Tuesday, February 02, 2010


A little bit Frank Quitely, a little bit Kevin Maguire, a little P. Craig Russell, John Cassaday is possibly the most versatile artist working in the mainstream these days. He can do massive superhero spectacle as well as anybody, but hes just as at home doing character scenes - that Maguire influence is there in his work with every aspect of his characterisation, facial expressions and "acting" - and his command of tone and mood is fantastic, his storytelling frequently inspired and almost casually cinematic.
But its his line and design sense I love most. His line is precise and even exquisite, and yet it also has the fluidity of the best sketchwork. His blacks are often heavy and yet his line can still appear feathery and illustrative, which is a beautiful effect. His sense of design is best evaluated by studying some of the covers he has worked on over the last few years.
Unlike many, he has enjoyed the success his talent deserves. His early work, for Caliber and Dark Horse, was distinctive and eye-catching enough to win him work at Marvel and DC. And he got lucky - becoming artist on Warren Ellis' magnum opus Planetary in 1998 in a job that gave him plenty of opportunities to strut his considerable stuff (both on the interiors and in his splendid series of covers) on a title which featured a brilliant variety of subject matter and territory over the next decade. Eventually he would land one of the Industry's biggest and most prized pencilling jobs when he began drawing Joss Whedon's run as writer on Astonishing X-Men. This he even parlayed into a gig directing a TV show - a couple of episodes of Wheedon's baby Dollhouse.
Hes still working, if not as regularly as he once did, and his art is still extraordinary:

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Blogger Will Shyne said...

An artist I have mixed emulsions about. There's undeniably something there and I own several of his books but there's an underlying stiffness to his figures that I can't get over. Agree 100% on the finish of the thing and the design. Great inking and I fail to find a better artist colorist team. Dave Stewart & "XXXXXX" will always be good but there's something about DePuy and Cassaday. She's perfect for him.

10:07 am  
Blogger David N said...

I can see that his figures are sometimes stiff, but I think "underlying" is a little harsh.

Its a failing quite a few illustrative artits with great line share though - the most obvious example I can think of is Brian Bolland...

12:42 am  
Blogger Will Shyne said...

I don't mean to be overly harsh but I do think there's something which he's gotten over in time but still shows once in a while. Even the Doc Savage Planetary cover you have shows his odd, jarring composition.
I just finished re-reading my Astonishing HCs and overall the thing is great but there's the odd wonky drawing that jars. The worse Ben Grimm I've seen in a long time (maybe since spiky Thing) but cinematic it is overall.

9:20 pm  

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