Oct 12, 2012

State of the Stands (Oct '12)

We now present some important observations gleaned from a quick perusal of the comic book racks...

Francesco Francavilla's comic art has a level of detail about like old 30s comics, but he uses more modern fancy layouts. His coloring is very "artistic" too, not the typical overdone computer coloring - it's minimal like the drawing, with occasional unexpected color choices punching it up.

Alan Davis (does he go back to the 70s? Seems like I've seen the name in old X-men comics) has a 3-part series running thru several of Marvel's "annuals" that looks good. It seems like a more 70s style
of comic art, but trying to update it for the new print and coloring capabilities. The colors have something very appealing about them. There's sort of a feel of trying to get across the "wonder" or "magic" of these fantastic characters in everyday city environs and the "real world."

Neal Adams co-writes and pencils a series about the X-men in their pre-Xavier days. I wonder why he's doing work-for-hire lately. I guess he has other options of one sort or another(?) so it must be a mix of business and artistic reasons. In any event, his fans seem pretty picky about his new work. Doesn't bother me though, I think it looks fine. It has a slight cartoony inflection to it here that makes me think of Mort Drucker - not sure whether that's his pencils or the inker.

A few of Marvel's titles (don't remember names, except Francovilla) seem like they're playing out a Matt Allred influence. Again it's that minimal art, with a sort of deadpan quality - "Here are these fantastic scenes and characters, but what of it? We're just presenting it. No editorial comment from us. Just the facts, ma'am. We're superhero cartoonists, but with the mentality of 50s gumshoe detectives, or old news anchors, or old reporters, or basically any male archetype from the mid-20th century that would've kept whiskey in the desk drawer."

Sergio's up to #7 on his autobio/ humor comic. Amazing productivity (and he explains how in his intros - he writes and draws in hotels, on airplanes, etc.) Great gag on the cover of the upcoming #8 - not just funny, also sort of metaphorical / insightful IMO.

The whole DC line is running some unified promotional effort with #0's of all the titles. So their "trade dress" is all the same. As a result, I picked up none of their comics, feeling repulsed by the weight of corporate overdetermination or something. Marvel's line seemed more open to quirky tangents and the artist's own directions(whether there's any difference behind the scenes, I know not.)

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