comic art

Drawing is central to narrative in comic books, yet they can take many forms.

More populist superhero titles reuse and modify a standard language of exaggeration and stylisation- oddly, they seem to go hand in hand with an almost absurdly renaissance/mannerist fetishization of extreme perspective effects and intricately detailed masses of bodies (as can be seen in the work of Todd McFlarne below) as well as the same cross hatching techniques.


This is more of a bravura display of “superstar” comic book artists who are admired by comics fans much more than the writers or the stories- its basically superhero eye candy, or sometimes porn.

The emergence of quality, innovative, literate comics with Alan Moore, Frank Millar, Neil Gaiman etc. (slightly worthily renamed “Graphic Novels”, a title their authors regularly shun) which would end up in New York Times literary reviews, led to a retreat in comic art to its early days of rigid grids and panels- which are much more about reinforcing the story, creating a pace and a rhythm, but still often maintaining a cinematic language of close ups, tracking shots etc. experimenting with panels much as an editor would with cutting frames or scenes in film. (the fascination with perspective persists though, which might have to do with the freedom of storytelling when there is no need for a camera, see Dave Gibbons’ work on “Watchmen” below)


In “V For Vendetta” the hyper real exaggeration of comics is cast aside in favour of a mundane  drawing style  and drab pastel colours which recall children’s illustration- complimenting the Orwellian political story in much the same way as the “-A Fairy Story” subtitles Animal Farm.


This moving away from virtuoso overcrowded artwork continues to the cover- below is one of Dave McKean’s covers  for Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, which he would construct out of sculpture, photography, painting and found objects in a much more “fine art” assemblage manner.
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