Thursday, March 4, 2010

Let me answer all questions!

Hello. My human has left the house to get me food and wonderful litter dust for me to joyfully spread around the house. No better time than now to answer your previous queries, then!

JesusGun said...

hi, black thing. didn't know you like comics and you're interested in comic theory. I think it would be interesting to upload some comic pages of hyper-skilled creators and analyze them. i think it would be a nice beginning.

Ok I can do that. Let's go with one of the best spreads I've read in a while, I thought you'd appreciate the theme too

Click with your mouse to make it bigger!

Things I like about this page:

  • It doesn't matter from where you start reading it, in fact the artist doesn't give any visual cue on where you should start at all. This is very liberating for me as a cat that is not used to your human linear narratives where reading from top left to right is considered the norm. In fact this suits the subject matter greatly because such an archetypal story as that of Jesus Christ Versus The Olympian Gods can and has been approached from so many vantages.
  • The artist conveys with wonderful body language the badassery of Jesus Christ, but also, his utmost grace. Check out how gently he levitates off of the cross, the nails passing through his fleshy tissue instead of sticking off the wood along with his body.
  • Kraka-Boom! If there was every a comic that needed dramatic sound effects, it is this one! The artist wields the impact of synergistic art with great precision. Jesus has levitated off of the cross and is ready to kick some Herculean ass. Kraka-Boom indeed! Note also how the first strike (here, quite unlike in the New Testament proper, Christ is eager to offer the first strike) is punctuated with KRAK as well. This is called in storytelling terms, foreshadowing. The Kraka-Boom sets up the stage for the Krak. One could guess correctly that there is a 'Boom' later too.
  • Look how artfully the artist has avoided having to draw feet and especially toes in the splash of Jesus Christ. There is a lesson here: less is more, Jesusgun. If you can't draw something, draw something else in front of it that is easier. Put a robot in front of a beautiful girl, put a car in front of a crying man, put a wall in front of a beating heart, it always works.
I could go on and on, Jesusgun, but I realize there's much for you to digest here so I'll leave it until next time before I go really in-depth with advanced storytelling techniques employed by the one, the only, Rob Liefeld.

Ryan Marlow said...
Black Thing, I 'd never let you borrow any of my comics because you don't have opposable thumbs. All you have to grip with are claws!
I'll have you know I never use my claws unless when I'm hunting! I'm a civilized cat, I realize the benefits of give and take with the humans. I do not tear up their comics and in return they give me their precious smoked ham, it's a win-win for all involved. (When nobody is looking I go claw up the history section of my human's dad, though, nobody notices!)

Shelby Cobras said...
Do felines get some sort of erotic stimulation from human superhero comics, Black Thing? Because from this photo, it appears you might be, um, "cleaning your kitty parts" while you read.

Cats are great at multitasking. But I need make no excuses, Rob Liefeld gets me all hot and bothered let me tell you. I'm neutered but that doesn't stop him from setting a fire in my loins. A fire for beefcake! Or just beef, actually.

Martin said...
What occult secrets can Black Thing divulge about the division and structure of the pages? In other words, how the frames' shapes, proportions and their interactions can be used to affect the reader.

I'm of the more progressive new-school thought that these things do not matter, Martin. As Rob Liefeld shows above you can convey a gripping emotional narrative by just throwing whatever size panel on whatever splash page and have the action take place in the smallest of the small panels while the easier to draw still poses of mythological figures scowling take up all the page space, it just doesn't matter when you're THIS good.

But my human tends to disagree, he sometimes goes on and on about how paneling and especially the space between panels is where the *real* art in comics is and how even a relatively unskilled comic artist can make very gripping comics just by manipulating basic rules and effects of paneling. He says that a bigger panel doesn't always necessarily mean the reader will spend more time looking at it, but a denser panel (in terms of information, not just detail, remember to ask follow up questions on the difference) certainly will. The more relevant information in a panel, the more time the reader will spend doing their little 'treasure hunt' with it, every time they find something pertinent to a character or a plot point they will feel rewarded, and will in turn read slower and be more respectful to the comic they hold in their hands. In fact, rarely discussed, but my human says respect is the key factor in how effective a comic story is and respect is earned through deft usage of hidden graces of the sequential medium, not so much 'by drawing good'.

The human also says other stuff like how a bigger gap between panels means more time has passed between the two panels in the comic but not necessarily in how fast the reader will read between the panels and this creates vital capture-and-release dynamics that movies or animation simply do not have. And how if a panel border is not 90 degrees upright but skewed or otherwise irregular this creates tension in the reader akin to that of tilted camera shots in the movies or other stuff. Look, Rob Liefeld does this amazingly in the page I posted above though, so I don't see why my human is complaining.

Another trick would be - though I am skeptical of that - to have a wide panel where the action occurs in the far corner of it, making the reader parse setting and information before he gets to it, useful both for timing and for urging the reader to not just read the comics as if it's a 'talking heads' thing. Again, respect to the form will bring respect from the reader. They will get out of it as much effort as they put in. To that me and my human agree.

Jonathan Drain said...
How does Helm make his comics? What's his process? Does he do everything by hand or does he use that fancy wacom tablet?

I believe my human has already gone on and on about this. Check out the posts with the tag 'process'.

Again, I urge you all to write in with your new questions and congratulatory remarks on my depth of knowledge. I am as hairy as I am wise. Bribes in meat products will compel me to answer your questions first and in most detail, keep in mind.

1 comment:

Shawn said...

Awwwe cute kittah!

Really enjoyed some of your blogging, I'll be sure to come back.

Please visit us on the irc sometime if your not so busy... everyones like, Where's Helm!