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My kind of a tribute

In case you haven’t heard me the first five hundred times I said, it – I love Lone Wolf and Cub. I think that this 28 volume manga series is one of the greatest comicbooks ever created, and I can probably read any given volume any given day any number of times without getting bored. This was the series that inspired Frank Miller’s early career – the artwork in Ronin was a loving tribute to the linework in Lone Wolf, and most of the early Japan influences in Daredevil ( Count ’em all: The introduction of the Ninja clan The Hand, DD’s subsequent reinvention as a martial arts expert, Elektra’s origin, the Kingpin’s Japanese retreat – I could go on and on with this, you know ) and Wolverine. Not to mention how American writers are still riffing the series – right from the Sci-fi Lone Wolf 2100 to the crime series Road to Perdition to Stan Sakai’s homage in Usagi Yojimbo, Lone Goat and Cub.

One of the recent homages to Lone Wolf and Cub comes from Adam Hughes.

Who is Adam Hughes? Adam Hughes (or “AH!” as he signs his works ) simply put ranks among the widely sought after comicbook artists of the day. His drawings of women – super-heroines in particular – ooze sex appeal of the “good girl” kind, bringing to mind the brilliant work of the likes of Alberto Vargas, George Petty, Robert McGinnis and Peter Driben, to name a few.

A George Petty pinup.

Alberto Vargas.

Robert McGinnis

Peter Driben

Adam Hughes

What makes Hughes’s art different from contemporary comic book artists? For one, the perfection of his pieces. The innocent sense of humour attached to each work. Impeccable design sense. From his early work on The Maze Agency and the JLA, it was pretty apparent that Hughes was a superstar-in-the-making. After the first two issues of Ghost, Hughes capitalised on his quality-over-quantity leanings – his output was not as prolific as the rest of the 22-page per month crowd, and with the art nouveau style that he brought into Ghost, it made perfect sense to have him draw comic covers rather than interior pages.

His run on the covers of Wonder Woman a couple of years ago changed the look of the book completely – just compare a pre-AH! WW cover to the ones that came after him. The inked versions were enhanced with wonderful Photoshop-enhanced colouring, giving a lustrous glow to his already breath-taking artwork.

After Wonder Woman, AH took over the next best-known DC heroine, Catwoman. His run of Catwoman covers, starting with issue 44, are equally beautiful, both the pen-and-ink art and the coloured versions make you go “Ah!”

In case you haven’t realised what Selina Kyle has been up to recently – Catwoman is now a single mother. In the one year hiatus following Infinite Crisis, she gave birth to a baby girl, and DC milked the whole “Is-Batman-the-father?” angle for a long time. ( No, I am not telling if he is. Go read them yourself ) For a year, Selina’s compadre Holly became Catwoman and it’s only recently that the original Catwoman took up her costume again. But obviously, the kid is still around, and that brings us to the Lone Wolf and Cub homage that I was talking about. What? You don’t remember what I am talking about? Go read the first paragraph again.

The cover to Catwoman 57, ladies and gentlemen.

Now that’s what I call a tribute.

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