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In General, Has Comics Art Improved over the Years?

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habitual

Silly French Man

Postby habitual » Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:16 pm

Eli Katz wrote:Put another way, do you think the average comic book artists today (however you define and determine average) is better today than in previous decades? Or do you think that an older generation of artists was able to put out higher quality art? Or do you think that the art has remained relatively stable in quality over the years?

I'm not sure I have an answer for these questions. But I started thinking about the quality of art after seeing this cover:

Image

This is a 1938 cover, and it knocks me out. I don't know who Leo E. O’Mealia was, but, man oh man, that guy could put together a beautiful, startling image. His work definitely holds up. And I imagine that there are many forgotten artists out there who put out exceptional work over the years.


Something to consider other than quality, would be the average workload of today's modern comic book artist compared to 80 years ago.

That is an incredible cover.

Hab

The Old Doctor

Postby The Old Doctor » Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:22 pm

habitual wrote:
Something to consider other than quality, would be the average workload of today's modern comic book artist compared to 80 years ago.

Hab


About the same if they wanted to eat and have a roof over their head.

Today, an artist get get an income from a single 22 page comic each month. Plus maybe a cover.
Back then, while stories were parsed into 8 pages, nearly every artist drew more then one story per month to make the rent and such.
Comics were an average of 64 pages back then, no where near that now. They would draw story after story back then, a number of which would be kept as stock for filling deadlines. They also did not get their artwork back as today, but then, it was considered not as a collectable then as it is today, so one less venue for making money.
User avatar

Arion

Twenty-Something

Postby Arion » Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:35 pm

S.F. Jude Terror wrote:Artistically, I think there are some off beat things being done today that are different and interesting. However, the standard comic book art in most mainstream comics is inferior. Over rendered, in many cases lacking subtlety, often unattractive despite extreme detail, uninspired, and often juvenile and vulgar. The standard art back in the day was 100 times classier.


I actually think that most artists today are lazy and do not include as many details as they should.

I think about legendary artists from previous decades like Bernie Wrightson, Barry Windsor-Smith or Hal Foster, and their work is simply amazing. You look at the work now and all those so called details are actually computer coloring and a few other tricks.

In general, I'd say the quality is inferior now, which is a bit of a paradox since you have so many computer programs and so much technology available nowadays...
User avatar

habitual

Silly French Man

Postby habitual » Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:44 pm

I picked two random pages to compare and contrast:

Image

Image

If anyone can adjust the file size so they're the same size feel free.

Hab

The Old Doctor

Postby The Old Doctor » Sun Apr 20, 2014 7:42 pm

habitual wrote:I picked two random pages to compare and contrast:

Image

Image

If anyone can adjust the file size so they're the same size feel free.

Hab


Lets see, two very different printing technologies. One coloured by hand, the other via photoshop or similar software. Different types of paper used.

Sure, lets compare a car from then to now and judge on what? Gas mileage? Handling? Cost? Cargo capacity? Safety features?
User avatar

GiveWarAChance

Silly French Man

Postby GiveWarAChance » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:10 pm

habitual wrote:I picked two random pages to compare and contrast:

Image

Image

If anyone can adjust the file size so they're the same size feel free.

Hab

I have selected two random covers. Feel free to compare and contrast.

Image

Image
User avatar

Chessack

Great Scott!!!

Postby Chessack » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:11 pm

The Old Doctor wrote:Lets see, two very different printing technologies. One coloured by hand, the other via photoshop or similar software. Different types of paper used.

Sure, lets compare a car from then to now and judge on what? Gas mileage? Handling? Cost? Cargo capacity? Safety features?


A key is clearly the different print processes.

Back in the day, comics used a very simplified color printing technology, compared to what they can do today. Indeed, one of the reasons so many heroes wore bright costumes in primary colors back in the day was specifically because that is what came out best in the printing process. So the kind of art depicted in the Galactus picture, although certainly possible to PAINT back then using the proper artistic tools (which photoshop only mimics), would not have been possible to PRINT back then. So any artist turning in the Galactus drawing in the 50s or 60s would have been told to re-do it, because it never would have come out right when printed. He would probably have been told to work with flat images and primary colors so it would print well.

And finally, remember, there are whole art TEAMS in comics these days. Back in the past, often the artist did everything himself -- pencils, inks, letters, sometimes even colors. It's not exactly fair to compare the work someone did all by himself to the work of something performed by a team of specialists.
User avatar

holtom2000

dINGO

Postby holtom2000 » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:13 pm

Chessack wrote:I think that the art of today is over-stylized. Artists back in the past tried to draw characters and objects in their proper proportions, and so, unlike many panels of today's comics, you could always tell what the fuck was happening in a given panel. I simply can't always tell that today.

There were so many GREAT artists back then that hell, you didn't often even have to think about who the artist of a comic was -- it was going to look at least decent no matter what. My favorites of all time are from this older, pre-90s era:

Sal Buscema
Michael Golden
George Perez
Walt Simonson
John Byrne
Curt Swan
Jim Aparo
Jerry Ordway

As for colors, meh... the coloring of today often looks like either over-saturated or under-exposed film. I prefer the cleaner, "flatter" coloring of the older comics. Again, you could tell better what was going on in a panel.

And the whole modern style of doing drawings that look intentionally sloppy/sketchy and rushed... I am not into that AT ALL. Give me the clean lines of a Perez/Ordway drawing any day.



OMG this! what a post!
User avatar

fieldy snuts

Rain Partier

Postby fieldy snuts » Sun Apr 20, 2014 9:15 pm

I think todays art in comics is a lot more varied and diverse in the mainstream. If you compare a lot of the silver age and later guys until the pre 90's I don't think there was much difference with the style they were trying to accomplish outside of their personal talent.

Modern comic art seems more inclined to take a chance and be experimental giving us a whide range of looks and feels for the stories. Before, it was roughly the same look but would differ base on the caliber of the artist.

Sure there's differences when you line up Perez, Ordway, Byrne, Davis etc but the they were all going foe the same clean cut look.
User avatar

Chessack

Great Scott!!!

Postby Chessack » Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:11 pm

fieldy snuts wrote:I think todays art in comics is a lot more varied and diverse in the mainstream. If you compare a lot of the silver age and later guys until the pre 90's I don't think there was much difference with the style they were trying to accomplish outside of their personal talent.


I contend that the reason for this is that what they were trying to accomplish was to convey the maximum amount of information to the reader per panel. That's why, in older comics, you NEVER have to ask what the fuck is going on in a panel. Despite the fact that, in the olden days, there was a lot more writing than there is today (3-4x as many words per page, in some cases), you could almost invariably look at just the art and know EXACTLY what is going on.

Although you can do that with some current artists, for most of them, even WITH the words, I can't tell what the fuck is going on half the time. I can't tell you how many times I have had to re-read a page going, "Huh? What just happened?" It's as if the comic artists have picked up the absolutely INFURIATING trend in modern cinema to show action scenes with the "unsteady cam" -- shaking all, bobbing and weaving, in an obvious attempt to make you feel like you are IN the fight, but with the obnoxious result that you can't tell what the hell is going on, who is hitting whom, etc.

The M.O. in the olden days, when you combined the heavy exposition of the writers with the simple clarity of the artwork, was to ensure 1,000% that the reader always, always, understood what was happening on the page (maybe not WHY -- the villain's plans were not always clear, for example, but always what). The M.O. of today, if you look at the "hot" writers and artists (especially in combination) seems to be to go for maximal confusion of the reader, so that the reader closes the entire comic and says, "What... the... fuck?" Hell, DC had a whole MONTH devoted to it, remember? The ill-named "WTF?" month that got re-named after lots of criticism.

Me, I prefer story CLARITY. I don't mind a twisty-turny plot (I adore good mysteries, and these always have twists and turns), but I want to know what is going on in the scene. I don't want to have to re-read it 3 or 4 times to figure out, "Oh, he's PUNCHING her there... I thought he was copping a feel."
User avatar

Juan Cena

DANG!

Postby Juan Cena » Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:19 pm

habitual wrote:I picked two random pages to compare and contrast:

Image

Image

If anyone can adjust the file size so they're the same size feel free.

Hab


At least with the first page I can get some idea of a story. I can't really figure out what the heck is supposed to be going on in the Galactus page.
User avatar

fieldy snuts

Rain Partier

Postby fieldy snuts » Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:22 pm

Chessack wrote:
I contend that the reason for this is that what they were trying to accomplish was to convey the maximum amount of information to the reader per panel. That's why, in older comics, you NEVER have to ask what the fuck is going on in a panel. Despite the fact that, in the olden days, there was a lot more writing than there is today (3-4x as many words per page, in some cases), you could almost invariably look at just the art and know EXACTLY what is going on.

Although you can do that with some current artists, for most of them, even WITH the words, I can't tell what the fuck is going on half the time. I can't tell you how many times I have had to re-read a page going, "Huh? What just happened?" It's as if the comic artists have picked up the absolutely INFURIATING trend in modern cinema to show action scenes with the "unsteady cam" -- shaking all, bobbing and weaving, in an obvious attempt to make you feel like you are IN the fight, but with the obnoxious result that you can't tell what the hell is going on, who is hitting whom, etc.

The M.O. in the olden days, when you combined the heavy exposition of the writers with the simple clarity of the artwork, was to ensure 1,000% that the reader always, always, understood what was happening on the page (maybe not WHY -- the villain's plans were not always clear, for example, but always what). The M.O. of today, if you look at the "hot" writers and artists (especially in combination) seems to be to go for maximal confusion of the reader, so that the reader closes the entire comic and says, "What... the... fuck?" Hell, DC had a whole MONTH devoted to it, remember? The ill-named "WTF?" month that got re-named after lots of criticism.

Me, I prefer story CLARITY. I don't mind a twisty-turny plot (I adore good mysteries, and these always have twists and turns), but I want to know what is going on in the scene. I don't want to have to re-read it 3 or 4 times to figure out, "Oh, he's PUNCHING her there... I thought he was copping a feel."



That bolded part.... :lol:

That's a problem with artists, not the evolution of art over the years. You're just as likely to find hard to decipher page layouts today as you were back then.
User avatar

Juan Cena

DANG!

Postby Juan Cena » Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:28 pm

GiveWarAChance wrote:I have selected two random covers. Feel free to compare and contrast.

Image

Image



To be honest, I kind like the Avengeline cover better (though it isn't that great). The Dr. Strange cover may actually too over-designed with the frame and the skull and the tentacles and everything. It all kind of overwhelms Dr Strange on the cover. The colors aren't too pleasing, either.
User avatar

Juan Cena

DANG!

Postby Juan Cena » Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:39 pm

syxxpakk wrote:I've never really cared about the art in comics, TBH, unless it was really awful. That said, I think it's like anything if you say "Is it better now than then?" It's yes and no, and it's all subjective anyway. Take Cliff Chiang. To me, he blows Jack Kirby out of the water and it's not even close. I'm sure someone else disagrees, which is fine. Then there's Rob Liefeld, and I'll take Jack Kirby over Liefeld any day of the week.


On the other hand, Chiang's New Genesis was disappointing. Following his interpretations of the Greek pantheon, I expected a lot more out of him with the Kirby material, especially after his Orion redesign.
User avatar

Juan Cena

DANG!

Postby Juan Cena » Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:55 pm

Chessack wrote:
A key is clearly the different print processes.

Back in the day, comics used a very simplified color printing technology, compared to what they can do today. Indeed, one of the reasons so many heroes wore bright costumes in primary colors back in the day was specifically because that is what came out best in the printing process. So the kind of art depicted in the Galactus picture, although certainly possible to PAINT back then using the proper artistic tools (which photoshop only mimics), would not have been possible to PRINT back then. So any artist turning in the Galactus drawing in the 50s or 60s would have been told to re-do it, because it never would have come out right when printed. He would probably have been told to work with flat images and primary colors so it would print well.

And finally, remember, there are whole art TEAMS in comics these days. Back in the past, often the artist did everything himself -- pencils, inks, letters, sometimes even colors. It's not exactly fair to compare the work someone did all by himself to the work of something performed by a team of specialists.


I think there was only a few times where I thought the coloring took away from the story. There was a stint on Byrne's Wonder Woman where I thought the coloring felt faded or washed out and looked bad with the glossy paper and miraweb printing format (or whatever it was called) DC was using back then on some titles.

On the other hand, the tinting used for V for Vendetta was absolutely beautiful. It made be hate the movie because it failed to capture the atmosphere of the book.

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