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Andrew Kneath
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 2:43am | IP Logged | 1  

Of course JB's faces do not all look the same. However JB's faces all look like they are drawn by John Byrne!

The fact that JB's faces are so recognisable as his style is probably the reason for the ignorant idea that they all look the same.

IMO that is JB's best trick as an artist, all his faces look like real people with real personalities behind them. (What John refers to as 'Verisimilitude'.)

My only problem with JB's faces is when they are inked by other people and that effect is lost.

 

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Darren Taylor
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 2:58am | IP Logged | 2  

 Andrew Kneath wrote:

My only problem with JB's faces is when they are inked by other people and that effect is lost.

 

That's one of the great problems with inking. One errant line or poor line choice from the inker can change purturbed to seathing. I took the decision on the back of reading a thread on the old Magnus board with JB that when it comes to inking faces (not hair, ears but the actual "mask") I'd follow the artists lines including tapering more absolutely than anywhere else. Also an inker doesn't need to read the plot to ink the pencils and as much as you might think you'd "read" it from the pencils you can sink in the pencils so much so that the story is not on your horizon. That's why it's important to put some faith in the pencillers ability to tell a story and that most pencillers are precious about the faces they draw because the face communicates a large percentage of the story as it unfolds.

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Lars Johansson
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 3:51am | IP Logged | 3  

Generally, about the initial statement about faces, what the guy who stated it don't understand: when faces are drawn in a comic book you don't have a live model there, since it's not going to be a portrait, it's going to be a comic book. Artists, particularily comic book artists don't use live models in order to not make the art look like portraits. And this is done on purpose. If any comic book artist had used a model and painted a portrait it would be very visible that it was the case. If that comic shop dealer wants to have his portrait painted on a canvas he has to go to an artists who does just that. Furthermore, when it comes to storytelling, if there are more elements in the picture than tells the story, they should not be there, and the facial expressions are there for a reason, not because there are going to be lifelike thousands of different faces that that guy can count, since that is not what the story is about.

Anyway, there was a Superman (?) issue by Mr. Byrne where one page was just different faces who had been killed/raped by a villain, tragic story. Different people, direerent ages, even more diverse than the multiple Perry Whites/Reed Richards there.
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Thanos Kollias
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 4:20am | IP Logged | 4  

I would accept as argument that JB has changed quite a bit from what he did in the past, especially with the human face, and that someone who liked the older Byrne faces no longer likes what he is doing. My brother is in this list of people. He believes that JB is still great and kicking but he doesn;t like his approach to faces and figures anymore. To state however, that he draws one face, especially currently, is plain stupid.

JB's art is at its best for a long, long time, if you ask me....

 

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James Stewart
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 4:23am | IP Logged | 5  

 JB faces all look the same. Never heard such Kak in my life. If it's not one thing it's another. Never mind JB it's just another fart in the wind.
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John Mietus
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 5:00am | IP Logged | 6  

 Andrew Kneath wrote:

Of course JB's faces do not all look the same.
However JB's faces all look like they are drawn by John Byrne!



Exactly.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 5:33am | IP Logged | 7  

Most comicbook artists have certian visual "tics" that recur in their work. Jack Kirby recycled faces to the point that they became known as "Kirby's Kast of Karacters". George Wunder, one of my favorite artists when I was a kid, really did use variations on the same face for all his characters, male or female -- so much so that when I first started reading his "Terry and the Pirates" I followed the strip for several weeks waiting for some kind of explanation of why the people all had the same face. Mike Mignola (a superb artist in all respects) gives almost all his characters the same distinctive mouth -- his own!

Most artists recycle the same "heroic" faces, male and female, and I will admit when I was beginning my career I had a very limited catalog of these. There was not a whole lot to distinguish between Danny Rand in IRON FIST and Warren Worthington in THE CHAMPIONS, for instance. But this was something I worked hard to overcome, expecially after a (previously quoted) discussion with Dave Cockrum, wherein he mentioned that one of his goals on LEGION OF SUPERHEROES was to individualize the character's faces to the point that "they could all be naked" and still recognizable.

As noted, the inking can make a difference. From time to time I have been vexed with inkers who, I have been known to comment, seem to think their job is to just miss the line the penciler has laid down. Inking to the inside or outside of a line -- especially on mouths and eyes -- can completely change a face. Toss in an inker who has a limited range himself -- "This is how I ink eyes, this is how I ink mouths" -- and the problem is compounded. All the more so when we factor in how many inkers have learned to ink without ever having learned to pencil!

Bottom line -- sure, I should obviously just ignore this twaddle, since it is so self-evidently untrue -- but how often in a week (or a day) do you encounter somebody running thru the litany of falsehoods about myself and/or my work? Byrne never draws backgrounds. All Byrne's faces look the same. DC won't let Byrne ink his own work. Byrne is a racist. Byrne hates the fans. Etc, etc. Sometimes, I feel distinctly as though I am a "voice crying in the wilderness" when I try to combat these lies, but if I let them slide -- as once I did with "Byrne's stuff doesn't sell anymore" -- they quickly become canonical. Especially by the time they reach the twenty-third or -fourth hand iteration on the internet.

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Chuck Wells
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 6:07am | IP Logged | 8  

I'd like to have been a gremlin sitting upon Matt's shoulder at that store as that conversation occurred.  I would have encouraged him to thank the store owner/employee by making the following statement:

"It's better to remain silent and let your customers think that you are stupid and foolish, rather than speak and thus remove all doubt!"

John Byrne has a remarkable range of facial types and expressions.  It's one of his many strengths and makes his comics efforts endlessly fun.  As fans of his work we all know this, and if we are in the minority, at least we are in good company.

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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 6:07am | IP Logged | 9  

So, who's the hottie in the middle row, left side?
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Guest79877180
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 6:52am | IP Logged | 10  

 John Mietus wrote:
 Andrew Kneath wrote:

Of course JB's faces do not all look the same.
However JB's faces all look like they are drawn by John Byrne!



Exactly.

Ditto.

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Peter Hicks
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 7:07am | IP Logged | 11  

 John Byrne wrote:
All the more so when we factor in how many inkers have learned to ink without ever having learned to pencil!

I would have thought any artist who could ink professionally would have at least the basic survival skills in pencilling.  Without dissing any current inkers, are there any from the past that we might be surprised to learn couldn't pencil their way out of a wet paper bag?  Besides Vince Colletta.

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Brian Miller
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 7:44am | IP Logged | 12  

You mean the guy in the middle of the bottom row isn't Reed Richards? Wow.
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James C. Taylor
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 7:50am | IP Logged | 13  

You know, I was just thinking "That little old African lady in Action #827, that's Reed Richards."
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Moyer Hall
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 8:12am | IP Logged | 14  

I remember sitting for hours trying to mimick J.B.'s face styles in all my
characters. I just fell in love with his work in She-Hulk and facial
expressions. It was truly the cleanest, crisp art I had ever seen in a comic.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 8:25am | IP Logged | 15  

...all those people look like brothers and sisters...

*****


Are we not, truly, each other's brothers and sisters?

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Ernest Degollado
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 8:27am | IP Logged | 16  

As is obvious by my avatar JB's rendition of Reed Richards is my favorite.  Just as you can tell the difference between characters standing in silhouette when JB draws them it's certainly a thankless skill when I can recognized different characters drawn by JB without him having to resort to "extra hints"  I can recognize his Johnny Storm without his face being on fire, I can recognize Reed Richards without him having to draw some part of him stretching, I can even recognize his Perry White without the cigar in his mouth.  Many characters have visual cues to help the reader recognize them but the fact remains that JB's skill in drawing faces that can be recognized without these cues is a testament to his skill and dedication to the craft.
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 8:47am | IP Logged | 17  

 Andrew Kneath wrote:

Of course JB's faces do not all look the same. However JB's faces all look like they are drawn by John Byrne!...

Exactly! JB uses a wide range of different faces, and always has as far as I can tell. Even in his earliest Marvel work, his Storm did not look like Misty Knight, who did not look like Black Widow, who did not look like Jean Grey, etc.

There are Jim Lee "faces," Frank Miller "faces," Steve Dillon "faces," and so on. They don't draw every character with the same face anymore than JB does, but you know their style when you see it. I think that must be the problem with the numbskulls that are trying to criticize JB on his faces.

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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 8:49am | IP Logged | 18  

 John Mietus wrote:
 Andrew Kneath wrote:

Of course JB's faces do not all look the same.
However JB's faces all look like they are drawn by John Byrne!



Exactly.

Hey, we both had the same response! ;-)

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Richard Fisher
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 8:54am | IP Logged | 19  

 John Byrne wrote:
...all those people look like brothers and sisters...

*****


Are we not, truly, each other's brothers and sisters?

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

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Darren Taylor
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 9:16am | IP Logged | 20  

 John Byrne wrote:
[snip]...but if I let them slide -- as once I did with "Byrne's stuff doesn't sell anymore" -- they quickly become canonical. Especially by the time they reach the twenty-third or -fourth hand iteration on the internet.

Seems to me that the more often something gets repeated the more power it seems to gain, almost as if it's a lie gaining momentum on it's way to becoming the truth!

The bottom line is that -if- all "current" comic-book artists were made into "Trump" cards, there would be no beating John if you had him in your hand!* Virtually every statistic is so far unsurpassed by the majority of his contemporaries and that in itself is enough reason for some losers to hate him.

There's a very good reason that these detractors appear to make up unsubstatiated shite against John and that's because it is all a lie! When the truth doesn't lend itself to say something bad about someone, then make it up. That's why we can all see through these irratating claims, because they are so obviously unfounded.

* Err "Hand" as in a "Hand of cards" rather than anything a little more "friendly!"  ;-)



Edited by Darren Taylor on 27 May 2005 at 9:19am
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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 9:35am | IP Logged | 21  

JB: Are we not, truly, each other's brothers and sisters?

***************

Oh God, that was the funniest response I've seen all week.

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Jason Fulton
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 10:28am | IP Logged | 22  

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Guest79877180
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 10:43am | IP Logged | 23  

 Richard Fisher wrote:

 John Byrne wrote:
...all those people look like brothers and sisters...

*****


Are we not, truly, each other's brothers and sisters?

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

Where's my Mylanta...

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Andrew Kneath
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 10:44am | IP Logged | 24  

Over on the DC Action Board a few weeks back there were a few posters raving about Ian Churchill's art on that cover. I couldn't resist chipping in and pointing out the fact that their faces are identical and that Superman appears to be wearing stilts! ; - )
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Vinny Valenti
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Posted: 27 May 2005 at 10:45am | IP Logged | 25  

 Matt Hawes wrote:
There are Jim Lee "faces," Frank Miller "faces," Steve Dillon "faces," and so on. They don't draw every character with the same face anymore than JB does, but you know their style when you see it. I think that must be the problem with the numbskulls that are trying to criticize JB on his faces.


I think the biggest reason why JB's work gets shat upon so often is the old saying - "familiarity breeds contempt". Of the artists you menton above, JB is the only one who was put at at least one monthly book continuously for the past 30 years (with just one recent exception). For instance, I think people oooh and aaah whenever Jim Lee takes on a project partially because they don't get to see new work from him that often. When someone sees JB's work every month for decades and they see the patterns to his art, they start to associate that with blandness. But If they saw the same patterns in other artists as often, I think they'd come to the same conclusion as well.
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