Hips & Crossbones: The Art of Josh Howard

    (Viper, 2005)
™ and © 2005 Josh Howard

Josh Howard, breakout star of Dead@17, feeds his growing fanbase with a sketchbook that's exclusively pin-ups of goth and punky girls. There's no denying Howard's talent for the female form, nor the prettiness of his idiosyncratic art style. Even though the girls are almost all short-haired brunettes, they have their own faces. When is he going to realize the killing he could make with Hot Topic merchandise?

The same fanbase that found his comics is just a segment of the demographic parading through malls to coordinate their appearances to those of the fantasy femmes in this book. Who wouldn't want to be, date or sport a Howard girl? They're dangerous little vixens, but there's not a one you couldn't wrap in your hoodie sweatshirt and scoop up for a hug.

The work itself is divided into five sections. “Hearts and Violence” is tied together by anime-style, hard-edge airbrushing. “Blood and Lace” has the same contourless, paper-cut look of Kyle Baker's Plastic Man. “Bullets and Blush” is raw sketches with a grayscale digital wash. “Scars and Rose Petals” are grayscale hard-edge airbrush, and “Lies and Neckties” are pure sketch with a touch of real wash.

— Brendan McGinley
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