Mohawk Storm + Warren Ellis + Kaare Andrews = YESSIR! (Alex Ross doesn't suck, either)

guest post by Michael Lagocki
I took a trip to the comic shop Wednesday and picked up a couple books I'm excited enough about to share the news... first up:
Astonishing X-Men Xenogenesis #1
by Warren Ellis and Kaare Andrews

I love Warren Ellis, but to be honest I've been kind of hot and cold on his Astonishing run so far. It's hard to compete with what Joss Whedon did on the series (one of the best X-Men runs of all time). This new mini-series roped me in because I saw Kaare Andrews' name on the art chores...

Kaare is a very stylistic artist, not everyone's cup of tea (I read many complaints online that he puts 'too much junk in Emma's trunk'). Suffice to say, I don't find that to be a problem. His quirky style just feels so fresh and cool at the same time. Kaare's bold with his decisions and in your face with his very personal style of drawing the characters. In the same way Simon Bisley can break all the rules, yet still feel consistent across a book, Kaare can go where few others can.

The storyline is just starting to unfold in this first issue, but the basic premise is that the team travels to Africa to investigate a series of apparent mutant births. The mutant gene is supposed to kick in at puberty, so a bunch of babies taking out hospital wards minutes after their born is worth investigating.

This first issue also teases at some interesting race issues.

Cyclops to Storm:
"I'm walking two white Americans, a white Canadian, a Japanese girl and a white woman of indeterminate ancestry who speaks in a fake English accent into an African country. So if you don't mind, I'd like a little more consultation than usual."

The book also has a nice treat for process junkies: Warren's entire script to Kaare is reprinted in the back. It was really interesting to go through it and see where Kaare made changes (a lot of them as it turns out - while he kept the story intact, he altered most of Ellis' blocking suggestions, even down to things like "Cyclops stands up here".).

I found a great interview with Kaare on CBR where he talks about this run with Warren and an upcoming film he's working on called Altitude. Good reading for those who want to peer into this artist's head more.

I picked up a copy of the hardcover ROUGH JUSTICE: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross.
Like most of the comic reading world, I'm amazed by Ross' talents. This book shows the preliminary work that Alex does to create all those paintings we love so much. 224 pages of incredible pencil work (which would later become full paintings). You get to see a lot of unpublished stuff too: cover designs that were rejected or character redesigns that never got used (they REALLY should have went with his Martian Manhunter redesign).
It's not always easy to pony up $30 for a sketchbook, but this one is well worth it. I foresee many hours of thumbing through this one in my future, enjoying the rawness of Alex's sketches and the depth of his process. The whole thing has plenty of commentary by Ross and is edited and designed by the amazing Chip Kidd.
The good folks at Random House were nice enough to put 20+ pages online for your viewing pleasure here.
 //Michael Lagocki is one-fifth of the mighty GhostWerks crew, as well as being a co-founder of the pleasantly notorious art activist massive called ArtLoveMagic, dedicated to overcoming Evil with good art.//


Arkonbey said...

As a mediocre illustrator, I hate Alex Ross.

As a medicore graphic designer, I hate Chip Kidd.

Not really, they inspire the heck out of me.

Kaare: The only problem I have with his work is that everyone looks the same age and a bit too young at that. His linework is exemplary and you're right about the Bisley-esque exaggeration; it works. It's just that it feels wrong that everyone, especially Wolvie is a twenty-something.

Bah, it's just me.

Samax said...

I would draw Storm different than just about everybody, so I never hold it against anyone... I would definitely draw Wolvie different, but I like his take. Kaare is on my "the name you can trust" list, so I'd love to cop this in TPB.

B_Steelo said...

Now see, at first I wasn't feelin' where Kaare was going until I read the story. I like the mood he gives and the moments that seem to just be there and not part of the script. It's something that could be worked on for me personally.

I also admire the extent of his skill set. It's impressive and intimidating at the same time, but not something that can't be done.

I liked new Astonishing. I'm interested to see where it goes.

Mike Hawthorne said...

All I know is Storm has baby-momma hips, and there's a white chick with much booty! :)

Which, you know, is all I kinda need for a comic to speak to me.


Samax said...

@ Mike Hawthorne- your comment is rated J for "Jeauh"

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