretty I am" the way your latest gloss-covered issue of the Incredible Whatever does. It carries the story. Every inch of every step. Darick's work strikes just the right balance between realistic and stylized, and the end result is belief. Belief that the people on the page are real (if exaggerated). Belief that the city behind them lives, and breathes, and just doesn't "give two tugs of a dead dog's cock about the TRUTH". (C) Spider Jerusalem.

Speaking of Spider, the anti-hero of Transmetropolitan is, in my humble opinion, one of the best character designs in any medium. I mean, just look at him:
Instantly recognizable. Great use of flat black, of clear lines, and NO unnecessary details. Just a touch of weird added through red-and-green glasses. By the way that expression of pure shock and vulnerability is fairly unusual for Spider and is from one of his more humanizing moment. More often we see him like this: Which doesn't only allow Robertson to show off his consiiiiiderable skill with facial expressions but also defines the character as a person more and - again CARRIES THE F*CKING STORY. Forgive me. I'm a fiction writer and nothing in a work of art inspires me more than an overt or covert narrative (that sounded better before I typed it up).

Now that Transmetropolitan (go read it, seriously) is over, Darick Robertson is working on The Boys with Garth Ennis of The Preacher fame, which is a) a superhero story (which I loathe) and b) written by Ennis (whose writing I don't really like), yet I still read it because Darick-freaking-Robertson is drawing it.

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