Monday, June 29, 2009

Why I Love Soranik Natu... Um, I Mean, Patrick Gleason.

I don't hate any of the "regular" GL artists. I love Ivan Reis's work and will miss him greatly. Philip Tan's current run on GL has been okay -- not bad, but I think his beautiful pencils suffer a lot from the comic book coloring process. I am not a huge fan of Ethan Van Sciver, not because his artwork is bad or anything like that, but it just doesn't do anything special for me.

But there's a lot of dislike for Patrick Gleason on various message boards that I frequent, which makes me sad. I love Gleason's art!

I realize that he has a bit of a quirky style that seems to be one of those "either you like it or you don't" styles. Occasionally there have been panels that seem a little off to me, but overall, I love his style and I love his work. Yet there seem to be quite a few fans who don't care for it, even going so far as to say that his art is ruining an otherwise good book.

I suppose I should be grateful at least that they recognize what a good book GLC is, when too many people are overlooking it in favor of the main GL book (which has been hit and miss for me this year). Peter Tomasi has been writing a dynamite team book, blending the Blackest Night plot elements in with the other story threads seamlessly, and making me care about every single Green Lantern on the page. It's no secret that Guy is my favorite GL, and he hasn't had much to do lately, so it's a testament to the creative team's abilities that I'm still enjoying the book so much even though my favorite character is taking a bit of a backseat right now. And I think that Gleason's art is a big part of my enjoyment, too.

So while combing my back issues for examples of why I love his art so much, I came to a realization. I already knew that I love the way he draws Guy -- tons of personality in every panel he appears in! -- but you know who else looks absolutely yummy under Gleason's hand?

Yes, Soranik Natu is both beautiful and adorable, isn't she? There are a ton of characters in this book, ranging from a (soon-to-be-undead) fly to a lizard-man to a planet to God-knows-what, and all of them look good, but Natu's design is just wonderful! I love the "I'm a professional" short hair, and the costume that's both modern and very classy. I love the facial expressions he gives her -- ranging from "tired" to "Love you, Kyle!" to "I'M GONNA KICK YOUR ASS!". I love the way he uses her hair to show her current condition, like above, where it's all messy and kind of flat because she's cute and tired. When she means business, it's all spiky. How many artists actually show their characters' hair in disarray? Not nearly enough, in my opinion.

What a snarl! You'll note that here, and in other close-ups, it seems that Soranik has violet eyes. Hmm, I had never noticed until now.

Determined pout.

I think I have a girlcrush.

And as for Mr. Gleason? There's only one thing I don't like about him: he doesn't do nearly enough conventions, so I might never get those dozen convention sketches and autographs that I want!


SallyP said...

I understand that Pat Gleason has his quirks,but simply put, he is a GOD! I LOVE his stuff. It's vibrant, dynamic, and practically leaps off of the page at you.

He's excellent at portraying action, as well as quieter moments, and he does expressions so well. He also comes up with mind-boggling aliens, and has figured out that women actually have different body types and faces. Iolande's face is drawn very differently from Soranik's face, for example.

He's also not afraid to use "ugly" characters. It has gotten to the point that GLC looks funny when there is a different artist on the book. He and Doug Mahnke, the new artist for GL share a studio, which I think can only be good news for the rest of us.

Duskdog said...

I love his stuff, too, and I hate that more people don't appreciate it properly.

The way he draws women really stands out to me, too. Like you said, Soranik and Iolande both look very different -- and look at Miri, who is definitely different in look and feel than her fellow Star Sapphire, Carol (even though I don't think Gleason has gotten to draw Carol as a Sapphire yet, Miri's design is obviously far more "cute" as opposed to Carol's "sexy").

Even the way the characters move is different. Soranik is more... strident, I guess, while Iolande just flows regally.

Sea-of-Green said...

I don't think anyone draws Guy better than Gleason does. And, really, would there be a Soranik, the way we know and love her, without Gleason? :-)

Mr. Sea doesn't like his art, though. Mr. Sea says that when Gleason draws a busy page, he has a hard time deciphering the details and picking out who's who.

He might just be making unfair comparisons to Ivan Reis's work, though. One of Reis's great strengths -- and it's a surprisingly rare strength among comic artists -- is that when he draws a busy page, everything on the page can be seen VERY clearly. It's something the main GL title is going to greatly miss when Reis is gone. :-(

SallyP said...

I love Ivan Reis's art as well, although it is VERY different from Pat's.

I do like to look at Pat Gleason's panels, because so often there is something unnusual hidden away there. Like the GL that is basically a box. Or that guy that ferried Ice back and forth and is always carrying a little bag of candy that he's munching. There are so many little details like that.