Comic Book Artist Alex Ross Unveils Official Beatles Artwork
By Bryan Rolli
Photo by Dark Hall Mansion
July 8, 2015
The Beatles have always been known for their wildly vivid lyrics, evoking swirling blasts of color and images of tangerine trees and marmalade skies. Now, comic book artist Alex Ross is committing this lush imagery to canvas with a series of elaborate prints based on the group’s music.
Ross, whose photorealistic illustrations can be seen in the Marvels and Kingdom Come comic book series, made his first foray into the world of the Fab Four with a six-foot-wide print inspired by their 1968 animated film, Yellow Submarine. Contrasting greatly from the simplistic, cartoony style of the original artwork, Ross’s piece contains all four Beatles surrounded by a fantastical and highly detailed landscape of rainbows, floating hands and rapturous hippie fans. Apple Corps approved of the print and gave Ross the green light to produce an ongoing series of Beatles art, the first glimpses of which can be seen in Rolling Stone. Ross will debut the collection at this week’s Comic-Con International in San Diego.
Ross’s current project involves making individual portraits of all four Beatles, each framed by more Yellow Submarine imagery. His prints are influenced by his research of the sources used by original Yellow Submarine artist Heinz Edelmann, who drew inspiration largely from the Sgt. Peppers era. Ross notes the “particular hairstyles” used in the original artwork, and even referenced photos of the Beatles as children to accurately fill out his designs.
Ross eventually plans to illustrate every era of the Beatles’ career. Although he finds inspiration from each album, he’s especially fond of the Rubber Soul period. “It’s just on the precipice before they would completely blow out to greater individuality,” he told Rolling Stone. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Ross’s surreal illustrations is that unlike comic book art, they are inspired by real people and real songs. It just goes to show: sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.