Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tony Salmons Batman

Tony Salmons is one of my all time favorite comic artists. He has this loose, kinetic style that is super exciting. Though he has been making comics for 30 or so years, no one has approached what he's been doing all these years. He is a true original in the comics world.

Batman commission by Tony Salmons showing off some of his skills at depicting buildings, cars and crazy kinetic action as well as his unusual inking techniques.

Tony's work oscillates between cartoon and realism; between abstract and photographic; His work is reminiscent of Kirby, Toth, Caniff and yet an artist all his own.

In this Batman commission by Tony you can see some of his incredible kinetic line work, and while the Batman and Batwoman are drawn a little exaggerated, the cars in the background are very well drawn in a strikingly realistic fashion.

His use of the brush and pen are so unique and dynamic. The way he spots his blacks creates a wonderful rhythm on the page.

Here we see the wonderful way that Tony spots the blacks in his work creating a rhythm on the page. Tony doesn't go for the simple compositions that you can take in at a glance. Instead he goes for the panorama, or mural style picture where it is so filled with detail that the eye has to slowly scan it from right to left and top to bottom to see all that is there.
In Tony's work you have to stop an look to see what's being depicted because there is always more to see. That's what makes it so dynamic, kinetic and exciting.
This Batman commission is so kinetic and packed full of details that it can be a bit disorienting to look at at first glance but upon further study the viewer is rewarded with awesome amount of detail in what is depicted and the way it is depicted. As you study this picture, it unfolds in front of you revealing wonderful details like Robin riding the monster in the top center or the Bat-plane in the top right.

I asked Tony if he had any thoughts about a particular work that he did for Batman: Gotham Knights #4, June 2000, "It was a fun job, I'm glad I was tapped for it. The chance to do a classic character like Bats is a real pleasure and a privilege.  Most of the Batman stuff that I've done are commissions, in private collections and not generally available, online even."
About his work in general he said, "I like the work to try to get off of the page.  Not always with thunder and lightning but to come away from the expected experience in a shot or scene."

"I see the panel borders as part of the timing of the scene.  They're edits.  But the "shots" have to be there too.  This is what I look for in everything: Shots and Edits. On this note, Comics are not film.  They're film-like but they're closer to Stage and Theatre, but they include elements of the isolation/meditation of reading.  Comics are unique."

Check out his work from Batman: Gotham Knights #4, June, 2000.

It's been such a joy and inspiration for me to study Tony's work and an incredible privilege to befriend him on Facebook and to my surprise and pleasure I've discovered that he is incredibly gracious, generous and a really down to earth guy. Thanks a lot Tony for all your awesome work and generous kindness. I wish for you many more productive and happy years!

Tony Salmons interview

Tony Salmons website

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