Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bill Sienkewicz

In the early 80's when my obsession with comics was first taking hold I would occasionally notice cover that were tremendously striking. They really stood out from the genre junk that was all over the stands at that time. They were covers for a title called The New Mutants written by Chris Claremont and featuring art by Bob McLeod, nether of which were big draws for me. It was a title I tried to invest myself in, but it just never took. I think the reason I kept picking them up were the covers by this guy who was just doing insanely creative stuff that looked like no other comic at the time. That guy was Bill Sienkewicz. Those were some of the first comic cover that I truly just made me stare.
A handful of years later, in 1986 he started working with then visionary (sadly, no longer true) Frank Miller on the groundbreaking Elektra:Assassin which was an 8 issue run from Epic Comics, a sub-imprint of Marvel Comics. The art for that book was mind-blowing. He somehow was able to recreate what he was doing on cover in sequential stories. His art combined painterly photo realism and really loose almost childlike art with collage and mimeograph. The guy's art just seemed seductive and dangerous. It was utter rock n' roll.
From there he did a book with Alan Moore called Brought To Light :Thirty Years of Drug Smuggling, Arms Deals, and Covert Action. The subtiltle tells you pretty much what it is about. I haven't seen this book in some time and can only imagine the propert is mired in the same legal entanglements that haunt Miracleman. The next notable gig was something for Mad Love with a gentleman named Alan Moore. Moore was wildly popular already from Watchmen & V For Vendetta as well as Swamp Thing. The comic was set to be 12 twelve issue series that was an artsy look at the effects of big business on average joes with deeper philosopies woven throughout the story. Sadly, on two issues came out with Sienkewicz art and then he bailed due to time constaraints and handed the project over to an assistant named Al Columbia . That story is one of the more interesting tales of comicdom, but suffice to say, Columbia had a meltdown and the project was never finished. One of several tragedies of Moore's famous career.
Since those early days of comic genius, Sienkewicz has done lots of work, but never reacaptured that early glory. He does some first rate covers still, but most of the interior art he has done has usually entailed either penciling or inking, but rarely bot and Sienkewicz is an artist that needs total control to really deliver the goods. I miss his singular style that influenced countless peers including Dave McKean and David Mack.
Come back to comics, Bill. We miss you.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful work. I've seen some of it before, but only in passing. Sadly, Bill has been off my radar, but that's something I"ll correct now.