REVEALING THE ART OF TOONS; BOOKS ALEX ROSS Mythology (Titan, Pounds 16.99)
Byline: PAUL COLE
GONE are the days when DC Comics characters were strictly kids' stuff. An entire generation has grown up with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and their superhero sidekicks.
Graphic novels have elevated cartoon capers to an art form now dominated by artist Alex Ross, whose life-like airbrush paintings portray the crimefighters as middle-aged men and women.
Brought to public attention by the Kingdom Come series in which the world's weary superheroes came out of retirement to save the world one last time, he has pushed the boundaries back.
Using his pals to pose for action sequences, then photographing them and basing his sketches on the snaps, he has brought an unmatched authenticity to the superhero genre.
This updated edition of a beautiful coffee-table book celebrating his career includes everything from Superman drawings he did as a child to his latest DC Comics series, Justice.
Born in Portland, Oregon, Ross made his artistic debut at the age of three when he grabbed a piece of paper and drew the contents of a television commercial he'd seen moments before.
It wasn't such a surprise. His mother was a commercial artist and his grandfather loved drawing, too.
When Ross discovered Spider-Man, his life was changed forever.
"I just fell in love with the notion that there were colourful characters like this, performing good, sometimes fantastic deeds," he says. "I wanted to bring these characters to life. …