The only reason I started rereading comics or graphic novels or slims, is because of Alex Ross. I had turned my back on the medium, just tired of the juvenile art, the storytelling style, everything. Then Alex Ross exploded onto the scene with the one-two punch of the graphic novels MARVELS then KINGDOM COME.
Self contained, stand alone, complete stories, told with jaw droppingly astonishing painted art. People immediately began calling him the Norman Rockwell of comics, and that term is not quite undeserved.
Like Norman Rockwell, Alex Ross is able to imbue his scenes with a sense of homey Americana, that calls back a yearning to better, simpler days now passed… or perhaps never existed.
But he does more than imbue scenes with nostalgia, he does something Rockwell never did, perhaps never dreamt of doing, Alex Ross imbues his scenes with a sense of awe, of scale, of grandeur.
It has become habit these days for people without a fraction of Ross’ talent or vision to take his work for granted. To call his effort: extremism, and to call his meticulous paints: stiff, over rendering… I see nothing stiff or over-rendered in the work of Alex Ross but people are allowed their opinion, though the criticism always struck me as uninformed opinion.
It always struck me as the voices of jealous ants trying to deride an elephant. People disparaging Alex Ross, simply because he was that good.
Alex Ross is a meticulous perfectionist, who paints worlds that never were, but should be, and populates them with the stuff of faith…rewarded. Long before Hollywood made a habit of making our marvels real, Ross reached out to the lightning, and called down the thunder, and put it on paper, and gave us all a vision… to aspire to.
Many a painter has come on the sequential art scene since Ross’ mainstream debut, and they all bring something wonderful to the mix. But it’s a testament to Alex Ross’ skill, his understanding and his love for the heroic… that none of the numerous painters now in the medium, quite grasp that sense of grandeur that Ross brings to even the least of his creations.
All his creations look out at you with eyes that have seen the worst, yet still seem to say… “endure, be better.”
And end of the day, I figure… that’s not such a bad message for an artist and his art to leave us with. So for all these reasons Alex Ross is our Artist of the Day.
Check out all his work at the links below: