Commenter Swampy and I have been going ’round and ’round about comic illustrator Greg Land. Land has provided illustrations for a large number of comics, including Ultimate Fantastic Four, Birds of Prey, Sojourn, and more. Swampy says Land is great because he illustrates very pretty pictures of very pretty women.
It is very pretty, isn’t it?
I used to believe Land was pretty good, but I don’t anymore. I think Greg Land is a rotten artist, and I’m amazed that he gets any work at all.
Wanna know why? First, let’s talk about the concept of “drawing from life.” This is something that almost every artist does. You have a model who you photograph, either posed or unposed, and you use that photo as a reference while you’re drawing. Or you have a model who comes in, and you draw them live. This isn’t just a comic book thing — just about every artist draws from life at one time or another. Rembrandt did it. Da Vinci did it. Caravaggio did it. Alex Ross does it. No one minds.
Now, let’s talk about lightboxing. You can take a drawing or a photograph of anything and attach it to a lightbox, which works by beaming light through the picture and onto a drawing surface. (That’s simplifying quite a bit, because there are lots of different kinds of lightboxes, but most of them work approximately the same way.) When you’ve got the picture beamed onto your drawing surface, you can put a piece of paper down on it and trace the picture almost perfectly.
Greg Land doesn’t draw from life. He lightboxes. He isn’t an artist. He’s a tracer.
Let’s look at some more pictures.
Game, set, and match — makes it pretty darn obvious, doesn’t it? It’s like someone dared him to make it as howlingly obvious as possible.
Land has also picked up some photos from Sports Illustrated and pinup calendars.
He also steals artwork from other artists. Like Travis Charest…
…and Bryan Hitch…
I gotta say, stealing artwork from movies or magazines is bad enough, but lifting your stuff directly from other artists and trying to pass it off as your own? That’s beyond low. That’s “beat you in the head with a posthole digger” low. That’s “avoid going to conventions so you don’t meet the people you stole from” low.
Land also picks up a lot of his “artwork” directly from pornography. He does this so darn much that a lot of folks refer to some of his artwork as “pornface.” For example, there’s this one, which is pretty much the best known example of “pornface.”
And then there’s this one, which is supposedly someone being thrown through the air by a shockwave.
Umm, wow. Wow. Yeah, I just bet that came from “legitimate photography,” don’tcha think? And I’m sure she’s 18, trust me on that one…
Especially frustrating is that fact that Land will trace these pictures, and then not try to fix the hair or faces so they look the same. For instance, in one issue of “Ultimate Fantastic Four”:
Sue Storm starts out with straight hair, but a few panels later…
Boom! Curly hair! Maybe it just got real humid? Or maybe Land was too lazy to change the hair from the curly-haired model to match the straight hair that the previous model had…
Why do comic companies continue to hire him? I really don’t know. If I were them, I’d be scared to death that one of these artists or photographers would discover Land’s theft and sue the snot out of the company. Comics companies have gotten in big trouble for this in the past — why would they risk having to pay someone a big wad of cash for this? Land’s hack artwork surely can’t be worth that kind of legal danger…
So does it really matter? Land’s fans say that as long as he keeps putting pretty girls in his comics, his books are still worth buying. I disagree pretty strenuously. A real artist has to spend a lot of time practicing, learning anatomy and facial structure, drawing stuff over and over to get it to look right. Land doesn’t do any of that. He cuts a picture out of a magazine, tapes it into his lightbox, traces it line-for-line, draws a Black Canary costume on it, then sends it in to his editor. He collects a check for being too lazy and talentless to do his own work. He collects a check for stealing other people’s work and pretending it’s his own.
Greg Land is, as far as I can tell, a talentless thief. To even pretend his stuff is worth looking at is a slap in the face to real artists like Jack Kirby, Curt Swan, the Romitas, the Kuberts, George Perez, Jack Cole, Frank Miller, and every other artist who cared enough to work at his craft, rather than steal and cheat his way into a paycheck.
You want to look at pictures of hot chicks? You don’t need Greg Land. Go buy a Playboy, and cut out the middleman.
I can’t stand to own but one or two of Land’s comics, so I had to do a ton of research online, checking out the websites of people who’d already done their own scanning, Photoshop comparisons, and analysis of Land’s work, so to get some more information about Land and other scans that demonstrate his hackery, please check out these websites: