Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Find of the week: Teddy Kristiansen

The graphic novel that brought this artist to my attention is a self-indulgent affair written by Steven T Seagle that focuses on his existential crisis with being asked to write a Superman comic and his families struggle with Huntington's Disease. Despite the families struggle with Huntington's Disease the semi-autobiographical main character of Vertigo comics 'It's a bird' isn't a likable person instead he is self centered, ungrateful, moody, and irrational. His whole issues with the implausibility of the Superman myth and his propensity to over intellectualize it tends to grind on me a bit. Accusing Superman of being a fascist who gets what he wants through force is hardly new and is a theme Alan Moore tends to to exploit heavily for his superhero rewrites. (However as this is Vertigo, a notably more alternative offshoot of DC Comics, there is a certain 'Vertigo style' present in the artwork, which I don't see as a bad thing.)

Danish artist Teddy Kristiansen was awarded an Eisner award for Best Comic Painter for his work on this book and its easy to see why. He uses a very subtle range of colours (turquoise, red, burnt umber, greens and browns) and he manages to paint in a style that evokes a use of oil pastels and charcoal in to the mix. He flips between simple yet abstract geometric shapes skewed through a childhood lense to the kind of pale distorted life drawing that would make Ashley Wood proud.

The majority of his work has been collaborative and other titles he has worked on include Sandman Midnight Theatre and House of Secrets, both of which exploit his darker more Gothic potential.

For another interesting re-imagining of the Superman myth see Mark Millar's Superman: Red Son which is a what if story that lands Superman's boyhood spacecraft not in the farmlands of Smallville but in Soviet Russia instead, where Superman becomes the upholder of the proletariat struggle amongst other things.

Visit Teddy's blog here.

(more pictures coming soon)

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