Sunday, February 22, 2009


From the cover I really had no idea what to expect from WE3 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. To be honest, it looked this story was going to be happy one - with little animals dressed up in easter egg like costumes. But since it was by Morrison I knew that couldn't be the case and of course it wasn't, ha-ha. Although very short, WE3 makes quite an impression. The art and innovative of use of panels and the actual story itself stuck in my mind long after I put the book down.
My favorite page of the book is the 6th and 7th pages, which is one picture of bullets tearing up a man. Although just one picture the way that the bullets are drawn makes the reader believe that they are moving in mid air. it is a head on perspective. On the 6th and 7th page of the second chapter, carnage is represented by many small panels, some of top of each other, over two larger images. This is a fantastic way of showing many things happening at once. Another aspect of perspective that I loved was that for most of the shots of humans when the animals are in the scene are from below and we don't see much of their face as if we are looking at them through the animals eyes.
Focusing on villainy for this story was also interesting since the real villains of the story, the government, created these animal weapons to destroy enemies/villains and then when the animals escape the government deems the animals enemies/villains. But it is the government who took these household pets and turned them into weapons and even kill one of the Doctors they hired in the process of trying to get the animals back. Their own selfish cruelty turns on them.
All in all, this is a great little graphic novel that made me feel much sympathy and remorse for the animals. It is quite powerful.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Fan-Freaking-Tastic. That is the only proper way I can start a post on Watchmen. I loved this graphic novel from beginning to end. It has everything - amazing story, well developed characters, twists and turns, humor, interesting and innovative panel perspectives, everything! My favorite aspect of Watchmen is that every detail matters, which is obvious from the very beginning when the focus is a close up of something very small - the Comedian's Smiley Face pin - and then zooms out. This happens through out the entire story. The little details are actually huge and crucial to the overall story. For this post I am going to focus on panel perspectives, the cover, and my favorite character, The Comedian.

I think the best example of how innovative and different the panel perspectives in watchmen are on pages 11 and 18 of Chapter five - where we are literally looking through Rorschach's eyes. This is a whole new level of first person narrative! Even though Watchmen has been called "the unfilmable graphic novel" the panels are very cinematic to me. On page 21 of Chapter 3, the first three panels are different angles/closeups of the Dr. Manhattan. This zooming in and out between panels reminded me very much of a camera. The Dr. Manhattan scenes were always very intriguing. By going back and forth between the present and memories you could almost see as Jon does. It was like being inside the character's minds and following their thought process through images. This is hard to do with words much less panels! But somehow Moore and Gibbons were able to do it very successfully.

The Cover itself is like a panel that connects to the entire first two pages of the story. Each panels moves further and further back from the Comedian's smiley face until we are just over the detective's head. Therefore the graphic novel actually begins before you even open the book!

Although Watchmen is full of interesting characters, I found myself most drawn to the Comedian - who is dead before the story begins. I could really sympathize with Sally because as much as I should hate him I liked him the most. Now this might be because I find characters with questionable morality the most fascinating but then I probably should like Adrian Veidt the most! But the reason why I liked Edward Blake is the same reason why most of the other characters admired him - he understood society and accepted it as a big joke. Whenever he did something "bad" such as assaulting Sally I would feel disappointed in him but not angry. The fact that I was trying to make excuses for a fictional person shows how well Moore created his characters. The end of the novel was fantastic because since the assistant was wearing a shirt with the smiley face while discovering Rorschach's journal it was like the Comedian got the last laugh - like he always said he would.

I'm very excited for the movie. I think the most interesting parts will be how they show Laurie realizing that her father is Blake and if they are able to show how all of the small details tie into the big picture. I am optimistic. I think the casting was great - especially Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the Comedian.

New York Comic Con

This past Saturday I headed down to the Jacob Javit's Center to attend New York ComicCon. I had never gone to a comics convention before - only a small Anime convention in Atlanta - so I was pretty blown away by the sheer number of people there and the size of the gallery. It great to just walk around and see hundreds of people get really excited about the things you find interesting. Some of the costumes were very impressive. I saw one girl who looked exactly like Harley Quinn. Not surprisingly the most popular costume was the Joker. I also saw a wonderful Rorschach costume! I think the guy was even 5'6''! I wonder if he had red hair...

My favorite part of the convention was just witnessing how far the industry has come. In last week's class we watched a documentary on Will Eisner and the rise of comics and the graphic novel. Comics basically went from a small office or just a section of the newspaper to something that hundreds of people would gather to celebrate. I also liked the Marvel and DC booths - some of the figures were really stunning. I am obsessed with action figures so I was a sucker for those booths. I also picked up one of the first Two-Face comics from the 40's. Two Face is my favorite comic book villain so I was pretty psyched.

Since it was my first time going I didn't really know my way around or what I was doing haha hopefully next year I will be able to go the DC Nation panel.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

McCloud Vocab

Some Vocabulary from Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics:

Comics: Basically the entire book is a definition but the easy, straight forward definition is "sequential art" (pg. 5). It is stringing individual pictures together to create a story.

Icon: "Any image used to represent a person, place, thing or idea" (pg 27).

Gutter: "The blank space between the panels" (pg. 66). The space where our brains imagines the actions that occur between the two panels. McCloud has categorized the different types (pgs. 70 - 72):
1. Moment to Moment
2. Action to Action
3. Subject to Subject
4. Scene to Scene
5. Aspect to Aspect
6. Non-Sequitur

Panel: Can show time and can also be an icon itself (pg. 98).

Subjective Motion: "Operates on the assumption that if observing a moving object can be involving, being that object should be more so" (pg. 114). Focuses on the object in motion.

Visual Symbols: For example, McCloud uses the sweat bead on pg. 130. This tells us that the character is probably nervous. These symbols begin a "Visual vocabulary" (pg. 131) for emotions.

The Spirit by Will Eisner

Background Info on Eisner:
-1917 - 2005
-Creator of the Spirit, Lady Luck, John Law and more
- Born in Brooklyn
-Classmates with Bob Kane, creator of Batman
- Drafted in 1942 and returned 1945
-Died in Florida
*Information courtesy of Will Eisner's official website and Wikipedia.

"The Origin of the Spirit" by Will Eisner, June 2nd 1940
Although the story is pretty straightforward, the style of "The Spirit" was definitely innovative in 1940. Eisner uses a lot of shadows to show depth and give off a Sherlock Holmes type atmosphere (Page 5 has great examples of this). He also doesn't stick strictly to keeping his work inside the panels. For example, on the second page, Dr. Cobra's head completely stands alone. On the same page at the bottom, Eisner has created a round panel to show the vat breaking. This allows him to show more of the story on one page and, in my opinion, give the story a cooler look. To show motion, Einser uses lines like Scott McCloud describes in his book (Pg. 110). A great example of this is the 5th panel on page 4 where the coroner is motioning that Dolan has gone a little crazy since Denny Colt died. I really like how he describes the actions in the boxes along with showing the reader in the pictures - so that you are reading and seeing at the same time.
I personally prefer darker stories but this probably was pretty dark for 1940! It is a great way to start a series, though, with all the necessary information jam packed nicely into just 7 pages!

"Lorelei Rox" by Will Eisner, September 19th 1948
Eisner sticks to the same methods above but his use of shadows has increased as you can see from the first scene in Dolan's office. My favorite part of this comic is page 4 where Lorelei is singing and to show that the Spirit is becoming lost in the sound the panel lines have disappeared. Eisner has some very innovative visual perspectives in this story as well. For example, on page 4, the third panel is the Spirit's reflection in the car's side mirror. He doesn't just have three panels of the Spirit driving a truck - this makes the story much more exciting.

The first thing I noticed about the seven sample covers we were given in the last class was that in four of them the Spirit is in some sort of struggle. Another reoccurring feature is the use of words in the artwork - usually to give a brief summary of the story. All are highly detailed and take up the entire page. My personal favorite is No. 28, where this small pygmy like monsters are attacking the Spirit in the sewers. I love the emotion on the spirits face and the viciousness of the creatures (especially the one attack his leg!).