May 22, 2012

20th Anniversary Watchmen tribute: Hollis Mason

Art by Chris Weston
Above, a stunning homage to Watchmen featuring Hollis Mason drawn by the amazing CHRIS WESTON, included in the gallery section of "Watchmen 20 anni dopo", an Italian tribute book published in 2006 by Lavieri with all net profits donated to AIMA, the Italian Alzheimer organization. It was basically a collection of 12 brand new essays by well known comics experts analyzing Moore & Gibbons masterpiece.
Weston also wrote a piece to accompany the illustration. You can read it in the following.

Many thanks to Mr. Weston for his permission to present the material on this blog.
For more info about Chris Weston, visit his blog.

"Possibly the greatest perk of becoming a professional comic-strip illustrator is the opportunity to hang out with your own artistic heroes; sometimes, the very creators whose work entertained and inspired you throughout your own childhood. I’ve been lucky enough to make acquaintances with Dave Gibbons, an artist whose work I have admired since I first saw it published in the ‘Hotspur’ comic in the early seventies. I can honestly say he’s one of the friendliest, most amusing and fair people I’ve ever encountered. If there were an award for the comic industry’s greatest “diamond geezer”, he’d win it, hands down, every year without fail.

But, however easy his company is, and despite the laughably generous way he treats me as a fellow professional, there’s always a moment mid-conversation, when I suddenly think, “Oh my god. I’m chatting with DAVE ‘WATCHMEN’ GIBBONS!”. Because, although he was already one of my favourite artists, (thanks to his work on ‘Rogue Trooper’, and ‘Doctor Who’), it was definitely that classic, ground-breaking, twelve part mini-series that has elevated him to the comic world’s equivalent of a “Made Man”.

I’m not going to go into a long and redundant treatise about why ‘WATCHMEN’ is one of the greatest comic-strip stories ever… for starters, that would take up more pages than the actual graphic novel did. But what I would like to point out is just how brilliant Dave Gibbons’ art is on the book; something that doesn’t get mentioned enough in articles I read about the book. His artwork is deceptively simple, dramatic and coherent. His greatest achievement on the book?
Making this complex and convoluted tale of intrigue, with its fractured time structure and large cast of characters easy to follow.
Not many other artists could have maintained that consistency of quality storytelling for all twelve chapters. But being consistent doesn’t mean there aren’t any astonishing artistic flourishes to be found. There are… many. In fact, panel four on page sixteen of issue eight is worth the hefty price of the Absolute ‘WATCHMEN’ edition alone: a dynamic shot of Nite Owl running through the shattered prison windows… possibly the greatest single image of a ‘super-hero’ ever drawn.

It’s no wonder I still occasionally come over all star-struck when I’m in his company. I’ve admitted this to Dave, and he replied, “Jeez, Chris… I’m just a bloke…!”. You are a ‘bloke’, Dave; and a bloody good one, too. 
But how many ‘blokes’ have drawn ‘WATCHMEN’…?!"
Chris Weston, 2006

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