Wednesday, September 05, 2007

comic art appreciation

Here is where we see how a lifetime of reading comic books can pay off in appreciating art.

A friend of mine named Walks in the Rain has a compelling four-page prologue to a comic she has been working on for a while. At the moment, the prologue lacks any words, an absence that makes the work even more compelling and intense. My reaction comes more as a writer than as an artist (which is to be expected, all things conisdered), but I love the pacing of this sequence. The first page is dominated by a half-page panel of the woman lying on bed, her eyes drawn to something unseen, her spirit clearly restless.

Next we see her rise from the bed, but she is drawn not to her desk or other work, but to the window, where she stares out into the night. It's possible just in these three panels to hear the spirit of the night calling to her to leave the confines of her room, her house, and to be free. That mood is only enhanced by the second page, where the woman moves around the room, like a caged animal.

Evidently she's trying to fight this primal urge, since her next move is to her mirror, where it appears she is trying to gather her strength for what must come next. And on Page 3, we see what she is about to do: She sheds her clothes, frees her hair from the braid, and stands bared before the silent full moon before, on Page 4, she climbs out onto the roof, only a leap away from the life that has been keeping her caged in.

And then, in the last panel, we see her running away, liberated, a wolf.

The art tells the story beautitfully without relying on any words, and I have to say that I'm hooked and eager to see the next part of the story, even though I won't be sharing this with Evangeline any time soon. (Perhaps it's prudish, but I'm reluctant to show nudes in art to an 8-year-old, however well-drawn or sculpted they are, even when the nudes are done as tastefully as this.)

Only one point really troubles me: Though it's easy enough to guess what happened, given the full moon, the jump between the last two panels on Page 4 is rather sudden. Perhaps that's to show the sudden burst toward freedom, away from the confines of the house and all it represents? I'm still wondering if an intervening panel, showing her leaping from the porch roof might be in order.

Walks in the Rain recently graduated from art school, and I think it's evident from the work on this page that she has a lot of talent. I can't wait to see buy first graphic novel when it comes out.

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