A few years ago, I picked up Andrew MacLean's Head Lopper at a convention, and it was one of the best con purchases I've ever made. For one thing, it's a book that lives up to its title --- heads were in fact lopped with almost alarming frequency --- but more than that, it was an incredible example of compelling visual storytelling that instantly made MacLean a creator I wanted to see more from. Apocalyptigirl: An Aria For The End Times is more in every possible way.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, as well as the special qualities of comic book storytelling, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great pinups, fan art and other illustrations on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, awnd some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it is awesome.
Andrew MacLean is an illustrator and comics artist we've been admiring for a long time. Part of the uniformly excellent stylists at Brand New Nostalgia, MacLean has appeared in our Best Art Ever (This Week) feature and earned couple of solo spotlights as well for his great work, which is an uncanny blend of a kind of simple, airy animation style with detailed manga, woodblock art, sci-fi Eurocomics and old fashioned American adventure comics. In storytelling, MacLean's biggest claim to fame has been the self-published Head Lopper -- which is, blissfully, precisely what it sounds like, a swords-and-scorcery type comic that affords MacLean to show off his talent for action and humor. Additionally, his work is featured in Brand New Nostalgia and Out Of Step Arts' kaBOOMbox anthology, a particularly cool-looking collection funded with Kickstarter that will be available at conventions later this year and online soon.
But MacLean's going to make a much bigger splash in the comics scene in 2015, when Dark Horse releases his debut graphic novel ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria For End Times. The 96-page book features story, art, color and lettering by MacLean, who, based on the preview pages provided exclusively to ComicsAlliance, has leveled up in a big way since beginning work on Head Lopper.
Gobble down today's Thanksgiving links, after the cut.
This might be the strongest "oh crap I need to own that" reaction I've had to anything in 2013 so far. Criterion, the company that produces high-end Blu-ray/DVD collections of classic films, has recruited more than 25 artists to produce illustrations for an upcoming Zatoichi box set, collecting the 25 Zatoichi films produced between 1962 and 1973. The list of creators involved is somewhat staggering, with names like Bill Sienkiewicz, Ron Wimberly, Yuko Shimizu, Jim Rugg, Paul Pope, Samuel Hiti and more.
If you ask me, there just aren't enough comics these days dedicated to people getting their heads lopped of. Sure, it happens every now and then, but what this world of ours really needs is a comic that is one hundred percent committed to decapitations. Thankfully, Andrew MacLean has stepped up to fill that void with Head Lopper. And it is awesome.