I wouldn't be surprised if most of you weren't familiar with the work of painter/colorist/computer graphic artist Jose Villarrubia, with the possible exception of his gorgeous work adapting Alan Moore's Voice of the Fire and The Mirror of Love, both published by Top Shelf Productions. Nevertheless, working along the margins of comicdom is just the way Jose likes it, which is why I'm filling this week's space "outing" the wonderful work of my versatile and modest friend.

Behind the scenes, however, Jose is one of the comics industry's go-to professionals when it comes computer coloring, photography and digital illustration. In fact, the list of collaborators this ex-pat from Spain has worked with over the years -- excluding his work with Moore -- reads like a "who's who" list of industry luminaries, including Jae Lee on Fantastic Four1234, Paul Pope on Batman Year 100, J.H. Williams III on Desolation Jones and Richard Corben on Cage.

I feel a strong kinship to Jose (certainly not on the talent side), because his journey as a creative professional has taken him places he never expected, like his second career paralleling his comics work as a full-time professor of art at the Maryland Institute College of Art (one of my fond memories of Jose is his "Pied Piper of Hamlin-like" influence on his students following him around comic book conventions soaking up the creativity in the room).

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