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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Adventure > Art > Comic Books > Icons: The DC Comics and Wildstorm Art of Jim Lee (Art/Comic Books/Book Review)

Icons: The DC Comics and Wildstorm Art of Jim Lee


Jim Lee/2010/Titan Books (Book Review)



Rating: B+



Further specs:

Hardcover: 296 pages

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1845765192

ISBN-13: 978-1845765194

Product Dimensions: 12 x 9.2 x 1.4 inches



Renowned comic book and graphic novel artist Jim Lee spent the early years of his now storied career with Marvel Comics.There, during the late 1980ís comic boom, he quickly rose from obscurity to become one of the industryís hottest young talents.His star truly rose in 1992 with the formation of Wildstorm Productions, his own publishing house featuring his own unique and dynamic characters.The business of comics eventually wore Mr. Lee down, and he sold off his Wildstorm label to DC Comics in 1998, beginning what has since become an amazing creative relationship with the Warner Bros. owned publishing giant.


Icons offers a comprehensive retrospective on Mr. Leeís amazing body of work for DC Comics and his own Wildstorm imprint.This lavishly illustrated, coffee-table sized hardcover offers plenty of angles on the artistís career and work with DC, including hundreds of character roughs, pencil sketches, page layouts, and lots of finished and colored artwork.Long renowned for his crisp and dynamic style, Icons does an excellent job reminding us that Mr. Lee is also a masterful storyteller, evidenced by the numerous layout roughs that show the artistís mind at work creating the flow of the story from the ground up.This flair for page layout can be clearly seen on page 109 of Icons, where Mr. Leeís unused layout roughs of Supermanís origin are presented.In just two unfinished pages, Lee expertly synopsizes the Man of Steelís life and career.


The book offers sizable sections on Mr. Leeís work on DCís ďbig threeĒ -- Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.Character designs, cover shots, and actual comic pages brilliantly illustrate the artistís considerable contributions to the mythos of each of these seminal DC characters.The book is chocked full of wonderful tidbits some fans may have never seen before, including page 85ís reproduction of a water color of the Joker that Jim presented to actor Heath Ledger in 2007 on behalf of Warner Bros.Brilliantly rendered using pencils and watercolors, the piece shows Jimís incredible range as an artist, and his ability to work in different mediums.It also serves as a haunting reminder of the now deceased Mr. Ledgerís brief but significant contribution to the Batman mythos.


Jim Leeís DC contributions go beyond the realm of the superhero, and include some excellent (if limited) cover and pencil work on the companyís Vertigo line of supernatural and adult horror comics.Here Mr. Lee shows an ability to bring the gritty world of Vertigo to life, drawing characters whose powers focus less on shattering buildings and more on warping minds.


When used to seeing Mr. Leeís work in the smaller comic book and trade paperback formats, viewing some of his stuff in the much larger coffee table sized volume of Icons can be startling.The reader will gain a renewed appreciation for the level of detail Mr. Lee puts into every rendering, with every panel seemingly bursting with action and energy.This can be no more clearly illustrated than in the bookís closing section on the Legion of Superheroes, a title whose characters Mr. Lee has not worked on nearly as much as some others in the DC Universe.After some appetite-whetting character studies, sample layouts, and penciled pages, Icons offers a ten-page, lavishly finished Legion tale written by longtime LSH scribe Paul Levitz and drawn by Mr. Lee and longtime inker Scott Williams.Although thereís not a lot of action in this too-brief tale, the level of detail and dynamism will provide a feast for the eyes, and leave longtime Legion fans clamoring for Mr. Lee to bring his talent to the regular LSH title, if only for a brief visit!


After all, what self-respecting fan would not want to see his favorite heroes battling their most dreaded foes through the lens of Mr. Leeís hyper-kinetic vision?Like any good form of entertainment, Icons leaves the reader wanting more.It will likely prompt a visit to the local comic shop, or perhaps Amazon.com, to investigate Mr. Leeís considerable library of collected work.For anyone who loves comic books and creators who respect the medium, Icons delivers a top-notch survey of one of the industryís brightest lights.



-†† Scott Pyle


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