Bring The Pain!
Unapologetically graphic. On the edge of sanity. Pushing the boundaries of human limitations. These are a few phrases that come to mind when I bear witness to the illustrations of Greg Capullo. Born March 30, 1962, this penciller and artist creates pain evoking imagery that is less superhero genre and more horror-suspense. Take a tour with me through this Artist Profile of Greg Capullo and I promise, you will know anxiety… you will know fear… you will know darkness.
Up In The Sky, It’s A Bird, It’s A — Bat!
How about this jaw dropping action scene from Batman Hardcover Ruled Journal: Artist Edition: Greg Capullo? The interplay in the center of focus is completely eye-grabbing. Capullo expertly captures the thrill of the chase along with the dire consequences of a potential failure. The relationship between the background and foreground is flawless. GC’s sense of perspective lifts Batman out of the burning Gotham streets in an amazing three dimensional illusion. A complete story all by itself, this airborne snapshot is 100% pure adrenaline.
Whether presenting an inside panel or a variant cover, Greg Capullo delivers a consistent quality of excellence to any scene that he works on. As a diehard Batman fanatic I find Capullo’s interpretations of The Caped Crusader to be daring, danger-filled, and a leagues beyond the competition. Look at all of the chaos that is translated by giving Batman’s cape such sharp edges. Notice how the beveled chassis of the helicopter makes this leaping stunt seem all the more treacherous. Batman’s “wispy,” light movement makes this attempt seem almost possible.
More Human Than Human.
Forged in the crucible of a landscape that looks like it could be an active volcano, this is a classic Capullo move. While fully engrossed in explosive flames and sublime power, one piece of the composition remains incredibly down to Earth: the weaponry. The dual axes really drive the message home. Despite Batman’s super-willpower he is still only human. Wielding the same archaic weapons that mankind has relied on for ages. Here in Dark Nights Metal,, Bats is not just another invulnerable super person. No. This image is primal. GC’s work always has that kind of raw personality. That is why the art is so memorable.
These Boots Are Made For…
There may only be a handful of times we have ever seen Superman’s blood. That alone makes this image shocking – to say the least. At first glance the body language may appear simple, but consider how casual Superman appears to be. Almost as if he didn’t expect to be injured. And why would he? He’s Superman! That is why this piece is so impactful. (Pun intended.) Greg Cappullo embeds Superman’s form with a complex layering of emotions. In a frame absent of dialogue we still feel subtle doses of vulnerability mixed with surprise, disbelief, and of course, pain.
And Then There Is This.
Don’t let me pigeon hole Greg Capullo into sounding like a one-track-minded artist. Visceral combat and terrifying villains are but one of GC’s many talents. As we see in the above portrait of fan-favorite Poison Ivy, Capullo is quite capable of producing less sinister subject matter – at least superficially. Here, Ivy is more softly rendered. Capullo tames his tendency towards razor sharp pencils to give us a lush, mysterious, and stunning surface. But closer in, her eyes communicate a descent into sociopathic manipulation.
Meet The Band
Greg Capullo’s ensembles often embody a kind of Rock N’ Roll attitude. Leather clad front men, fashionable chains, spiked apparel. At its best GC’s work is infused with the wickedness that a parent wisely warns their children against. But we are those children. We want to stare into the eyes of demons. Comic book fans are a rare breed in that, very early on, we are exposed to a vast variety of storytelling styles. Capullo’s punk rock sensibilities place him on the extreme edge of the mainstream illustration approach, and yet his work is sought out by top publishers and fans alike.
No More Jokes
The Batman Who Laughs changed everything. Ask me to imagine what it would look like if the twisted essence of The Joker somehow merged with the stoic righteousness of The Dark Knight and I would probably just sit down and cry. Capullo’s nightmare vision shows us that nothing is sacred. No superhero is incorruptable, monsters are real – and I’d be mad at GC if the imagery wasn’t so damn brilliant. A moment ago I described Capullo as “Rock N’ Roll.” Well, more often than not GC goes full-on Death Metal! This creature from the abyss is worthy of an appearance in a Clive Barker film.
Let’s let this last example go undescribed and uncritiqued. This, and all of the previous illustrations, are but a brief glimpse into the dark beauty of Greg Capullo’s extensive portfolio.
Note: Less biographical, DC Comics News Artist Profile series concentrates on style, personality and technique. If there is an artist, writer, or creator that you would like me to feature, please mention them in a comment below.