Funnybook Babylon

June 3, 2009

Batman and Robin #1 – “Batman Reborn Part 1: Domino Effect”

Batman and Robin #1

Batman and Robin #1

And we’re back after those messages! Finally, the main narrative line of the Batman books returns with Grant Morrison at the wheel aided by the ever-incredible Frank Quitely. And, in an all-new team-up, Alex Sinclair on colors, which leads to such interesting effects as the sky behind Wayne Tower looking like a badly compressed .GIF. While this issue is significantly more straightforward than the past few issues of Morrison’s Batman run, I have no doubt that things will get complex and trippy eventually, and until then it’s probably best to keep up continuity with these annotations, no? Besides, they’re fun.
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December 7, 2008

Alex Ross and Paolo Rivera: Painters Turned Pencillers and Storytellers

This is some stuff I started writing a few weeks ago, when Amazing Spider-Man #577 and JSA Kingdom Come Special: Superman had just hit. It’s a bit late now, but I sort of like where I was going with it, so I’m gonna finish it off anyway.

The week of November 12 was pretty lackluster, but there’s one thing I noticed that I think is worth talking about: we had not one but two painters making their debut with traditional pencil & ink comic book art, which is a significant shift in style for one and… well… we’ll talk later about the other.

Alex Ross wrote, pencilled, and sort-of-inked-but-really-washed-and-shaded the interminably-named Justice Society of America Kingdom Come Special: Superman. I was actually pretty surprised by how decent the scripting and dialogue were; Ross certainly has a huge leg up on Dan DiDio in that department. However, to be completely honest, it’s really only through realizing the story-based context (painted pages are Earth-22, other pages are Earth-0) that I can tell which parts are painted and which parts are colored by Alex Sinclair; while his work here is certainly more kinetic than his work on Marvels and the original Kingdom Come, I don’t know if that’s a function of the switch to pencil & ink as much as it is the passage of time and perhaps him learning from painting over Doug Braithwaite’s dynamic pencils for Justice. (As a side note, I actually like his non-photo-referenced faces in the back thumbnails more than the photoreferenced finished work; the faces are more expressive, and Ross clearly has the chops to be an above-average penciller if he ever wanted to drop the painting and reference and go that route.)

On the other hand, we got Paolo Rivera on Amazing Spider-Man #577. And, uh, damn.
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