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"There have always been naysayers. People who absolutely thought painting superheroes wasn't going to work. I had try to prove those people wrong."
Ross, The Art of Painted Comics
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THE Comic Book Painter.

You remember those realistic-looking paintings of superheroes that made it plausible for people to run around wearing those costumes? They're probably the work of this guy.

Nelson Alexander "Alex" Ross (born January 22, 1970) is a painter, character designer, and plotter who set the bar for painted comic book art. After discovering Spider-Man on an episode of The Electric Company, Ross became a huge fan of the superhero genre and attempted to emulate artists like John Romita Sr. and George Perez when he decided to become an illustrator in the industry. Soon, however, he discovered the painted works of artists like Norman Rockwell and envisioned superheroes being drawn in the same style and quality. With this goal in mind, Ross graduated from the American Academy of Art in Chicago and pursued work in the comic book industry. He hit it big with his beautifully crafted recreations of iconic Marvel Comics moments and characters in Marvels. He continued his success over at DC with Kingdom Come and later with Justice. Ross is also in the creator-owned side of things with works like Uncle Sam and Astro City.

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Ross also worked on artwork for Unbreakable, Spider-Man 2, and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe.

Due to the lengthy process of painting his art (he forgoes digital for more traditional methods), you'll seldom see him actually draw interiors. Nowadays, he's stuck with cover art (mainly at Marvel), character design, or whatever he feels like doing. Nobody's really complaining, though.

He's also fond of Reconstruction and Genre Throwback. He's not fond of The Dark Age of Comic Books. Or Wolverine (at least until Hugh Jackman came along).

Official website. Official Twitter.

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Tropes applying to Alex Ross:

  • Art Shift: Don't let his photorealistic style fool you; Ross is very capable of drawing in the styles of other mediums or artists. Take for instance this Shazam piece which was confirmed to be hand-drawn.
  • Author Appeal: Ross really likes The Golden Age and The Silver Age of Comic Books.
    • He's also a big fan of Superfriends, so references are abound.
  • The Cameo / Creator Cameo: He'll often paint other characters, celebrities, or other comic creators into the panel.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Since he uses models and reference photos for his work, the use of this trope is more clear than other examples.
  • Converted Fanboy: He couldn't care less for the X-Men, especially for Wolverine. It wasn't until Bryan Singer's film and Hugh Jackman's performance that Ross wanted in on the movie-inspired relaunch.
  • Creator's Pest: invoked Famously dislikes Kyle Rayner Green Lantern, and goes out of his way to avoid drawing him.
  • Doing It for the Art:invoked The man learned how to paint like Norman Rockwell just because he wanted to draw superheroes in a style not commonly seen before.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Ross was inspired into the business by the likes of George Perez, who he pays tribute to by occasionally also filling panels and pages with craploads of characters.
  • Only Six Faces: Reusing the same models over and over for reference can only do so much when painting a buttload of superheroes who are supposed to have different appearances. Martian Manhunter is essentially Superman but with a bigger brow and painted green.
  • Reconstruction: Besides his more idealistic works, the man's artwork in general makes it plausible that these people can go out in those costumes and fight crime without looking silly.
  • What Could Have Been: invokedAs a concept artist, Ross has tried his hand at providing preliminary designs for potential reboots or just alternate costumes. Most infamous are his design sketches for Sam Raimi's Spider-Man: a Spider-Man redesign which would eventually be the inspiration for Superior Spider-Man and a medieval-looking Green Goblin.
  • Writer on Board: The stuff where he has a big hand in the writing will have some sort of Take That! towards The Dark Age of Comic Books.
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