My thesis statement and work follows:
There is a painting in the Portland Art Museum by N.C. Wyeth. I believe the title is “The Great Train Robbery.” A bandit crouches on the back of a train car, mask over face. He holds his gun out in front of him. Things look like they’re moving very fast. Though, it’s painted very well I have a very hard time seeing it as anything other than an extension of Wyeth’s hand.
But, when I look at Superman, I see Superman.
Comic book heroes have passed through so many hands. They exist for decades at a time. They have been printed in so many places, and in such great numbers that they have been distilled to a set of components; a set of pieces that can be reconfigured as needed.
I am fascinated by the fervor created by a muscled silhouette or the buxom heroine. But, I want to go one step further. It is the history of a character that warrants fascination. I want to create the holistic comic book hero. I don’t want to see Superman on top of a building. I want to see him as the page is turning, and as he’s depicted on the next page, in the next issue, in a different copy. I want to see him as he is being drawn, and inked, and colored. I want to see the window in each building he has jumped over.