It’s definitely time for a change of pace. I’ve penned too many obituaries in the last several months. I need to make more of an effort to write about the people whose work I enjoy while they are still among the living. In the past I’ve done the occasional birthday tribute to a few of my favorite comic book creators; I’m going to try to make that more of a regular feature on this blog.
I wanted to wish a very happy birthday to comic book artist Joyce Chin, who was born on July 31st. Some of Chin’s earliest work was for DC Comics in 1995, penciling Guy Gardner: Warrior, a fun, underrated series written by Beau Smith. A couple of years later Smith and Chin were reunited, with Chin becoming the first artist to pencil the adventures of Smith’s creator-owned character Wynonna Earp, the beautiful federal marshal who battles supernatural criminals.
I think the first time Chin’s work really stood out to me was on a short story she penciled for the Dark Horse Presents Annual 1999. It featured an adventure of Xena: Warrior Princess during her teenage years.
Chen and inker Walden Wong did a good job rendering a younger incarnation of Lucy Lawless’ iconic heroine. I think the black & white format of DHP, as well as the fantasy setting, enabled me to really notice and appreciate all of the intricate detail that Chin put into her artwork.
The point at which I really became a fan of Chin was in early 2015 when I saw the three covers she had drawn for Dynamite Entertainment’s female-driven crossover Swords of Sorrow. I was especially impressed by Chin’s cover for the prologue issue Swords of Sorrow: Chaos! Prequel which featured Purgatori, Chastity, Bad Kitty and Mistress Hel in an homage to mid 20th Century pulp magazine cover artwork.
I think I’ve observed in the past that women often make the best pin-up artists. It’s probably to do with the fact that they understand how women’s bodies actually work in the real world, which enables them to give their drawings of female characters a certain weight or verisimilitude, so to speak, that is sometimes absent when male artists try to draw sexy females. Whatever the case, I’ve always enjoyed how Chin renders female characters.
Chin is married to Arthur Adams, another artist who specializes in artwork containing an insane amount of detail with a genuine gift for rendering lovely ladies. Chin and Adams have collaborated on a handful of occasions, always to good effect. Here is one of those times, the cover to Action Comics #820 (December 2004) which is penciled by Chin and inked by Adams. It features the supernatural villainous Silver Banshee, who Chin has drawn a few times over the years.
Another of Chin’s passions is dogs, specifically Silken Windhounds. Chin has several of these majestic, beautiful dogs. I always enjoy seeing the photos of them she posts on Facebook. Naturally enough the Silken Windhounds have found their way into some of Chin’s artwork. Here’s an example of her depiction of these stunning animals, which was published in her 2018 convention art book. Chin’s work has been likened to Art Nouveau pioneer Alphonse Mucha, and that quality is certainly apparent in this piece.
I was fortune enough to meet Chin a few times at New York Comic Con. I had been hoping to get a convention sketch from her for several years. I finally asked her to draw a piece in my Mantis theme sketchbook when she was at NYCC 2019. Chin did a beautiful color drawing, as seen in the photo below. She really invested the character with personality, a feature of her work. Hopefully once this pandemic is finally over and comic conventions start being held again I will have an opportunity to obtain another sketch from her.
I hope we will be seeing more artwork from Joyce Chin in the near future. She’s a very talented artist. Also, having conversed with her on Facebook and met her at NYCC, she really comes across as a good person.