In my most recent essay, I described how various artists are upping the stakes in the media of comics and television. One artist I've been particularly impressed with (and mentioned in the essay, but only had room for one illustration) is Alex Maleev. He was born in Bulgaria in 1971, and got a bachelor's in printmaking from the Bulgarian Academy of Fine Arts in 1994. I came to know his work in Brian Michael Bendis' run of Daredevil, and have hungrily bought anything he's worked on that I can find - especially if it's in collaboration with Bendis. The two are currently working on the title Scarlet - a crime comic, with three issues to date.
Anyway, what I particularly like about Maleev's work is that on the one hand you can see the pencil strokes (even though he draws on a computer pad). You're reminded that what you're looking at is the product of a human hand. And at the same time, the drawings have an incredibly naturalistic feel to them. The characters don't look like the standard comic book figures I remember from childhood - clean and slick as a Saturday morning cartoon. They actually do seem like real people, living in the scratchy, imperfect real world.
This sequence is from New Avengers 26 (written by Bendis), and these pages show the reunion of Clint Barton (aka Hawkeye - a bow and arrow hero) and Wanda Maximoff (The Scarlet Witch). The word balloons have been removed, so see if you can follow the story simply by the sequence of illustrations. And notice the visual nods to Gustav Klimt that come up - a nice bit of experimental art in a medium that wasn't open to it a few decades ago.