Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Marc Silvestri, and the issue is Incredible Hulk #1, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated December 2011. These scans are from Hulk: Season One, which came out in August 2012. Enjoy!
By 2011, Silvestri was working even less than he had been a decade earlier, but he managed to pencil the first issue of Jason Aaron’s Incredible Hulk (and, I guess, some others, too, but I don’t own those). However, Michael Broussard is credited with “pencil assists,” and I don’t know what that means. So I just want to show a few examples of the art before we move on!
Silvestri is still drawing in his old style, as the Hulk has a pretty good Silvestri Face here, although it’s a bit more smashed in than most males in a Silvestri comic. There’s still far too much line work, but I suppose that ship has sailed. Meanwhile, what has changed is the coloring, which has become more of that over-rendered stuff that works with some artists and is terrible with others. With many artists who began working before the advent of digital coloring, it seems that the new developments in coloring don’t work as well, and I don’t really love it with Silvestri’s work. It adds texture to the Hulk’s face, for instance, which tends to highlight how overly scored it is, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a good thing. It’s not terrible in Panel 1, where the creature is odd enough and, ironically, not hatched as much as the Hulk, so the coloring gives it a nice, leathery look. In Panel 3, though, it’s a bit too much.
The coloring is actually pretty nice in this sequence, as the Hulk is in shadow on his left side in Panel 1, and then in Panels 2 and 4, he’s not even green because the fire is lighting him up. The use of thicker blacks in Panel 1 helps mitigate the excessive hatching, but Silvestri/Broussard/Joe Weems (the inker) still can’t seem to ease up too much – in Panel 1, we get a lot of short lines emanating from the fire, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. Little things like that add up, creating a far more confusing art landscape than is necessary.
With the more textured coloring, the effects of Silvestri Face on females is actually mitigated a bit, although Amanda von Doom (no relation, Jason Aaron? – you’re telling me there are two unrelated people in the Marvel Universe with the last name of “von Doom”?) is still recognizable as a Silvestri woman. Part of it is the head-on and then full profile views we get in this sequence – it’s not a way we usually see Silvestri’s women. The shading on her face in Panel 1 actually adds a bit of nuance, while just the fact that Silvestri adds a scar makes her more interesting than almost all of his other women. I know women sway their hips just a little bit more than men do when they walk, but I can’t figure out why she is walking like a runway model. Oh well – at least her breasts are perfect circles! Silvestri’s and Weems’s devotion to hatching makes the first panel a bit silly, I think – she’s wearing armor, but because it’s so ridiculously hatched, it looks like it can’t stand up to anything (which might be why Amanda discards it). Notice in Panel 2 how the hatching and the slightly lighter hue of green creates the bulging veins in the Hulk’s arm. As much as I hate that look, that’s not a bad way to depict them.
Let’s end with an ass shot, shall we? You can’t go wrong with a good ass shot!
Silvestri peaked, I think, in about 1988-1992 or so, before he went off to Image. I don’t think it was a question of Dan Green not inking him anymore, I just think he stopped drawing as much and became more of an executive, which is perfectly fine, but he fell out of practice a bit and stopped trying new things. His style calcified somewhat, and while new technology helped him out, it still wasn’t as good as when he was cranking out monthly comics, where his work bristled with energy. C’est la vie, I guess.
I’m not sure who’s next on the list. You’ll just have to come back and see, won’t you? So have a nice day and maybe you could pay a visit to the archives! They’re pretty neat!
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