When I reviewed Batman #667 the other day, I took a stab at guessing the artistic inspirations for the drawings of each Club of Heroes member. Well, artist J.H. Williams III has revealed the sources of his pastiches in a Barbelith post (after I asked him to give us the inside scoop), and here's what he had to say:
okay here is run of style influnces for these characters and the reasons why. all of these choices were made with one sketch and feelings as i drew them for the first time...
cheif man of bats-- sort of a steve rude influence. i wanted something clean and a little goofy retro in this idea and thats what came out first shot. rude's stuff always has this sort of 50's 60's nostalgic feeling to me and i wanted that for this character. but he needed to feel like the feelings you get when you look at those old silver age comics. charming in ways but also a little silly.
raven red-- a very loose influence of basic 70's early 80's superhro comics with an almost generic quality to the costume. cheesy amd redundent. been there done that sort of feeling when you look at him.
gaucho-- chaykin. for that rough around the edges feel and machismo that all of his characters have. his outfit is definitely not based on traditional gaucho clothing. instead i went for the el mariachi desperado films look. again to enhance his macho attiude.
wingman-- very loosely based on gibbons from watchmen era. i wanted the costume to look as if this character could've existed in the watchman reality. it fits well with his attitude and feelings of being original but not really. sort of an interesting comment since watchmen was a very groundbreaking and original concept but used characters that had existed in a different form previously. make sense?
musketeer-- is influenced by mid to late 80's superhero ideas. maybe a little bit alan davis in there too. hence the simple color techniques with smooth grads for a sense of rendering.
legionary-- i wanted to convey the sort of humorous but cynical qualities of some of the comics of the early 90's. with maybe a little hint of kelly jones exaggeration in the mix. particularly with his death scene.
knight and squire-- mcguinness influence. just because i loved the way he handled them previously and i wanted them to sync up to that.
dark ranger-- definitely sprouse. i think that influence came out of the early sketch because the character really needed to feel vastly updated and different from his past appearance. and so he needed to feel really modern.
batman and robin-- no influence here just me.
the only other thing that was necessary for this story was that all of the club characters needed to feel off as well. as if they reached for these ideals that are present in the influences but fall a little short. none of them are quite up to snuff and they know it deep inside and thats why they still are awed by batman. he surpasses them on every level, hence him and robin's more rendered and dimensional quality, deeper. this was taken into consideration as well when i did the first sketches of them.
the whole idea here was to convey characters that have had real history that we haven't been privy to. they were seen a very long time ago and that was pretty much it really. and grant wrote them as if they've been having lives and adventures all along and i wanted to see if i could make them seem as if they had stepped out of their own comics and into this one. so i imagined what those comics might currently look like but none of us have seen or read them. comics from another world? these clubbers needed to have distinct character traits immediately understandable becasue of the way the story moves with them. so i thought it would be an intersting challenge to see what affect 'styles" would have on their personalities as i drew them. a nice experiment i think, which has produced interesting results. as i drew them i felt as if they were fully realized right away. they came alive.
hope this all makes some sort of sense in an exsistential sort of way. and the other reason for doing this sort of thing is because its just plain fun and allows to sort of comment about comics within the frame work of a comic itself.