Alex Ross opens his private sketchbooks to reveal his astonishing pencil and ink drawings of DC Comics characters, nearly all of them appearing in print here for the first time.
Thousands of fans from around the world have trilled to Alex’s fully rendered photo-realistic painting of their favorite heroes, but as they may not realize, all of those works start as pencil on paper, and the origins of the finished images are rarely seen. Until now.
From deleted scenes and altered panels for the epic Kingdom Come saga to proposals for revamping such classic properties as Batgirl, Captain Marvel, and an imagined son of Batman named Batboy, to unused alternate comic book cover ideas for the monthly Superman and Batman comics of 2008-2009, there is much to surprise and delight anyone who thought they already know all of Alex’s DC Comics work.
Illuminating everything is Alex’s own commentary, written expressly for this book, explaining his though processes and stylistic approaches for the various riffs and reimaginings of characters we thought we knew everything about but whose possibilities we didn’t fully understand.
As a record of a pivotal era in comics history, Rough Justice is a must for Alex’s legion of fans, as well as anyone interested in masterly comic book imagination and illustration.
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ALEX ROSS studied illustration at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, then honed his craft as a storyboard artist before entering the comics field. His 1993 miniseries Marvels created a wider acceptance for painted comics. He moved on to DC Comics to produce the equally successfulKingdom Come, the Earth X projects for Marvel, and a series of tabloids for DC, which have been collected in The World’s Greatest Super-Heroes. Receiving critical acclaim and multiple awards for these best-selling works, Ross made a name as both an artist and a storyteller, dedicating himself to bold experiments within the comics medium. Most recently he has worked on Flash Gordon andThe Shadow for Dynamite Entertainment. His non-comics work includes creating the poster for the 2002 Academy Awards, the opening credits for Spider-Man 2, and multiple covers for TV Guide. Ross lives in the Chicago area.
CHIP KIDD is the four-time Eisner Award–winning designer and author of Batman: Animated, Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz, and Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross. As an editor of graphic novels for Pantheon Books, he has worked with some of the very best talents in the medium, including Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, Art Spiegelman, Charles Burns, and David Mazzucchelli. Kidd is also the recipient of the National Design Award for Communications, the design industry’s highest honor. His first graphic novel as author is Batman: Death by Design, published by DC Comics and featuring art by Dave Taylor.
Ross’ ultrarealistic, painted renditions of iconic superheroes have made him a superstar of the comic-book world. In this selection from his sketchbooks, his legions of fans can view some of the bases of his finished works. The drawings include layouts for published and rejected covers as well as story pages for such DC mainstays as Superman and Batman and Ross’ grandiose Kingdom Come series. There are also sketches for noncomics work—among them, the ALA posters showing DC’s iconic heroes enjoying books in outer space, in the Batcave, and on Paradise Island—and character designs, including suggested revampings of Captain Marvel and Batman that didn’t make it past the proposal stage. These pencil and occasionally ink renderings possess less elegance but more dynamism than the glossy end products, and they accentuate Ross’ powerful compositions. Ross provides commentary for the drawings, explaining his conceptual intentions. Edited and designed by Chip Kidd—no slouch in the design world himself—the volume opens the curtain on Ross’ creative process, revealing the sinews that underlie his acclaimed paintings. --Gordon Flagg
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