Ariel Marsh @ Hal Con 2012

Ariel Marsh, Hal Con 2012, Black Womb, Xander DrewOkay, as promised, here is Ariel Marsh’s very different take on Black Womb.

So Ariel mainly draws cute things, like the kittens and cats in Super Galactic Space Explorers (review coming soon). She has an anime-tinged cartoon style that is actually very evocative and good at telling the story. It deals with firm lines and set character models, making the story easier to follow than stories in which character designs and proportions change from panel to panel. I actually liken her to John Romita Jr, in that I honestly believe that someday she will be known as the greatest storyteller in comics, even if her pin-up art might be sometimes hit-and-miss (no disrespect intended. All art, really, is hit-and-miss).

All that said, she did an amazing piece for me after reading the prolog of Black Womb last year that proved she understood the tone and intent of the story.

So this year when I was making my rounds, I naturally wanted more from her. I gave the same pitch I gave to all the other artists, comparing the demeanor and look of the Womb to popular characters from comics that everyone knows how to drawn, then explaining why mine is a little different. It works well, I’ve found. Ariel isn’t really into monsters though and was one of the only artists to ask for more information, so we got into the transformation and how he transforms, what triggers the transformation and finally to Xander himself. I often find it hard to describe the personality of early Xander, and swing between “pensive” and “emo”. I should not have said “emo,” but it made Ariel smile and she went right to work.

Not long after she came back with this, which looks frigging amazing. This image of Xander in mid-transformation is so different from anything I would have envisioned yet so perfect at the same time. There’s a whimsey to it and a sinisterness to it at the same time which I couldn’t have gotten if I tried. It fits so well into those scenes where Xander enjoys what he does, like right before taking out someone that’s been plaguing him for some time. And there are details that Ellen really loved: skinny jeans, wallet chain, and the belt buckle. And the hair-flip. It’s just perfect.

And the heart on the chest? Very reminiscent of the Black Womb symbol. All good things.

Anyone looking for great art? Stop by her booth at Hal Con 2013.

Never Look Back
Matthew LeDrew

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