Monday, April 30, 2018

That Lady is a Killer...

 Jöelle Jones has been making comics for over a decade now.
My first introduction to her work was with You Have Killed Me  , followed by12 Reasons I Love Her.
Around that time she also did some spot work on Matt Wagner and Amy Reeder's Madame  Xanadu.
 All three works featured slick, stylish and stylised work that while heavily design-centric, gave ample room for characters to come alive under her ink work. Stark scenery, statuesque vamps and barrel chested beaus abounded.

Moving forward she established her talents for gore and heavily textured rendering with the illustrative chores on Cullen Bunn's Hellheim , a furious bit of barbarian horror that nonetheless still featured the kind of breathtaking beautiful women that would become her calling card.

 2015 saw the debut of her creator owned series Lady Killer ,
which exploded her into the big time. The series being one of the most dynamic, stylish and brilliant creations in recent memory.
Immediately striking, her compositions are rock solid but it is the expressiveness of her characters; their body language and especially their facial features that she excels and transcends nearly every other artist.

 Her art seems to get better with every issue.

 No one does action, murder and mayhem with such style. All her characters are deadly, sexy and enthralling. It's impossible to not be captivated by Her storytelling skills are impeccable....moving the readers eye around at will,
directing each sequence masterfully.

Watch the way Jöelle pulls your eyes across the page, From the heavily detailed and fully realised rooms, lavishly detailed and filled with dynamic characters each with their own unique presence.  They are never static, there is an energy, a kinetic build that is sure to be unleashed in one of the next panels, violently and kaleidoscopically. As the tension builds the perspectives distort and the point of view whips around hard to sight a menace in the foreground.
Then she'll pull you in close for the kill watching the victim's eyes as death takes em. A hail of blood rain or shimmering light brings the curtains down. You exhale.

 One of the most memorable sequences comes from the second Lady Killer where a chase sequence between three characters takes place on foot thru a Miami bungalow from a cutaway overhead.
the pacing is unrelenting, the dread and tension is palpable, you get to hover like an angel of death anticipating each character's demise as it resolves. With only you knowing how close each is to their end.
For reference see the final sequence in Lady Killer #5 or Catwoman versus Talia al Ghul battle in Batman #35, which was another clinic in fight scene coordination. Even some of the quieter moments in her Mockingbird stories for Marvel have an undeniable pull and the chemistry between characters is palpable.

In comparing Jones' artwork to other legends of the field her work hold's its ground. The line work has a weight and strength of John Buscema and a
fluidity of movement that only Joe Kubert equals. In her willingness to distort perspectives and attack the scene from a multitude of angles reminds the viewer of Alex Toth or some of Kirby's most bombastic work. This is an artist that understands how bodies move and how the eye follows them.
Beyond that there is a precise, yet visceral element to the work that I think is unequaled by anyone,
the ability to render the sleek smooth Formica and aluminum, draped by intricate silks and lace with dizzying decor patterning and of course the bone blood and gristle of her characters as they play off the polished beauty of her heroines, whose eyes, deep piercing pools of glitter engage penetrate and condemn. You couldn't look away if you wanted.

 Jöelle's writing talents fully emerged with Lady Killer 2 . Seemingly, the move to becoming the all in one writer/artist/creator has made the communication of her ideas even more efficient and effective. All the elements that made her previous works succeed have exponentially improved.  This has unleashed a multi-talented comics creator the likes of which we haven't had since the heyday of Frank Miller, Walter Simonson or the previously mentioned Matt Wagner.
If she manages to be half as productive as any of those talents, we're all going to need some extra book shelves as I can't see her doing anything less than essential.

The best way for that is to get yourself copies of her Lady Killer books, then keep reading Batman as it moves towards Bruce and Selina's wedding.Which leads us to the July 4th Bat & Cat Wedding in issue #50 of Batman, which coincides with Ms. Jones' DC writing debut with Catwoman #1.
The new series is also drawn by Jöelle with colors by the supremely gifted Laura Allred.

 The hype around both books is huge already and surely justified. The crossover appeal from both mainstream Super Hero readers and Indie comics fans is immense. Jöelle's work draws fans of the medium/art-form from every direction.
If you need more, this year DC is releasing four statues in their Designer series that feature Jöelle's designs. The first of which, based on last year's Supergirl Being Super mini-series presents
Kara Zor-el looking windswept and youthful, her head tilted optimistically to the horizon.
Figures featuring Harley Quinn, Batgirl and Catwoman are to follow.

 If my words aren't convincing enough, consider that a woman who knows so much about methods of elimination and crime scene sanitation, who has a keen eye and interest as to what is necessary to make folks disappear, you better stay on her good side.
So buy all her stuff and then no one has to worry about clean up and disposal!

That's all I can muster for now.

See you on Wednesday.

All images are copyrighted by their respective owners and used for review and allegedly journalistic purposes.

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