Back in February, I appeared at the 3rd Annual New York City Comic Con. The show has only grown larger with each passing year and this time topped out at 85,000 visitors over its three days. This makes it one of the largest pop culture conventions on the East Coast. My first appearance at the NY Comic Con was in 2008 when I recreated an Alex Ross painting of the new Captain America costume design. Click to see that Alex Ross Chalk Art Mural.
This year I was asked by Warner Brothers and DC Comics to create a mural in honor of the release of the Watchmen movie. For those who don’t know, Watchmen is a 12 issue mini-series written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons in 1985. Most people are familiar with it today as a collected trade paperback that you can buy as a single graphic novel. Not only is it considered to be the ultimate comic book story, but was listed in Time’s All Time Top 100 Greatest Novels. That’s novels, not just comics but NOVELS! So is it THAT great? Only each individual can judge for themselves. I do agree that it is probably the best comic story though, and it is amazing how characters that only appear in it’s few hundred pages can have such fleshed out back-stories, desires and personalities that they rival and even surpass other characters with histories spanning 40 or more years!
The art is truly amazing in my opinion. Though not a style to everyone’s liking, Mr. Gibbons captured a level of intricacy and detail that boggles the mind. He designed an entire visual history from the ground up and maintained a flawless artistic continuity that you can loose yourself in by finding new elements and background details each and every time you read.
So when I was asked to create a chalk art mural as a Watchmen tribute, I immediately requested that I base it on the original series artwork and not the movie visuals. This wasn’t meant to put down the Zack Snyder film in any way, and I have since seen it and think it was fantastic! But since Mr. Gibbons was a guest at the convention it was an easy sell, and I set off to duplicate the artwork that was provided in as close to a line-by-line accurate representation as I could. However the original coloring, though still amazing and very artistically applied, was flat by comparison to the computer coloring achieved today. I took the artwork into photoshop and re-colored the image to generate a lot more shadows, light sources and depth. No one complained, so I must have done the artwork justice.
Even Blair Butler from G4 TV’s Fresh Ink interviewed me at the show, however the piece never aired. I am still hoping to break into that avenue of publicity some day… in the meantime, enjoy these photos from the New York City Comic Con and let me know if you think I succeeded in giving Watchmen a fitting tribute. And if you see this Mr. Gibbons, thank you for such amazing and stunning artwork to go by.