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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #171

It’s time for one of my all-time favorite artists to get his turn in the spotlight! You’ll be drooling over the featured art today, my friends.

The archive link cometh. And goeth. But not Goethe.

6/20/07

171. José Ladrönn

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If Jack Kirby and Moebius had a baby, and Geof Darrow was the wet nurse, that baby would be José Ladrönn. A native of Veracruz, Mexico, Señor Ladrönn worked in animation and design before Marvel Comics swept him up when he happened to attend the San Diego Comicon in the mid-90′s.

As I said, his artistic style is reminiscent of Kirby, especially his earlier comics work, which shared the explosive might of Kirby’s pencils and featured many of the same design sensibilities. But then, he appears to be influenced from the European stylistics of artists like Jean “Moebius” Giraud, as well. I stumbled upon Ladrönn’s work by picking up books on impulse ten years ago– there was his Cable run with Joe Casey, and his phenomenal turn on the Spider-Boy Team-Up one-shot for the second wave of Marvel and DC’s Amalgam stunt. His linework here floored me– the energy! the dazzle! the massive attention to detail! I was hooked. He instantly became one of my favorite comic artists around.

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José had a painter’s soul, however, and brought such sensibilities to the comics page. He paints all his current work, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Infused with a sense of majesty and power, it still shows its influences, but it also lets you know that it’s the work of José Ladrönn, accept no substitutes. You can find his beautiful paints on the covers of the Inhumans mini-series written by Carlos Pacheco and in the Hip Flask specials and novellas he’s illustrated, where he brilliantly brings a world conceived by the esteemed Richard Starkings to life (check out the hip hippo himself at the top of this post). Those are just a few examples– he’s done interiors and exteriors for DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Metal Hurlant, and more.

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Currently, he can be found as a cover artist on books like the All New Atom (now if only we could get a Lady Cop cover!) and the Incredible Hulk. I believe there’s another Hip Flask project in the works as well, and I can’t wait for it to take my breath away.

If it’s more art you seek, visit this cool Ladrönn cover gallery, or check out his sadly-not-updated-in-a-few-years website, where you can learn about a “lost” Silver Surfer story from 1999. I don’t know if it was ever completed, but if it is sitting in a drawer somewhere, I would love to see it published.

José Ladrönn’s art never ceases to astonish me, and I eagerly await each new project he chooses to do. Personally, I wish DC would team him and Grant Morrison on a New Gods project, but perhaps I’m only dreaming. It’s a nice dream, though. Don’t you think?

Also: diareses are awesome. That is all.

7 Comments

Ian Astheimer

June 20, 2007 at 6:28 pm

Oh, holy…!

I had no idea Ladrönn did Spider-Boy Team-Up!

Is that first picture Peter Potomus–that’s cool if it is–of course it could be a riff on Indiana Jones, but of course Peter Potomus was one of the inspirations for Indy.

I tried to read Hip Flask and Elephantmen and I failed. I wish Ladronn would be back on a mainstream title – something with a retro-feel, obviously.

Pedro Bouça

June 21, 2007 at 2:37 am

Don’t expect him to be back on a mainstream book so soon. Marvel treated him like trash while he was there (the junking of the mentioned unpublished Silver Surfer story that he had already worked a lot on is a prime example) and now he has projects for the french Humanoids and lots of cover work. More money, less hassle.

Jean-Marc L’Officier wrote about the way Ladronn was
treated at the time. You might find more about it on his website.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Add to the mix a heavy Juan Gimenez (Caste of the Metabarons) influence color-wise.

Wasn’t he going to do a Fantastic Four thing, and that got pulled as well? I seem to recall that from around the start of the (brrr!) Claremont run, yet it never showed or was a non-starter.

Pedro Bouça

June 22, 2007 at 1:48 am

More complicated than that. It was an Inhumans limited series that WAS published after all, but Marvel kicked him out (note that the very CONCEPT of the limited series was Ladronn’s!) because he got late (not “Ultimates” late, more like a couple of months late) and another artist drew the last issue of the mini. Ladronn did’t like that at all, but it was just one of the many things Marvel did to him.

The mini has just been released in TPB. Look for it!

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

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