Broadly speaking, all people – artistic or otherwise – are naturally able to draw one of two things.
No matter how good or bad you are with a pencil, it should feel more natural when drawing either people and animals… or buildings and mechanical. Very rarely is a person/artist able to find the perfect visual sweet-spot inside both of those areas. Bryan Hitch is one of those artists.
His architecture and wide-angle detail is always, always stunning… and I’m quite sure that’s why Marvel hired him for the Age of Ultron gig despite his rather theatrical exit from the house of ideas last year. The scope, scale and destruction make for an extremely cinematic look, and in these panels/pages it works fantastically well. Hitch’s art is a lesson in making the location as big a character in the story in as guys and girls in tights on centre stage.
My favourite of Hitch’s work appeared in Millar’s run on the Ultimates, where I saw — arguably — the best mixture of people-art and structural-art that’s ever been showcased in the same book… for my money at least. The establishing, cityscape shots and transitions are so detailed and so impressive and then when the scene begins to unfold with a quiet dialog or narrative, the accuracy and detail in faces and bodies is equally impressive. Body language, gravity, chemistry, anatomy etc, are ridiculously sweet against the sweeping backgrounds.
I really liked Cap specifically in those books. I loved the tone and the innocence and his gentlemanly, old-fashioned and military physicality, a thick and heavy-looking soldier, slightly weathered and maybe kind of dumb-looking. He’ll fight blindly for his country and he’ll fight until the fight is finished… all with a proud heart and probably a smile.
I understand that Bendis is telling a different story and with different characters in Aof U. But I still think Hitch could’ve retained a little more of Cap’s dignity in the artwork, as he has done previously (crying or no crying) but sadly, he hasn’t quite managed it. The final splash in issue 2 shows a strange-looking Cap and it’s just… wrong.
Bryan Hitch is one of my favourite artists. I want him to do well and I want him to be inspired and turned on by what he’s doing. I remember the ‘occasion’ that surrounded his leaving Marvel and how excited he was to work on America’s Got Powers with Jonathan Ross, which seems to have been sacrificed due to AofU. I don’t presume to know what’s happening in Bryan Hitch’s life, OR how much pressure he was under to finish the work on time, OR how many times the editor asked for adjustments OR if the art is intentionally brittle and vulnerable at this point in the story, to increase intensity for the victory moment (sure to happen in a few books time). But I do wish that a realistic amount of time was taken to produce the best looking book possible, and that Hitch was given all the breathing space necessary to produce a level of quality that we’ve all come to expect. Whether we deserve it or not.
I think it’s important not to hate on Hitch too much here! He’s an incredibly accomplished artist and a British one no less. I’ll definitely keep buying into the books and I’ll continue to love them too.
My #1 was signed by Hitch at Forbidden Planet and I shall treasure it for sure.
Don’t forget to click over to this week’s new page of my own #WebComic: CandyAppleFox and let me know what you think.