Farah Al-Hakkak (ShadowJayd) and Lonnie Nadler (Lonmonster) have returned with more weekly commentary for Visions of Horror, to showcase the best horror artists and artwork the comics industry has to offer. By profiling pieces that have made a profound impact in the comics world, The BD Comic Book Crew (as we are henceforth to be known) hopes to ignite a spark of well-deserved appreciation and respect for all the exceptionally talented comic book artists, both living and past.
This week, we’re excited to spotlight one of today’s most prolific and relevant horror artists, Menton J. Matthews III (most popularly known as menton3). Specifically, we will be discussing his unforgettable splash page from Tom Waltz’ “Silent Hill: Past Life” #4, which was nominated for a 2011 Horror Comic Award for “Scene of the Year”. Hit the jump to feast your eyes on the glorious art in question.
Having never been to art school, menton3 learned to paint from a 14th century book instead. He spent his time developing his style and trying different techniques before finally self-publishing his first comic, “Ars Memoria”, in 2009. Less than a year after its initial release, IDW Publishing sought him out to illustrate “Zombies vs Robots Aventure” in early 2010, effectively establishing a beautiful and creatively productive business relationship between the two, which continues today.
Continuing with IDW, menton3 paired up with Kasra Ghanbari to bring to life a story about the horrors of immortality with “Monocyte”. The books is as poetic as it is beautiful, but still manages to maintain a bleak and sombre tone. The book became a hit for its originality, for bringing something new to the world of comics, and for surpassing the idea of what it means to be a “horror” comic.
Much of menton3’s influence stems from his opinions on art and comic books as a medium. In 2012, menton3 started the art collective known as 44FLOOD, alongside Kasra Ghanbari, Ben Templesmith, and Nick Idell. Their goal is simple: to exercise their common beliefs on art, music, and beauty. To date they have more than successfully funded 3 projects on Kickstarter including “LUST” and two volumes of their anthology series, “TOME”. They make it clear that these are not comic books in the traditional sense, but books that celebrate art and the life of the artist. Simply by flipping through the pages of the beast of a book that is TOME, it’s clear that 44FLOOD is pushing the boundaries.
While menton3 dabbles in water colour, and produces digital paintings when it’s called for, the majority of the comic books he makes are oil painted. It’s blatantly obvious that he puts his entire being into creating his pieces, as he even makes the paints that he uses, himself. His love for the process of creation very much shines through his fondness for the natural pigments mixed into his paints. For him, the idea of using natural minerals of the earth to externalize and express the interior — in the process of successfully producing an image — is something he really takes to; going as far as to poignantly likening it to “jewellery that’s mashed together to make a picture.”
Though it would have been an obvious decision to feature one of his fantastic oil painting, BD has chosen to spotlight a piece created entirely in Photoshop. While people may have their reservations about the digital age of comic book art, this specific work is just as visually stunning, and extremely impactful, as anything else he’s done. Moreover, this splash page from “Silent Hill: Past Life” presents his distinguishable style perfectly, highlights his interest in iconography and symbology, and showcases his affinity for “Diagrams” as a type of language to convey something specific in his images.
The digital painting below depicts the award nominated birth scene from ‘Past Life’, that’s an epically horrific, though beautifully rendered, example of menton3’s knack for visual storytelling. The fantastically illustrated pregnant woman in this image is the doomed Esther Munroe, who goes into premature labour. Unfortunately, the only midwife available is the deliciously creepy Cherokee woman, Inola. He paints her in a way that’s stark and moody, and the stylistically sketchy undertones seen on her face add to the sinister personality of the character. The overlapping skeletal frames in Esther’s arms and head belong to the dead Awinita, who menton3 has superimposed over Esther in a visually compelling presentation of artistic talent. He effectively illustrates the merging of these two characters perfectly, and doesn’t shy away from illustrating the full scope of agony and horror on Esther’s screaming face.
Anyone who is interested in American Gothic horror should spend some time with “Silent Hill: Past Life” because menton3’s work on the interior pages is right up there with the best.
A look into his digital painting process:
If you want Bloody Disgusting to cover one of your favourite horror artists, or a fantastic piece of horror-related comic book art, head down to the comment section, or hit up Farah or Lonnie on Twitter.