Welcome to my somewhat 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. Some come from the world of graphic design, advertizing illustration, or fine art, using those jobs to pay the bills in the meantime.
Then came their break. Something they did got noticed, an editor got in touch, and they were on their way. A fill in page here, a small press book there, maybe a miniseries or one-shot for one of the big two. Something about their style catches fan’s eyes, and their star begins to rise.
Lotay is far from new to the industry, even if she has few comics under her belt. As show runner of the hugely popular Thought Bubble Festival, the largest popular culture event in the UK, as well as Creative Director of Travelling Man Comics & Games, she has had strong ties within comics for quite a few years.
She has had her hauntingly beautiful work showcased in Thought Bubble Anthology, American Vampire, Fairest: In All The Land, Justice League #23.3, Legends of Red Sonja, and more, with most of those being single pages or short stories. Supreme: Blue Rose will be her first ongoing series, and it will be one that will surprise many for it’s painterly take on this meta superhero myth. I’ve seen some preview pages, and they really blew me away.
Lotay’s artwork has a surreal quality to it, grounded in reality but with little flourishes of the fantastic, rather befitting the story Ellis will likely be telling. Due to her artwork, whimsical yet with a darkness to it,this new series will be different than any other mainstream superhero book presently gracing comic shop shelves. Her panel placement is simple, nothing too flashy or dynamic, letting what’s inside the presented squares and rectangles be the focus. And they are jam packed. There is not an inch of wasted space, not a single blank background, and everything is placed just right to guide your eyes to what is important.
Her lines have a delicate quality to them, all soft angles and dancing line widths, the tell-tale signs of a painter’s brush. Lotay’s characters are very diverse, an unfortunately rare thing in recent years. She has mastered the art of showing, not telling, using subtle gestures and body language to tell her character’s stories. A raised eyebrow her, slumped shoulders there, even without dialog you know exactly what’s going on in their heads.
Supreme: Blue Rose is seriously a gorgeous looking book, and will surely be a hit. I’ve only seen a handful of pages, but from those and her other printed works, and the fact that Warren Ellis only works with the best, I’m confident that Tula Lotay is a future comic rock star. Next week, I’ll bring you another.