Every day this month I’m going to feature a current comic book art “star,” someone whose work I absolutely love.
I’m mostly going to try to keep from the biggest names as much as possible, because, really, do I need to talk more about the awesomeness of JH Williams, Frank Quitely and Darwyn Cooke?
Today, we’ll take a look at one of the best storytellers working in comics, Steve Lieber.
Steve Lieber has been working in comics since the early 1990s (after graduating from the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art), with his big break coming in late 1993, where some work on a Hawkman Annual led to a couple of Hawkman fill-ins which then led to Steve becoming the new artist on the book when Bill Loebs took it over (right before the book was revamped with Zero Hour). Lieber would stay on the book for about two years.
Lieber’s work was a nice breath of fresh air during the 1990s, with his realism and strong storytelling skills.
While the work was good, though, Lieber has grown tremendously as an artist since then, especially in the storytelling department.
What is striking about Lieber’s work is the fluidity of his movements, the ability to draw something that appears realistic while also maintaining the idea of movement. I think this mostly comes from his ability to draw highly realistic characters without photo references – while there are some artists who can do it (they’re the amazing ones), most artists, when doing photo reference drawings, tend to stiffen up the work, as the illusion between real and fantasy has been lost a bit and it takes the reader out of the comic.
Lieber, on the other hand, is great at drawing super-realistic backgrounds but his characters never get TOO real. That juxtaposition really works well.
His most famous work along this lines, and heck, probably his most famous work PERIOD is Whiteout, Greg Rucka’s first comic work (and one of Rucka’s best works, as well). Whiteout is a story (soon to be a major motion picture) of a murder committed in Antarctica.
Check out some of Lieber’s work from the series…
(sorry for the size of the images, WordPress’ image reducers just suddenly decided to not work for me. So odd)
Talk about juxtapositions!!
Here, now, is Lieber telling stories via two very different types of stories, the first is a page from a Hellboy story he did awhile back and the second is from his Eisner Award nominated short story (written by his wife, Sara Ryan), Me and Edith Head.
I’ll admit, I have a slight preference for when Lieber works with more realistic characters – I think his style is more unique in those occasions.
Then again, that ability to depict realism came in quite handy when he he did the Infinite
Final Crisis tie-in issue of Gotham Central – he is so good at depicting realistic situations, when he drew that issue, he made everything so tangible – what it would really feel like for a regular person to be in the middle of a supernatural event.
Okay, the pages above all came courtesy of Steve’s website, www.stevelieber.com. Check it out for more awesome artwork by Steve!