The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross

Geeks like me have no problem recognizing the artistic merits of comic books, but some people look down their noses at it, refusing to acknowledge how great it can be.  Yet, after seeing the superb illustrations of Alex Ross, it is hard for anyone to deny how amazing it is, and they all can see the craft as an artform, even if the subject matter is suoerpowered good guys and bad guys in garish-colored costumes.  The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh is featuring a wonderful exhibition now through January 8, 2011, called "Heroes and Villains: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross."

The artist's paintings are done in a photorealistic style and perfectly capture the power and fantasy of characters like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and others who have become the mythic legends of our time. I have always been impressed with the work of Alex Ross in such graphic novels as Marvels (the history of Marvel Comics' heroes such as Spider-man, the X-Men, the Hulk, Fantastic Four, etc., seen through the eyes of a photojournalist) and Kingdom Come (an amazing story about the future of DC Comics superheroes).  Now, his art receives the museum treatment it deserves.

From portrait works of Supergirl and Batgirl standing side-by-side to dramatic panoramas like "Knight Over Gotham," he brings the iconic characters to life as only he can.  Just as classical artist chose figures from ancient mythology or biblical tales as their inspiration, Ross has made his living reimagining comic book heroes and villains, as well as subjects from other pop culture sources such as Flash Gordon or The Wizard of Oz.

I hope the exhibition travels to other parts of the country so more people have a chance to see it, but just in case it doesn't, do your best to catch it at the Warhol.