] type='image/vnd.microsoft.icon'/>

Friday, March 26, 2010

Aquaman Poster Roughs by Alex Ross

This is another selection from the Alex Ross: Mythology book, featuring Ross' pencil roughs for the Aquaman poster that was part of a whole set of life-size, JLA posters.

Of the three approaches, I'd say Ross ultimately went with the best one--the hands-behind-the-back one makes it look like Arthur is showing off his package, and I like the diagonal created by the trident on the final version more than the straight vertical one.

While I've always been a fan of the sleek, swimmer's-body look both Jim Aparo and Neal Adams tended to give Aquaman, there is a lot to said for the beefy, almost old-time strongman physique that Ross gives him: you really get the sense of how much sheer raw power Aquaman has, something generally not highlighted in the character's comic book adventures.


David J. Cutler said...

I actually prefer the swimmer's build version because of how it communicates Arthur's strength level--his (what is it, 65 tons he can lift?) strength level is a lot more impressive coming from someone built like Daredevil or Spider-Man than someone built like Superman.

Colin Smith said...

I've been won over by the idea of what you rightly call the "beefy, almost old-time strongman physique", in part because of something JRainey wrote in the comments to TBTAMC, part of which went: "I always liked the earlier Aquaman. The Golden Age one. The guy who would jump out of the ocean onto to a pirate ship and just beat everyone up. That's when he was a tank." But that would only work if the artist involved was as good as Ross. In the hands of a generic superhero artist, Aquaman would become just another hunk'o'muscles. At least the "sleek, swimmer's-body look", if it became canon, would inspire Aquaman to look different somewhat from the norm.

Must go back & read "Mythology" again. Thanks for the nudge.

IADW said...

I think Aquaman is one of the best characters Ross can paint. Every time at bat he just swings for the fences with him, and it's great to see.

As for build while I think he should be built like the Flash, slim and well defined, from all the work out he gets by merely travelling, I guess the size can be a way to show his royal position.

The bet I've seen Arthur is by Bran Hitch in JLA. Wrong costume, but he tried to clean him up.

Wings1295 said...

Very cool. Love this find! I have the poster framed, but it is only up to the "A" belt. Cool to see the whole figure.

David said...

The first pose is too close to "American Gothic," although it might work with Mera next to him in the "farmer's wife" pose. :-)

I'm over Alex Ross and his "custom-fit garbage bag" costumes, but I will say that in Arthur's case the "slick and shiny" look does kind of suggest a fish-like quality.

David J. Cutler said...

@colsmi fair enough, but the Golden Age Aquaman was actually probably the leanest of all. I'm all for Aquaman being a bit of a bruiser--I'm just saying his well below Superman strength levels (as well as the rest of his powers) seem more impressive to me on a leaner figure. If someone as beefy as Superman tells you they aren't half as strong as him you think "...oh." If someone not half the size of him tells you he can throw a submarine into the air you're more like "...OH!"