Monday, June 12, 2006
Celeb SKETCHBOOK_John Byrne!
Comic book legend John Byrne has become something of a guilty pleasure for me. Everyone says (and I agree) that he doesn't draw like he used to in his hey-day of the mid 80s to beginning 90s and theX-men and Fantastic Four. Agreed. Still, he was one of my first artistic "idols" in comics and drawing in general. He was the first artist that I couldn't WAIT to see his next issue. In the 8os, I would by anything John Byrne drew. If he did one issue of ROM the spaceknight, I bought it! It was that bad. In my humble opinion the day he started writing comics as well as drawing them was the moment his art started to take a backseat. I think he would say that too. I think. It seems obvious he discovered a new love in writing and the art became just one element in conjunction of that to tell a story. I can understand that. Us artists missed the attention he put into the art though. He also got FAST. He could write two books, and draw two others in the time most artist could barely get through one. Again, it didn't make for his best work, but I gotta say even at his WORST Byrne's work is head and shoulders above a GOOD amount of comic book artist's' BEST work. Not everyone would agree with me on that I'm sure, but he still can tell a story in a clear way with EXPRESSIONS on characters and strong poses that make sense. So what if you've seen that hand or that face or that panel again and again from him, it's still better than something that doesn't work, I say.
Enough rant. I'm a little passionate when it comes to BYRNE, can you tell? Anyway, I met him at one of those Disney/ Megacon lunchtime lectures that I spoke of in a past post. There were alot of really strong artists that year (I think that was the year Alex Ross, Humberto Ramos, and J. Scott Campbell were in the group.) . Most were the "new, young artists" that normally I would have really wanted to meet. BUT John Byrne was in the house! He was the first guy I introduced myself to and threw my sketchbook in front of. The hard thing-and what I hadn't thought about- was which character did I want him to draw. When he asked I almost went blank and then, thankfully, blurted out "Captain America". I know he doesn't get that request as often as an Xmen or FF character so I really wanted to see what he did. Also, his run on Captain American is one of my all time favorite comic runs- maybe THE favorite. I don't know why, but that character ever since then has been "my character" (which makes sense to say when you are a kid, no so much now). My favorite, no real reason why. I haven't bought a CA comic since then really. But he (and the writer, was it Roger Stern?) made the character come to life.
Anyway, this is probably my favorite "Celeb sketchbook" illos for the kid and the fanboy in me.