X-POSITION: Burnham, Culver, Villalobos Spell Out "E Is For Extinction"
“Why you no post, Bill Reed?” you may ask. Well, you would if you were a fan of Dave’s Long Box. Anyway, I would reply “I have no idea what you’re talking about. Yesterday’s post is right below Declarative Rabbit and no one’s replied to it. Shameful.” And then we would move onto today’s.
What is today’s, then? Why, I’ll be looking at one of the coolest and most unique artists in comics. (Insert archive pun here.)
254. Ben Templesmith
Ben Templesmith’s distinct style has landed him in my list of favorite artists currently working in the industry. When you see a Templesmith page, you know it’s his. He crafts the entire thing himself– pencils, inks, paints, digital work, and any other artistic medium he needs to use to obtain the final effect.
I’d call his style expressionistic. Sometimes, it’s quite sketchy, but every character is defined and every emotion is perfectly readable. He’s a master of mood and atmosphere, which is why he’s pretty much the forefront comics horror artist. He’s a sort of gothic cartoonist, in a way. Maybe his art has to grow on you, or maybe it burrows in you right from the start. I love it. And the way the man draws fingers? Uncanny. They’ve got lives of their own.
Ben’s first big hit was 30 Days of Night with Steve Niles, about, as you probably know, vampires in Alaska. It was all about mood and horror, and Templesmith’s art nailed it every step of the way. From there, he went on to further 30 Days stuff, and some other projects with Steve Niles, like Cal McDonald. Recently, he’s moved onto stuff like Hatter M and Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse, maintaining his wild gothic style.
My favorite work of his, however, is Fell, with writer Warren Ellis. Fell’s about the worst town in the entire world, and the one good cop who lives and works in it. The book is filled with disturbing, deformed, and deranged characters, and also a nun in a Nixon mask. It’s another perfect vehicle for Templesmith’s art. He excels at the character interaction, from quiet dialogue scenes to explosively violent ones. Whether Detective Fell is talking to a friend, interrogating a suspect, or beating a perp’s face in, it’s all handled extremely well by Ben Templesmith. I can’t imagine anyone else drawing this. Buy the comic, if you haven’t already. You can read the entire first issue online, for free, here.
Also pick up the just-came-out 30 Days of Night: Red Snow. Ben both writes and draws it, and it’s a magnificent comic. It follows the same kind of premise as the original 30 Days, only this one is a WWII-era story set in Russia. Check it out. And here, have a page:
His website is here; you can find more from him at his Livejournal, as well. And if you wish to view some Templesmith pages in their virgin form (and then purchase them), look at his original art available on Splash Page Art.
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