Update (4/17/2013): In addition to being guilty of extreme laziness, Arlem is also guilty of art theft.
I’m mainly a DC reader, but I’ve decided not to buy any Reboot comics until the trades come out. This means that I’ve been reading a lot of back issues. Recently, I read through Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters. The story was okay and not particularly memorable. The art really bugged me for this series. Now, I rarely notice the art unless it’s amazingly bad or amazingly good. The art is decent, so it took me a while to figure out why it was bugging me so much. I realized why in issue #3.
Renato Arlem is in love with copy and paste. (Second panel mirrored for illustration purposes.)
The first four panels are exactly the same except zoomed in or out (and in the case of panel 2, mirror imaged). I’m fairly certain that the art was done on a computer, because I’m not sure it’s possible to hand draw art that looks that much like it was copy and pasted. Also, the characters and backgrounds seem to have been drawn separately and the art styles of the two never quite gel. It’s the comic book equivalent to actors in front of green screens. And this page isn’t the only example.
That panel with those two sitting in those exact same positions? Used nine times, with only the video screen and word balloons changing.
And the panel that convinced me this was computer generated art:
The only thing that changes in these panels is the relative positioning of the characters and the speech balloon. None of them move. At all. I especially how in the last two panels, the woman (Emma) has been scooted to the left while Uncle Sam is scooted to the right, somehow without otherwise changing anything about their body language. I can’t help but imagine them standing on moving sidewalks that are turned on and off between panels.
Those scans are all from issue #3. I counted at least nine other examples in that issue alone. (Including one where Uncle Sam moves only his eyes between panels.)
I know that being an artist is tough. And I know it must be tempted for artists who using computers to use copy and paste every once in a while. But there is no excuse for using it that frequently. I just hope his current work is better.