Alex Ross on Difference Between Marvel amd DC and the Legacy of Jack Kirby
Alex Ross’ New Book Marvelocity Gets Him Talking About Marvel & DC
Alex Ross is one of the most prolific artists to ever draw superheroes. His style draws from his real-life models and he literally brings your favorite heroes—Superman, Wonder woman, Spider-Man, Batman and more— to life. Besides iconic works like Marvels (cover seen below) written by Kurt Busiek and DC’s Kingdom Come written by Mark Waid, Ross’ painted style translated perfectly to creating coffee table books. The larger than normal format matches the larger than life characters in Mythology and Ross is back again but setting his sights on Marvel characters in Marvelocity.
Entertainment Weekly sits down with Ross to discuss not just this new book but the field of sequential art and legends like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. Fifteen years from when Mythology tackled the flagship characters of the DCU, Ross admits that this new project is simply the Marvel version. “It’s the Marvel version of that. The simplest way, and the most honest way to describe it. It’s not just a reunion of Chip and I tackling similar material, but it’s made as a bit of a parallel.” Being drawn to both companies of supers, Ross lays out the difference plainly.
What is the difference between Marvel & DC?
“DC is the foremost component of where the DNA of what makes a superhero came from. They did the very first superhero in Superman, and the first great embodiment of the dark superhero in Batman, and of course the first female superhero in Wonder Woman. All those key things are lined up by them, and they go in a nice descending ladder of importance with their Justice League. With Marvel it’s clear that Spider-Man is not the same kind of hero as Superman; Cap has similarities but he has differences as well and has been used in very interesting ways that stop him from being a clone of any DC counterpart. The Marvel characters are all over the place in terms of what makes them unique, and there’s a hip energy that’s been instilled in them since their creation. Every other superhero company follows the mold of having their heroes follow those archetypes that DC embodies, but Marvel broke away.”
Legacy of Jack Kirby & Steve Ditko, artisans of Marvel Comics
Further, he highlights the distinct contributions of Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko as the formative influences in all of Marvel’s creative gene pool. “There’s certainly an argument to make for similarity of iconic status, but what’s always separated the two for me is Marvel’s material has always had a kinetic quality to it, particularly based on the design aesthetics of Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby.” Even their contribution is stark as Kirby couldn’t draw Spider-man like Ditko could, “You have to always remember, you can’t skip over Ditko’s legacy.” Ultimately, he brings it back to Kirby, “It inspires me in all the stuff I do. Working in American comics, there’s no escaping the legacy that is Jack.”
You can get your copy of Marvelocity: The Marvel Art of Alex Ross October 2 from Pantheon Books. The book contains, much of Ross’ Marvel covers, sketches, and designs. It has 30 pages of new art, including a 10-page Spider-Man vs. The Sinister Six story and a foreword from producer, screenwriter, and director J. J. Abrams. Also, it has the relaunch of Captain America with Issue #1 written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, art on the inside by Leinil Yu and covers by Alex Ross. It will be available on, of all days, July 4.