Thursday, February 3, 2011

Who Is Jake Ellis?

The following is posted verbatim from a thread I've started at Panel and


It seems to me that we don't talk enough about the good comics we've read. Mia culpa, I don't read a lot. When I was much, much younger, I marveled at the Jack Kirby's of the world who confessed that they didn't regularly read comics. Impossible! Granted, artists can better get away with this than writers who have plot threads to pick up (assuming you do WFH). But at 57, I get it. And no, I'm not going to try and explain it. That isn't the point of this thread.

The point is, I do pick up comics from time to time, and I do look for things that have some point of interest. One so rarely gets a complete story in a pamphlet comic, that its almost useless to purchase based on that. But I'm an artist, and I do get excited when I see art... and more particularly, storytelling that works for me.

So the rule for this thread is point to a comic you read that was worth a look see, and explain why. No pointing to comics created by any of the regulars here. We know Marv is an eminence gris and Jimmie is a prodigy. We recognize that Russell has more talent in his pinkie than Michalangleo put into God's index finger. JAQ is a legendary wit and Derek is Proust. Jason and PJ are the new Stan and Lee.

What else is out there that we can learn from?

So the other day I was thumbing through the funny books at Comics Relief in Berkeley, enhancing the value of mere comic by dog-earring the pages. The stuff from the Big two features some impressive drawing, and absolutely amazing coloring. The development of digital coloring has fueled a style of drawing that is very open and sparely rendered. I firmly believe that colorists should be getting a hell of a lot more credit. They are turning forms and establishing mood in ways that inkers used to do. But the visual storytelling is uniformly flabby.

Enter, Who Is Jake Ellis? by Nathan Edmundson and Tonci Zonjic. The immediate impression is Alex Toth in his marker pen, Torpedo, Bravo for Adventure. Very spare drawing, complemented by equally spare coloring. Not monotone, but coloring is is only moderately used for turning forms. The writing is elegant... just enough to carry the story and characterizations without bombast. better than Toth's writing by a margin.

But its in the visual storytelling where this book really stands out. Staging, camera angles, just the right details, compositional variety... all of these keep the story moving along at a sprightly pace. If you want to see what I consider to be an an engaging, involving way to tell stories, check this out.

No comments:

Post a Comment