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‘The Archie Art of Francesco Francavilla’ (review)

Written & Illustrated by Francesco Francavilla
Published by Archie Comics

 

I’ve loved a good horror comic since I was a kid, but I’m on record as not being a fan of the various Archie horror comics of recent years such as Afterlife with Archie. I’m also on record, though, as being a great admirer of the artist Francesco Francavilla.

Now comes The Archie Art of Francesco Francavilla so I can enjoy some of the best of the artist’s always striking visual work for the company without actually having to read the actual stories at all.

Francavilla is no longer a newcomer and yet remains far from a household word in the industry. With any luck, this book will change that because he deserves to be recognized for some of the most enjoyable art of recent times.

It isn’t the typical Archie art that generations grew up with but it’s something more than just the realistic art the company has promoted in recent years.

In fact, Francavilla’s layouts and creative use of a limited color palette remind me of some of the European artists who flourished in the 1970s, particularly Spanish/British artist Enric Sió.

Along with the beautiful color art that makes up most of the volume, there’s a revelatory selection of black and white art from different stages of production.

Along with the Riverdale character art, there are also a number of examples of the artist’s other art for the company including Dark Circle superhero art with the Black Hood, the Shield, and others. There’s even a cameo from a certain Caped Crusader whose adventures Francesco would illustrate for Archie’s Distinguished Competition.

The Ramones, Sabrina, Katy Keene, Kiss, Sharknado, and Predator are all represented, too, with variant cover art. All in all, The Archie Art of Francesco Francavilla is much fun if you’re already a fan and, as previously stated, will hopefully open the door to crowds of new fans for the artist.

Perhaps the best part is that this book is Volume One. Can’t wait to see Volume Two!

Booksteve recommends.

 

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