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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #257

A great artist you may remember from the 80s and 90s is making a comeback! I’m gonna talk about him. (Archive.)


257. Kelley Jones

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Kelley Jones is a great artist, but I wouldn’t call him mainstream. His exaggerated style is geared towards the horrific and macabre, and he pulls it off excellently. He brings a different sensibility to comics with his art, pulling in moods and feelings from pulps and classic horror rather than four-color adventure. Jones puts a lot of work into composing the atmosphere of his works in order to instill those twinges of terror into the readership. If Edgar Allan Poe wrote comics, he’d choose Kelley Jones to draw them.

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Kelley’s worked on books like Micronauts, Deadman, Sandman, Conan, Cal McDonald, and others, but it’s Batman he’s most known for. He teamed with thoroughly underrated writer Doug Moench on a variety of Batman projects. There was their Batman/Dracula trilogy of Red Rain, Bloodstorm, and Crimson Mist, and Batman/Dark Joker: The Wild, which scared the daylights out of me when I first read it. Kelley became the go-to Batman cover artist for quite a while, such as during the Knightfall crossover. Eventually, he and Doug Moench had their own run on the book, and it was good.

Our own Greg Burgas tells us that the Moench/Jones Batman run is a Comic You Should Own. I link to it, thusly, but it appears the PopCultureShock site has eaten all his old columns. Bah. I’m quite pleased to hear, however, that Messrs. Moench and Jones are reuniting for an upcoming Batman mini-series! Yeah!

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Kelley Jones’ Batman is a force of nature. The cape has a life of its own, and the bat-ears grow to a yard in length if need be. He truly becomes a dark creature of the night, more monster than man– a being of shadows.

Any other fans of Kelley Jones in the audience? What are your favorite aspects of his art?


There’s a Moench and Jones Batman project in the works? That is fantastic. I loved Jones on Batman. He and Norm Breyfogle were THE Batman artists as far as I was concerned for many, many years. Jones gives Batman and his world such a moody, creepy feel. He’s perfect for portraying the insanity that permeates Gotham.

I loved Jones’ series The Crusades (from Vertigo) and The Hammer (from Dark Horse).

Of course, Conan mini-series: The Book of Thoth shouldn’t be over-lookes either.

There’s just not enough Jones these days. :-(

Dunno that it counts for anything, but I always found it interesting that in Grant Morrison and Howard Porter’s first issue on JLA, the Batman Porter chose to emulate was Kelley Jones’. His Batman in JLA #1 is a carbon copy of Jones’ Bats, before Porter developed his own look for Batman.

I forgot about the Book of Thoth mini. Kurt Busiek and Kelley Jones are a dream pair-up.

Ummm…you might want to change that to “Messrs.”. The way it is makes it look like Doug’s wife and Kelley are reuniting.
Yeah, yeah…I know…nitpicking…lol.

Damn it. Thanks for bringing that to my attention, Bill. I was thinking about putting them all over here, but I hadn’t gotten the chance. Bah, indeed.

I love Jones! He and Breyfogle are my favourite Bat- artists by a reasonable margin. I can’t wait for his Batman vs the Invisibile Man project.

Jones’ artwork rocks. He was a perfect antidote from all the carbon copy muscle bodies of the 90s. I have al his KnightFall covers, and am so looking forward to his return to the vampire Batman.

My first exposure to Jones’ work was in one of the very early ALIENS series that Dark Horse put out in the late 80’s (“Hive”, maybe?). Incredible artist, no doubt. Now when are we going to see Sam Keith on here?

Jones was such a HUGE explosion to my teenaged brain when I first saw Red Rain. I’ve faithfully bought his work since.

I’m not a huge Jones fan, but I’ve always enjoyed his art. Around the time I was starting to seriously get into comics around 1989/1990 was when he was starting to break into comics and I remember discovering his work through guess issues on books like Swamp Thing, Doom Patrol, and Grimjack. His run on “Season Of Mists” for Sandman is still probably my favorite work of his.

Sorry, I meant GUEST issues…

No discussion of him is complete without his Sandman issue the Dream of a 1000 Cats!


September 16, 2007 at 8:02 pm

How can Monech be under-rated?

He wrote the character for ages, and had many mini’s as well at the time.

How can Monech be under-rated?

He can’t.

If one person anywhere likes his work then he’s over-rated. The guy really is a terrible writer. It’s the thing that’s stopped me from enjoying any of Kelly Jones’s Batman work.

15.Comics Should Be Good! » 365 Reasons to Love Comics Archive said …

[…] 257. Kelley Jones […]

Will someone please explain to me what the deal is with these posts? Where do they come from? Are they automated?

[…] Deadman’s carried his own feature several times, be it in mini-series, ongoings, graphic novels, or recurring strips in Action Comics Weekly. Lots of great creators, such as Mike Baron, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, and gruesome gothic great Kelley Jones have crafted his stories. So why can’t Deadman seem to hold his own title? […]

Anything by Moench is just worth the ride….but his team ups with the longtime collaborators are the best series ever….as such I was quite excited when I heard of the MASTER OF KUNG FU series reuniting Moench & Gulacy….& now this would be a fan’s dream come true.A pity that they wouldn’t have Doug & Kelley doing their stuff regularly or won’t collect their 1995-98 run or even publish stuff like DARK JOKER:THE WILD,BROTHERHOOD OF THE BAT,LEAGUE OF BATMEN in newer editions.This is what I call underrated……classic minis by Moench like SLASH MARAUD,WANDERERS,LORDS OF THE ULTRA REALM are nowhere to be seen in the TPB lobby..

i’m so glad to hear Kelley Jones back on batman. i love his art so much.

Yea Kelly Jones is great, I love his surreal, nightmarish take on Batman and Gotham. Very moody

re: If Edgar Allan Poe wrote comics, he’d choose Kelley Jones to draw them.

It’s actually funny you say that. Kelley is in fact a very huge fan of classic Horror films as well as E.A.Poe. Back when he collected comics(before they became a carreer for him), some of his most cherished possessions were his Warren comics that had Poe adaptions illustrated by Berni Wrightson.

[…] a serviceable EC Comics impression that shouldn’t surprise any readers of his particularly gothy work on […]

Kelly Jones is a awful awful artist….he destroyed batman in the 90s….i had to quit buying batman because of it….there were soooo many monthly complaints from fans that DC had to take him from the comic…

Love Kelleys work on Batman,one of the definitive interpretations of all time.

Really one of the great artists,love his work.His was the best selling title during his and Moenchs run. He drew designs for the Nolan series of films,and was the favorite of the director.His work is up there with Marshall Rogers, He brought mystery and film noir sensibilities to the book,as well as a truly avant garde feel.No one made Batman as flay out cool as Kelley did.
My favorite artist on Batman.

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