El Diablo is owned by DC Comics.
Today's art scan is a piece of original art from the legendary DC Style Guide. I don't know how many years of his career the great Jose Louis Garcia Lopez has spent on this kind of material, but it's a big number. What is the DC Style Guide? Well, if you've ever purchased a lunchbox, notebook, or pair of underwear with DC heroes on them, the art on that item probably came from some incarnation of the style guide.
I believe the first big Style Guide book was printed by DC in 1982. I know the definitive early guide came out that year, but I guess I don't know if that was the first one. I also don't know if Dick Giordano inked the entire guide, but he definitely inked the piece I own... this amazingly iconic Aquaman drawing.
I could write all day about Garcia Lopez. He draws as well as almost anyone who has ever drawn comics. His figures are dynamic. They have weight, but they're always graceful. He composes pictures brilliantly. He just does everything exceptionally well. In the world of superhero comic art, he is the ultimate artist's artist. You will be hard pressed to find an artist who isn't a huge fan of Garcia Lopez. While it isn't usually my job here to talk about the personal qualities of the artists I discuss, he is also a humble and gracious gentleman.
Dick Giordano was my first inking hero. His work was so sharp and clean, and he was the most versatile inker I had ever studied. No matter who he worked over, the penciller was still there, but the work had that signature Giordano snap. He is the guy I modeled my career after. I wanted to be like Dick... able to ink almost any kind of artist and preserve what made them special, while adding just a touch of my own personality.
So, here we have this perfect picture of Aquaman. Remember what these images were being created for. These were to be iconic drawings of DC heroes doing what they do, so that anyone could see these images on any product and instantly recognize the brand. You have all that and more in this piece. Aquaman is heroic in every way here, and he's doing what he does as a hero! To make it even better, you get not only Aquaman swimming, but you also get a gorgeous close-up, drawn as only these two guys could do it.
Look at what makes the inking so special here. Giordano is such a master at mixing up his line weights. Check out the contour of the close-up's jaw, and then look at the same contour along the eye socket. Look at how, in the swimming pose, the underside of the legs has a heavier line, which indicates a light source, but also adds depth. Mixing line weights like this is what makes a drawing pop. We spoke about Klaus Janson in an earlier post. He mixes line weights as well as anyone, and he learned it from Giordano. The inking on the hair is also fantastic. It is organic and free, but still retains the shape beautifully.
This is a great drawing... one that conjures up everything clean and pure about the genre of superheroes. I'm so thrilled to own this piece. And, to top it off, this image fills only the bottom half of a page. There's another awesome drawing on the top half!
Okay... enough outta me. Enjoy the genius, and come back for more tomorrow!
DC Comics owns Aquaman.