Saturday, May 3, 2014

Colorist Appreciation Week Day 5 - Alex Sinclair

One of my all time favorite comic book artists is Jim Lee. Growing up on Marvel Comics in the 90's, I was introduced to his work through his groundbreaking run on X-Men. So it comes as no surprise that frequent collaborator Alex Sinclair has turned out to be one of my favorite colorists.

Art by Jim Lee
His stellar work on Batman: Hush alone is enough to earn my respect, as he was given the opportunity to color a good chunk of Batman's most notable rouges which, for me, have turned out to be some of the most iconic Batman imagery of the modern era. Simply put, this guy knows how to color Gotham City and its inhabitants just right.

Whereas some artists have a stylistically minimalist style that relies on moody shadows to fill in the backgrounds of their panels, Lee has also always been very detailed, which means he sometimes gets delayed, but in my opinion, always worth the wait. But it would all be wasted effort if Sinclair didn't know how to color it to emphasize every last pencil line (special shout out to Scott Williams for the inks!) and it really enhances the art in a way that I can only describe as awesome. To get even less technical, I love that glow effect he whips out every time Batman is at his computer in the cave. Like I said, if Lee's attention to detail didn't have a colorist that could match him panel for panel, it just wouldn't work. Sinclair would probably make a good DP as he has an amazing eye for lighting. Check out the above panel with Killer Croc to see what I mean.

Art by Jim Lee, pencils to final colors
Art by Jim Lee
 His take on Superman is equally impressive in that it captures the Man of Steel's iconic colors the way they should look. I said in my original post that you can't picture Superman without his red cape and yellow chest emblem (although he's ditched the red shorts), and similar to how I suggested that Dean White colors the Marvel characters the way they were meant to be colored and should be referenced by all future colorists, the same can be said about Sinclair and the way he depicts the DC superheroes. See his work on the New 52 iteration of the Justice League if you don't believe me.

Art by Brent Anderson

One of the series where I've been most taken with Sinclair's work is on the underrated Astro City. The reason I say underrated is, unfortunately, I don't hear this series come up on conversation enough as a must-read, but I think it's one of the best takes on superheroes that I've ever witnessed. But before this turns into a "Why Astro City Deserves More Recognition" rant, the coloring on this book is so consistently good! Furthermore, these are not heroes whose look had been defined for decades prior to Sinclair trying his hand at them so he's really able to make their look his own. I'm thrilled that when Vertigo revived the series, they they brought back the key creative players, including artist Brent Anderson, whose work I don't see nearly often enough, and if for whatever reason, Sinclair wasn't available to join the party, Astro City would have lost one of its key architects. The coloring on this series is some of the best I've ever seen and every color pops right off the page. In some ways it reminds me of Lynn Varley's work on The Dark Knight Strikes Again, another of the most colorful superhero books that I've ever laid eyes on.

If you've never read Astro City, do yourself a favor and pick it up. Come for the unique perspective on superheroes in a universe that's all its own, stay for the killer artwork and some of the most brilliant use of colors that you'll ever seen in a comic.

You can find more of Alex Sinclair's work here.

That's going to wrap it up for #ColoristAppreciationWeek. I enjoyed feasting my eyes on some incredible art and figuring out what I liked about each colorist best. Who are some of your favorite colorists? I'd love to know who else deserves a look so feel free to leave me a comment!

Until then, I leave you with this...

Once again, art by Jim Lee. This one hangs on my wall printed on canvas. Beautiful!

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