Rough Justice: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross

As I grow older, superhero comics feel more and more stale, and I find myself more fascinated by the creative processes trying to rejuvenate and sustain the genre.  Combine that with Chip Kidd, and I’m buying your book.

I purchased  Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross by Alex Ross and Chip Kidd last year and enjoyed it far more than I expected.  While I already appreciated Alex Ross’s photorealistic style, my understanding and enjoyment of his art grew with Mythology.  Marvels was a revelation and Kingdom Come ranks among my favorites, and while Ross’s painting was something unique to me in those stories, I credited Busiek and Waid, respectively, for being the major reasons why those books were so powerful.  Mythology showed me just how much thought, time, and talent was involved in creating the vision.  In the hands of a slightly less skilled artist and those stories could have been Trinity or Irredeemable.

So I was eager to try Mythology’s companion volume, Rough Justice: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross – so much so that I made it the anchor of my Amazon Binge.  All of the insight, tricks, and process that I enjoyed in Mythology weren’t there in Rough Justice.  It was a collection of recent sketches from the Justice series and rejected story pitches.  It reminded me more of Cover Run: The DC Comics Covers of Adam Hughes – lots of style and pretty pictures, but not much substance.  Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the Modern Masters from TwoMorrows where creators are interviewed at length and their art is presented with context.  The package is beautiful with Rough Justice, but I’ll take substance over packaging.  Although both together would be preferred!

Is it worth it at cover price? No
Is it worth it at Amazon pricing?  No
Is it worth it at used bookstore pricing?  Yes
Is it worth borrowing from the library? Yes
Is it worth kindling for the fireplace?  Yes

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