Monday, June 27, 2005

This Artist Is Good - Sean Murphy

Recently, I did a bit on Year One Batman Scarecrow.

Today, I feel as though I should further spotlight the impressive work of the young artist on the title, Sean Murphy.

Murphy first gained notice working on some Star Wars Tales short stories, and later did a book for Dark Horse called Crush.

He is working on a project for Oni titled Off Road, which he also wrote, which is about a group of friends in a jeep getting stuck, well, off-road.

But this Batman project is, by far, the most popular thing he has done so far, but I do not think it will be the last, as his stuff is good enough that he looks like he has a very promising artistic future.

Chris Arrant had a nice interview with him at Newsarama where Murphy told some interesting stories (such as just how a practical no-name was picked to draw a major Batman mini-series. Think about it, the other Batman Year One mini-series is drawn by Paul Gulacy! Pretty heady company), and showed his appreciation for the medium with his quite astute picks of artists who influenced his work, including the late, great Jorge Zaffino (who is well-respected by most artists, but his name rarely comes is a great website devoted to Zaffino's work).

The following examples of Murphy's art (except for the cover art, which I just snagged from a solicitation) are taken from his nifty website, which you can find here.

First off, look at the very nice costume redesign he did for the Scarecrow.

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I have to give DC credit for letting a new artist do a redesign like this. It doesn't hurt that it looks quite good, though.

Murphy has a real dynamic style, which is in full effect in this page...

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He is also comfortable using shadow/silhouettes to good effect, which I am always impressed by (this piece uses shadow AND a flair for the dynamic)...

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Murphy also does a good job with using body language to convey personality, like this page...

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This is important for when he is working with new characters, like Off Road, as the reader must have the characters' personalities supplied solely by Murphy (unlike, say, Batman and Robin, where the reader already has a pretty good idea what they are like...hehe).

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Finally, Murphy shows he is not above just wanting to draw really cool a Bat-jet...

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That's it for me.

What are all your thoughts about Murphy, who I think is destined for big things?

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Blogger Greg said...

Nice art, but I must say I'm unimpressed with the Scarecrow redesign. He looks more like a superhero now. He used to look like a scarecrow. Is it just me?

6/27/2005 07:49:00 PM  
Anonymous The Eyeball Kid said...

I'm not sure if I like the redesign, but it is certainly interesting. I see many influences, and Murphy obviously put some thought into it. Overall, there is a 'highwayman' feel to the costume, but individual details stand out too. The strait-jacket-like vest, acting as the Scarecrow's link to psychiatry, for example. Murphy's style also gives it an exaggerated, Halloween-y appearence. Very Nightmare Before Christmas.

I think my favorite Scarecrow design was the one from the later Batman episodes. Sure, it wasn't very true to the original design, but damn it was scary! Jeffrey Combs voice had a lot to do with the effectiveness of the character, though.

6/28/2005 12:44:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

I actually mispoke.

I do not necessarily like the change EITHER.

I just think Murphy draws it extremely cool looking.

6/28/2005 05:36:00 AM  
Blogger Chad said...

I've not seen Sean Murphy's art before. It's very nice.

I'm really enjoying that so amy artists these days are opting for a more cartoony line while keeping an eye on detail. Very encouraging, that. :)

6/28/2005 06:35:00 AM  
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