Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It has been a long time indeed since an art post. What can I say... I've been busy! But, I am going to aim at getting back on the twice-a-week schedule. We'll see.

Today I'm offering a nice panel from a Superman job by Dusty Abell and Terry Austin. Abell is a solid artist- kind of a cut-rate Michael Golden. Believe it or not, that is not intended as an insult. No one else is Golden, after all. The guy I really want to talk about though, is the great Terry Austin.

Terry's work has meant a lot to me. At his peak, even though I would never try to ink anything like him, I drew a lot of inspiration from Austin. His '80s work over John Byrne and Marshall Rogers is simply amazing. Terry has not done a lot of superhero work lately, and what little he has done lacks some of the delicacy he possessed at his peak. Still, there is something to learn in every Terry Austin job.

I mention Terry's work a lot when I'm reviewing inking portfolios at conventions. I tell a lot of guys to go look at Terry to get a grasp on one thing that is crucial to good inking- confidence. When you make a mark on a page, it has to look like you meant it. You have to sell that line, even if it's the wrong line. In fact, you have to sell it a hell of a lot more if it is the wrong line. Young Kubert knew this. Caniff knew it, too. Ballsy inking can cover a multitude of sins.

That is not to say that Terry Austin routinely makes the wrong line. Quite the contrary. Terry is a good cartoonist. Still, what really makes his work shine is the boldness. When he makes a mark, he makes it boldly and with purpose. Look at today's example. Every line is strong. You can argue that the work could be finer in places, but it's all readable. There is also a certain sheen to everything Terry inks, but I think it works for him.

Oh, and before I go- a cool bit of trivia. Terry inked, with Dick Giordano, one of the most stunning pieces of superhero comic art ever produced, Muhammed Ali vs. Superman. Neal Adams wanted the best for that book, so he got Terry for the backgrounds, and Giordano for the figures (I think Neal pitched in there himself, too).

That's enough outta me. Enjoy the genius, and come back for more Thursday!



Jason Arnett said...

You can definitely see the Giordano influence on the Superman figure (which looks kind of like a Garcia-Lopez lift, doesn't it?) but I like this panel a lot.

Terry was the first inker I ever noticed and it's been fun ever since seeing how much of my beloved X-Men run was Byrne and how much was Austin.

Glad to have new things to look at.

Scott Chantler said...

SUPERMAN VS. MUHAMMAD ALI was one of my very first comics. So, so silly, but so, so beautiful.

Will Shyne said...

Dusty Abell's all over the map. There's early stuff by him where it's pure Art Adams. He came into his own with a lot of solid blacks, real design oriented work on Batman: LOTK and Superman/Wonder Woman then disappeared.
I remember reading someone saying Austin's style just didn't translate to better paper quality. Makes sense...

Craig Zablo said...

What I loved about Terry, at his peak, was that no matter who he inked you knew who the penciler was and you knew that Terry was inking. Terry didn't overpower the penciler, but he definitely left his mark [no pun intended].