Yesterday I was reminded of the incomparable work of Francesco Francavilla, the artist currently behind Dynamic Forces Zorro, the fan-favorite Black Coat & several other projects, and I wanted to encourage any readers that haven’t yet stumbled upon his Pulp Sunday Blog to make it a point to check it out pronto! Here’s a creative talent that not only reveres the classic pulps, providing regular radio shows and insights for the reader, but who takes the time to provide a lush illustration, or two, for the radio showcase that week.
And what a heck of an artist he is. His style has been described as a successful mix of Alex Toth, Joe Kubert, Alex Raymond and several other industry legends, and just like them, he can tell a fantastic story. Whether it’s a sequential panel, or a one-page cover/splash, his images are always impeccably composed in their simplicity, and always convey a glimpse into a larger tapestry where a story is unfolding. As he once told Rick Remender:
At the core of my being, I am a storyteller. I cannot go a day without drawing or somehow expressing in some way the stories or characters I have in my head. For me, doing book illustrations or concept art is rewarding because it is drawing. But what really makes my heart sing is being part of telling a story. When I read a comic or watch a movie, it’s like I’m listening to a story, which I enjoy but it’s a more passive experience. But when I create a comic (or maybe in the future direct a film), I become the storyteller. I just can’t imagine a greater joy than that.
Francavilla is easily one of the most talented artists working in comics (and pulps) today and good for him that he’s able to stretch his muscles on Zorro, with Matt Wagner, a character obviously very near and dear to his heart. I’m currently holding out for the TPB collections (as unfortunately I hear that the issues do suffer from serious story decompression) and I hope that we’ll see more of his work on The Black Coat (amazing stuff!) in the months and years to come.