Future Comic Rock Stars – Evan ‘Doc’ Shaner

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DamianWelcome 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.

DoomPatrolI discovered Evan ‘Doc’ Shaner’s work through the blog Comic Twart a couple of years ago, and have been following his career ever since.

Shaner graduated Central Michigan University with a Bachelor’s degree in drawing, and worked at Central Michigan Life as a Staff Cartoonist until he went freelance in 2008. Since then he has had work published by Oni Press, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, and Archaia Entertainment, as both an illustrator and colorist.

ShazamTwartWith his ability to adapt and evolve style wise, it’s no surprise that his work is as diverse as it is. From  Jim Henson’s The Storyteller to Deadpool, Shaner has the ability to find the essence of the character, and then render them in his own inimitable style. His work has a carefree flow to it, his ink lines dance across the page with reckless abandon.

Shaner especially excels when working within the golden/silver age, and he was born to draw DC’s Captain Marvel! He effortlessly captures the fun and excitement of the era, and his brief turn don Adventures of Superman on the three part Only Child arc felt like a true flashback to an earlier, quainter time.

FlashGordonHe has a natural comic strip style, in the vein of Milton Caniff or Al Williamson, both obvious favorites of his, and his upcoming work on Flash Gordon for Dynamite Entertainment is surely going to go down as a classic run.

His uncanny ability to not mimic, but distill the essence of an era, style, or artform, from old movie posters to dime novel covers, really sets him apart from many of his contemporaries, yet he fits right in with some of the best. There seems to be a movement of sorts happening in comics the last few years, a broadening of what comic art can look like, and Shaner is at the front of it all.

Whether it be science fiction, superheroics, or kid friendly fare, Shaner tackles them all with an unbridled abandon and instills in them an incredible sense of fun and timelessness that has been long missing from comics. Remember when comics were about adventure, and escaping from the darkness of the real world? Evan ‘Doc’ Shaner does, and this is why he is a future comic rock star.

Next week I’ll bring you another.

You can see more of his work, including process shots, here and here, and make sure to follow him on Twitter.

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