The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross

Authors: Chip Kidd and Geoff Spear
Titan Books
RRP 16.99
ISBN 1 84023 941 7
Available 25 November 2005

The best-loved comic characters in the world, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the JLA and many more, have all been brought to life thanks to the work of artist Alex Ross. Now you can enjoy the evolution of Ross's work, from his early sketches aged three, to his contemporary masterpieces such as Batman: War on Crime and more recently the Smallville covers he designed for TV Guide...

While the name may not ring any bells with the majority of the population, most serious comic enthusiasts will own at least one comicbook that features a cover by the legendary Alex Ross. And if for some strange reason you don't, then you will at least be familiar with the majority of his subject matter.

This hulk of a book has something for everyone. If you want to learn about the young Ross then there are pictures of him aged seven with a guy dressed as Superman - who has too much of a spare tyre around his waist to be leaping tall buildings in a single bound. There is also a drawing that the seven year old Ross did of Superboy; discover how he uses life models to help him get the human anatomy so accurate in his illustrations; drool as some of his amazing covers are reproduced in glossy full colour; and if you are interested in his rough sketches and never before seen preliminary work, then you are in for a treat.

Also included is a short strip, entitled The Trust, which Ross illustrated and co-wrote with Chip Kid. This is a great little story - and it looks fantastic too.

To my mind Ross is the Thomas Gainsborough of the 20th/21st century. Both artists I admire, and both have a similar style. If you are looking for a suitable coffee table addition to brighten up your living room, this is a great way to create a talking point.

While this softback reprint is fantastic value for money, if you have the cash, I'd advise spending an extra £8 and buying the hardback edition that was released last year.

One of the most beautiful collections I have had the pleasure to read.

Nick Smithson

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