Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Art of Noel Sickles

IDW Publishing has announced the publication of a deluxe 394-page hardcover collecting the entire run (1933-1936) of groundbreaking artist Noel Sickles on the Scorchy Smith comic strip. The latest addition to The Library of American Comics, an IDW imprint, Scorchy Smith and the Art of Noel Sickles is edited and designed by Dean Mullaney, whose work on The Complete Terry and the Pirates has earned him two 2008 Eisner Award nominations. The title will be released July 30, 2008.

During the three years that Noel Sickles wrote and illustrated Scorchy Smith, he revolutionized the field when he moved away from the heavy black outlines predominant in the comic strips of the day. He adopted storytelling techniques from the motion pictures, while relying on brushwork to create a looser, chairoscuro representation of people, action, and scenery. Pete Hamill observed, "Sickles was the first artist to use the brush boldly, in an impressionistic way."

"Scorchy Smith became a primer from which a multitude of comic book and strip artists cribbed mercilessly for decades," writes Jim Steranko in his introduction to the book. Longtime Spider-Man artist John Romita Sr. says, "The whole industry was copying from Sickles."

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