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Rough Justice: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross

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Alex Ross opens his private sketchbooks to reveal his astonishing pencil and ink drawings of DC Comics characters, nearly all of them appearing in print here for the first time.   Thousands of fans from around the world have trilled to Alex’s fully rendered photo-realistic painting of their favorite heroes, but as they may not realize, all of those works start as pencil on p Alex Ross opens his private sketchbooks to reveal his astonishing pencil and ink drawings of DC Comics characters, nearly all of them appearing in print here for the first time.   Thousands of fans from around the world have trilled to Alex’s fully rendered photo-realistic painting of their favorite heroes, but as they may not realize, all of those works start as pencil on paper, and the origins of the finished images are rarely seen. Until now.   From deleted scenes and altered panels for the epic Kingdom Come saga to proposals for revamping such classic properties as Batgirl, Captain Marvel, and an imagined son of Batman named Batboy, to unused alternate comic book cover ideas for the monthly Superman and Batman comics of 2008-2009, there is much to surprise and delight anyone who thought they already know all of Alex’s DC Comics work.   Illuminating everything is Alex’s own commentary, written expressly for this book, explaining his though processes and stylistic approaches for the various riffs and reimaginings of characters we thought we knew everything about but whose possibilities we didn’t fully understand.   As a record of a pivotal era in comics history, Rough Justice is a must for Alex’s legion of fans, as well as anyone interested in masterly comic book imagination and illustration.


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Alex Ross opens his private sketchbooks to reveal his astonishing pencil and ink drawings of DC Comics characters, nearly all of them appearing in print here for the first time.   Thousands of fans from around the world have trilled to Alex’s fully rendered photo-realistic painting of their favorite heroes, but as they may not realize, all of those works start as pencil on p Alex Ross opens his private sketchbooks to reveal his astonishing pencil and ink drawings of DC Comics characters, nearly all of them appearing in print here for the first time.   Thousands of fans from around the world have trilled to Alex’s fully rendered photo-realistic painting of their favorite heroes, but as they may not realize, all of those works start as pencil on paper, and the origins of the finished images are rarely seen. Until now.   From deleted scenes and altered panels for the epic Kingdom Come saga to proposals for revamping such classic properties as Batgirl, Captain Marvel, and an imagined son of Batman named Batboy, to unused alternate comic book cover ideas for the monthly Superman and Batman comics of 2008-2009, there is much to surprise and delight anyone who thought they already know all of Alex’s DC Comics work.   Illuminating everything is Alex’s own commentary, written expressly for this book, explaining his though processes and stylistic approaches for the various riffs and reimaginings of characters we thought we knew everything about but whose possibilities we didn’t fully understand.   As a record of a pivotal era in comics history, Rough Justice is a must for Alex’s legion of fans, as well as anyone interested in masterly comic book imagination and illustration.

30 review for Rough Justice: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael Emond

    As another reviewer summed up "little of the promised insight" and that is the problem with this book. I love the artwork of Alex Ross. He is a genius and his early works Marvels and Kingdom Come are must haves for any serious comic fan's bookshelf. And while I did "enjoy" looking at the pencils and character designs in this book, any fan would be better served by Mythology or World's Greatest Super-Heroes and get his true finished art. There are far too many pages of unfinished art or design ar As another reviewer summed up "little of the promised insight" and that is the problem with this book. I love the artwork of Alex Ross. He is a genius and his early works Marvels and Kingdom Come are must haves for any serious comic fan's bookshelf. And while I did "enjoy" looking at the pencils and character designs in this book, any fan would be better served by Mythology or World's Greatest Super-Heroes and get his true finished art. There are far too many pages of unfinished art or design art that aren't that interesting to look at. I would much rather reread Mythology again. The one OTHER reason for a book like this (other than to see some wonderful pencil art) is to get a little hint behind the mind of the art...but other than a few thousand words of text, this is not included. Which is a true shame. It is obvious Alex cares a great deal about his art and puts a lot of thought into it but this book doesn't let us get to know him, or really his art process, any better. I would only suggest this to uber-serious fans. I consider myself a BIG fan, but that wasn't enough for me to recommend this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Serge Pierro

    Alex Ross fans already know that he is a great painter, for years he has dazzled readers with his realistic renderings of characters for both Marvel and DC. However, rarely are we given the opportunity to see the behind the scenes foundations of those paintings. With "Rough Justice: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross" we are provided with some insight into Ross's incredibly rendered pencil sketches that are used as the basis for his paintings. While not all of the sketches are fully rendered, Alex Ross fans already know that he is a great painter, for years he has dazzled readers with his realistic renderings of characters for both Marvel and DC. However, rarely are we given the opportunity to see the behind the scenes foundations of those paintings. With "Rough Justice: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross" we are provided with some insight into Ross's incredibly rendered pencil sketches that are used as the basis for his paintings. While not all of the sketches are fully rendered, they still show the technique of a master craftsman at work. My only real disappointment about the book is that there is no "start to finish" piece presented. I would have liked to have seen a workflow from thumbnails to finished painting or a step by step rough sketch to final pencil rendering. Nonetheless, the artwork contained within is nothing short of brilliant and certainly makes up for any shortcomings!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Toth

    Great coffee table read!! Rough Justice was the perfect balance between the artist insight of Alex Ross and fantastic pencil sketches of some of the most iconic DC comics series and characters!

  4. 5 out of 5

    David Turko

    Title says it all. Sketches done by Alex Ross, nuff said.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    Would have liked to see some of the finished artwork for projects/suggestions that were approved.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Parka

    (More pictures at parkablogs.com) I would say this book is as good as Mythology, his other art book featuring his paintings. In this book, we see the groundwork he lays for those paintings. There are sketches storyboards and layouts, character designs, covers and hand scribbled notes. Many of the sketches, like various iterations for covers, are appearing from the first time. And it's not really all black and white, there are a few pieces painted quickly with colour for quick colour tests. I'v (More pictures at parkablogs.com) I would say this book is as good as Mythology, his other art book featuring his paintings. In this book, we see the groundwork he lays for those paintings. There are sketches storyboards and layouts, character designs, covers and hand scribbled notes. Many of the sketches, like various iterations for covers, are appearing from the first time. And it's not really all black and white, there are a few pieces painted quickly with colour for quick colour tests. I've to add that the scans are really good also, showing off the marvelous shading and grain. You get to see the final pencil stage, before shadows and paint are added, as he focuses on the contours and surfaces. The usual powerhouse cast of DC characters are all in: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Black Canary, and many more. But it's not all character art. There are also design sketches for the Justice Batmobile, logo designs and concepts he did for a literacy campaign (which shows Batman hanging from a stone gargoyle from some skyscraper while reading a book). The drawings look really quite different without the colours and I could barely recognise to compared with the original paintings from his previous book. But make no mistake, the same flair and realism is still there on every page. You can still see the intense attention paid to the detail of musculature, composition, lighting, facial expression, drapery and mood. There's also commentary by Alex Ross himself, in addition to the hand scribbled notes. He talks about his designs, the creative process and on why some ideas just didn't make the cut. Highly recommended to fans and comic artists. 5 out of 5 pencils.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jamil

    say what you will about Alex Ross and his artwork -- static, photorealistic renditions that seek to elevate yet typically drain the life from sequential work -- the man loves what he loves & lots of comics fans love what he does. The preparatory work contained in this volume holds a lot more dynamism than his finished art. Plus the man is a fount of ideas, yes, mostly based on silver aged characterizations dating from his youth, but not all bad. The Batwoman design that J.H. Williams III has bee say what you will about Alex Ross and his artwork -- static, photorealistic renditions that seek to elevate yet typically drain the life from sequential work -- the man loves what he loves & lots of comics fans love what he does. The preparatory work contained in this volume holds a lot more dynamism than his finished art. Plus the man is a fount of ideas, yes, mostly based on silver aged characterizations dating from his youth, but not all bad. The Batwoman design that J.H. Williams III has been successfully depicting in an acclaimed run for Detective Comics turns out to be a re-purposed Ross design for a reborn Barbara Gordon/Batgirl. There's a great silver & red design for the Atom that actually (& fittingly for a bleeding-edge science-based hero) looks ultramodern. & his casting of Grant Morrison for a potential redesign of Superman villain Brainiac, well, that's just brilliant.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Erik

    Ross’s last coffee-table book, Mythology, may have been the a brilliant retrospective covering most of his career at the point of publication, but Rough Justice is still a gem – if not a smaller one – as it focuses on his penciled ideas and rough sketches starting with his work on his last full DC pantheon series, Justice. Also included are his ideas for a Captain Marvel revamp – inspired by the long-forgotten Shazam! TV series from the 70s – and a never-developed Batboy series. (Image the Teen Ross’s last coffee-table book, Mythology, may have been the a brilliant retrospective covering most of his career at the point of publication, but Rough Justice is still a gem – if not a smaller one – as it focuses on his penciled ideas and rough sketches starting with his work on his last full DC pantheon series, Justice. Also included are his ideas for a Captain Marvel revamp – inspired by the long-forgotten Shazam! TV series from the 70s – and a never-developed Batboy series. (Image the Teen Titans, as adults, taking over the mantle of the Justice League.) In these beautifully produced pages, Ross’s architectural eye and astonishing realism have never been more evident.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Soledad P

    Creo que ha sido de los mejores libros gráficos que han pasado por mis manos este año. Excelente, la gráfica de Alex Ross es notable y ver cómo le cuesta que le acepten algún diseño de portada o idea hace pensar en lo difícil que es el trabajo de dibujante, aunque seas muy bueno. También están interesante los proyectos que tiene y que nunca llegaron a ver la luz (como Batman Jr., jajaja). Buen libro para los amantes del arte gráfico y para los que no, también.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    This book is full of sketches by the comic artist Alex Ross. Lots of unique drawings that will give fans an interesting perspective of the artist. While the written material is likely to only appeal to fans, the art should also appeal to students learning the craft of illustration. Notes Ross has been awarded an Eisner Learning Curve Low: Good for new readers

  11. 5 out of 5

    AK Mama Reads

    A beautifully designed book bringing you some amazing sketches and roughs from comic artist Alex Ross. With roughs and sketches from JSA, Kingdom Come, Batman RIP and more, plus some never-published characters and concepts, this is a terrific read and true work of art!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jacobi

    As far as art books go, I enjoyed this one quite a bit. The best bits were when Ross shared art for projects that never came to pass, and how some of that stuff was used in later books later. There isn't a lot of meat to this book, but if you're a fan of Ross Rough Justice is worth a look. As far as art books go, I enjoyed this one quite a bit. The best bits were when Ross shared art for projects that never came to pass, and how some of that stuff was used in later books later. There isn't a lot of meat to this book, but if you're a fan of Ross Rough Justice is worth a look.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

    Great inside look at Ross's process. His commentary on what DC chose and rejected was also enlightening, though, sadly, unsurprising. It was wonderful to see that Ross is interested in characters other than the Big 2, which seem to be the only ones DC wants him to draw. Great inside look at Ross's process. His commentary on what DC chose and rejected was also enlightening, though, sadly, unsurprising. It was wonderful to see that Ross is interested in characters other than the Big 2, which seem to be the only ones DC wants him to draw.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    Nice look into Alex Ross' work and snippets of text offer insight into both his conception of the work and his working relationship with DC. Nice look into Alex Ross' work and snippets of text offer insight into both his conception of the work and his working relationship with DC.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    amazing art

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kurt Zisa

    Great art book showing the composition and creativity of Alex Ross. Vibrant and full illustrations give this book the feeling of a fine art book. A must read for any comics fan.

  17. 4 out of 5

    D

    Neat to see the process, but there was little of the promised insight.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Becky Churchman

    I'm a big fan of Alex Ross. It almost boggles my mind that even his sketches are this detailed. Makes me jealous! I'm a big fan of Alex Ross. It almost boggles my mind that even his sketches are this detailed. Makes me jealous!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Osvaldo Bulos Ramírez

  20. 5 out of 5

    ComicNerdSam

  21. 4 out of 5

    James Mckinnie

  22. 5 out of 5

    GreyCoven

  23. 4 out of 5

    David Veto

  24. 5 out of 5

    Janet Estrada

  25. 5 out of 5

    Limitless Imagination

  26. 4 out of 5

    K

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rose

  28. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rifan

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tim Potter

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