Like most children of the Reagan era, earlier than social media and sensible telephones or Oval Workplace trysts, I grew up amassing comedian books. I was amassing at a time when comics where heroic, a-sexual, safe, and non-ambiguous. Comics had been clear ethical tales of excellent versus evil. There were no antiheroes with deep-rooted psychological points, only a publish-Chilly Battle James Bond saving the world with tremendous powers in Halloween outfits.
My favourite comic e book was the X-Men, so naturally a started gathering the spin-off X-Males-in-training series, The new Mutants. It wasn’t until the jaw-dropping, head scratching subject of latest Mutants #18 in August 1984 that irrevocably modified my notion of comic ebook art eternally. Enter artist Invoice Sienkiewicz who drew points 18-31 in such an expressionistic strategy that turned vast departures from his predecessors Bob McLeod and Sal Buscema.
Bill Sienkiewicz’s painting fashion used mimeograph, collage, watercolor and oil painting to get wickedly absurd superhero imagery that was far from the cartoony look. The look of Sienkiewicz’s Electra: Assassin and Frank Miller’s Batman: The Darkish Knight Returns quickly turned so prevalent in the rated R, PG-13 graphic novels that it ultimately became the norm.
William Wray. Los Angeles studio. Photo by Eric Minh Swenson
Like Sienkiewicz, William Wray, conveys disturbing undertones in his Superheroes Collection as grisly despair-trodden, anti-mythos that we do not typically see in Hollywood films. Wray uses modern day irony by portraying the faux superhero street peddlers of Hollywood Boulevard luring wanton tourists to get a picture with them at the Mann Chinese Theater through his oil paintings. Wray paints Batman on his cell, a portly Captain America waiting on the males’s room, scrawny Spider Man seemingly heart damaged on a hearth hydrant, Daredevil at a urinal and Batman sharing a cigarette with Spiderman.
“Morbid” by William Wray. 24×24 oil on wood
However, despite the social commentary behind Wray’s comic hero satire is a loose painterly plein-air strategy. Wray by no means shies away on who his influences are. On my studio go to the place I shot Wray’s movie in a quiet neighborhood in Pasadena, California, Wray educated me on Raimond Staprans structure of flat composition, J.C. Leyendecker’s role throughout the Golden Age of American Illustration and Richard Bunkall’s brooding city landscapes.
“Sentinel of Liberty” by William Wray. 24×19 oil on wooden
In my conversations with William Wray I asked why “Superheroes?” Wray explains when referring to religious overtones, “they are metaphors for society’s want for a immortal savior.” Wray believes that common individuals fantasize about saving the world and that some go as far as dressing up as superheroes at comedian e book conventions where “they’re rewarded with consideration, even love, especially the street performers on Hollywood Blvd who fantasize about making it in Hollywood in order that they can pay their rent or drug behavior by way of the guidelines they get from tourists posing with them. Some are “straight performers” who wish to be thought-about legit ” ambassadors to Hollywood” others are road hustlers scamming and strong-arming vacationers.”
“Schpumpy” by William Wray. 24×19 oil on wooden
William Wray believes he is doing a mixture of satire and pathos. Wray makes use of irony to make a point, “Batman has to use a cellphone? Superman has to watch for a bus? Captain America has to fill out paperwork with the lodge valet? A hero wants to make use of the bathroom? These are mundane moments of actual life that bring our Heroes down to earth with the rest of us. I keep away from the fantasy pose and go with the true second so we are able to peek previous the mythos and into the mundane.”
As far as Wray’s love for comics, he says, “I used to be first drawn to the hero fable of comics as a child, but having an unhappy house life made me query the worlds presentation of morality and regular life as it was not taking place at my home. Mad Journal was the door opener. Their parody of Superman became my stepping-stone to questioning societal myths. I wished to be an underground cartoonist. I did that for a while, but it was a dead market. Then I did common comics and as many satires of them as attainable. My current superhero paintings of the “mundane mythos,” has turn into full circle of what I always wished to do as an artist.
“Companions in Crime” by William Wray. 24×19 oil on wood
In the end, William Wray likes to spin his personal tales of American Capitalism disillusionment and Liberal Social decay. Wray just isn’t involved about chiseled chests, shiny gadgets and dazzling superpowers, he is concerned with facial hair, morning breath and bowel movements of those metamyths. Wray advised me he was never into comic books like I was, however more into the social sickness motif that is overwrought in his paintings. In the ’80s we were all afraid of mutually assured destruction with the Soviets, in Wray we’re afraid oh the mutually assured ridiculousness inside us all.
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