Okay So I recently added some art books to my not insubstantial collection.
Over the next few installments I’ll be tackling them one by one.
THE ART OF FRANK CHO: APES AND BABES- Clean lines, and voluptuous forms, define in scant words the strength of Frank Cho’s art. A lot of people draw voluptuous women, so it’s hard to put into words why Frank Cho stands out, except to fall back on that tired catch all of… verisimilitude. Working in broad fantasy genres, Cho’s central human characters, primarily female, while without doubt well-endowed, are never overly endowed, if you follow me.
They never step into caricature, they are always if nearly perfect examples of the female form, never gravity defying examples of such. They are items of idolatry to be sure, but never impossible ones. And adding to his rock solid understanding of the human form, his anatomy, is his economy and control of line in crafting his uber women and men.
Seemingly with a cartoonist’s understanding of brevity, Cho does not need to over-render and cross-hatch his characters to death to make his drawings… real or gritty, with an understanding that form births function, he puts down the clean, confident line… and the realism comes. And that ‘realism’ is all the more appreciated as it has to sell the ludicrous and fantastic worlds that Cho’s characters cavort in.
APES AND BABES is a great example of Cho’s work, his penciled (and in some cases inked) work, accompanied with the final colored page, and what comes across is that it’s all there in the pencils. Sometimes the color serves to distract from Cho’s craft, not to take anything away from the wonderful color artists he works with, just to emphasize how much fun the unadorned line can be to look at.
What comes across is an artist who from inception to completion makes the whole process look… effortless. Which is always the sign of someone who has spent much effort mastering his craft… much effort in learning to make it look… effortless. There’s no accompanying text, and it’s more than a little light on backgrounds and substance, but that acknowledged, and APES AND BABES judged as just a big hardcover posterbook, a sampling of Cho’s beauties and his behemoths, for under $30 for a 144pg slipcovered HC, it’s a great buy.
Titillation does not come any more accomplished, and yet still somehow irreverent and innocent and fun. It’s an odd combination to make work, and yet somehow Frank Cho pulls it off. Strongly recommended. B+.