Sunday, March 07, 2010

Art Discussion Month 2010: Angel Stomp Future #1 by Juan Jose Ryp

[Continuing Art Discussion Month 2010. 31 days, 31 artists, a whole lot of discussion. The explanation behind my choice of comics and the archive can be found here.]

Angel Stomp Future #1. Written by Warren Ellis. Drawn by Juan Jose Ryp.

We enter into four days of the Apparat Singles Club, four first issues of series that don't exist. The roots of each lie in the pulps and all four are in black and white (which means no pesky colourists to worry about for a few days). Angel Stomp Future is sci-fi pulpy future shit. Lots of insane concepts and crazy shit. There isn't much of a plot. It's more an extended monologue/soliloquy by Angel on the future with a few digressions. With Ryp on art, it's information fucking overload as his pages are packed.

Ryp is the spiritual heir of those early sf pulp artists -- working at the upper limit of imagination and endurance, filling every inch of his pages with exquisitely-illuminated insanity and producing it at almost impossible speeds.


Juan Jose Ryp might be the drums, but only if the drummer's Keith Moon.

Those are a couple of things Ellis wrote about Ryp in the backmatter to Angel Stomp Future and the trade collection the Apparat Singles Club. (You'll find that when Ellis speaks about artists, I'm going to include those quotes if I've got them on hand.)

I like Ryp's work, but it's still developing in this comic. His art is so incredibly full and detailed that I'm glad someone didn't have to try and colour this comic. Ever look at comics pages and wonder where a colourist even begins? I've wondered that a lot, usually because the art is so fucking messy and ugly and there's no way to tell the foreground from the background. That's not the problem here; it's just that Ryp overdraws so much. It's not needless overdrawing and maybe it would look a bit better with colours. I definitely like his work on Black Summer and No Hero more, but was that because he'd developed further as an artist or because they were in colour? I dunno.

Where Ryp packs the comic with details in the backgrounds. This world looks lived in. It looks real almost. It's a messy, cramped sort of world. The grounds are covered with litter, the backgrounds are often filled with other people, and there are walls everywhere. His characters are cartooned well. It's a mix because realism and some over-the-top cartoony fun. When one man is shown freaking out, it's damn funny, because Ryp overdoes his reaction perfectly. There's no mistaking the look on his face. He draws Angel with a snear when she first appears and it's a great visual cue to who she is, working with Ellis's writing well. Angel is drawn in an oddly sexualised manner that I can't imagine turning many people on. Ryp's women aren't sexy. His work is a little too detailed, a little too... off that it's hard to consider the tight top and barely there shorts sexy or even an attempt to be sexy. He's good at drawing the grotesque and freakish.

He draws one page that's basically a splash (with another small panel at the bottom of the page) of this horribly detailed gate, wall, and giant rockets... information overload as you attempt to try and figure out which lines belong to which objects...

His layouts are pretty basic, which is smart since getting fancy with his incredibly detailed style would make for a very tough read. As it is, you can follow along fine and maybe get lost in the details from time to time.

My favourite thing about his art is how dirty this future is. I really do like that.

Tomorrow: Frank Ironwine #1 with Carla Speed McNeil.