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Precinct1313’s Top Ten Favourite Comic-Book Covers Of All Time: No.04 – Justice Society Of America #26 – Alex Ross

Welcome once more, oh peerless Precinct purveyors of phenomenal paintings in print, to our continuous countdown of cool comic cover collectables. In our earlier exciting episode we introduced you to the stunning skills of the superlative Stanley Lau and his titanic take on Wonder Woman.  This efficacious episode we shall be shining our trusty Bat-signal on the astonishing artistic aesthetics of Alex Ross, and his perfectly pencilled panoramic take on – Justice Society Of America #26.

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Though this is technically three covers, each of these magnificent masterpieces interlock to regale the reader with Alex’s peerless painterly realism, bringing these otherworldly beings a sense of verisimilitude like no other artist before. 

Nelson Alex Ross was born in Portland, Oregon in January 1970, though he was raised throughout his formative years in Texas by his minister father and mother who was a successful commercial artist, from whom her received his initial inspiration and love of the arts. Alex has always attested that the biggest impacts for his unique comic art style were John Romita, George Perez and Neal Adams, whose techniques he attempted to imitate when he started drawing on a more serious level in his teens.

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Alongside these maestros of comic-book art, Alex also had an attachment and love for the realistic stylings of Norman Rockwell, with his work often cited as being a cross between both Perez and Rockwell, giving us an almost unmatched hyper realistic form of absolute extraordinary comic art. His first comic-book after graduating from the American Academy of Art in Chicago was for Now Comics’  Terminator: Burning Earth, a five issue mini-series released in 1990. In 1996, Alex teamed up with writer Mark Waid for the DC series – Kingdom Come, Alex’s work on this seminal series was a massive hit with fans and critics alike propelling him into an almost overnight sensation. Alex continues to work in the comic industry today, with his adroit artistic style in huge demand amongst the biggest publishers in the field including DC Comics, Image, Dynamite, and Marvel.

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Why Not Join Us Again, Oh Fellow Fans Of Fantastic Fiction, For Our Continuing Countdown Of Cool And Crazy Comic Cover Collectables!

Precinct1313’s Comic-Book Classics: The Last Phantom

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You may have noticed… I’m a DC Comics fanatic, I grew up living and breathing their fictional worlds since the age of six when I first discovered the dark and surly one known as, The Batman. At age nine I encountered the astonishing Amazon, Wonder Woman for the first time and she quickly became my favourite comic book character of all time, even surpassing my adoration for the Caped Crusader.

Over many years I have immersed myself in the continuing stories, relationships and camaraderie of the many spandex clad heroes and villains of DC’s universe, there was one hero though, who wasn’t part of DC lore, he didn’t exist in the same universe as Wondy, Bats, Starfire and all the other characters I adore, this indigo hued interloper into my safe environment of a comic-book company I love was the hero that actually started it all, the original masked crime-fighter, The Ghost Who Walks… The Phantom!

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Published by Dynamite comics under licence from King Features Syndicate, the Last Phantom is a modern retelling of the 21st Phantom, Kitridge Walker, who forsakes his centuries long heritage as a masked crime-fighter, instead choosing to help the people of his home of Bengali (aka Bengalla) through his charitable organisation Walkabout. But after his wife and son are killed by forces looking to control Benagali for their own nefarious purpose, Kit must begrudgingly take up the mantle of his forebears and show the world that wherever darkness and evil dwells, The Phantom will always be close by.

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This particular retelling of the classic Phantom of old has been rather divisive amongst fans, the Kit Walker portrayed here is very much a divergent character to the noble and clean cut hero of yore, but that is the point of a modern reboot, to bring the character kicking and screaming into the present, making him more contemporary for newer audiences. This book does that, and rather wonderfully too, a story of redemption and the honouring of one’s heritage and birthright. This new Phantom may be different from his progenitors, but he still stands for the same morals and precepts of all the Phantoms who came before him.

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This fresh reiteration of the Man Who Cannot Die has actually become one of my favourite versions of the character. An absorbing and enthralling tale awaits, fellow phans, delivered by super scribe Scott Beatty, with fantastic interior art by Eduardo Ferigato, not forgetting the absolutely astonishing covers by the habitually sublime Alex Ross, who pays homage to both new and old variants of Kit Walker’s classic character. Highly recommended.

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