His work is decorative, minimal intricate, detailed and refined. The work in many ways is a genre unto itself. Artist/Illustrator Jae lee is the elegance among the utilitarian, the poetry among the mundane. lee is best known for his still bourgeoning career as a graphic story-teller for Marvel and DC comics. His assignments consist of the “special” and the “heavy-weight” projects. Marvel’s adaptation of the Stephen King series “The Dark Tower” went to lee and it is to date is his most powerful achievement. The panels are rich with substance, alluring and visceral to an extreme. The ‘Tower” books; scripted by Peter David with King himself serving as creative and executive director are treasures.
Lee is easily placing himself among the greats both in and outside of the comic medium with past and contemporary artists. Visionaries from Maxfield Parrish to Chris Van Allsburg are rivaled and complimented by lee. The master sculpture Michelangelo can even be referenced by the work of lee. The “Pieta” seems to be an inspiration for Lee who is quickly becoming a master of his craft and as an artist surpassing all norms.
“The Illustrated Dracula” by Bram Stoker illustrated by Jae lee is one of the handsomest volumes of any modern publication. The book fits perfectly into the hand. It is precisely weighted and just plain feels good to hold. In another time this wouldn’t be so much a consideration but in this increasingly print less society it is a committed endorsement of the ancient process of book making. The paperback edition in design gives the illusion of worn leather and it is tompe-l’oeil used to spectacular effect. I am reminded of a church hymnal in that it is very equal in look and size. The illustrations are not intrusive or distractions but give the edition an intended welcoming illumination. The enhanced drawings are again minimal, gothic and beautiful.
Jae Lee is an artist of the highest standards; someone to count on to deliver and to thrill. Look for him in a book store near you. The Graphic Novel section would be the place to begin; then on to the classics of literature and beyond.