Welcome to my weekly column showcasing up and coming or undiscovered talent, bringing to your attention creators that I feel will be break-out stars in the near future. Some are already well on their way to super stardom, while some are just on the outskirts breaking in.
Everyone has a favorite comic book creator. One they’ve discovered recently, or maybe followed from the very beginning of their career. Some have so many favorites it’s hard to choose just one.
Every single one of those creators started somewhere, be it by producing photocopied mini comics to sell at their neighborhood comic shop, getting a table in the artist’s alley at their local comic convention, publishing fan fiction, posting images to deviantart.com, or doing commissions through the internet or at conventions.
Chris Mooneyham is a relative newcomer to the world of sequential storytelling, with just a few books under his belt, but with the high quality work he’s putting out he’ll surely be known as one of the greats in the near future.
A 2010 graduate of the esteemed Joe Kubert School, Mooneyham’s work has graced the pages and covers of Anathema, Five Ghosts, and Robocop: Memento Mori. With a style reminiscent of classic newspaper strips and comics of the past, but an eye toward the future. Mooneyham’s style is at once elegant and expressive, bringing to mind the past masters of the medium such as Hal Foster and Neal Adams, but with a contemporary edge.
His work has a refined quality to it, and flows exquisitely from one panel to the next, gently guiding the eye where he wants it to go. This is an artist with a vision, and the talent to bring that vision to the page. His superb attention to detail makes it very easy to find yourself lost in his pages, pouring over every panel far longer than needed to merely enjoy the story. His action scenes are tense and rife with movement, with a choreographers eye for motion.
His brushwork is solid, building upon the foundation laid by his pencil, with the polished artistry of a master. He has that rare ability to tell a story even without words to guide you, his character’s facial expressions, body language, and mannerisms effortlessly giving you all you need to understand the narrative.
Mooneyham knows exactly what the story is he’s trying to tell, and has the skills to bring it to life, even with just a single cover image. With so many covers being glorified pin-ups these days, Mooneyham’s set themselves apart by bringing you into the tale before you’ve even glanced at the splash page, giving you a glimpse at what’s to come while the book lies untouched on the shelf, in what seemed a lost art for many years in this medium.
Mooneyham’s page composition is truly where he shines though. You can tell he’s spent time studying the medium, and those that came before him. His use of negative space, and thoughtful design make his pages pop, while retaining that classic comic book look that sets him apart from many modern artists. There are reasons the five issue Five Ghosts mini-series has been picked up as an ongoing, and Mooneyham is surely one of the big ones.
With Five Ghosts Mooneyham is doing incredible work, but as a relative rookie in the field I see his work getting even better over time, with every project showing off new skills acquired by simply doing. If this is the caliber of work he’s consistently bringing to the table at this, the outset of his career, then he is surely a future comic rock star in the making.