REMINDER: I want to remind the faithful reader that this segment of Spotlight on the Artists is not intended to be a detail bibliography or an encyclopedic entry on the life and works of the artists highlighted. It is to expose the artist to audiences that may not be aware of their work.
QUICK BIO NOTES: Juan José RyP
Born: 21 August 1971 Algeciras, Spain
This artist came to my attention in the early 2000’s (I think it was 2002-3?) when the a friend passed onto me some issues of Robocop and RyP appeared as inker and at times cover artist. I was mesmerized by the baroque but clean traces, the complex panels, the expressiveness overflowing the pages…
But alas, I didn’t know the name, and I added Juan Jose RyP to the list of “newcomer” artists that I compile every year, and that seldom one makes it further than the initial debut.
Am very glad to see he broke away from that norm.
In the US Juan José RyP has held a long association with Avatar press, and if you want to check out his stuff, that would be the best way to go.
I myself was delighted to find out that he had done lots of work for European publishers, mainly Spanish and French publishers, and was able to call up some of my European contacts and get my grubby hands on some of his early work.
Juan Jose RyP represents the return of the Spanish illustrator. Those illustrators that Jim Warren brought into the spotlight back in the 1970, infusing the US comic book landascape with a much needed dose of fresh perspective and new blood. I am referring to Esteban Maroto, José Ortiz, Luis Bermejo, Rafael Aura Leon, Luis Garcia, Jose Gonzalez, Martin Salvador, Fernando Fernandez, Leopold Sanchez, Jose Bea, Jaime Brocal, and a long list of etc…
Like I said before, Warren brought weight and gravitas to the comic world, and brought appreciation for the black and white, and this is where my respect for Juan José RyP grows by leaps and bounds. I first noticed on his early work for Avatar press, that his art style had achieve a strange marketable plateau, very difficult to reach by the majority of artist I know. The optimization of your style for both the Black and White AND the Color market.
Most artists, in their pursuit to create volume in a two dimensional medium, rely on shadowing techniques to give volume. Mastery of shadowing is a “sene cua non” (Requirement) for artist to achieve recognition among their peers. Without it, recognition takes a long time (ask Carl Banks if you don’t believe me), or it may not arrive at all.
Juan José RyP brings volume to the page while demonstrating respect for the cleanest lines possible. He leaves the figure uncluttered by shadows, and gives the colorists an opportunity to shine, but his characters maintain volume by using the right devices with scarcity and aplomb. Clothing gain shape and texture by delineating the wrinkles in the fabric, not by shadowing the wrinkle itself.
His priority when representing facial characteristics is remaining faithful to expressions, not to mood. He doesn’t shadow cheekbones, he delineates them. He doesn’t shadow a hostile brow: he traces a mad eyebrow and pissed-off look on the eyeballs.
After enjoying his trajectory in Avatar press, I found his work “Nancy in Hell” as a perfect complement for the “in-your-face” narrative that El Torres brought to the table. Now, Nancy in Hell is brought to the public by Image in a TPB and it should be in stores as of this writing, letting new artists take pointers on how to depict hell.
Equally impressive is his trajectory in Avatar, giving form to the narratives of Warren Ellis in Black Summer, and before that the 2006 series Wolf Skin.
To appreciate the full extent of his trajectory and his evolution, you should try getting your hands on his early work done for Spain’s erotic Magazine Wet Comix.
Lesbiación was the first erotic álbum for this spanish Publisher, and that was followed by
Bribones: El Corazon de un Dios and later Monique & Denise. The same penache for portraying amazingly sexy female characters is what got him noted to get signed up with Avatar press later on, where he was able to spread his wings as cover artists, penciler and eventually full graphic storyteller.
Currently he is one of the leading artists in Avatar, and you can say that together with Jacen Burrows, they both give cohesion and direction to the graphic department of that splendid publisher.
Recently I was very pleasantly surprised to see his inks in one title of the big two. The title in question was Wolverine:The best there is (From Marvel Comics) and he is sharing credits with some rather big names. In issue 7 seems Bryan Hitch, Paul Neary and Paul Mounts (one of my favorite colorists) contribute to the cover, and we are regaled with an edgy narrative, thanks to Charlie Huston, that walks that tight line of mature style and edgy themes, that fits Juan Jose so well. I know that many writers and illustrators have given Emma Frost the “sexy” treatment, and how many have come across as immature attempts to titillate adolescent audiences, but when I saw the angle taken by Huston and RyP, I really felt like I was reading an adult comic book dealing with adult themes. Not just addressing sexual situation, but something about the art… something about the humanity and frailty that RyP invests in Emma, that makes her a three-dimensional character, not one that is there just to look pretty and titillate, but more like a beautiful woman, with lots of heavy responsibilities that we catch in a moment in time dealing with a crisis.
And there is no higher praise I can give an artist than that!
For a full bibliography I always use the ComicBookDatabase
He has his own blog, and tries to maintain his entries as bilingual as possible (Kudos to you, Juan)
If you are a fan, drop by his blog and tell him about the great review you read here!