Friday Feature: J.H. Williams III

Introducing: The Friday Feature! Here at The Promethean Playground we strive to be more than an opinion blog, but of course we do have opinions and we really want to share them!  The Friday Feature will be our new weekly column that gives us an outlet to shamelessly plug something we shamelessly love.

For our first feature I’d like to highlight the work of an artist that I first encountered only around 8 months ago: J.H. Williams III. His work is absolutely incredible. What I really want to highlight in this feature, however is his art in the Batwoman title.

Batwoman #1 (2011)

There’s a lot to love about the Batwoman book.

It’s a superhero book with some really compelling supernatural horror elements.

It features a gay female title character whose sexuality is a part of her character without being her only defining characteristic. That’s a rare gem in all of pop culture, not just comics.

And it shows off the artistic prowess of J.H. Williams III.

One of Williams’ most impressive covers. Batwoman #5 (2011)

Either of the first two are enough to make me recommend Batwoman to plenty of people, but Williams’ art brings this title to the forefront of modern comics. I would make the argument that not only should all fans of sequential art give Batwoman a chance, but that Williams gives us an example of the pinnacle of sequential art.

What I mean by that is that Williams takes advantage something that is unique to sequential art, but is so often neglected: panels. 

Artists have, historically, treated panels as a simple vehicle for conveying images, but artists like Williams have shown that the panel can not only be part of the art, but part of the story.

An example of Williams’ expert paneling.

Not every page is as impressively paneled as this one, but plenty of other are more impressive. There’s also more to love about Williams’ art than just the panels, but this week I’ll emphasize what stands out the most.

Even if you’re not a fan of supernatural horror or you’re tired of seeing “bat-” characters, J.H. Williams III’s Batwoman is worth keeping on your shelf. Not only is it good storytelling, but the art is a fresh, interesting, and compelling use of the medium and I can’t wait to see more.
Be sure to check out William’s personal website, and keep an eye out for his upcoming work with writer Neil Gaiman on the title Sandman: Overture from Vertigo.

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