Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Bruce Timm

I didn't realize until this weekend that February 9th was the fiftieth birthday of comic artist and animation designer Bruce Timm. He has been involved in animation as an artist, writer, director and producer going back to Blackstar in 1981, but he is probably best known (and justifiably so) for his work in character design for Batman: The Animated Series beginning in 1992.

His sparse, angular retro-1960s style is extremely influential in both animation (The Incredibles is one example, also any of the other DC/Warner Brothers animation that has followed Batman) and comic book art. He can create tone, mood and action using a low level of detail, very similar to a couple of my other favorites, Alex Toth and Jack Kirby. I'm not an artist, but I believe this is referred to as "economy of line". Compare this to artists such as Todd McFarland or Jim Lee, who will fill a panel with an abundance of lines and detail to achieve the same effect. I find Timm's work just much more stylish.

Best. Team-Up. Ever.

What I love about his work is that it's timeless and still rooted in history. He know the history of the characters that he draws and uses it to great effect while still bringing a freshness to the work. He's influenced by many of the same things that I find appealing: comic books, movies, movie poster art, animation, monsters, pin-up art, and pulp fiction.

If the Avengers movie is half this entertaining...

Bruce Timm does not appear to have an official site or any real presence on the web despite his popularity. Not surprisingly, there are quite a few pages where his work is posted. A few highlights:

Fifty-one favorite Bruce Timm illustrations
A Halloween-themed post with many of Timm's monster-related art
Gallery at Comic Vine
The ladies of Bruce Timm's art (site NSFW)
Comic Art Fans gallery (some art NSFW)
A site whose name is probably NSFW...

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