Heroes & Villains: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross

Oct 16, 2014 - Jan 18, 2015

Over the last two decades, caped crusaders have literally been flying off the pages of comic books and graphic novels, due in large part to the work of one very talented illustrator: Alex Ross. Known for his unique, photorealistic renderings of such beloved superheroes as Superman, Batman and Spider-Man, Ross helped revitalize the comic book industry, capturing a new generation of readers, and bridging the gap between comic and fine art.
This fall, The Haggin Museum will present an in-depth look at Ross’ career in the special exhibition, Heroes & Villains: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross, the first museum exhibition to celebrate his artwork. Organized by the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the exhibition features more than 130 works, including paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculptures from Ross’ personal collection. The pieces range from childhood drawings of superheroes, to his groundbreaking work for such books as Marvels and Justice, and his hugely successful series, Kingdom Come.
The exhibition also examines the connections between Alex Ross and some of his predecessors as it includes original artwork by J.C. Leyendecker, Andrew Loomis, Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol. Heroes & Villains uniquely complements The Haggin Museum’s galleries, which contain the largest collection of J.C. Leyendecker works held by any museum. Throughout his career, Ross has repeatedly cited the enormous influence that illustrators like Leyendecker had on the development of his personal style.

“I began to study the classic American illustrators like Rockwell and J. C. Leyendecker,” Ross said. “I’ve been called ‘The Norman Rockwell of comics more than a hundred times.”
Born in Portland, Oregon in 1970 and raised in Lubbock, Texas, Ross exhibited an exceptional talent for drawing early in his life. By the age of 17, he was studying painting at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. At 19, Ross received his first assignment from Marvel Comics. Ross went on to win the Comic Buyer’s Guide Award for favorite painter so many times that the award was retired. 

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