Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
He'd worked in comics since the 1940s. He became part of the legendary EC comics stable. His longevity has meant that he has had an impact on many generations. I became aware of him when he did the Marvel Comics adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back in 1980:
Williamson drew some of the spin-off Star Wars comics Marvel published too. This is from 1981, issue 50:
Beginning in the late 80s Williamson put more time into inking comics. He made everybody he inked look better. Williamson’s work with John Romita JR. on Daredevil is generally regarded to be the latter’s best:
In 1995 Marvel put out a new Flash Gordon two part series by Williamson. Great stuff once again:
Great to see those evocative lines in the sea background, and lithe figure work too.
I’ve picked up other Williamson comics over the years. As much as I could growing up in a town without a comic shop.
There has also been a collection of all his Flash Gordon work which looks tremendous. I’ve mock-complained with my friends that every time I turn around, someone else has brought out a book on Al Williamson! Didn’t stop me buying and enjoying them though…
I had just ordered The Al Williamson Archives which is due out in September. It’ll be a bittersweet experience looking through it now.
For many years my admiration of Williamson was such that I thought the best word to describe his work was “impossible”. How could anyone draw entire comic books to that standard? It just seemed impossibly good. As I got older I realised that it came down to bloody hard work. Williamson didn’t have a magic paintbrush that produced this stuff, he had talent and had to sit down and put the hours in to make it all look so good.
I was paralysed in my own drawing by Williamson. For a long time, I thought I had to measure myself against him. I could never reach that level (no-one did), so I was stuck. I finally had to throw him away completely from my thinking when drawing my own stuff, which finally liberated me.
Now I’m free to enjoy and marvel at the beautiful artwork that is still there on the page.
Thank you, Al Williamson.