Hello again! I thought I’d get this post done first today, with the quick reviews coming a little bit later on today. Today is another very difficult one to call, being one based off pretty artwork. There are so many wonderfully illustrated comics out there, and looking through my collection I’m having a really hard time picking one particular book out. The best way to do this, I figured, was pick out all my favourite artists, then go back through the books that I felt were their best work and see where we end up.
Now the thing with this one is it is a purely subjective subject, there would most likely be a different answer to this question for every person you asked so I’m not expecting anyone totally agree with this choice.
A gorgeous comic
Aphrodite IX by Matt Hawkins and Stjepan Sejic
Top Cow Productions
Before this series started, we had a typical art style from Sejic, one where he uses 3D models that are placed onto digitally painted backgrounds. The results from this style of work are phenomenal, the level of detail in his characters was unrivaled, and using 3D models allowed him this freedom of detail since he didn’t have to replicate this work from panel to panel, he just had to pose his characters as necessary then place them into the scene. It also allowed him more time to work on detailed backdrops for scenes, which results in unparalleled backgrounds, as anyone that’s read Ravine will confirm. Another point worth noting is that the lighting on all of his characters was amazing, another real bonus to having models created in 3D modelling software. I think it’s what allowed him to pump out so much exemplary work so quickly.
This has been an evolving style though, and where we are at now he is seemingly using just the digital painting style, and I absolutely love it. The cover for issue 8, shown above, is his current art style and I think this is the best his work has ever looked. There isn’t that hyper realism to it anymore, which I did really like and I thought the style suited Witchblade incredibly well, but it’s still got that Sejic look about it. His facial expression work is still absolutely top notch, his use of colours is quite striking yet still very natural looking and his line work is faultless.
Interiors from Aphrodite IX
As you can see, the current work almost has a rougher look to it than his sharp, photo realistic approch from previous works, but I find this really pleasing to look at, and I think this style suits Aphrodite IX really well. Also note in the first interior scan the use of imagery within the sound effects on page, something Sejic regularly does. It helps keep everything together, when the background of the action is in the words, a very clever way of bringing highlight to the action but keeping it within the context of the scene.
The other visual plus to this book is the two different tribes of humans living in this world, you have the technologically advanced civilisation that use advanced weaponry and transportation, where everyone who lives there has had cybernetic enhancements and you have the more organic tribe of humans, living more off the land with strong religious beliefs. It gives two vastly different locations to feast your art loving eyes on, giving the book a nice shift in visual tone as well as story telling tone. Oh, and the religious tribe of humans Aphrodite lives with ride dragons, freaking dragons! When the two forces come together early on in the series, it’s such a glorious battle to watch. the interest for me was not just who came out on top, but seeing these visual differences come together on the page.
Overall, I think this is one of the best comics on the market right now, it has a gripping story, a well fleshed out world, a great lead character supported by a perfect support cast and twists and turns along the way that’ll keep you coming back month on month. And did I mention how much I love the art? In case I didn’t, I love the art! Go check it out, we’re only 8 issues in so far so there’s not a lot to go and pick up before the latest, there’s no required reading that comes before it, it slots into the Top Cow shared universe nicely but stands on it’s own equally well. I would recommend reading it from the start rather than jumping on at issue 8 though.
That’s all from “31 days…” today, thanks for stopping by and be sure to keep an eye open for the new comic reviews later on today! Cheerio!