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America's Captain 

Location: Bayville New Jersey
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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Subj: Re: Thoughts on Alex Ross?
Posted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 at 11:21:26 am EDT (Viewed 122 times)
Reply Subj: Thoughts on Alex Ross?
Posted: Sun Apr 23, 2017 at 02:43:00 am EDT (Viewed 11 times)

    A pivotal comic figure of the 90s. Lapped up his stuff with everybody else in my teenage days.

    I loved and still love his work on MARVELS. His photo-realistic art goes perfectly with the story of a photojournalist.

    Everything else. . .I've grown sour on. From Kingdom Come to his prestige Dini Treasury editions.

I've never seen the appeal of his work on super-heroes, for the very reasons you cite below. I'd prefer his style on pulp detective stories.

    Here's the thing. . .his super-heroes are really unappealing to look at. They're all old, fat, and bloated. They look like cos-players who could use a few sit-ups and a GasX; not the superhero they're supposed to be. And often Alex Ross gives the heroes his own face!

You're exactly right - they look like cosplayers!

    It's the difference between making Superman (or any other superhero Ross has drawn) look realistic vs making Superman REAL. Ross does the former. I look at Ross work and say, "That Batman scene looks realistic, but that's not the real Batman."

Yup! You're right on the money.

    Super-heroes are NOT real guys. They are superhuman forces of nature; and if they stepped into the real world as THEMSELVES they would not look like a fat guy in a suit! Difference between the Real and Super Real (or Greek ideal).

Yes. In addition there's a key difference between comics and movies. In a comic book, while the art may (and often does) suggest movement, nevertheless the image is static. It doesn't move. In a movie, by contrast, whenever the hero/heroine appears in costume, almost always the character is in motion, or has just finished moving and is poised to start moving again. Dynamism is employed to keep the hero/heroine bigger than life. This becomes clear when you see photos of the actors/actresses in costume between scenes, just hanging around, zero dynamism. They look like cosplayers because ultimately that's what they are.

In comic books, there's a visual fantasy element that takes the place of actual movement. The lines and colors are somewhat unrealistic but they're not less than real - they're more than real. As you say, they're super-real. They're iconic.

    It's not his technique that I quibble with; the man obviously has talent and can draw things photo-realistically like no one else. My problem is with his execution and vision. His realistic looking superheroes are NOT how I picture my fave superheroes looking if they stepped out of the comic pages and into the real world. How he draws them are not how they looked in his beloved silver/bronze age, either.

The Shadow and the Spider are two pulp detectives who would probably be appealing as depicted by Alex Ross.

A pioneer of comic book "iconic realism" was the great Neal Adams. I've attached one of his most recognizable images. It shows how he threw out the bath water yet kept the baby.

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