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Month of Art Stars: Artist’s Choice – Jonathan Case

Every day this month I’m going to feature the work of a great artist, only instead of me picking the artist to feature, they will be picked by their peers, fellow professional comic book artists who are picking out artists (from the past and present) who they think deserve special attention. Do note that most artists I asked about this gave me multiple answers and I picked out one choice out of a number of suggestions, so these are not definitive answers, like “Artist X likes Artist Y and he thinks all other Artists are terrible!” Here is an archive of the artists featured so far!

Today, we have the pick of Steve Lieber, the longtime excellent comic book artist who is seeing the comic book he created with Greg Rucka, Whiteout, being adapted into an upcoming major motion picture. Also, he has a brand new comic book from Image Comics with Jeff Parker called Underground. Here is Steve’s website.

Steve’s pick is Jonathan Case.

In another slight break from the format, I’ll turn the floor over to Steve…

Here’s Steve…

The artist I’m most excited about right now is completely under the industry’s radar: Jonathan Case.

Jonathan’s a member of Periscope Studio, and so far, his only published work has been in the Tori Amos anthology Comic Book Tattoo. But over the past couple of years I’ve watched him develop a GN that’s nearing completion: Sea Freak. Jonathan describes it as “the tale of an atomic sea mutant with a hunger for poetry and human flesh.”

His drawing is astounding. He’s set up a visual grammar for Sea Freak that’s really exciting- he’s drawing it in a very stark high contrast black and white and he’s able to wring tons of atmosphere out of every page. It’s not the one-note monotony of a Sin City. He’s playing the whole range. And there’s no cheating in his composition- every panel is beautifully composed in both two and three dimensions. That is to say, they all work as flat graphics and as arrangements of forms in space. This is HARD. Case mastered it on his first project.

Jonathan nails the feel of his varied environments and characters, too. He’s not just a technician; he’s a storyteller. Sea Freak has sunlit chases on horseback and moonlit lovers on beaches, pretty girls in bouffant hairdos, and a giant killer Squid, a grizzled sheriff, an aging beauty, and of course a love-struck man-eating Sea Freak driven crazy by a Greek chorus of crabs. Imagine Fellini directing a drive-in monster movie in the early 60s and you’ll have an idea of what Jonathan’s got going here.

Jonathan has the first chapter of this still-unpublished work up for viewing at his website here.

I cropped a bunch of pages from it to show to you all (click on the double page spreads to enlarge)…

Thanks to Steve for the pick and thanks to Jonathan for sharing these excellent preview pages with the public!

14 Comments

Tom Fitzpatrick

June 25, 2009 at 3:07 am

This guy reminds me of Steve Rude the DUDE!

Yeah, that’s good.

Wow. That final panel counts as a Cool Comic Book Moment, as far as I’m concerned.

Met Jonathan at SPX last fall, and he drew me a real nice sea scene! He’s a huge talent, and a nice guy. When SEA FREAK gets done, it’s going to blow the industry away.

Here’s hoping Sea Freak gets released soon. I look forward to reading that in full.

Those pages are magnificent.

Great pick, Steve! These pages look fantastic.

Wow. That final panel counts as a Cool Comic Book Moment, as far as I’m concerned.

I’m with you on that one!

Cool!

When can I get mine?

giant sea monkey!!!

[…] Comics Should Be Good asked artists “Who’s work do you like?” Steve Lieber answered “Jonathan Case-the best comics artist you’ve never heard of.” […]

And this SEA FREAK art is his older stuff. Wait until you see his newer SEA FREAK art. Fantastic! I should know, because I have great taste.

Those pages are excellent! There’s a real elegance and fluidity to his style but still grounded in really solid characters.

I think I remember hearing about Sea Freak a couple of years ago. Can’t wait for it to come out.

Nice stuff. I’m not a fan of Leiber, but this stuff is good

Case is an ACE!
His painted work is my favorite stuff.
Supernice guy, handsome dude, does Peace Corp-type work in far away lands, great wife–and on and on…

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