Friday, June 12, 2009

Artist Spotlight - Jim Starlin

My first exposure to Jim Starlin was in the early 1980's in the pages of Epic Illustrated, a glossy magazine format created by Marvel Comics to compete with the likes of Heavy Metal. Over the first half dozen or so issues, his interstellar space epic Metamorphosis Odyssey (MO) unfolded in dramatic style utilizing fully painted art which was a significant departure from his typical comic-book work. I thought it was great stuff.

That work ultimately led to other Dreadstar (the main character from MO) projects, including graphic novels and a comic-book series, which I snatched up eagerly every month.

But discovering Starlin meant I had to go back and start picking up his older work on Doctor Strange, Warlock, Captain Marvel and lesser known titles. And what I found was some pretty outlandish stuff. Certainly great art, but there is a distinctive grandiosity to the work. He doesn't do anything small. He helped create and perpetuate the Kree-Skrull War, a truly interstellar conflict; perpetuated a cosmic conflicts, many centered around an all-powerful cube; and he had the daunting challenges of killing off a semi-major character when he took on The Death of Captain Marvel, one of the first Graphic Novel successes in the United States.

He continued to create characters and huge, galaxy-spanning settings, including Thanos (a tribute to Jack Kirby's Darkseid) for Marvel. And you can always count on massive, heavy-browed villains and brooding, misunderstood yet golden-hearted protagonists. Formulaic - sure, but fun none the less.

So, when I look back at the artists who impacted me most during the comic-book "phases" of my life I'd have to say that Mr. Starlin is squarely in the Top 10. Thanks Jim for making my life a little more fun, at least during the treasured moments spent in one of your mind-numbing galaxy romps! That said, here's some of Starlin's distinctive art for you to appreciate.

A small GALLERY of Jim Starlin Art pulled from the Internet
All art and copyrights are the property of their respective owners

Next Up: Marshall Rogers

- Jason

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