SDCC 2012: ROSS Helps Paint The Story Of Painted Comics
Announced Friday at Comic-Con International: San Diego, The Art of Painted Comics is intended to be an all-encompassing retrospective of painters and painting in comics, going back to the early days of pulp books’ painted covers being used in comics to modern artists like Adi Granov.
Newsarama spoke with Lawrence earlier this week about this celebration of painted comics, and he gave us insight about the origins of painting in comics and a thrilling list of who he interviews and features in the book.
Chris Lawrence: The Art of Painted Comics includes stories from some of modern comics’ most well respected painters, sharing anecdotes about the artists and projects that most influenced them. It tells the story of an often-unrecognized aspect of popular culture, delving into the wide-ranging impact of painted art on comic book history. And it features a collection of eye-popping painted images the likes of which readers have never before seen.
Nrama: On today’s comic shelves we’re seeing more painted comics now than ever; what do you attribute that to?
Nrama: Who are the painters you’ve talked to for this book?
Lawrence: The list of artists who agreed to be interviewed for this book reads, rather appropriately, like a Who's Who of painted comics history. Off the top of my head, John Romita, Sr., Scott Hampton, Joe Jusko, Paolo Rivera, Joe Linsner, Jim Starlin, Matt Busch, Mark Chiarello, James Jean, Bob Larkin, George Pratt, J.G. Jones, Arthur Suydam, Howard Chaykin, John Van Fleet, Adi Granov, Esad Ribic, Greg Hildebrandt, Kaare Andrews, Ben Templesmith, Andrew Robinson, Simone Bianchi, Greg Horn, Mike Mayhew, Frank Brunner, Joe DeVito, and David Michael Beck all gave their time to be interviewed for the project. (As did Alex, of course.) I also had the honor of speaking to a number of other fans (like bestselling author Brad Meltzer), comic professionals (such as Marvel's Axel Alonso), and experts on various eras of pop culture history.
Nrama: In your research for this book, did you manage to find the first example of painted comics – both as covers and interiors?
Lawrence: We didn’t set out to find firsts in either category – mostly because of all the variables that would go into bestowing that title onto any particular work. In the early days of comics, for example, some publishers reprinted painted images that had already appeared on pulp magazines. Technically, those would qualify as some of the earliest painted comic covers, even though they weren’t initially intended for comic books.
At least, it wasn’t the sort of thing kids were supposed to get their hands on.
Given all that, we decided to focus less specifically on “firsts” in this book and more on exploring the artists and entities that influenced the development of painted comic book art, tracing a history that began with pulp magazines and paperback covers, then moved up through magazines and graphic novels before transitioning into more traditional comic books.
Nrama: Were there any key moments or periods that really changed the way painted comics were progressing?
Nrama: How did you and Alex get together to do this project?
Lawrence: It all began with a phone call from Alex, during which were discussing the long and oft-overlooked history of painted comic books. By the end of the conversation, we’d brainstormed so many ideas, brought up so many artists and painted projects that we decided to collaborate on a magazine article detailing the aforementioned history. It wasn’t too long afterward that Nick came into the picture, recommending we take the idea and give it the type of in-depth treatment it warranted, the type of treatment that only a book could provide. Thus, The Art of Painted Comics was born.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!