Alex Ross

Kingdom Come

Alex Ross (b. 1970) is an American comic book artist. He is praised for his realistic, human depictions of classic comic book characters. Since the 1990s he has done work for Marvel Comics and DC Comics (e.g. Marvels and Kingdom Come, respectively), as well as being involved in creating independent works featuring superheroes (e.g. Astro City and Project Superpowers).

Because his painting style is time-consuming, he primarily serves as a plotter and/or cover artist. Ross’ rendering style, his attention to detail, and the perceived tendency of his characters to be depicted staring off into the distance has been satirized in Mad magazine.

Ross’s first major project was with writer Kurt Busiek; the two began submitting proposals for series that would feature paintings as their internal art. Marvel agreed to a project that would tell much of the history of the Marvel Universe from the perspective of an ordinary person. That limited series, ‘Marvels,’ was released in 1994, and chronicled the life of a photojournalist, as he reacted to living in a world of superheroes and villains.

Busiek, Ross, and penciller Brent Anderson went on to create Astro City, first published by Image Comics in 1995 and later by Wildstorm Comics. The series features an original superhero world and continues the theme of Marvels, exploring how ordinary people, superheroes and villains react to a world where the fantastic is commonplace. Ross paints the covers and helps set the costumes and the general look and feel for the series, which has been published sporadically in recent years.

In 1996, Ross worked with writer Mark Waid on the DC Comics award-winning ‘Kingdom Come,’ which presents a possible future for the DC universe, in which Superman and several other classic superheroes return from retirement to tame a generation of brutal anti-heroes. The work featured Ross’ redesigned versions of many DC characters, as well as a new generation of characters.

Ross followed Kingdom Come with Uncle Sam, a non-superhero work for DC’s Vertigo line, an experimental work that examined the dark side of American history. In the early 2000s, with writer Jim Krueger, Ross plotted and designed characters for a trilogy of Marvel limited series, Earth X, Universe X, and Paradise X, which combined dozens of Marvel characters from various time periods. Between 1998 and 2003, writer Paul Dini and Ross produced annual tabloid-sized editions celebrating the 60th anniversaries of DC Comics’ Superman (Peace on Earth), Batman (War on Crime), Shazam (Power of Hope), and Wonder Woman (Spirit of Truth), as well as two specials featuring the Justice League, Secret Origins and Liberty and Justice.

Ross won acclaim for his work on special comic books benefiting the families of those killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks, including his portraits of paramedics, police and firefighters. He has designed the promotional poster for the 2002 Academy Awards. The Academy loaned Ross an actual Oscar statuette for a week for him to use as reference for the painting. Ross stated that he photographed members of his family as if they were receiving it. He also designed 15 paintings for the opening credits of the film Spider-Man 2, which he later donated to be auctioned off on eBay to benefit the United Cancer Front.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.