Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Paint by numbers: The Onion A.V. Club talks to comics artist Alex Ross about painting superheroes, and his fondness for religious and political imagery:

The Onion: "How consciously do you load Superman with religious imagery? Of all the characters you draw, he seems to have a religious element that the others don't."

Ross: "It was more slight at first. The stuff that happened in Kingdom Come, showing him looking like the bearded, long-haired carpenter version of either Clark Kent or Christ was just a lot of fun that seemed to come together sensibly. These two things work together. I don't run around doing shots of him with arms akimbo in a cross-like formation. I think of Superman as kind of a progressive, Christ-like figure. You don't get caught up in the wheres and whyfors or the argument of 'Is he the true Christ?' when we all know Superman is a fictional character. If anything can be gained from Superman's inspiration, there's nothing we really have to argue over. You can dismiss him as a cartoonish entertainment tool. Or you can take him as being an inspirational idea created by Americans, as almost an American invention. The medium of comic books and superheroes is an American invention, and he's the embodiment of the best we can be as human beings. There's something to that which goes beyond dismissing him as an icon to stick on T-shirts and product."