In Russian artist Denis Zhbankov’s images, spindly oversized insects and unfriendly mutants emerge from the shadows to confront us, and space-faring zombies meet their grisly ends. His supernatural figures are often caught in moments of stillness, as if slightly surprised they’re being observed. What happens next might not be pretty. They’re rendered in a soft style with restrained coloring that nearly monochromatic at times — this is a dreamlike world, more like a nightmare, viewed through an ominous haze. Bonus material in a director’s cut of the Upside Down from the Netflix series Stranger Things, perhaps.
“I believe that the most important thing in any artwork is story,” Zhabankov told us. “Even if the art is poorly done, if there is an interesting story behind it, the audience will like it.” Of his own tableaux, he says “I’m not always sure that the story is completely over. Sometimes I go back to some of my artwork and either complement it or redo it completely. This is an endless process.”
Zhabankov is one of the artists spotlighted with a gallery in Heavy Metal 293 (in comics shops now and available in Heavy Metal’s online store). For more of his eerie visions, visit his Artstation page and be sure to follow him on Instagram. This gallery of his work is mostly different from the selection in the pages of the magazine — enjoy.