Name: Nelson Alexander Ross (Alex Ross)
Debut: Terminator: Burning Earth (1990, Now Comics)
Notable Work: Kingdom Come, Masks, Justice, Avengers/Invaders, Marvels, re-designs of X-Men and Spider-Man costumes, various promotional artwork (including posters for the Oscars and the covers for two Anthrax albums)
Alex Ross was born in Portland, Oregon and raised in Lubbock, Texas. Ross grew up in an artistic environment, as his mother was a commercial artist and his grandfather loved drawing and inventing working wooden toys. Ross discovered superheroes at a young age, when he first say Spider-Man on an episode of the Electric Company. By 12, he was copying George Perez (Crisis on Infinite Earths, New Teen Titans) and Berni Wrightson (Swamp Thing). At 16, he discovered Norman Rockwell and decided “I want to see that in a comic book.”
Unsatisfied with basing his artistic style on the work of others, Ross left for Chicago at 17 to attend the American Academy of Art. It was there that Ross decided to combine his painting studies with his study of comic art. Ross’s first major comic work was 1993’s Marvels. The comic presented the Marvel superheroes from the point of view of an average man. The hyper-realistic attitude was perfect for Ross’s painted art style. Marvels earned Ross a rabid fan base. The fans appreciated the care he took in painting each character, showing what is often described as an affection for his work. “I do the gigs I do because I care about the material,” he says on his web site, “In some cases, It is because I like the character. In some cases, I have a vision in my head of something I must do.”
Alex Ross is a brilliant artist and he shows a striking passion for his work. Its this attitude toward his work that attracts his fans, and makes even his variant covers incredibly sought after. That being said, if you buy an Alex Ross comic simply to bag and hoard, you are a fool. Ross’s work must be experienced to be appreciated. His characters seem to jump off the page with life, and each face shows the emotion of the scene. Over the years, Ross has more than earned the praise he has gotten, and will continue to receive for the length of his career.