My first real connection with John Paul's art was at a Heroes Con back in 2006, I think. I had, of course, seen his epic work on Marvel's Earth X series, but up until then, was more a casual fan. That weekend, we met all the guys from The BLVD Studio and Dwight picked up their three sketchbooks (all of which are great, by the way).
Later that night, we attended the Art Auction which is always one of the high points of the convention. I'm standing in front of the original art display, floored by this one killer Wolverine piece, and I can tell this guy next to me is feelin' the same way (it was the hotness).
We go back and forth for a minute, then I look up and realize---the guy is Tony Harris! The artist from Ex-Machina! Tony is pretty amazing himself and apparently, a big Leon fan (later that year, JP ended up doing an Ex-Mach Halloween Special). You just never know...
The man's vitals are these: he was born in NYC, but makes his home in Miami. He started working professionally at the age of 16 doing stuff for TSR's Dungeons magazine. He graduated from SVA with a bachelors degree in fine art. He's a member of The BLVD Studio with four other exceptional artists---Sean Chen, Bernard Chang, Trevor Goring and Tommy Lee Edwards. He created licensing artwork for the mega-hit film Batman Begins and also contributed to the Superman Returns style guide.
And he rocks it on all of the following comic titles: Tom Strong, Wintermen, Midnighter, Scalped, both Ex-Machina Specials and those DMZ covers.
I've been a staunch JP fan ever since that time in Charlotte (isn't it obvious?). In my almost never humble opinion, you'd be hard pressed to find a bolder, more dramatic storyteller working in comics today. Leon's approach is near-cinematic, to quote a friend of mine, and I can't front---I'm lovin' every frame of it.
Oh, and he's famous on YouTube, too!
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