Sunday, June 5, 2011
Spotlight on: Mike Ploog
Karen: Mike Ploog is best known for his work on Marvel horror comics of the 70s. Werewolf By Night, Frankenstein Monster, Ghost Rider, Man-Thing - all of these titles featured Ploog's distinctive style. Ploog was Marvel's main man when it came to monsters. A few years ago I was at a comic convention and Roy Thomas and Mike Ploog were on a panel, and when someone asked why Ploog drew so many monsters, Thomas responded that "he drew hairy things better than anyone else!"
Karen: His style is very fluid and round, almost soft; it definitely has a very organic feel to it. It fits the moody horror books well. Ploog uses spot blacks well and over time evolved into a very good story-teller.
Doug: I think you've really hit on the major appeal I see in Ploog's art, and that's the texture and fluidity. In both of the cover samples you've chosen the viewer gets a real sense of dynamism, but you can't deny that part of that is from the texture-like feel to the art; there's almost a 3-D quality to these images.
Karen: Of all the characters he worked on, his Werewolf is a particular favorite of mine -he is sinewy and feral, looking like he's always about to pounce on someone. His Frankenstein Monster is also quite good, getting across the innate sadness of the character.
Doug: I'd have to agree here, and say that while my mind "sees" John Buscema's Monster, it's Ploog that perhaps gives us a better interpretation. While his Monster is certainly no slouch physically, Buscema embued his version with perhaps too much raw power -- that may have detracted from the "sympathy vote".
Karen: Ploog also did work for Marvel's black and white line, which included the Planet of the Apes magazine. Although he did some super-hero work, it really didn't seem to mesh well with his art style. One super-hero I would have liked to see Ploog take on was Dr. Strange -I think given the nature of that title, it might have been a good fit.
Karen: So do we have any Ploog fans in the house? Let's hear from you. Or -if you don't like his style, tell us why.