First, there's this incredible illustration by Phil Hayes (Flicker set here):
That's just an absolutely stunning use of color. I keep staring at this illustration in awe.
I also really liked this illustration by Robert G. Schneeberg (Flicker set):
Sort of in the same general neighborhood as Richard Sala, what with the unnatural perspective and murder and whatnot. Or maybe I'm nuts. Regardless, a fine illustration.
There's a lot more to be found at Today's Inspiration, so do go spend some time there. It's certainly time better spent than reading some webcomic about vampire nuns on the moon or whatever. I'm not sure if I agree with
(Brief aside on Campbell's taxonomatophobia, just because I can't help myself: I think it's pretty self-evident that there's a time and place for extensive/intensive categorization, and that such preoccupations are not unique to comics culture (such as it is--maybe a taxonomically-oriented column would liven up the next issue of Comic Foundry). For most artistic pursuits, however, that kind of preoccupation is reserved for the academy, where experts debate categorization in order to create the most accurate possible history of a particular movement, medium, or whatever. It's also prevalent in the more serious types of criticism, partly because it helps establish a shorthand for talking about very complex subjects. Responsible critics/academics somewhat regret such categorization, because one always runs the risk of reifying the categories. This, in turn, might run contrary to the artists' intent, color audiences' interpretation of the work in question, etc. Of course, some academics/critics like to argue about this stuff for no good reason other than self-aggrandizement or semantophilia or something. Either way, it's mostly ivory tower bullshit for the majority of those who view/read/whatever the work in question (unless we're talking about something really obscure, in which case questions relevant to taxonomy might be the only reason people pay it any mind in the first place).
This, as you probably know, is not the case for comics, where ordinary fans have interminable, soul-destroying
Another thing: since these cultural artifacts were disposable and often produced for children, the original authors gave little thought to their internal logic. So it fell to the obsessed fan to weave some kind of internal consistency from a great tangle of hastily-produced junk. And since there were so many contradictory scraps of information, that led to (a) ever more convoluted tapestries of "continuity," (b) the notion of "canon," and (c) interminable, soul-destroying debates over how to interpret things intended for children and slow-witted adults. That is what I hate about comics fandom. What I like, for the record, are people who can look at an obscure piece of art and determine, with no hesitation, who inked it, what company produced it, etc. That's useful, non-solipsistic information. Nutty fanboys: I will like you better if you start concentrating more on actual art and story rather than the fictional characters who inhabit these comics. If you're reading this, you're too old to get into arguments about how long Batman can hold his breath, especially if this is part of a larger debate over which superhero can hold his or her breath the longest.)
Er, where was I? Oh yes: there's lots of good, free stuff on the internet, much of which compares very nicely to the comics you have to pay actual money for at your retail outlet of choice. I'm not talking about webcomics, really, but all the blogs where people are posting great comics which predate my existence by multiple decades: Mike Lynch, Karswell, Pappy, Scans Daily (I mean, not everything there is worth the effort to roll your eyeballs across the monitor, but sometimes someone posts something like this), Golden Age Comic Book Stories, Michael Sporn (lots of animation there also, but that's no reason to complain), Alan Holtz, the inconceivably great ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive (which also contains some incredible illustration and animation work)--this is a treasure trove of great comics. And that's just what I've assembled from my newsfeeder and various links in Journalista over the past few days. Ten years ago, I would not have believed that I would have the opportunity to purchase all these wonderful comics, let alone read them for absolutely free. The presence of these terrific sites sort of balances out the unfathomably positive reaction to those hideous Heroes TV Guide covers. People who like those TV Guide covers: click on some of the above links and decide once and for all if your taste is as bad as I fear, or if you just haven't been exposed to the good stuff yet.