Dynamite showcases 25 years of Jay Anacleto cover artwork

Review by C.J. Bunce

Vampirella, Red Sonja, Dejah Thoris, Bettie Page, monsters, wizards, and aliens.  Artist Jay Anacleto has been drawing fantasy cover art for 25 years, and now Dynamite is showcasing the cover art he created for the publisher’s varied line of comic book titles.  The Dynamite Art of Jay Anacleto is a large format hardcover (available here at Amazon) with insight from the artist from the Philippines who was inspired by The Adventures of Superman and 1960s Batman TV series, Japanese robot cartoons and Norman Rockwell paintings to draw some of the biggest characters in classic comics.

Anacleto has a penciling style that–at its best–conjures the detailed artistry of Michael Turner or Mauro Cascioli.  Other images evoke Jack Herbert or Mikel Janin.  Along with insight about his take on each character, Anacleto demonstrates a range of fantasy styles in images showing the realism in his penciling and inking.

Included in the book are his pencil pages as well as final renderings with the addition of a myriad of colorists’ additions, but without the logos and titles.  Some of the best images include his original artwork behind the covers for Vampirella: Feary Tales, Issue #2, Swords of Sorrow: Dejah Thoris and Irene Adler, Issue #2, Swords of Sorrow: Red Sonja and Jungle Girl, Issue #1, and Bettie Page, Issue #1.

It’s easy to see the influence of Frank Frazetta on his Dejah Thoris covers.  Readers will question whether his pencil work–without coloring–more often than not would have made for better final published issues.

This may be the best book of fantasy art you’ll find on bookstore shelves in 2023.  Order your copy of The Dynamite Art of Jay Anacleto from Elite Comics or via Amazon here.

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