Friday, January 02, 2009

In Review Of: Bruce Timm - Modern Masters

One of the joys of the Modern Masters series is the knowledge that while you won't actually get the full on, comprehensive, be-all, Gary Groth digging into the garbage for all the details, end-all interview, you will get a damn good overview.

Such was the case with Bruce Timm, creator of the most distinctive animated look since the Fleisher's put their fingerprints on the Man of Steel (or, at least, since Hanna met Barbara and rented a floor in my late grandfather-in-law's building). Reading this Modern Masters issue was the opportunity to finally get that overview, since it appeared, to me, that Timm just came out of nowhere. As usual, in comics as in most art, it is a overnight success story punctuated by long years of hopelessness and working at K-Mart between gigs. Typical.

What else do I like about the Modern Masters series? Loads of early art, art before the iconic images that we're used to seeing, art that needs a lot of work. Timm himself makes the comment that while doing his drawings in the late '80's that he had no idea who he really wanted to be with his art. And it took, probably with his work in animation, tens of thousands of drawings to start to distill things down to point where he can nail that one Batman drawing with five lines and a number 6 Windsor-Newton.

Some great early art, including a couple Etrigans, a Colan Dr. Strange with the mask, and two bizarre Batman try-out pages that look a lot a like more like Rick Veitch that Bruce Timm. And a story of perseverence that should be required reading for most people trying to get into the biz.

Is it possible that the entire Modern Masters is nothing but Eric Noel-Weathington deciding to spend some time with some of his favorite creators?

TwoMorrows Publishing has certainly done a great job of publishing a tremendous amount of comic related material well beyond the Kirby Collector, which is something that I have spent many hours reading and collecting and I doubt that I have spent any time blogging on. I don't quite know where to start actually, given how many damn Kirby issues I have in the files in my studio.

This is a better volume that the Michael Golden one, which I thought didn't cover the breadth of a creator as innovative and as influential as Golden, but Timm's seemed to be the right balance of art, overview and interesting facts.