From ETDC Guest Contributor Matt Hardeman
My first experience with John Pearson’s art was a panel from his self-published comic, ‘Beast Wagon.’ It was this beautiful spread of various types of monkeys and apes and baboons run amok with these vibrant colors and deep shadows. It was intense, striking and clearly a labor of love. I immediately dug deeper finding more and more art that was equal parts horrifying yet exquisite in it’s execution.
My first experience with John Pearson the person was in a bar right on the outskirts of downtown Austin, Texas. The man behind all of these beautifully haunting images was incredibly down to earth, charming, handsome and just an all-around great human being. A good egg, some might say.
In discussing his art, I wasn’t completely surprised to hear John say his background was fine art. His applying of his skills and techniques is what makes Beast Wagon a cut above the typical cookie cutter artwork, not to mention the coloring. Each panel looks like a laborious frantic painting with layers you swear you could feel running your fingers across the page. I was admittedly surprised when he revealed that it’s all done digitally, from start to finish. Digital coloring often gets a bad rap, deservedly so, but within these issues Pearson is making it work to his skillset and the results are often breathtaking.
The following day John kicked off the US portion of the Beast Wagon Tour (the UK portion of the tour is being handled by the other half of Beast Wagon, writer Owen Michael Johnson) at local nerd mecca, Austin Books and Comics. There John entertained many a question from fans new and old alike; some having drove over an hour just to meet and shake John’s hand. In a day and age where art continues to be something that gets more and more pushed to the wayside, it was quite refreshing to see people that the medium still made an impact upon.
With four issues now completed, the fifth and final issue of Beast Wagon will be a double-sized finale and will hopefully be out by year’s end with a collected edition sometime after. The US leg of the Beast Wagon tour continues on July 13th in San Francisco 4pm at Mission Comics (with an exhibition of John’s work starting there on July 9th) and then to Los Angeles July 16th from 12PM – 3PM at Meltdown Comics. If you’re in the area, do yourself a favor and check it out!
(Issue #1 of Beast Wagon available for free download at Bleeding Cool HERE)
For more information on ‘Beast Wagon’ —