Friday, September 5, 2008

Comic Book Tattoo

I received my copy of Comic Book Tattoo yesterday afternoon, the Tori Amos inspired anthology featuring the best comics creators in the business. I ordered it from Amazon (with a second copy for Jozef as a belated birthday present) about a fortnight ago. It's bloody HUGE! And sumptuous! I love the girlie pastel colours on the cover and the laminated texture of the driving goggles. If you're a bloke don't let that dissuade you from the rest of the book –  the styles and genres of each short story vary tremendously. There's something in it for everyone. Kudos to Image Comics for this extraordinary production. There's a lot of love and passion in this book.

I won't have a chance to sit down and read it till next week but the first thing I did was flick through with great excitement to find Colleen Doran's artwork, which quite frankly is brilliant. She knows how to artistically reinvent herself with each new illustrated work she does. She also has the ability to give her art either a feminine or masculine sensibility depending on what is required from the story (contrast Orbiter with a work to swoon to such Anne Rice's The Master of Rampling Gate). This particular Comic Book Tattoo piece entitled "Pretty Good Year" which was written by Derek McCulloch is so fresh and original. I especially love the January page that sets the mood for the entire story, and then April, August and lastly December with its eye-popping red. The last panel on the November page is my favourite – the green eye colour on the girl character is stunning and softly contrasts with the purple tones around it. The emotion behind those eyes is raw and haunting – I truly feel the grief. Outside of what I've mentioned above, there are several things I really appreciate about Colleen's work. One is that she has an extraordinary attention to detail (check out costuming and architecture in A Distant Soil). Secondly, she can cross genres quite comfortably and seamlessly (check out her manga work and the delicacy of her Lord of the Rings illustrative work), and thirdly, and most personally important to me, is that she knows how to get her characters to act. Check out her tragically beautiful Spiderman short story written by Peter David about the homeless girl, which absolutely reduces me to tears. I'd be buying CBT if I were you and going online to buy up big on Colleen's original artwork.

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