It’s been a while since I posted some old-fashioned comic art, so here’s a particularly good cover from Bryan Talbot’s magnificent character-driven sci-fi extravaganza, Heart of the EmpireHotE is a sequel to The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, a much more experimental and weird book, but it stands alone both as a solo work and in the annals of comics history so far as I’m concerned. Talbot’s an incredibly gifted draftsman as you can see here but no single page or spread is going to give you an idea of the breadth of the story, in which the Restoration has come centuries late and Glorianna is a terrifying, vampire-like monster.

There’s a big new gorgeous edition of the whole saga just out from Dark Horse, if you’re so inclined.

I like to post larger images than this, but this was the best Melinda Gebbie I could find that I feel comfortable posting—she did some beautiful work on Lost Girls with her husband Alan Moore (far superior to his, frankly), but that stuff is pretty blue and the explicit nature of the subject matter distracts from the craftsmanship, at least it does me. Her stuff on Cobweb, a strip in Moore’s Tomorrow Stories, is really elegant and beautiful, too.

A beautiful page from Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham’s marvelous run on “Miracleman,” my all-time favorite comic book. The first Gaiman arc was a series of interlocking short stories set in the world posited by Moore at the end of his glorious run, and it’s even better. This is arguably the best of those stories, about Andy Warhol, who’s resurrected into a robot body by the aliens who run the underworld and likes the idea so much that he has more than a dozen copies of himself made. The art, as you can see, is just as good as the idea.

Here’s a fabulous two-page spread from the <em>Daredevil</em> annual in that story, in fact—Davis crams pretty much every major story in the DD canon into this gorgeous illustration of the character’s life flashing before his eyes as he slips off a fire escape. Highly recommended reading.

…and also on a pulpy note, J.G. Jones’ lovely cover to DC’s wildly misbegotten First Wave, in which pulp character Doc Savage teams up with parody of a pulp character The Spirit and pulp character mutation Batman. The only really pulpy thing about the series was Jones’ wonderful cover art, which is very convincingly evocative of the old Doc Savage paperback covers.

Along similar lines, here’s Joe Chiodo doing a jungle babe and her lucky gorilla pal. Similar principles and a more air-brushy, painterly style. Chiodo’s the only artist I can stand to see on Danger Girl besides creator J. Scott Campbell. That series has a really cool pulp-with-cheesecake-intact flavor that not a lot of people can nail (the late Dave Stevens was one of ‘em, bless him).

Here’s a great Bruce Timm drawing of Death from Neil Gaiman’s excellent series The Sandman (and her own, eponymous series, I suppose, although if you read either and enjoy it, you owe it to yourself to read the other). Timm is a wonderful artist. Not only did he completely revolutionize children’s television by proving that you could have a minimalist style and still make it beautiful and interesting to look at, he genuinely understands that sexiness is more a matter of what characters look like they should be doing measured against what they are doing. So it’s much more fun to have a character who looks like she stepped out of a ‘fifties beauty magazine in a one-piece bathing suit with a smirk on her face than it is to just show nudity or sex.

Here’s Kevin O’Neill’s magnificent cover to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century—1969. This book has gotten better and better, and the recent conclusion of this volume was maybe as good as it’s ever been. Moore really seems hell-bent on writing a good story all the way to its conclusion; in a lot of ways, it’s the best thing he’s ever written, though it takes some serious work to get into. I’m hoping he keeps it going through at least another two volumes so he ends up owning the longest thing he’s written.