This superb blog post over at Comic Book Resources tackles the issue of mainstream comics taking few chances in terms of artwork, layout and colouring right now.
It’s something that I have noticed whilst browsing the racks at my local comics emporiums (Hello there Forbidden Planet Nottingham, Page 45 and Mondo Comico!) and also during the nine years I spent selling comics at Starstore and The Last Picture Show (both stores now sadly gone). The comics from larger publishers, well, ok, from the big two, marvel and DC, have become increasingly safe with their look (even as the stories themselves continue to improve and develop), and it’s quite sad to see.
I must agree wholeheartedly with the above mentioned post’s sentiments- it couldn’t hurt to let some very different artists go berserk on mainstream titles could it? The post uses the original run of the New Mutants as an example, but I would add to it the work of David Mack, Simon Bisley, Dermot Power and suchlike in the ranks of artists that have made it with very distinctive styles.
What I suggest is that mainstream publishers start looking towards titles such as the UK’s long-running 2000AD, or indeed the adult themed anthology title Heavy Metal. Look at those art styles- all equally striking and perfectly understandable, but without the unspoken constraints that the industry seems to have applied to itself. Where is the new Alex Ross? The new Humberto Ramos? Hell, where’s the new Rob Liefield? Come on comics, sort yourselves out. Give Ben Templesmith and Paul J Holden as much work as possible. Take some chances.
My own suggestion would be that every publisher out there employs a certain Mr Richard Woollatt immediately. Below is the cover of my new book, which Mr. Woollatt painted. There’s your new star.