Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday... Uncle Slam is Coming, and Alex Kotzky was Awesome!

Checking in late today, but back to the "regular" format. First, a little reminder that UNCLE SLAM FIGHTS BACK is coming up fast. It'll be in comic stores before you know it, probably the last week of September. It's fun, funny, and biting in a crazy liberal way. It is published, by the way, but Oni Press. Please check it out!

Now, on to today's art scan. When I was born, the heyday of the comic strip was at its tail end, but there was still plenty enough brilliance to go 'round. One of the brightest, and most enduring stars, was the amazing Alex Kotzky. Kotzky comes from the same school of photo-referencing as did Raymond and Drake (already discussed here). Kotzky's line was especially rich, and he used his reference to great effect, filling the many young women that occupied his landmark strip, Apartment 3-G, with amazing personality.

I will admit that Drake's work appeals to me more than Kotzky. I like Stan's sharper line. Still, I great admire Kotzky. He uses his photos much as Drake did, shooting his own reference and making the work fresh and lively in the inks. Kotzky used brush, though, while Drake preferred a pen. That difference makes Kotzky's work a little softer, perhaps a little more sensual.

Check out the panel I offer today. The lines are soft yet precise. You can get lost in the line work on the woman's skirt. In the drapery on that single figure, Kotzky does so many things that are fantastic... simple to the eye, but incredibly hard to master. He drops lines that are not needed. He turns complex folds into simple swipes of the brush. He perfectly delineates the figure under the clothing without making the clothing itself look like it is structured. Yeah, there was likely a photo used here, but Kotzky knows his forms well enough that he uses the photo as a tool, not a crutch.

The overall panel is very well designed. I love the round desk, which is not only stylish, but also leads us through the panel and into the next. The man's figure does the same... it guides us naturally, without seeming like a device. The setting is very rich. Kotzky fills the panel with objects that are more than just there. Everything contributes to the "modern" vibe, right down to the abstract painting on the far wall. That painting, by the way, is a great touch. Kotzky could have (and most artists would have) continued the pattern of the windows. By placing the painting behind the background figure, though, Kotzky not only keeps things more visually interesting- he also draws more attention to that figure.

You should really check out the link I provided above. That site is a great resource, and the material on Kotzky is especially good. There is a quote about Kotzky from his son... a quote that makes me marvel at Kotzky's work ethic, it also makes me sad. In effect, Kotzky's son says that his father worked ALL the time. There was no time off, no family vacations, no relaxing in the evening... it was all work. Well, I like the work, but spare me the lifestyle, please. I'll take a well-rounded life and a career of, well... of something less than what Kotzky left us.

And, that is more than enough outta me. Enjoy the genius, and come back for more tomorrow!


1 comment:

Roberto Zaghi said...

I love Kotzky, and this panel is fantastic. Btw you made a very interesting comment on it.