28 March, 2011

What I Read Last Month…

February 2011

Fantastic Four Visionaries: George Pérez. Vol. 1.
This book re-presents some of George's work from the 70s, so it's very early in his professional career. Even so, there's a lot of the hallmarks of his style: dynamic posing, dynamic angles, chunky anatomy, Pérez rubble, his own version of Kirby Krackle, etc. One really interesting aspect of this collection though is looking at the inkers' interpretations of George's pencils. Joe Sinnott absolutely owned the FF book for a very long time, giving it a reliable, consistent look, and his inking was surely helping George to look good here. However, two of the stories reprinted were inked by others, one by Dave Hunt and another by Vince Colletta. Dave tries his hardest to emulate Joe's amazing slick, sure, feathered brushstrokes, but comes up obviously short, and in doing so also highlights some of George's early shortcomings. Vince's inking is excruciatingly bad, making that particular story almost unreadable. And I say that even though I'm a fan of Vince’s good work. In the end Joe's obvious talent as a draftsman and penciller in his own right shone through, perhaps even to the point of altering George's original markings for the sake of keeping what was probably perceived as something of a FF "house style" at the time. The “house style” had an iron grip on The Fantastic Four, and I don't think it was until John Byrne's second run on the book that this "house style" was finally broken.
I believe George was Rich Buckler's assistant on FF up until this point, and I think that influence is quite visible for at least the first half of this volume, and the influence of Rick's emulation of Jack Kirby's style lasts even longer.
Finally, it's interesting, and for me very enjoyable, to watch the ground work of the plotting for issue 200 being laid out so early, something like two years ahead of that anniversary issue. At least it looks that way to me.
All in all good old-fashioned super-hero fun.

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