The Art of Batwoman: J.H. Williams III's Brilliant Batwoman Art
When DC Comics newest superhero, Batwoman, was announced it seemed that all anyone cared about was her sexuality.Comic Book characters with alternate sexualities are nothing, new, but it caused a major uproar at the time. Today, however, comic book fans talk more about the fantastic comic book art by superstar J.H. Williams III and the tight plotting of writer Greg Rucka. A truly unique entry into the world of comic books, the art of Batwoman is a sight to behold. Luminescent, psychedelic, raw, beautiful, and everything in between, J.H. William's art is able to convey so much.
Now the star of Detective Comics, Batwoman has consistently been the best looking comic book month after month.
An Oasis of Color in the Drab City Grime
One of the first things anyone will notice when they look at the outstanding comic book art in Batwoman is how eye popping the colors are. Colorist Dave Stewart has worked with Williams to create the perfect look for Batwoman. While she's out in the streets, Batwoman is often the only sign of beauty in a grimy, violent world. The red of her hair and her bat emblem are like beacons in an otherwise dark world.
Of course, there's more to Batwoman art than an effective use of color. Look at how the action sequence above is played out. The art often eschews the traditional panels of superhero comics and instead shows a powerful primary image with snippets of frantic fight scenes taking place in a background pattern. This combines the eye-catching but space wasting splash page with traditional methods of showing fights. This is as beautiful as it is economic, allowing a greater number of pages per issue to be devoted to advancing the plot without sacrificing any of the action.
Batwoman In and Out of Costume
Like all super heroes, Batwoman has a secret identity. Trained in paramilitary tactics by her army father, Kate Kane is a rebellious heiress to the world. But, as one would expect from someone who dresses up in a bat outfit and fights crime, there's a level of deep pain and mental anguish hiding just under the surface.
J.H. William's graphic novel art perfectly illustrates this. Unlike the unrestricted, freeflowing page layout of the Batwoman sequences, when Kate is out of costume she reverts to the standard, restrictive panels used in most comic books. Often displayed as ragged or tired, the art helps illustrate just how much Batwoman is taking out of her life but also how much she needs Batwoman to feel in control.
Look at how the unique coloring and use of panels has all but been sucked out of the page. Instead, there's conventional comic book techniques (with some watercolor-esque coloring as well) and comic book panels that seem like prison bars, preventing Kane from the freedom of movement and thought she desires. Few comic books are able to effectively display deep character motivations and beats through stylistic choices like panel layout, but the Brilliant Williams is able to do just that.
Batwoman's Pscyadelic Art
Certain sequences in the comic book often seem like the psychedelic art of the late 60s. Although no one will confuse DC's latest superhero with Sgt. Pepper, the art adds an edge of menace. In addition to the dark colors contrasted by bright, twisted illustrations, astute readers will often find words or pictures woven into the dreamy background.
Certainly, not every scene looks like this. But when it does, it provides a stark, often terrifying contrast to the dark and grim reality Batwoman finds herself in most of the time. Almost always occurring in periods of extreme danger, Batwoman finds herself in a world populated by unearthly designs and frighteningly unfamiliar landscapes when her fight against crime begins to turn against her.
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Batwoman's Art: Best in the Biz?
Right now, no one else in DC or Marvel are producing art work that so masterfully melds with and enhances the story. With all this talk of the art, it is easy to miss the fact that Greg Rucka is turning out one of the best plots in mainstream comics and really making the Batwoman character his own. Be sure to check out other great comic book articles as well.
Here, we leave you with a few more pieces of high quality Batwoman/Detective Comics art work from J.H. Williams III.