odds and ends: lance ward, journey into mystery

I’ve lately been enjoying the comics of Lance Ward, and I highly recommend you check ’em out. Ward’s comics are like a stream of consciousness commentary on the awful, embarrassing, and dangerous things to happen to him in his life and they are ridiculously compelling.

One of the things I really enjoy about Ward’s work is how the sketchy, loose drawings work entirely in service to his telling his stories. The artwork accompanying these tales is seems rushed, like Ward was jotting it down as fast as possible lest he loose his nerve to get some of these awful things on the page.

At the same time, it’s clear that a lot of work went into the composition of these comics. I like the way Ward draws himself today (bald, bearded, and bespectacled) versus his younger self. It gives his pages a nice visual balance. The use of watercolor is about as subtle, but also really wonderful. Check out these two posts side by side and notice how bled-out the first one seems, where Ward is in the hospital… versus the second set, where he’s starting to come out of his stupor, and the vibrancy of the color.

At any rate… really good stuff.

………………………

At the complete opposite end of the comics spectrum, read the first seven issues of Marvel ComicsJourney Into Mystery and I’m totally hooked. Writer Kieron Gillen has (with a host of artists including Doug Braithwaite and Mitch Breitweiser) created a comic book that is cerebral and action-packed at the same time.

The book focuses on the reincarnated version of Loki, the classic Thor villain. In Journey Into Mystery, Loki has been de-aged through his resurrection and cast as something of a hero protagonist, making his way while most (quite rightly) assume he is the same thoroughly evil character. Gillen doesn’t exactly dissuade this notion, as he has Loki often behave in an arrogant and divisive way…. despite his often good intensions. Loki is often portrayed as abrasive and this creates some wonderful tension. Gillen explores both the Norse mythology and the mythos of the Marvel Universe wonderfully; this may seem high praise, but JoM reminds me quite a bit of DC ComicsSandman for its’ inspires spins on previously established comic book myths.

I realize that last sentence contains some high praise indeed… but unfortunately, Journey Into Mystery has a couple of superficial strikes against it on comic stands. For one, it’s a spin-off of a big crossover series, one that wasn’t widely loved by comic fans. The covers for the first few issues look EXACTLY like the covers for Fear Itself. I could see some readers keeping their distance because of that fact. I hope that’s not the case though, because it’s a surprisingly fun comic series.

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2 Responses to “odds and ends: lance ward, journey into mystery”

  1. Lance Ward here. You are very intuitive. I do indeed scribble it down as fast as I can. I need to get this stuff out of my head as fast as possible. I’ve been dwelling on these moments my entire adult life. This shit haunts me like no ghost ever could. I don’t pencil it first, I just grab a sharpie marker pen and an 8.5×11 inch template that a friend of mine made for me. Each 8.5×11 sheet contains 24 frames(two pages worth) so I draw this stuff very small. I draw it at the last thing I got from my father 12 years ago: An old oak kitchen table. I color the art using three different watercolor sets: Rose art, Pro art, and Crayola. The Pro art set has the brush that I like to use.
    I suffer from terrible anxiety and depression.

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