|Maxximized Maxx Cover by Sam Kieth|
Sam Kieth is one of those figures in comic book art that opened up the possibilities for what the medium was capable of doing. His illustrations challenged the notion of what characters looked like. They were more brutal, often bestial, and there was always a hint of a deeper reality just beyond the images.
This cover he did for Maxximized Maxx is breathtaking. All about the two central figures is this image is a wild explosion of color and formlessness that seems to be pressing against them, threatening to overwhelm the two. Yet Julia, the woman ridding Maxx, seems to radiate a sense of serenity that pushes back against everything else in the world and brings a sense of grounding to the Maxx. Yet in spite of her calming influence the Maxx isn't at piece. His muscles are taunt and everything about him seems to be readying to explode at a moments notice into a frenzy of violence.
There's a looseness to Kieth's work that gives it a frenetic feel and that makes the Maxx seem all to likely to jump off the page. As you look at him, notice the way his leg bends the wrong way and the odd bulges appear on his thigh near where his knee should be. And the almost graffiti-like pattern that surrounds those bulges. His left arm, closest to the audience, seems to bubbling with muscles that don't exist in reality right near the glove with its frayed end. He's an unworldly character brought into our view. Too strange to be real, too odd to live.
I love Sam Kieth. His art style is just overwhelming at times and the things that he's able to do with pencil and ink are mind blowing. If you liked his artwork of old you can check out the pieces he's working on today at his blog Trout-a-verse. Or you can pick up one of his collections at the links below.