Title: Icons: The DC Comics and Wildstorm Art of Jim Lee
Author: Jim Lee & Bill Baker
Publisher: Titan Books
Released: November 2, 2010
Price: $39.95 (HC, 296 pages)
Icons is an appropriate title for a book whose striking cover features Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman. Jim Lee has given each of these comic giants his unique artistic treatment over the years, with great success. If you’re a fan of his work, especially his DC and Wildstorm stuff, then this book was put together with you in mind.
This beautiful hardcover presents some of the best artwork in recent years, along with a look behind the scenes. In its pages you’ll find finished art, rough sketches, and everything in between. We also get insight into Lee’s thinking as he’s laying out a drawing. His notations really add a depth to this book that makes it more than just a collection of covers and splash pages. By means of them he invites us to sit in on his creative process, to get to know his working relationship with these characters. More than that, we get to see how he feels about them from a fan’s perspective.
Icons is filled with comic beauty from start to finish. There are quite a few breathtaking illustrations that make you just stare at the page to take it all in. We’re first treated to a Batman section, followed by Superman and Wonder Woman. For all the Wildstorm fans, there’s plenty for you here, too. We also get a taste of other areas of modern media where comic characters have made their mark.
Lee’s promotional work has spawned some really great stuff as well. I especially like the Google logo he did to mark the opening of the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con.
Icons also contains some of his work with DC Universe Online, the Batman Begins film, statues and action figures, and even his design of special edition Converse Batman shoes.
This book displays Lee’s skill at handling a variety of subject matter. There are great group shots, action scenes, solo shots (like Batman on a dark Gotham rooftop), and beautiful women. He also expertly handles costume design, and the seemingly mundane background stuff like vehicles and scenery. Gotham City is practically a character of its own, and Lee does amazing work conveying its gritty, dark nature. I love those inky shadows for Batman to sneak around in.
In several instances, Icons shows you the evolution of a comic page. Here are a couple of nice examples. First we have everyone’s favorite super girl, Power Girl.
Now for a pretty cool series of panels taking us through Bruce Wayne’s history. Sometimes the pencils have more of an impact than the finished image, as I think can be seen in young Bruce’s eyes in the second image. They just seem to jump right out of that image and reach out to you.
Icons: The DC Comics and Wildstorm Art of Jim Lee is a great title to add to your collection. I can honestly recommend this book to any fan of Jim Lee, especially his Wildstorm stuff, and any fan of Batman as well. Lee’s Batman illustrations are just plain awesome.
This book will likely end up on many a coffee table, as it has mine. Normally my wife doesn’t let me display comic art so prominently in our home. However, upon seeing the cover, with DC’s holy trinity, my wife insisted that it replace our current, and long standing, coffee table book. Jim Lee has now replaced a collection of works by renowned painter Vincent van Gogh. Congratulations to Lee for dethroning one of the greats.
I’ll leave you with this amazing image of the Joker.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.