It’s been an incredibly long time since I’ve written this column (click here for past installments), but it’s always been a favorite of mine for the sheer joy it brings me to share art with you. Since this week marks the three-year anniversary of the very first Future Comic Rock Stars column I’ve been feeling a bit sentimental. It doesn’t hurt that in the meantime this industry has exploded with uncompromising new talent. One such artist is the brilliant Javier Fernandez.
Hailing from Spain, Javier has been killing it on books such as Nightwing, Magneto, Doomed, and others for the last few years after starting out on Flashpoint: The Outsider for DC. His first published work was (as far as he recalls) a project for Glenat Spain called Un Buen Hombre, and ever since his brush has been imbuing these fantastical worlds with his own brand of dark realism. His covers are striking; bold ideas given life with a deftness and confidence belaying his relative newness to the form.
This cover for Nightwing 33 is a perfect example of his mastery; A chilling story told with a single image. This cover, posted via Twitter just the other day, was in fact the inspiration for my return to this column. His Nightwing covers represent some of the best comic art I’ve seen in recent years, and this one is no oddity. The horror is palpable, and I can’t wait to see how this story ends.
Javier gives these images weight and depth, with an insane level of detail. There is a sense of urgency and playfulness on display that just pulls you into his world and doesn’t let go even after you’ve looked away. His cover concepts are so different from any others you see on the shelf, and his execution is flawless. When so many comic covers are simply pin-ups (and there’s nothing wrong with that) Javier’s works are full-blown masterpieces. Hyperbole intended.
His interiors are no less stunning. His layouts are dynamic and edgy, yet don’t get in the way of or overshadow his brilliant storytelling ability. Your eye dances across the page as his panels lead you effortlessly, sashaying and pirouetting from moment to moment, page to page.
There are no boring “talking heads” to slow the pacing, as even those moments have an excitement to them. Comics are a collaborative effort, for sure, but it takes a true storyteller to translate words into motion on the page, and to keep things moving while disseminating all the details that could slow the proceedings. Javier has mastered that delicate balancing act.
I had a ton of fun researching (reading comics, stealing art from his Twitter account) this column, and soaking in all of this amazing art by Javier Fernandez, a Future Comic Rock Star for sure, and I highly recommend picking up his work. Nightwing volume three just came out last month, and the Rebirth: Nightwing volume one deluxe hardcover is out today and both are great places to start.