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Topic: A for JB: Background masters Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Mark Haslett
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Joined: 19 April 2004
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Posted: 28 June 2022 at 1:16pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Who are some of your favorite cartoonists, thinking in terms of the
backgrounds they draw and their effective use of when to be detailed
and when to simplify?

(I hope that’s a clear question. I think you’re great at this and I’m
wondering who you admire or aspire to emulate).
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John Byrne
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Posted: 28 June 2022 at 1:24pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Jean “Moebius” Giraud would be close to the top of that list. Joe Kubert. Wally Wood.

A deliberately incomplete list, so please no “What about..?”

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Robert Bradley
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Posted: 28 June 2022 at 2:06pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I loved the painstaking reference of the New York area that Ross Andru used in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.

There's even a social media page dedicated to identifying the locations used in his background scenery.
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Rodrigo castellanos
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Posted: 28 June 2022 at 2:29pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I have a weakness for clean line, detailed backgrounds a lá Hergé or Chris Ware. Doesn't mean that style suits every kind of story, though.

I also like the effect some manga artists do (maybe it has a name, but I don't remember it right now) where they draw ultra detailed backgrounds or close-ups on objects almost like technical drawings while keeping the characters cartoony.

Scott McCloud says a lot about that effect and what it achieves in UNDERSTANDING COMICS.


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John Byrne
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Posted: 28 June 2022 at 2:32pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Decades ago, when I was being considered for the regular penciling gig on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, the editor told me to “remember, New York is practically a character in this book!”

“Sure,” I said. “The way Andru draws it, but except for occasional landmarks, that wasn’t really a consideration, before.” (Gil Kane had even drawn Spider-Man passing the UN in the wrong direction on his way to the Brooklyn Bridge—which was identified in the captions as the George Washington Bridge!)

I didn’t get the job.

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Paul Gibney
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Posted: 28 June 2022 at 3:16pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Walt Kelly comes to mind for me.
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 28 June 2022 at 7:01pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Moebius' use of backgrounds were breath-taking. Haunting alien worlds and cityscapes, where a single image seemed to suggest some eerie tale or history.
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Brennan Voboril
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Posted: 28 June 2022 at 10:26pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Kirby, Kaluta, Joe Kubert, Eisner, Darwyn Cooke, Steve Rude, Al Williamson, Cockrum, Leonard Starr, Neal Adams, John Buscema, Mignola, Frank Miller, Simonson all pop into my head when thinking about the question.  
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Richard Stevens
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Posted: 29 June 2022 at 11:41am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

There's this guy John Byrne who does really great backgrounds. Cityscapes in particular.

Bill Watterson sure did nail the backgrounds in some of his Calvin and Hobbes Sunday strips, when appropriate. And Sergio Aragonés? Damn.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 29 June 2022 at 12:23pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

There's this guy John Byrne who does really great backgrounds. Cityscapes in particular.

•••

You must be delusional! Everyone knows I “never draw backgrounds”!!

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Stéphane Garrelie
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Posted: 29 June 2022 at 8:42pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Ross Andru is certainly one of my top favorite Spider-Man artists, that's also true of Jim Mooney. (and the obvious Romitas & Ditko)

Background: mmm Edgar P. Jacobs.... some panels by François Bourgeon...


Edited by Stéphane Garrelie on 29 June 2022 at 9:05pm
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Petter Myhr Ness
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Posted: 30 June 2022 at 6:36am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Speaking of backgrounds, Kevin Maguire tweeted yesterday:

"I occasionally wonder how many years of my life I’ve pissed away drawing detailed backgrounds in panels that ultimately get covered up by word balloons."
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