|Born||Nelson Alexander Ross|
|Area(s)||Painter and illustrator|
|Notable works||JLA Liberty and Justice
JLA Secret Origins
|Awards||Will Eisner Award (1997)
National Cartoonists Society Comic Book Award (1998)
Nelson Alexander "Alex" Ross is an American comic book writer/artist known primarily for his painted interiors, covers, and design work. He first became known with the 1994 miniseries Marvels, on which he collaborated with writer Kurt Busiek for Marvel Comics. He has since done a variety of projects for both Marvel and DC Comics, such as the 1996 miniseries Kingdom Come, which Ross also co-wrote. Since then he has also done covers and character designs for Busiek's series Astro City, and various projects for Dynamite Entertainment. His feature film work includes concept and narrative art for Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2, and DVD packaging art for the M. Night Shyamalan film, Unbreakable. He has also done covers for TV Guide, promotional artwork for the Academy Awards, posters and packaging design for video games, and his renditions of superheroes have been merchandised as action figures.
Ross' style has been said to exhibit "a Norman-Rockwell-meets-George-Pérez vibe", and has been praised for its realistic, human depictions of classic comic book characters. His rendering style, his attention to detail, and the perceived tendency of his characters to be depicted staring off into the distance in cover images has been satirized in Mad magazine. Because of the time it takes Ross to produce his art, he primarily serves as a plotter and/or cover artist. Comics Buyer's Guide Senior Editor Maggie Thompson, commenting on that publication's retirement of the Favorite Painter award from their CBG Fan Awards due to Ross' domination of that category, stated in 2010, "Ross may simply be the field's Favorite Painter, period. That's despite the fact that many outstanding painters are at work in today's comic books."
Alex Ross was born in Portland, Oregon, and raised in Lubbock, Texas, by his minister father, Clark, and his mother, a commercial artist from whom he would learn many of the trademarks of his artistic style. Ross first began drawing at age three, and was first influenced by superheroes when he discovered Spider-Man on an episode of the children's TV series The Electric Company.
He would later be influenced by comics artists such as George Pérez and Berni Wrightson, and attempted to imitate Pérez' style when he did superhero work, and Wrightson's when he did what he calls "serious" work. By age 16, Ross discovered the realistic work of illustrators such as Andrew Loomis and Norman Rockwell, and envisioned one day seeing such styles applied to comic book art.
At age 17, Ross began studying painting at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, where his mother had studied. During his years there, Ross discovered the work of other artists like J. C. Leyendecker and Salvador Dalí, whose "hyper-realistic quality", Ross saw, was not that far removed from that of comics. It was also during this time that he formed the idea to paint his own comic books. Ross graduated after three years.
Ross' first published comic book work was the 1990 five-issue miniseries, Terminator: The Burning Earth, written by Ron Fortier and published by NOW Comics. Ross created all of the art, from pencils through coloring for the series. He performed similar work on a variety of titles over the next few years. In 1993, he completed his first painted superhero assignment, the cover of a Superman novel, Superman: Doomsday & Beyond.
During this time, Ross met writer Kurt Busiek, and 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 limited series 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 also co-created the original character Magog, patterning his appearance and costume from two characters created by Rob Liefeld, Cable and Shatterstar.
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.
When M. Night Shyamalan's film, Unbreakable was released to video in 2001, the DVD included an insert with Ross' original art, as well as a commentary by Ross, regarding superheroes, in the movie's special features.
In 2001, 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 also designed DC merchandise, including posters, dinner plates, and statues. In late 2001, Ross painted four covers to the December 8, 2001 TV Guide, which depicted Tom Welling, Kristin Kreuk and Michael Rosenbaum of the TV series Smallville, and Superman.
Ross designed a series of costumes for the 2002 film Spider-Man, though they were not used in the film. In the film's video game tie-in, as an Easter egg, it is possible to unlock a playable version of Ross' Spider-Man design. When using this, the Green Goblin will also feature one of Ross' unused character outfits. As such, Ross was commissioned to do a series of drawings for the opening credits of Spider-Man 2, which recapped the major events from the first film. Ross' suit was also featured as an unlockable costume and also available in a white version in the PlayStation game Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro.
In early 2002, Ross designed the promotional poster for the 2002 Academy Awards, which depicted Oscar perched atop the First National Building. 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. That same year, he was one of four artists who depicted Spider-Man on one of the covers to the April 27, 2002, issue of TV Guide as a promotional tie-in to the feature film Spider-Man.
Ross illustrated the cover picture on the 2003 Anthrax albums We've Come for You All. He would later illustrate the covers for their 2004 album Music of Mass Destruction and their 2011 album Worship Music.
In 2004, DC compiled the coffee table book Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross, written and designed by Chip Kidd, and featuring a foreword written by M. Night Shaymalan. In late 2005, a paperback version of the book was published to include new artwork by Ross, including sketches for his Justice mini-series. Also in 2004, Ross designed 15 paintings for the opening credits of the film Spider-Man 2. The paintings presented key elements from the first film. Ross later donated the paintings to be auctioned off on eBay to benefit the United Cancer Front.
In August 2005, Ross worked again with writer Jim Krueger and penciller Doug Braithwaite on 12-issue, bi-monthly limited series Justice for DC Comics. The series focuses on the enemies of the Justice League of America banding together to in an effort to defeat them.
The cover of the Savior of the Universe Edition DVD of the 1980 film Flash Gordon, released on August 7, 2007, features a cover painted by Ross. An avid fan of the film, he starred in a featurette on the DVD where he discussed the movie, which he names as his favorite movie of all time.
In 2008, Ross embarked on projects focusing on Golden Age characters: Project Superpowers with Jim Krueger for Dynamite Entertainment. That same year, Ross series, Avengers/Invaders, which he wrote and illustrated was published. It features Marvel characters but was published by Dynamite Entertainment. The story pits World War II versions of Captain America, Namor, and other classic war characters against the modern Avengers groups. Late 2008 saw the release of two Ross prints that were made into T-shirts: one, "Bush Sucking Democracy Dry", featuring George W. Bush as a vampire sucking the blood from Lady Liberty, and the other, "Time for a Change", featuring Barack Obama as a superhero. The latter was made into a T-shirt, with which Obama was seen posing at a public event. Ross also painted the Kollectors Edition cover for the console game Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. The artwork was released on October 9, 2008, as was a video chronicling Ross' process of painting it. Ross is also featured in his own segment on the Blu-ray/DVD included in the package.
Ross indicated at the 2009 San Diego Comic Con that he would illustrate covers for books featuring Fighting American, and was announced in 2010 as the creative director on The Phantom, both for Dynamite.
Ross teamed again with Kurt Busiek on Dynamite Entertainment's Kirby: Genesis, an eight-issue miniseries debuted in the first quarter of 2011. The series is their first full collaboration since Marvels 17 years previous, and features a large group of Jack Kirby's creator-owned characters, the rights to which were acquired by Dynamite, such as Silver Star, Captain Victory, Galaxy Green, Tiger 21 and the Ninth Men. Ross handles the series' co-plotting, designs, and covers, apart from overseeing the book overall with Busiek, who is the writer.
In 2012 Ross drew promotional artwork of Ratonhnhaké:ton, the main character of the video game Assassin's Creed III, used on the cover of the April 2012 issue of Game Informer and the collectible steelbook case provided with certain editions of the game. that same year, Ross returned to interior painted art with Masks, a story in which the Shadow, the Spider, the Green Hornet, Zorro and others join forces to combat a mutual threat.
In 2013 Ross created an exclusive GameStop pre-order poster for the video game Watch Dogs, which was scheduled for debut November 19 of that year, but has since been delayed to 2014. The game is set in Ross' home of Chicago, which Ross emphasized in the image by placing the Willis Tower and the elevated train tracks in the background.
DC Direct (the exclusive collectibles division of DC Comics) has produced 3 sets of action figures from the comic book Kingdom Come based on Alex Ross' artwork. The first set of figures included Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Hawkman. The second set included Batman, Red Robin, Captain Marvel, and Kid Flash. The last set included Magog, Flash, Armored Wonder Woman, and Deadman. An exclusive figure of Red Arrow was released through ToyFare magazine. DC Direct also released several other Ross-designed characters through their Elseworlds toylines. These figures included The Spectre, Norman McCay, Jade, Nightstar, Aquaman, and Blue Beetle. Ross designed the costume the current incarnation of Batwoman wears; this character has been released in action-figure form by DC Direct as part of its "52" line of toys.
- Series 1: Bizarro, Sinestro, Cheetah, Flash, Superman, Superman (Variant)
- Series 2: Aquaman, Batman, Black Canary, Black Manta, Parasite
- Series 3: Green Lantern, the Joker, Plastic Man, Poison Ivy, Wonder Woman
- Series 4: Black Adam, Hawkman, Shazam!, Solomon Grundy, Zatanna
- Series 5: Brainiac, Green Arrow, Lex Luthor, Martian Manhunter, Martian Manhunter (Translucent), Red Tornado.
- Series 6: Batman Armored, Green Lantern Armored, Hawkgirl, Scarecrow.
- Series 7: Aquaman Armored, Gorilla Grodd, Green Lantern John Stewart, Superman Armored
- Series 8: Batgirl, Captain Cold, Supergirl, Toyman
Ross won the Comics Buyer's Guide's CBG Fan Award for Favorite Painter seven years in a row, resulting in that publication's retirement of that category. Comics Buyer's Guide Senior Editor Maggie Thompson commented in regard to this in 2010, "Ross may simply be the field's Favorite Painter, period. That's despite the fact that many outstanding painters are at work in today's comic books."
- "Reinventing the pencil: 21 artists who changed mainstream comics (for better or worse)". The A.V. Club. July 20, 2009. Archived from the original on 27 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
- Mark Evanier. "Alex Ross' Hollywood press conference". "Point of View" Comics Buyer's Guide #1474; February 15, 2002
- Devlin, Desmond. "Graphic Novel Review: Garfield: His Most Over-Rendered Book". "The Fundalini Pages". Mad magazine #503 (May 2010). Page 10
- Thompson, Maggie. "Super-power to the people!" Comics Buyer's Guide. #1663 (March 2010), Page 16.
- "Alex Ross Biography". alexrossart.com. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
- "Once Upon A Time The Super Heroes". YouTube. December 6, 2007. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
- Comics Buyer's Guide #1485. May 3, 2002. Cover
- "The Creators," Avengers/Invaders Sketchbook (Marvel Comics, 2008).
- Brick, Scott (March 2007). "Alex Ross". Wizard Xtra!. p. 92.
- Weiland, Jonah (May 10, 2006). "Ten Years Later: Reflecting on "Kingdom Come" with Alex Ross". Comic Book Resources.
- Gaudiosi, John (May 1, 2013). "Alex Ross Talks Watch_Dogs Poster, Digital Comics And Video Games As Art". Forbes.
- "Spider-Man - Movie Concepts Gallery". alexrossart.com. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
- Mason, Chris (July 1, 2004). "EXCLUSIVE - Alex Ross Spider-Man 2 Art". Superhero Hype.
- "Opening Title Paintings From Spider-Man® 2 To Be Offered in Charity Auction on eBay Starting September 22". alexrossart.com. 2004. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
- "Opening Title Paintings From Spider-Man 2 To Be Offered in Charity Auction on eBay Starting September 22" Alex Ross Art
- "ADV Brings Gatchaman to America". Anime News Network. March 26, 2005. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- Orndorf, Brian (August 7, 2007). "Flash Gordon - Saviour of the Universe Edition". DVD Talk.
- "Ross! Krueger! Dynamite! 'SUPERPOWERS!'" Comic Book Resources. July 18, 2007
- George, Richard (August 11, 2007). "Interview: Alex Ross Returns to Marvel". IGN.
- Weiland, Jonah (August 14, 2007). "Ross' Return = 'Avengers/Invaders'". Comic Book Resources.
- "Alex Ross Talks Avengers/Invaders". Newsarama. August 14, 2007
- "Barack Obama: 'Here I Come To Save The Day'". The Black Art Depot Today. December 31, 2008.
- "Obama Sports Alex Ross T-Shirt". Alex Ross' Official Web Site. October 31, 2008.
- "Alex Ross Packaging Art for 'Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe'". Comic Book Resources. October 9, 2008.
- Phegley, Kiel. "CCI: Fighting American Comes to Dynamite", Comic Book Resources, July 24, 2009
- "ALEX ROSS & DYNAMITE Bring in THE PHANTOM". Newsarama. May 7, 2010
- Biggers, Cliff. "Kirby Genesis: A Testament to the King's Talent", Comic Shop News #1206, July 2010
- "ALEX ROSS & KURT BUSIEK Team For Dynamite's KIRBY: GENESIS". Newsarama. July 12, 2010
- Miller, Matt (March 1, 2012 ). "April Cover Revealed: Assassin's Creed III". Game Informer.
- "Assassin's Creed 3 Collector's Editions revealed - available to pre-order now". VideoGamer.com. March 26, 2012.
- Arrant, Chris (August 31, 2012). "Alex Ross Returns to Interior Painted Art in Masks". Newsarama.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Alex Ross.|
- Official website
- Alex Ross at the Comic Book DB
- Alex Ross at the Internet Movie Database
- Alex Ross Images. Comic Book Images Gallery.
- Alex Ross Books. ReviewAnt.
- Interview at Alex Ross Art (1997)
- Interview at The Jack Kirby Collector (1999)
- Interview at FilmForce (2003)
- Around Comics Interview on Around Comics 01/01/08