Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The Art of Amanda Conner

Since its announcement last year, I've eagerly awaited the release of this book, and it has finally arrived! Conner is not only one of my favorite artists all around, but one who has been directly inspiring my own work for many years. I was first enamored with her work when I spied it on Vampirella, and around the same time I happened upon it in Barbie. I often picked up books like Barbie and Archie whenever the art peeks ever so cleverly outside of its studio style. Conner's work on Barbie called to my own sensibilities when (at the time) I was struggling to find my own artistic voice. I've been a follower ever since. Since her beginnings Conner seemed to work sporadically in comics, but over the last decade she seems to have found a deserved mainstream appeal. I dare say her name sells books.

There is no doubt a rise Conner's popularity was cemented by depictions of DC's Power Girl, a character whom could arguably now be most associated with Conner as the definitive artist. It's rare in fandom that this happens, while top-tier characters can be associated with multiple signature artists, the middle ones usually have a brief but notable alignment with an artist who just "got it." With the possible exception of Adam Hughes, Conner pretty much owns Power-Girl.

The Art of Amanda Conner is a colorful collection that covers her artistic career from early on to her most recent projects. Dozens of comics covers, designs, sketches, interior pencils and inks are displayed mostly chronologically, and by character or company. Most surprising is the volume of work you have most likely not seen-- several independent projects and corporate illustration works are presented and are a great look into her work outside of comics. There is alot of art represented, though I would have preferred more showcases in a full page format rather than the collage layout most pages have. Conner's art is razor sharp and full of personality, seeing full pages of inked pieces would certainly have been an additional boon. 

There is accompanying text and several photographs of Conner and cohorts, showcasing her charm and humor that has in no small part grown her fan base over her career. Alongside Conner's own creations and lesser known characters, it is hard to deny that her approaches to Power-Girl, Supergirl, Black Canary, and numerous other heroes and heroines are the ones you want to see all the time.

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