Rough Stuff # 1 (magazine review)

Just to prove I can be really lucky. On the internet auction site, I bought a job lot of 6 magazines, 5 of which were early TwoMorrows magazines, one of which I had but collectively seemed a good deal. Not all of them had issue numbers and so imagine my surprise to find I had Rough Stuff # 1 in my hands. If you are tracking paper editions, you can be lucky and sometimes, like this one, be very lucky.

With ‘Rough Stuff’, there have only been a dozen issues and because it shows mostly the pencil work of various comicbook artists, it shouldn’t be surprising that their various fanbases pulled copies and why they rarely pop up. Just in case the cover size doesn’t show it, the artists here are Bruce Timm, Alan Davis, Arthur Adams, Walter Simonson, John Byrne, Kevin Nowlan, George Pérez and José Luis Garcia-López. Think also of this magazine’s release date: 2006. 15 years ago means you’re seeing a lot of their early work.

Editor Bob McLeod makes a stirring article pointing out that many modern comicbook pencillers don’t really understand how much to leave for the inkers to embellish the detail than trace over it. His citing of some of the golden age inkers should speak for itself as they made the pencillers look good.

Something that is common to all the artists here is they’ve also had their own books in TwoMorrows ‘Modern Masters’ series.

Kevin Nowlan is interviewed and its interesting to note he regrets not having formal training. Bearing in mind this book is over 20 years old, I hope his torso work has improved since then.

You also get a look at cover preparation and organising characters as groups. This is more so when McLeod starts giving advice to amateurs which started with the very first issue. Composition is all when it comes to panel design.

In many respect, art, even comicbook art, lasts forever. That’s how we spot the good from the mediocre artists. If you want to refine your skills, then magazines like this are worth their weight in luck.

GF Willmetts

May 2023

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing, 2006. 110 page magazine. Price: feel lucky. Direct from them, you can get it digitally for $ 4.99 (US))

check out websites: www.TwoMorrows.com

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