Tuesday, 22 June 2010
Color Your Dreams - And Your Nightmares...
Mirabilis Year of Wonders". Working with Leo Hartas's distinctly linear rendering Nikos adds layers of color and modeling which actually add to rather than conflict with Leo's linework. The finished result is indeed a wonder to add to the year of wonders.
Ecole Nationnale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs and then headed off to the California Institute of the Arts, where he further refined his skills.
So let's look at an example of his work as he tackles one of the (imo) greatest stories ever to appear in comics, the sequence in question of which I'm only going to show two pages to avoid spoilers, was when I first read it some thirty something years ago one of the most genuinely chilling moments in comics that I'd yet encountered. Roy Thomas and Barry Smith's adaptation of Robert E. Howard's "Red Nails", is in every way conceivable a tour de force, Smith went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that this his swansong on Conan would be as good a job as he could deliver and the result is so haunting that images from the story have burnt their way indelibly into my subconscious.
The story first appeared in Savage Tales in 1973 and then a couple of years later was colored up for inclusion in the large format Marvel Treasury edition. Isenove's version which appears in the recently published Barry Smith Conan Archives volume 2, is the first version which truly evokes the colors and atmosphere of the jade city trapped within an outer temple where light seldom ventures and nameless horrors await incautious visitors.
Isenove has admittedly from a purist standpoint, taken liberties with Smith's line work by transposing elements of it into separate channels and adding flaring and textures, but I've got to reluctantly admit that for me, it does work and while I still prefer the black and white version as far as Red Nails in color goes, this is the best I've come across. An instance where the colorist has attempted to put himself inside the head of the artist and in the process added to rather than subtracted from the work itself.
An interview with Isenove can be accessed here: