Becky Cloonan: All or Nothing

cloonanHave you ever had an artist’s work speak to you like it knew you? As if the lines on the page pierced the facade you show the world and reveals the beauty within that you never knew existed? While I have much admiration and respect for a number of artists, my heart and soul belongs to the work of Becky Cloonan. She may not be a household name yet, but her solid body of work has shown one thing: there is always room for beauty in this medium.

Cloonan’s style is filled with an attention to detail that seems almost effortless. You can feel her pulse in her lines as she lovingly cherishes each moment her pen caresses the paper. Her style is unlike anyone working today. It is master class in escapism as her work instantly transports you to a far away land. She’s a folk hero with a pen as a pick and a pad as her guitar. She’s also a shot in the arm for the industry as well.

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From the moment Cloonan arrived on the scene, she became someone to watch. Her breakthrough work, under the watchful eye of writer Brian Wood, is the one-shot entitled Channel Zero: Jennie One in 2003, and it showed the comic world what it never knew it was missing. Her follow up, once again with Wood, with Demo in 2004 earned her an Eisner award nomination. Since then Cloonan has been a staple of the awards scene, eventually winning in 2013 for her self-published one shot The Mire.

Cloonan is a rare breed in the comic world as she exists in two realms: the indie and the mainstream. While her mainstream work, such as Batman #12 (as the first female artist to ever pencil the main Batman line) and Northlanders, has garnered her rave reviews, it’s her indie work where Cloonan really shines. In 2013 she not only drew the woefully underrated True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, but published her own work entitled Demeter, a one-shot tale of love and loss.

cloonan_cop02Her motto “self-publish or perish” has become a rallying cry amongst the independent publishers. It’s her persistence to handle her work her way that makes her an inspiration. She could rest on her laurels in the mainstream, but her heart belongs within the independent community, always striving to challenge herself and the medium. What is perhaps her boldest move to date is her new graphic novel created as an exclusive pre-order only rarity.

If you are one of the lucky ones to be able to get a hand on By Chance or Providence, which includes the Eisner winning The Mire, then you know what you are in for. If you missed out (as of this publication date, there is still time!) then i urge you to track down the individual stories from the link I provided. Nowhere will you find a more heart wrenching collection that will make you long for the days of lost romances and missed second chances.

With the world in the palm of her hand, there is no doubt that 2014 will be a great year for Becky Cloonan. Her uncanny ability to melt our hearts with her pen, both with scripts and with art, makes her not only my favourite artist, but a legend in the making.

-Sean

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