Some comic creators are overnight successes, while others work in the background before getting their big break. In this week’s iFanboy Upstarts, we spotlight an entrepreneurial young artist who has done a string of smaller Image books but is still waiting for the big one that’ll break him through in readers’ eyes.
Massachusetts-born Nate Bellegarde got his start by the side of Robert Kirkman, contributing a back-up strip to one of Kirkman’s earliest works — Battle Pope. In subsequent years he has continued to work in and around Kirkman as he ascended to Image, doing back-up strips in early issues of Invincible and also penciling several spin-off series such as Brit and the two Atom Eve series minis. Although its Kirkman he’s shared books with, its writer Benito Cereno that Bellegarde has found himself partnered with more often than not, working on the aforementioned series as well as the Hector Plasm one-shots. His blog has been home to years of sketching and doodling that give a window into the artist’s mind, but in recent months he’s largely sat on the sidelines when it comes to published work. A pin-up in last year’s Image Comics 2010 San Diego Comic-Con Yearbook shows him working on a series titled Nowhere Men, but not much has been said since that.
What makes Bellegarde’s work memorable to me is the sheering kineticism and elasticity that permeates his super-hero drawing style. Like his Invincible contemporaries Cory Walker and Ryan Ottley, Bellegarde can bend and contort his figures to show emotion and imagination more than artists who lean towards a more realistic style. Scroll down to see some examples of his work, and tell us what you think in the comics section below.