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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Talent Spotlight: Joshua Middleton

I really cant speak much about Joshua Middleton as there are very few things I know about him except that I like most of his works. Scouring the internet to find more info about him has been a futile effort for the last 3 years. It is rare for such artists to have gained enough popularity and spawn many fan sites and still maintain such a discreet amount of info on one's life floating in the web. I guess I should commend him for that, heck you can find more info about me, a simple nobody if you google my real name compared to this young star of a talent. I do find that little bit of trivia amicable, as it just shows that his work speaks volume moreso than his actual person.

So let me just go on about him from what little I know. I know he started as one of the few actual newfound talents of the now deceased publishing company Crossgen working on the comic Meridian as its first and original artist. Controversy already hit him early in his career over an online review/preview of his very first issue there. I dont know much about the details as I wasn't really impressed with his early works and didnt really paid attention to him or any news pertaining to him. From what I heard, another controversy followed him immediately again when he became one of the first to defect from the publisher that gave him his first break. Like before, I'm not much help with the details for my earlier mentioned reason. I won't put much stock on hearsay as to actually side or put judgment to the character of anybody involved in that brouhaha.

Back then, I wasn't really even aware of the publisher called Com.X either, but when I accidentally stumbled upon previews of what was supposed to be Middleton's first creator owned work there called "Sky Between Branches", that was when I was first floored on how amazing his work really was. His earlier works on Meridian was already decent, but nothing really impressive in my eyes. So I thought to myself that time, that maybe his defection from Crossgen may have been warranted, if only for the obvious improvement that I was seeing.

He definitely got my attention that time. Then he disappeared for months again. That was until Marvel Comics EIC Joe Quesada (who is also an artist whose work I follow) announced a collaboration between something written by him and drawn by Middleton. The announced work was NYX, a title though still unpublished at the time, was already steeped in online controversy from previous talents assigned to it. Again, I didn't care as the preview art shown later on blew me away. I told myself that I would definitely follow that work and I did. He definitely delivered with his work on that title. One would have thought his art style wouldn't fit with the gritty street level story of the book, but it did in my opinion. The book was going great, even if a little bit slow to come, it didn't matter to me. That was until he left after the 4th issue and went exclusive with DC Comics. The title never felt the same for me again and so I dropped it after issue 5. The title ended at issue 7 from what I heard.

At DC, he did the 4 issue mini series "Shazam/Superman: First Thunder". A very solid work for him but seemingly less extravagant, I felt he went for a more reliable approach there instead of the more playful ingenuity that I have associated with him. I still liked it though.

After that last major project, like many other fans, I thought he seemed to have disappeared again. Apparently not as he was doing various things like a cover for Street Fighter, a short story for the Wildstorm Winter Special and many more covers for Runaways, American Virgin and a various other titles. As pretty as those are though, I can't honestly wait to see another major comic work from him again. If you still can't tell by this point, I really do like his work.

If you are interested to see more samples of his works, an online gallery can be found if you click here.


Brian / Tobey said...

Josh Middleton is the shit.

Good job on this addison. Very informative.

Poolman said...

This guy is soooo good.
Been checking his artwork since Meridian on the CrossgGen days.

And he did the new artwork for Heroclix!!!