When Bruce Timm and Chip Kidd produced the fabulous tome BATMAN: ANIMATED, they really did make "Batman: The Animated Series" seem like it was the best cartoon series ever. Now Chip Kidd and photographer Geoff Spear (his other collaborator on the Batman book) join forces to unleash MYTHOLOGY: THE DC COMICS ART OF ALEX ROSS, the book to make people who call Alex Ross "god," really cry out "GOD!" the first time they open it.
Ross, the most popular painter of comic books and graphic novels, has legions of fans and quite a few detractors, but there's no denying his immense talent. I personally find him a mixed bag. I'm not crazy about is interpretations of some DC characters (Batman, in particular), but I just love to look at his work.
He's done some eye-popping and beautifully painted work for DC Comics, including the fan favorite KINGDOM COME and BATMAN: WAR ON CRIME, the latter being one of a series of "treasury-sized" books Ross produced with frequent partner Paul Dini. While Dini may be, at best, only a skilled script hack, Ross really hit his peak on the treasuries.
Still, if there's a god in this production, it's Kidd. Whereas he filled the pages of Batman: Animated with piles of production art and Batman junkinalia, Kidd makes Mythology an orderly affair. He carefully delineates examples of drawings of his DC favorites Ross did as a child. Kidd also makes sure to give good solid examples of the illustration work, both inside and outside comics, that influenced Ross' art.
It's breathtaking. As talented as Ross is, Kidd still seeks to prove to the reader how good Ross is as both a painter and as an artist - the kind that studies the past, one who practices and sketches with both mad abandon and from careful observation. From one end of the book to the other, Kidd and Spears, Watson to Chip's Holmes, lays the foundation of evidence for proving Ross' ability with the relentlessness of a "Terminator."
If the mind-bending rewind of Ross's DC career wasn't enough, Kidd collaborates with Ross on a new eight-page Superman and Batman (& Robin) short story that could make a reader pay Pantheon twice for the pleasure of having this book. GRADE A