Monday, 2 April 2012

Richard W. "Dick" Sprang (July 28, 1915 - May 10, 2000)

Dick Sprang is another  name on the list of artists that inspired me to draw as a kid. I love Sprang's art, I can't get enough of it. I  have considered  that maybe it's because it has childhood memories attached to it , which may be true, but in fact, for the most part, it is  that his art work is simply beautiful to look at. The Batman fans, at the time,  didn't tag him, "the good Batman artist", for nothing. 
What I love about Sprang's work is his strong line work  and use of shadows making  those early Batman stories seem less super hero and more crime noir (for a younger audience). His depiction of Batman as a big, solid,  barrel chested, square jawed heck of a guy will always stay with me. It would not surprise me to find that the aesthetic of Bruce Timm's Animated Batman tv series of the 90's  was based on Sprang's designs. May be it was? 
I don't know a great deal about Dick Sprang apart the scant information I have read on blogs (see list of links  below) and on wikipedia, and there are far too few collections of his work in print (unless of course you are prepared to shell out a king's ransom for the original Batman  and Detective Comics issues that contain his work.)  I wish DC would print an omnibus collection of his work  (with high quality reproductions) as , in my opinion, his work is not celebrated enough.  I believe that the style of the  60's Batman tv show, starring Adam West, owed a lot to Sprang's art work.

Yes, there are many contemporary artists (Jim Lee, David Finch, Tim Sale, Alex Ross, etc) producing uber awesome  Batman art, but for me , Dick Sprang , will always be "the good Batman artist".

Blogs of interest

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