American comics are in rough shape. However, one area where American books are thriving is art. Despite the sales for most books being abysmal, the caliber of artists currently working in American comics stands up to almost any era of top-notch illustration in the field's lengthy history. In my opinion, one of the most talented artists leading the charge is Dike Ruan.
I first discovered Ruan's work through Instagram, where he posted a series of stunning headshots of classic comic characters. One look at Ruan's work showcases the fantastic attention to detail that he affords every piece. The meticulous hatching, for example, gives his characters a depth that belies the smooth linework that graces all of his pieces. In addition to the delicious details that characterize his pencils, another element that makes Ruan's work shine is how boldly he wears his stylistic influences on his sleeve.
As more Millenial artists, who grew up on a healthy diet of manga and comics, take center stage in the American industry, a subtle blurring of styles has revivified the visual language of superheroes. Artists like Skottie Young and Daniel Warren Johnson exemplify the trend, but Dike Ruan is my personal favorite of the bunch. Reconciling the simplicity of manga's unique style and the dynamic energy of superhero comics, Ruan's work is possibly the best synthesis of East and West available on the market.
Ruan recently did a run of Shang-Chi with Gene Luen Yang. If you're a fan of comics, Shang-Chi, kung fu, or just want to ogle some purty pictures, I recommend giving the book a once over.