Icons: The DC Comics and WildStorm Art of Jim Lee
written by William Baker
illustrated by Jim Lee
Gigantic, oversize collections such as Icons: The DC Comics and WildStorm Art of Jim Lee are the stuff of true collectors’ fantasies. Since they have very little in the way of true stories, they are vast, sprawling collections of artwork and design, showing the inner workings of the artist and perhaps some interesting behind-the-scenes info that a true enthusiast would love to know.
Jim Lee broke into comics in the late ‘80s, first working on several prominent Marvel books (Alpha Flight, Punisher War Journal, and, famously, Uncanny X-Men). In the ‘90s, he was one of several artists to found Image Comics, as well as his own studio, WildStorm, which would later be sold to DC. Today, Lee is copublisher of DC, for whom he has done a wealth of prominent works, including the great Batman: Hush, All Star Batman and Robin, and Superman: For Tomorrow projects.
Icons celebrates all of Lee’s DC and WildStorm work. The collection is broad but focuses heavily on Superman and Batman. Still, Lee’s designs on a multitude of characters (like Supergirl, Huntress, Catwoman, and The Legion of Super-Heroes) are also presented. There’s a short, original Legion story at the end (on which Lee collaborated with legendary Legion scribe Paul Levitz). The story isn’t much to write home about, but the art is—how Lee vividly imagines the 31st century is awesomely detailed and wonderful.
Journalist William Baker supplies the copy for the book, which is always an underappreciated facet of collections like this. Baker is knowledgeable about comics and does a very nice job of supplying important information succinctly so that all the artwork (and there’s quite a bit) can be placed in context.
This is a behemoth of a book, one that fans of Lee will devour because it is so beautifully done. It would also make a very nice gift. It’s a lovely tribute to one of the truly great comics artists of the modern age.