Monday, May 5, 2008

Cover Up: Batman: Year 100 #3

I had fun doing this last week, so I'm doing it again! I'm even considering making it a regular feature, so let me know what you think.

Now, Paul Pope has a drawing style that's like a thumb print or Barry White's voice — it's easily recognizable and there's no way it could be mistaken for anyone else. His work is, simply, unique.

In 2006 I was already a fan of Pope's squiggly, sketchy and kinetic work (it reminds me of watching someone hyperactively fidget around a room, occasionally stopping to breathe heavily on the edge of the couch), but I wouldn't have been sure it would be a good fit for something like Batman.

But then Batman: Year 100 came out and it kicked my skepticism right in the ass, starting with the covers for this four-issue mini-series.

Click for larger size!

All them are good, but my favorite is the cover to Batman:Year 100 #3. So dark it almost takes a second to register Batman sitting in the middle of it, the cover blends Pope's near-future cyberpunk aesthetic with the "man in the shadows" imagery we've all come to associate with our favorite Dark Knight. There's some grit to it, and a definite sense of speed and urgency and danger — even though all you see is Batman on his motorcycle, you can tell he's being chased.

I also like the tinge of red on the string of out-of-focus lights in the background, giving the subtle impression of a line of cop cars in the distance (we can thank colorist Jose Villarrubia for that). And the long arcs of electricity streaming off and away from the Bat-cycle also give it an undeniable energy.

This cover says a lot with a little, and that says plenty about Pope's skill with detail and tight, highly focused scenes. (Oh, and one more thing: That logo designed by RINZEN rocks my world. It's wildly stylized and almost looks like a graffiti tag, but also gives a nod to the spread-wing designs of the old Detective Comics and 1960s TV show logos. Pretty cool.)

What do you think?


rob! said...

i'd love to see Paul Pope take on Plastic Man.

Maxo said...

Rob, you just blew my mind.

rob! said...

that would rock, wouldn't it? somebody email DC!