As editor and art director of Marvel Comics, I’ve spent most of my adult life working with artists. So, when it comes to artwork, I felt I had seen it all.
But then I met Burton Morris!
It happened not long ago when I was invited to sign autographs at a local Los Angeles book store. I had heard that an artist would also be there to exhibit his work but I didn’t give that much thought.
Later, while I was signing, I could hear people in the store “ooh” ing and “ahhh” ing. Now I’ll admit I’m a pretty good book signer, but there’s nothing about my signature to cause such a reaction from the crowd. So I looked up to see what was happening.
That’s when I got my first glimpse of Burton Morris’ astonishing artwork. It was obvious why the fans were so impressed. Burton had a style so unique, so appealing and so totally crowd-pleasing that I had never seen anything like it.
The basic drawings, though simple, were cheerfulness personified. His use of color was incredibly daring, bright and sparkling. It is totally impossible to look at the art of Burton Morris without smiling. His are the most “feel good” paintings that I have ever seen. Although beautifully crafted and superbly composed, Burton’s style has a sophisticated simplicity which beggars description.
He has the uncanny ability to take the simplest object and, by his brilliant use of color and his incredible sense of design, make it seem as though one is seeing it and appreciating it for the first time.
Though Burton has been favorably compared to Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, his paintings have their own individuality, their own flavor and superb style that make them stand completely apart from the work of any other artist.
You can imagine how pleased I was when, upon meeting Burton, he told me he’d been a reader of my comics when he was young and had been greatly influenced by our superhero type artwork. In fact, he confessed he’d wanted to become a superhero artist but felt he couldn’t quite do justice to that genre.
How very lucky for art lovers everywhere that Burton Morris abandoned his hope of drawing comic books and created his own style. No, even more than his own style — his own shining world, a world of painting like no other, a pop culture world of color and composition and cheer which he himself has created and which brings unimaginable joy to countless viewers around the globe.
I’m indescribably grateful for the opportunity to write these few words on Burton’s behalf, for I think he is truly destined to rank with the great masters of art.
Finally, to me, the most exciting thing about Burton Morris is the fact that he’s still a young man, driven by passion and blessed with energy. One can only imagine the new, fantastic paintings he’ll continue to create in the years to come.